WALLPAPER. Talks "#STUPiDFACEDD"
Fri, 13 Jan 2012 14:10:35
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Ricky Reed aka WALLPAPER. doesn't front.
His debut EP, #STUPiDFACEDD, is as catchy as anything that modern pop's heavyweights have released, but our hero doesn't resort to bling and bullshit bravado. In fact, he revels in getting down-n-dirty with hooks that are as irresistible as they are incisive. You can hear it on the sleek and funny funk of the title track, "Blake Griffinin'", and "F****** Best Song Everrr". However, things are really going to get awesome once his forthcoming full-length debut drops…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino, Ricky Reed talks the stories behind his songs, artists that made him, and so much more…
Do you feel like you're balancing humor and insight within your music?
I guess it's what comes naturally to me. It's just the kind of dude I am. I don't know if it's about walking a fine line or anything. That's where my taste falls.
Did you approach #STUPiDFACEDD with one cohesive vision or did it come together track by track in the studio?
It ultimately was a track-by-track process, however, I had a real creative renaissance in early 2011. I sort of pulled the wet towel off of my previous work and made bigger, louder, and more direct songs. So, all of the songs were made in that same headspace, but I still didn't know what kind of album it would be when I was making those songs. I focused a bit more.
What's the story behind the song "#STUPiDFACEDD"? What does it mean to you?
That was a crazy one. There was a point with WALLPAPER. where I was trying to make a hit record and I was having a lot of trouble. It was really frustrating, and I was getting really angry. I found myself making all of these different styles of pop records that I hate. I was getting really pissed off. I was in the studio one night angry, and I needed to do something to blow off steam. I made "#STUPiDFACEDD" in that process. I sent it to my friend, and I was like, "Look at this goofy shit I made." Everyone thought it was cool though. It started getting played at house parties and before I knew it, it was a thing.
Where did "F****** Best Song Everrr" come from?
That song came from another place entirely. I was trying to capture a whole different vibe. It started with me working on a remix for a different song. I was writing this cool chord progression in the middle and saying, 'Oh, this is dope'. I was experimenting in the studio throwing some acoustic guitar and ukuleles in. I like to do that in the studio. Usually, it leads to good results.
Your experimentation can lead to something that is traditionally catchy which is really cool…
That's a good point. I think that's definitely the real upside of having a project like WALLPAPER. People enjoy the weird shit. They come to me for that off-kilter sense of fun. It's also a sense of fun that's real lyrically. I don't talk about this whole glamorous life that most pop records do. I talk about a surreal and psychedelic version of Middle-American lifestyle.
Can you delve into "Blake Griffinin'?"
Last year, I was randomly in Los Angeles the same time as my parents. My pops is a Celtics guy, and there were cheap tickets to a Clippers-Celtics game. We went, and I thought, "Damn, Blake Griffin is sick. It's so much fun to watch him". I hadn't been into basketball since I was really young. I started writing that song a year ago but when the NBA lockout happened, I slowed down with it. Then, I ramped it up as I heard the season was starting. I just want to get free tickets to Clippers games and have the song on ESPN [Laughs].
Where else do you cull inspiration outside of music?
I think my biggest problem and my biggest asset is the fact I don't really do anything else. I'm borderline obsessive compulsive when it comes to time in the studio and time spent making records. All in all, I'm a record dude.
Which artists shaped you?
Michael Jackson is still the dude for me. Early Michael is hugely important to me. Thriller and Off the Wall are pretty much biblical records for me. Then there's George Clinton and The Parliament Funkadelic and the beginning of the West Coast rap sound from Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg in Los Angeles to all of the Bay Area stuff I grew up on like E-40, Too $hort, and Digital Underground. I've always been drawn to music that can let its hair down and get truly wild.
WALLPAPER. plays the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday January 20, get tickets here!
Have you heard WALLPAPER. yet?