seeyousoon: Hip-Hop Collective Explores Sonic Territory for a New Generation

by | Jan 26, 2022 | Interviews and Features

In a world where most hip-hop is featuring one star and maybe a hype man, seeyousoon is bringing back that timeless co-op feel of a group. It’s a band of diverse styles, flows, looks and hooks, all combined with a triumvirate of in-house producers who are also part of the group.

Proving that not everything from Florida is a train wreck, seeyousoon is on the rise and one to watch out for. It’s almost a supergroup of locals who just click together. Featuring vocalists Mitch, Maddie, Josh, Luke, Dre, and Drex, plus producers Ignacio (Iggy), Kenny, and Denny.

Following up on the success of their 2020 album Vidé, the 9-piece band just dropped its sophomore release HZLIKEHELL, and after a few scares with that nasty COVID, I got a chance to chop it up with some members of the band early in the morning about their process, the new songs, and what’s ahead.

What do you call yourselves, a band? A group? A collective?

Iggy:  We’re a band. I think that’s just what it is to me, you know? I just think of it as a group of musicians. Like what do you call that? You call it a band.

So, let’s hit this 9-piece thing real quick. Nine members.

Luke:  That “nine piece” is what gets us

Mitch: Yeah, we immediately think about, yo, like you’re rolling up to Popeye’s for a 9-piece and our manager, Dylan, is the biscuit.

So all your photos are always like eight people. Is it Denny? Is that who’s missing all the time.

Luke: Yeah, he’s the ghost, man. He’s the ghost producer. You know what I mean? He’s the honorary member of seeyousoon.

Mitch: That’s the crazy thing. You gotta just look real hard at every picture, ‘cause Denny’s in every picture somewhere.

I’ve been in bands with four or five people. I can’t even imagine rehearsal schedules for nine. Do you all live together? Do you have an HQ, like a clubhouse where you go? Is there one person that controls the calendar?

Luke:  I mean, shit, having an HQ – that shit would be fire! In the future for sure. We live within 30 minutes of each other, for the most part, some closer than others, but we just make it work, man. We just really just work around each other’s schedules and like, yo, we gotta be here. We know the importance of it, you know? We’re all in. So, we don’t play when it comes to that.

The tour’s coming up? How’s that going to look for you guys with so many members? Are you doing like multi vans?

Iggy: Realistically, what I think is gonna happen because the tour is kind of split up into like these two legs, where there’s like a west coast leg and then there’s like an east coast kind of situation. With one Chicago show kind of like in the middle in between.

So, what I think is going to happen is we’re going to fly into every major point. And then we’re just going to drive, like for all of the ones that happen, within each time zone, I guess.

And then when we go do New York, we’ll do all of the east coast ones…in one shot.

So, fly in and then rent Teslas?

Iggy: Do they have Tesla Sprinters?

Luke: The ones with big ass butterfly doors!

Iggy: 325 miles an hour in autonomous mode. We’d get there hours before soundcheck each and every time for sure.

Congrats on the new album, HZLIKEHELL. Is there a specific theme to it, or is it just where you have fallen with these singles right now? Is there a concept behind it?

Iggy: I don’t know, I don’t think it will be super apparent to most people. But if you ask us, the concept of it is that it’s like a fictional story about a near dystopian kind of near future or like a parallel world that we live in where information technology has sort of advanced past the point where anyone can do anything about it. And certain elements of the human experience or the human condition have been eroded down and mutated into the things that are just generally awful about people when they become too wrapped up in the internet.

And it’s just sort of a tale of consequences of what can happen or what would happen, I guess, in a world where that shit was just left totally unchecked.

Yeah. So it’s basically the “comments section”?

Iggy: It’s like the Comments Section – The Album: When Shit Goes Wrong!

That actually makes sense. Especially with the last few singles, “No Daylight” and “Fix Your Face.”  Compared to some previous ones like, “Everytime I Die” or “Ben Affleck” which you know, is like hanging out kind of street music, the latest stuff seems more tech oriented. I do get that vibe

Iggy: The fact that Kenny and I (the other main producer) well, Kenny and Denny and I are all very much into electronic music and hip-hop. But when we started seeyousoon, there wasn’t really a way to blatantly mesh those. Like, how can we do like really good rap music and really good electronica together? Because I think when you think of electronica music, you think House, you know? But we’re into so many different sub-genres where we really want to break open that admiration that we have for all of these different genres and all these different subcultures of dance music and hip-hop together.

So, the project is hip-hop, but you are genre bending here. There are just so many elements. Do you get into that conversation about what this should be called? I mean, every band struggles with that whole labelling thing.

Mitch: To me, personally, I don’t think that’s as important as us just coming together and making the shit. Just make it hot.

Just do it. Let somebody else call it something.

Luke: Yeah, facts!

Seems like you’ve grown with the creative process of everything – not just the music, the beats, the live work. But really, in everything, and how you’re presenting the band, especially with video.

Luke: Yeah, because I would say that with Vidé, it was kind of half and half.

For “Steamy” and “Ben Affleck” where we were giving treatments and we were like, all right, we like this, we don’t like this, let’s try this. You know? And then, for “Shut Up,” I mean, we shot that whole shit ourselves. Like, we basically came up with the whole idea for that video.

Plus, you were delayed and had challenges with COVID, and still got videos done, right?

