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Sounds of the future: Q&A with Orlando-based collective seeyousoon

<p>Members of seeyousoon from left to right: Maddie, Dre, Josh, Mitch, Iggy, Kenny, Drex, Luke. Not pictured: Denny.</p>

Members of seeyousoon from left to right: Maddie, Dre, Josh, Mitch, Iggy, Kenny, Drex, Luke. Not pictured: Denny.

Explosive. Colorful. Textured. Different. The sound of seeyousoon, a nine-member genre-defying collective out of Orlando, Florida, can be difficult to describe. Their music colors outside sonic lines, shattering the traditional norms of hip-hop with avant-garde production. 

The Chronicle had the opportunity to interview Joshua (vocalist, songwriter), Kenny (producer, audio engineer), and Maddie (vocalist, singer-songwriter) from seeyousoon to learn more about the origins of the group, their process and sound, and their plans moving forward. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The Chronicle: So tell me about the origin story of seeyousoon? I know you formed in 2018, but how did you all meet and come together to form seeyousoon? 

KENNY: Me and Iggy (another producer of seeyousoon) worked out of East Room in downtown Orlando. We were puzzled why the forward-thinking electronic music that was coming out of LA and Chicago—honestly all over the world—wasn’t being incorporated into the mainstream of hip-hop. We wanted to see if we could change that. So there was a day when Josh had a session with Iggy and was rapping over beats that were all very left-field. He tackled them like nothing we’ve ever heard before. Iggy showed me the session and we got super hyped. Anyways, long story short, we wanted to experiment with juxtaposing a very intricate rapper—Joshua—with a talented female singer—Maddie—over some wild, crazy beats. It was originally just us four, but it grew into something larger as we continued to try to push the envelope as far as possible. We added more voices and it expanded organically into this genre-defying collective. 

MADDIE: Also,  Josh, Mitch, Dre, and Lucas all went to the same high school, I went to the same high school as Drex, and Iggy and Kenny were both interns at the same studio. We all kind of went to school together. 

JOSHUA: And then we all formed like Voltron. 

TC: Why did you pick “seeyousoon” as the name for your collective?

M: I wish Iggy was in here, but Iggy had the name “seeyousoon” written in his notes app since he was young. He always felt drawn to the meaning behind it—like putting your own personal desires on hold to do something that’s much bigger than yourself. Like having to tell yourself “I’ll see you soon” because right now, I have to detach from certain aspects of myself to achieve something greater. Iggy pitched us the idea and we all thought it was perfect. We’ve never even tried to think of a different name.

TC: Can you describe your workflow? What’s your creative process like with so many members?

J: It’s pretty dynamic, but beats come first. We all write something to it and meet up to record. Then, it’s all about just figuring out the best pieces of the puzzle and where they fit. But what’s really dope is that we all respect each other so much, artistically, that it’s never a bad time in the studio. It all ends up blending together. And when we get it right, there’s this “Awwww shit!” moment. That’s the beauty of it, like we’re all so in-sync musically. It’s honestly crazy how easy it’s been to make music together. 

TC: How do you know when a track gets to the “Oh this is it!” moment? 

K: Yeah, there’s definitely an inspiration that comes on. We call it the Holy Spirit of seeyousoon. It’s this feeling that comes through the studio and just lifts us all up. 

M: And we never allow ourselves to get to a point of forcing a song to work. Actually, my favorite song from the making of our upcoming album HZLIKEHELL was this track called “Traffic” that ended up getting cut because it just wasn’t hitting how we wanted it to. At the end of the day, if it’s not flowing, then we don’t want to force it. 

TC: How long is the musical backlog for seeyousoon? I read that you released Vidé two years after it was created. What does that feel like having projects release so long after you’ve made them?

M: It’s kinda awesome because by the time it does come out, I can hear how much I’ve grown since recording it. I feel like I’ve grown so much as an artist since HZ and Vidé, but to the listeners, they think that’s where we’re at right now—presently. But really, we’ve already evolved so much. So when people fuck with it, it’s comforting because, in the back of my mind, I’m like, “Damn, these people have no idea what’s actually coming!”

K: I feel like I’m an actor on set for a Marvel movie, having to keep silent about how crazy the movie is because it doesn’t come out for another two years.

TC: What can you tell me about your upcoming album HZLIKEHELL? How will it compare in style and sound to Vidé?

J: It doesn’t compare at all, sound-wise. It’s very different. 

K: Yeah, our original intention with HZ was for it to be an in-between EP between albums. That’s changed now, but the whole ideology of the album was to showcase the three producers in seeyousoon by creating these super maximalist kind of beats, like “DEPLETED!” We’re trying new things purely out of a love for sound design and texture. When we presented it to the rest of the group, they ate that shit up like I could have never imagined from a producer’s standpoint. It’s a really strong, potent album that we’re all super proud of and cannot wait to share with the world.

M: The beats are so different that I literally couldn’t put together a melodic singing verse, so I was like, “What the fuck do I do?” So I ended up rapping, which is crazy to me because I’ve always seen myself as a singer.

TC: Are you going to continue re-inventing your sound with each album?

M: Absolutely, we already have a plan for the next album and it's going to have a very different sound than HZ. So I think with every project drop, it's gonna be different. I think a cool way of looking at it is that with each album, we’re tapping into an indescribable world of emotions and capturing it through music, expressing ourselves sonically rather than with words.

K: There’s so many different influences that each and every one of us has. So the energy in our friend group—because we’re all friends—is always changing, depending on how we’re all feeling. We just want to be able to switch it up whenever we want, and I think we’re all talented enough to do so.

TC: What was the making of the “FIX YOUR FACE” music video like? What inspired its style?

K: So Maddie’s really into Pinterest and creative photography, and she put together an amazing storyboard for “FIX YOUR FACE.” We were working with our good friend Collin (Cultivision) who has this really cool playful, animated style. What Maddie brought to the table really complimented what he could bring, and it turned into this very colorful, over-the-top video. The fisheye lens and the bubbly style were really inspired by late-90s hip hop and R&B videos, like Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot. 

TC: Who is currently on the seeyousoon aux?

ALL: Baby Keem, 99 Neighbors—we’re touring with them soon, they’re amazing—Ghostface Killah, Little Simz, Mr. Carmack, Radiohead, James Blake, Injury Reserve. 

TC: Where are your goals for the future? If you could accomplish anything as a group, what would it be? 

M: I want to go on an arena tour.

J: Yeah, a stadium jawn. I’m talking about Yeezy Donda shit, those are the big dreams. 

K: We really want to be able to put something on, production-wise, that's bigger than life. A full-blown experience, something bigger than just music. 

M: We want to inspire a new decade of music. We want to shape what this decade is going to sound like. It’s time to step outside the box. Technology is crazy right now, the world is crazy right now, music should be fucking crazy too!

J: Exactly. I’m tired of the redundancy, the monotony in the streaming universe. So much shit is coming out at once that it’s hard for the cream to rise to the top. That’s why I think it’s so important to keep our artistic integrity intact. That’s something we really strive for. 

M Yeah, if you’re striving towards your higher self, then everything else will fall in line.

Stay tuned for seeyousoon’s next album, HZLIKEHELL, dropping November 12th.

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