Interview: Odd Future's Hodgy Beats
Last week's Odd Future feature only touched on part of my interview with Hodgy Beats, so here's the whole thing. The group's Camp Flog Gnaw Tour hits Newport Music Hall this Wednesday, and Hodgy's new album as one half of MellowHype, "Numbers," is out Oct. 2.
Alive: Where are you calling from?
Hodgy: We're in Long Island right now. Never been here before, but it's mad green. Bunch of rank s---. [Brief pause] Oh, we're in upstate New York. We in Huntington. I was asleep on the way here.
Alive: Are you guys still doing a MellowHype mixtape in advance of the album?
Hodgy: We're doing like a MellowHype week where we drop a new song a day, instead of a mixtape that's just handed out kind of carelessly. It's just a better way of interacting with the fans. It'll be on September 11. It's the stuff that's not on the album.
Alive: How did you decide what made it on "Numbers"? Was it the best stuff, or the stuff that hangs together the best, or what?
Hodgy: It was just a process of elimination. We had like approximately 50-some songs, and then we were just like, "Whoa." We started elimination from there and then we got down to like 25. It was a big listening process. But the way the album flows now is like perfect. And it's all music, no interludes or anything like that.
Alive: Is it important to you to have no skits and stuff?
Hodgy: What happened was, I went to a church and I was just recording s---, and then we were going to put it in "Numbers," but I had to have a whole bunch of people sign off on it and I didn't feel like doing that s---. But we'll probably make a song out of it. Something clever will come out of it. And it will be free, of course.
Alive: What do you see as the biggest difference between "BlackenedWhite" and "Numbers"?
Hodgy: It's just a step forward. I don't really see too much of a difference except that we worked on clarity beat-wise. We've got an engineer now that raised our sounds, both vocally and, like, Left likes the bass drum to hit hard and all that s---. On this one we're aiming towards grabbing more MellowHype fans, not just Odd Future fans.
Alive: What would you say is the difference between a MellowHype fan and a general Odd Future fan?
Hodgy: When they come to our shows, they come to see MellowHype. Or when they come to oddfuture.com, they buy a MellowHype T-shirt.
Alive: Oh, I see what you mean. So the lead single, "La Bonita," is like a genre exploration of Latin music. Do you guys poke into other genres on the new album?
Hodgy: Every song sounds different, and it's crazy to say that. But you know a lot of people nowadays, all their music is sounding the same. So I mean, I don't know, it sounds like our music is just morphed. So everything is like warped to make sure it has a distinct sound where if you just hear the bass line or the f---ing hi-hats or the trumpet, you know it's our music. So basically identity is what we're searching for on this album.
Alive: Seems like you are experimenting with formats too since "Faukoy" is basically one long verse without a chorus. Any other unusual formats on the record?
Hodgy: Definitely. Just wait to hear it. That's just crazy. I don't even want to talk too much about it. But I know for a fact that my s--- is hot.
Alive: You guys are doing a carnival in LA. Does any aspect of that make its way into The Camp Flog Gnaw Tour?
Hodgy: Nah, we just waiting for the big finish. Bunch of naked clowns running around and s---. I'm just playing, but s---. It's going to be cool man. We're pretty much in them middle of tour. We came back from overseas and just jumped straight into the U.S. So everybody pretty mellow… Oh my God, I need this b----. I'm looking at pictures of this bad b----.
Alive: Do you get to meet a lot of good-looking celebrities, like you see their picture one day and the next day you meet them in real life?
Hodgy: I don't like being out much, so I don't be meeting people like that. I just like chilling.
Alive: You guys have been touring for about a year and a half now. How has the show changed since those early gigs? Has it evolved?
Hodgy: We know what we're doing now. It's not just a bunch of n----s jumping around on stage. So I guess there is some type of formula to it. We don't have a setlist or anything, so we kind of just go off on whatever we feel like.
Alive: What's the craziest thing that has happened on tour?
Hodgy: Should I tell him about the [muffled sound as Hodgy talks to the other people on the tour bus]? Nah, I don't want to tell him that s---. Nah, nothing crazy yet. That's what's actually kind of weird. This tour's been stupid mellow. Everybody's just been chilling... OK. Dom got shot in Europe. Yeah, he ate it though.
Alive: Wow, how did that happen?
Hodgy: Nah, I'm just playing.
Alive: I was going to say, I feel like I would have heard about that.
Hodgy: There's a lot of s--- that could f---ing happen in Europe that would never come back to the U.S. It's so far away, and there are so many countries.
Alive: I know rappers usually say they don't listen to the haters, but what's the craziest thing anybody has said about you?
Hodgy: People always say s--- to try and f---ing tear you down and make you seem like you ain't going to be shit. You just remember they sitting behind a computer, they're probably sitting at home. If it's not in person, I'm not going to take it personally or seriously. Other than that, everybody saying, "There's too many rappers in Odd Future, all you guys are just shadows," that's what they say. Who cares? We all help the entity, and we all making money, so can't nobody say s---.
Alive: Is Earl on tour with you guys?
Hodgy: He's doing spot dates. He's trying to finish his album.
Alive: Well, tell him to come to Columbus.
Hodgy: OK. [laughs]