It’s not every day that a band choose to answer your interview questions by spending countless hours and sweat droplets by crafting original comic artwork in place of words … But then again, LYK isn’t your average band.
“This is a #NoDropZone,” says their press release. To that, I say fuck yeah. Drops are dumb. You spend half the song waiting and then when it comes, you shit yourself and have to go home.
Instead, LYK focuses on bounce, drawing on Ango’s penchant for viral melody and what that same, endearingly written press release calls Druture’s “couldn’t-be-any-closer-to-the-street ear and a whole lot of virtual Get Dumb-ery.” Any person with ears will find that their music sounds like the much-appreciated reinvention of formulaic club bangers we’ve desperately needed for a while now.
LYK just dropped their first internet care package, an EP called ‘LEAK,’ which they say is “suited to genre-movie strip club scenes, rooms with strobe lights, evil children’s birthday parties and driving slowly out of the drive-thru with an XXL orange soda.”
OH, AND THEY’RE ALSO OBSESSED WITH COMICS AND K-POP.
See what I mean about them being not-so-average? Do you think I would come to you with anything less? Don’t make me laugh.
Poutine explosion? Please call me next time, I am literally fucking starving. So Ango, you live in Toronto, and Druture, you live in Atlanta/London, what is your creative process? Is it a back-and-forth Dropbox kind-of-deal? Have you guys actually gotten a chance to work in a studio together yet?
D: It’s like this:
D: Thank god for 2k15 and all the wonders of cloud storage, it certainly plays a large role in the technical aspects of our collaboration. However, our process relies a lot on communication, mainly through FB chat, which serves both as our way to catch up with each others busy lives, trade tunes that we’re especially feeling at the moment and kick around ideas for new tracks and possible directions to take LYK. We also use it as a place to introduce each other to possible sounds or vibes that we could incorporate into our new tracks, at the core we still consider ourselves as producing in the Hip-Hop ethos, so “sampling ideas” is always something that’s in the fold. We’ve yet to be in the studio side by side yet, but that’s definitely in the plans for 2k16 and beyond, especially now that Ango has that beaut of a studio.
I read online that you guys bonded over your love for K-Pop and comic books. What K-Pop songs and comic books have inspired you guys the most?
D: When it comes to K-Pop its not per-se specific artists (because lets face it a lot of that stuff is pretty manufactured, with a number of producers helping to distill a sound), but rather the overall aesthetic of how K-Pop is put together. If you listen to K-Pop you’ll hear tons of bits and pieces cribbed from what’s been popping off in the UK and other parts of the West in terms of “EDM” or underground scenes. EDM trap had a huge influence and still does on the scene, but they’ll never stick to just making a carbon copy. They’ll throw in elements of Big-Room Avicii type stuff, into a half time breakdown, with tons of influence from US rap and R&B. And most of all its all about having fun, sure there’s an argument to be made about “appropriation” but let’s leave that for the journalists. We just see a bunch of kids making some fun off the wall music with no regards for whats “cool” or “in fashion,” and at its core Ango and I set out to make LYK in a similar vein. Let’s take all our favorite things from across genres and throw it against a wall, and see what sticks, then make some crazy neon-dripped visuals to match.
Comics are a passion for myself in particular, as I’m actively in the process of breaking into the industry, my day job is actually with an up and coming US Publisher, American Gothic Press. However, we’ve both shared a love for comics for a very long time. Andrew being an artist, and me being a writer/fan, allows us to talk in a short hand when it comes to trying to capture an emotion or an aesthetic from a classic Neal Adams Batman cover, or bring the dynamic nature of a Jim Starlin cosmic piece. Comics are another medium that I think the mass public often considers a low art (as many still do with EDM/dance music), when there is so much going into these books, both in art and prose. Dave Gibbons‘ art in Watchmen was pulling off things that the film industry were unable to master at the time, which we now see as common place, and I dare you to read any of Grant Morrison’s death-based stories and tell me that’s not on par with any “real” book.
To get back to your question, right now I’m incredibly into the YG camp in Korea, obviously G-Dragon and CL, I like these cats Winner a lot too, and of course super producer Teddy Park. Comic-wise, Scott Snyder is writing the best Batman run since Grant Morrison, and Hawkeye was my absolute favorite book for the last few years (RIP).
What’s the story behind the “See What I Can Do” video? Who’s adorable puppy is that? Any more silly videos in the works?
