In terms of how we fit in [to the Chicago DJ scene], I don’t know if we do.
story by Alexis Nido-Russo
The Hood Internet began in 2007 as something of a spoof. Now three years later the mash-up extraordinaire DJ duo, Aaron Brink (a.k.a. ABX) and Steve Reidell (a.k.a. STV SLV), have become a blogosphere household name by combining mainstream and underground hip hop with indie rock. All of their tracks have been released free of charge via their website, www.thehoodinternet.com, with an equally satisfying and ridiculous Photoshoped image of an unlikely match-up. At the height of their success and in anticipation for their upcoming Chicago show as part of the indie buzz-laden Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, Reidell took some time to discuss how easy it is to become famous, their plans for the future and the Chicago DJ scene.
Chicago Innerview: Let’s start from the beginning.
Steve Reidell: Me and Aaron, ABX, we played in a band for a number of years in Chicago called May or May Not and we had experience in the past doing music production, constructing beats, that sort of thing. So we started hearing some things that were floating around the internet, mash-ups that people had made, and we decided that we were going to do that also but kind of flip it and stick to bands that we really liked – less like the Eminem vs. Britney Spears that you would hear on Napster and more like Broken Social Scene or The Knife with hip hop tracks we liked on top of that. So we just made a few and started The Hood Internet blog and started posting them up and almost right away we got some press on it, some people noticed it, the site went over bandwidth a bunch of times from people downloading the tracks. So people’s interest in it really encouraged us to go bigger and do more with it. So we just kept doing it and now three years later, here we are.
Chicago Innerview: Is this your full-time gig?
Steve Reidell: No, I actually work at the Metro. I’m the art director so I do all of the posters, the flyers, the website and that sort of thing. That’s where the Photoshop skills come from.
CI: Where do you think that you fit into the DJ scene?
SR: We didn’t really come up spinning records and DJing in the traditional sense. We started making these tracks for fun and never really intended for it to turn into a live DJ thing. In terms of how we fit in, I don’t know if we do.
CI: What’s the collaborative process between you and ABX?
SR: There’s a fair amount of collaboration. We do a lot of individual work and often before we finish, we kind of bounce [our work] off each other for production ideas or that sort of thing. When we put the mix tape together, that’s a total sit-down-and-kind-of-get it-done collaboration.
CI: Have you been contacted by any of the artists you sample and asked to take tracks down?
SR: Not a single one. We’re not making money off of them and in terms of the artists, it doesn’t harm them in any way. I suppose you could make an argument that the music is only intended to be heard a certain way and that it hurts the integrity of it, but it’s more of a fun playful thing.
CI: Do you see yourself doing this five, 10 years down the line? And do you think that the mash-up style is going to survive?
SR: No to both of those. I do think that I’ll be working in music in five years. I’ve been doing it my whole life and it is my interest, it is my hobby, it is what I like to do. This has certainly been a fun project and I think we’re going to keep it going for a while, but after a point even bands get tired of playing their old songs. We don’t want to make mash-ups forever. But I think people really like the content we create on a fairly regular basis, so I certainly want to keep that going and keep people that are interested in us interested. But what we want to do and what we are going to focus on next year is a record that we produce that will be all original sounds and beats and songs. We get some contributions from musicians we’ve met, so in that sense it will sort of be like a Hood Internet style record – like a bunch of weird different shit together.
CI: Who do you think are the up and coming DJs in Chicago for 2010?
SR: Willy Joy’s Fly By Night party is an institution at this point but the guys that are coming up right now are The Ghetto Division, which are Charlie Glitch, Rob Threezy, Rampage and Madd Jazz and all of those dudes. They have a party that they’ve been doing at the Metro called ‘Southside Shakedown’. It’s fucking bonkers, they pack the room. Any night of they week, you can find a party that’s going to be totally packed – like Rehab on Monday nights at Debonair.
The Hood Internet :: with Winter Gloves as part of the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival :: Schubas :: January 15.