Luke: Yep. You know that was the deal with “Blue Chord.” At the time COVID was going crazy, so we had to, you know, figure out what we wanted to do with that. We came together and rocked that. And then for the videos on the singles from HZLIKEHELL, like Mitch was saying, Maddie has been going crazy with it. Like just her like visual ideas. She’s just been going off. So, we’ll basically tap into that as much as we can and then give our ideas to someone that’s, you know, an actual videographer, like Colin (CULT CLASSIC), and they’ll take our ideas and just enhance them because that’s their profession. None of us come from a videographer background, you know what I mean? Maybe Maddie does, she’s not telling us cause she’s going nuts.

Iggy: Yeah, Maddie, she’s been killin’ it.

How do you guys go about crafting the tracks?

Iggy: I would say most of the time it’s something that Kenny, Denny, and I have started. And usually, we’ll do kind of like a round robin thing with the beats where it’s like, if I start something, I send it to Kenny, and then it gets sent to Denny and then it gets sent back to me. We’ll sort of get it to a place where it’s cool and good for everybody to record on. Making sure it’s not too much. And then after things are recorded, there’s an editing pass where we really make the vocals and the beat a unified kind of thing. And then if we need to record more –which honestly happens like over 50% of the time– we’ll start working on expanding the track and adding a new section, a verse, or there’s doubling or ad libbing to do from other members who have ideas for that kind of stuff.

How do you decide who gets a verse, is that plotted out? Some of the hip-hop groups I’ve worked with are competitive AF, right? The whole point is like, “who’s gonna get that verse”? Do you battle each other out for the best line or hook, or do you kind of know who’s going to be dropping this line or that verse? Not everyone can get a line on every track.

Luke: Yeah, I think whoever has an idea first can kind of go ahead and flesh it out and then we’ll figure out if it works in that part – like could it be the beginning, or if that could be a second verse, or if that can be a hook. Then we start to figure it out from there. You know what I mean?

It’s like, yo, present this idea that you have and then we’ll figure out if it fits here or there. And if it doesn’t fit, then you gotta go back to the drawing board. 

That’s like a stank face test. If you get a stank face, it’s sticking.

Dre: Hell yeah, man. That’s it. That’s how you know.

As a producer, you’ve got to make choices when you’re mixing and arranging, right? How do you balance the amount of takes or verses with such a big group while you are tracking?

Iggy: I think a big part of how I’ve come to work, primarily as a recording engineer, is that I have an idea of what this track is supposed to be in the artist’s mind. And I’m like a maniac when it comes to getting takes right. I’ll just be like, that was great. Do it again. That was great. Do it again. That was great. Do it again. That’s me in the studio. So, I do everything I can to make sure that I’m prepared to even attempt to put the idea together. And then from there, I do my best to make sure that it’s put together in a way that properly represents them as individuals and also plays into the greater scheme of the band.

Then if it’s not, if I don’t really like it, I’ll say let’s just strip it. We’ll go back to the basics.  What do we need to fix? Is it a you thing? Is it a me thing? Is it an us together thing? And then we’ll go from there. I try to be as flexible as possible, man.  We’ve had verses that will be on tracks for months, maybe even like over a year, and we’ll go back and change them. As a producer, engineer, and mixer, I’ll be really tied to how something sounds, because I’ve worked on it for months. We’ll come in and be like, I want to retract. And I’m like, damn. I mean, all right. It’s never done.

How are you handling the business side? I’m sure you got people coming around with paper and promises and bullshit. Is that something you’re interested in?

Iggy: I think it’s boiled down to like a very simple equation: which is that we are asking for everything we want and nothing we don’t. And if the situation is right then it’s right. If it’s not, then it isn’t, and it’s not personal.

You know something that I’ve realized too, it’s like signing to a label has become almost like a prerequisite in people’s minds. It’s like people think the only way is I need to blow up and I need to get signed. It’s not, you don’t. There’s all this imagery attached to being a rapper. It’s like, I need a chain or I need that car. A deal is attached to that fantasy image that people have of rappers in their minds. You could get signed and it’s like, dude, you don’t need to do that anymore.

Right. There are a lot of ways to make it now without selling out your soul (or Masters). I always tell young musicians to stop shooting for a mansion. What you need is a condo, so you can go on the road!

Luke: I mean, to be honest, man, we’re not fazed by that label shit, man. We know they do a lot of talking. Money talks, bullshit walks, man. It’s gotta make sense. We’re young, but we’re not that young, you know? We know better, you know what I mean?

Iggy: We’ve heard too many crazy stories from people that are close to us that we love very much and people that we trust very much and you know, their experiences. Having what looked like a promising situation in front of them and then it just turns sour like so quickly.

So, the tour is happening with 99 Neighbors  – both coasts, Canada, and Chicago. HZLIKEHELL, the album, is dropping. New singles, new videos. Is there something else I’m missing? Are you dropping sneakers?

Mitch: Yo! I can design some sneakers. If you want to send this clip to your friends at Nike! Let’s do it.

Iggy: New single for sure. Videos coming. Hitting the road.

Mitch: Come and pop out if you see us in your city.

I love this band. The music is hype for a Friday night and yet chill enough for a long drive. The production is on point. Warm beats with an EDM grind feel. And the vocals are just dripping with talent.

It’s different and that’s why I love it.

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