A: I’ve been haunted by dreams of bursting into candy for a while so we made a video out of it at my studio. The dog is quickly becoming the Drake of Toronto pet celebrities and his name is Patate (because he looks like a sweet potato). We’ve got a crazier video in the works … But all I’m going to say is it will be inflatable.
The track with Chopsquad is crazy. How did that come about? Any more crazy features / collabs you can tell us about?
D: So when Grown Folk first disbanded, I knew I wanted to finally flex my hip-hop muscles a bit, as I’m a hip-hop fan and DJ who happened to follow in love with house music upon moving to Montreal. I wanted to do something unique, a free mixtape put out on Dat Piff or Livemixtapes, and I wanted to do all the A&R myself and linked up with a bunch of Chicago artists. Among the easiest to work with bar none were Lil Bibby, thanks to his super star of a manger Lorin, and Chopsquad’s manager Ben Staxx. Over time I put together a 10 track mixtape with remixes of Chicago anthems and original tracks, and Young Chop actually reached out to me because he loved the tracks I sent to his artists. We’ve been in contact for years now, including spending a whole day out of my SXSW schedule two years ago to hang out with the crew during their headline set at the Chicago showcase.
King100James and I have done tons of work together, he’s like my brother, I’ve picked him up from the bus stop in Atlanta and we’ve got some great music in the vaults. Johnny May Cash (IMO the next big thing) has always turned everything he touches to gold. I personally have a great relationship with YB, especially musically, I feel like his style fits amazingly well with my overall sensibilities, and in terms of LYK Andrew and I have been blown away with how well he rode that “Up All Night” beat.
How does this LYK project differ from your own solo projects?
D: Well I started off as a solo producer, but never gained traction till I joined up with Motions (Body High) for Grown Folk back in university. So I’ve been more used to being a duo than a solo producer. To be honest I enjoyed being able to make whatever I wanted, and to branch off into my own direction of songs that wouldn’t have exactly flown under the Grown Folk flag. However, with Andrew its been amazingly easy to bring new ideas to the table and incorporate them into what LYK is. I think this is the result of Andrew and I having very similar interests outside of the sometimes insular “cool kid dance world,” as well as the ethos behind LYK. Let You Know sound like a mission statement, which in a way it is, along with “See What I Can Do” it was a bit of our coming out party to say, “hey we love rap, we make beats, check this out.” The key has always been to have fun, and if we can’t play one of our records and get a little crazy, then what’s to point.
A: The Ango thing comes from a different, more vulnerable place for sure and serves a really vital part of my personal creative life and sometimes that’s not the easiest shit to just share. And I’ve kind of realized I don’t need to dilute that music with my love of making rap beats or house or soundtracks or high concept pop records and can just enjoy and share the feedback loop of creating with somebody else. I can just let the thing be what it’s supposed to be without worrying about a greater artist statement for a project. I’m dividing my personalities. So LYK is just the result of Drew’s creative tennis match with my inner 13 year old skateboarding, graffiti painting, comic reading, rap loving shit head.
What are your thoughts on “trap EDM” and how do you plan on not being pigeon-holed into that genre?
D: I think the backlash on EDM Trap has been a bit silly, obviously like any genre there’s some paint by the numbers formulaic shit, but I don’t think that’s the fault of the guys really doing it well, HudMo, Rustie, S-Type, the WEDIDIT crew in LA, were already heavy on my rotation before venturing into making electronic hip hop beats or “Trap” if you must. We’re obviously aware of the comparisons that will come, but as long as we’re making hot music that we enjoy, and that people are getting something from, whether its pre-game turn up tracks, something to play with the top down blasting, or dropped on the dance floor I think our job is done here. We’ll leave the nitpicking and pigeon-hole digging to the journalists and YouTube comments. Maybe we’ll get to be Post-EDM Trap, eh Andrew?
A: Haha. I don’t know … I feel like our take is different but also still developing. We don’t really have drops and a lot of our tracks have a different kind of rhythm than the EDM side of things, but we’re hopefully still contributing to the conversation. Rap beats that incorporated synths have always been my favorite, going back to Dead Prez “Hip Hop” and Pharaohe Monch “Agent Orange” and countless others so I’ve always tried to make records that give me that feeling. I used to do this night called Turbo Crunk with Lunice and Jacques Greene and Prison Garde and I still consider those guys and all the artists that came through (LuckyMe fam, Machinedrum, Nosaj Thing) my biggest influences and sense community in music.