From the sunlit state of Florida rises the bright and bold music collective, seeyousoon. Presenting sonics that amplify the group’s drive for exploration, seeyousoon pull styles from all directions, welding them together to create something that truly belongs at the front of the line, establishing their own mark on a constantly evolving genre. The super-group is made up of nine members: Josh, Maddie, Drex, Luke, Mitch and Dre on vocals – and Kenny, Ignacio and Denny who are the groups producers. Needless to say, they bring strength in numbers, combining the individual talents and ambitions of these nine people to conceive an album that radiates maximum power.
"I really want music that is put together with care and attention to detail, and a sense of daring and exploration to be heralded as something that belongs at the front of the line"
To some, a group of nine is a lot to handle… too many schedules to organise, too many ideas and differing creative visions… things would be cluttered, too disorganised… but seeyousoon are united, merging their skills and mentalities with ease, perfectly showcasing themselves at their best without outshining the others, making sure everyone at the table is eating from a full plate. The energy sprawled through their debut album VIDÉ is greatly attributed to that hunger to create something new and exciting that doesn’t fit in a box. The album itself has been constructed with care and love for music, showing a meticulous homage to each genre it was inspired by. The sounds of seeyousoon venture through all sorts of musical terrain – while the foundation layer is very much hip-hop inspired, the collective’s music pulls an array of elements from R&B, indie and pop music, while also adding imaginative stylistic approaches to the production to stray left and bend genre to its limits. Somehow, I managed to wrangle the members of seeyousoon together into a zoom call, where we discussed influence, group dynamics, the lengthy creative process behind VIDÉ, and where the group project themselves into the music landscape. The thundering nonet will be jumping one step ahead of the scene, and will be looking back to calmly remark “see you soon”.
How did you guys cope with the pressure of putting out your first album - especially in the midst of a global pandemic?
Josh: To us to be honest, we didn’t think about it much –
we had the album done probably in March of last year… and we started it two years ago. So we had been listening to this shit for too long, and y’all need to hear it. I guess with the Covid situation, it did affect us a little, but we were all super excited to get the project out so we didn’t think about it too much.
Iggy: Because there are so many more people staying at home and listening to music, we aren’t too worried about it being underreported.
Is it frustrating keeping it all under wraps for such a long time?
seeyousoon: HELL YEAH!
Maddie: It adds to the beauty of when it does finally come out, it’s crazy to think that anyone, anywhere at any time can listen to it, when for the longest time it’s just been on a private SoundCloud link hidden away in my phone notes. The album as a whole is just insane. I remember when we first got it done, I was addicted to it. Our album was all I was listening to. I remember diving around, blasting it and thinking – nobody else in my vicinity is listening to this right now, only I have access to it – and that’s kinda’ cool. Now it’s changed. All our lives have been centred around when is Vide coming put… “hopefully in three months?” Then those 3 months pass... “hopefully September?” So now it’s super surreal to be a week away from release day.
Dre: It definitely is a weird feeling, living with this music for two years, then people hit you up like “yo man this song is incredible, I can’t believe you guys made that!” and then being like, damn bro I’ve been sitting on this for like two years.
Maddie: I want to show a friend what I’ve been working on, and I’ve noticed I always play something recent, instead of a song from VIDÉ because that was me two years ago. And the cool thing about that is to everyone else, that is where we are at now, but to us it’s the past. I think that really shows that the music has the capability of being a timeless piece.
"Maybe everyone has had those moments where you just realise you’re with all these talented people, and in the same group as them. I’m really just in a band with my favourite artists." - Maddie
What were the biggest sources of inspiration for the album?
Kenny: Each other.
Dre: For sure… I was going to say that too.
Josh: Usually a question like that would be tied to how we ultimately wanted the album to sound – but the thing for VIDÉ was it was so organic, we didn’t sit down and say “oh we want it to sound like this” or “let’s do this record like that” – it was very much just in the moment. The album is all over the place, and I think that’s what makes this album cool is that there is no one inspiration, and it’s hard to pinpoint a couple… We were just having fun and feeding off of each other’s energy.
Maddie: We just all brought our artistry and our background to the table. There are still times where I take a step back and think “holy shit, everyone in this room is so talented, why am I here?” Maybe everyone has had those moments where you just realise you’re with all these talented people, and in the same group as them. I’ll be listening to Josh’s music on my way to the studio and just be thinking “fuck, this is so good.” and then I’ll sit down on the couch with him ten minutes later and he’ll rap a verse I wrote. I’m really just in a band with my favourite artists.
How many songs did you guys have ready for the album?
Josh: I can talk about the beginning when it was just me, Maddie, Iggy and Kenny – we at the time before it was the nine of us, we had maybe 4 songs? And none of them made the album cut. They were dope! In terms of cutting them down, honestly when we recorded some of those records we just knew that they were on the album. Once we had more songs like these, we had more that fell off, or they would rearranged and turned into something else. It was super unorthodox… really the whole process of the album was super unorthodox – it wasn’t the most traditional like “let’s go make an album”.
Maddie: When you listen to it from front to back it feels like such a story and such an experience, and I think that’s really cool because we never truly sat down together and established what the track order would be. It kinda just randomly fell into place.
Your album was a huge success – so it’s safe to say there have been highs – but have there been any lows? How do you combat the feelings that come with low moments to make sure you get back to those highs?
Luke: Hell yeah. “I Can Fuck With This” was kind of a low.
That was where we met a real challenge. We had like three versions of that song, and the first one we were like “ehhh… I don’t really know…” and we were on a hot streak, we were making song after song after song and they were all fire – period. We were just going crazy and so in the zone. Then when it got to “I Can Fuck With This” for some reason we got stuck. It was one of those moments where you’re like “Alright well… how are we going to overcome this?” and we just kept giving it out best shot and we got it and it made sense. It wasn’t so much a low, it was more of a challenge.
Josh: If we are talking about the group, I don’t really think there were any. This whole experience has been a trip. I’ll back Luke and say there were definitely challenges, moments where we had self-doubt or didn’t know how to approach certain problems. But as a group we have been able to keep on track because we are all so tight. I don’t think that’ll change. So yeah, I wouldn’t say there were any lows – they were all artistic and creative challenges, which are also very good to have. They help us level up.
Dre: I would say the most challenging part of this, and not even in the sense of making the album, even though there are low lows here and there when it comes to songs, I think the most challenging part of it all was to actually drop the album and getting it out to the people. It’s definitely been a long road, we’ve gone through a lot of changes, a lot of things fell through. We had all these songs done, we just wanted to drop it – and in the midst of that, we all got closer and we all understood each other in that process and we found our chemistry. We made this in 2018, meant to drop it in 2019. And here we are in 2020 and its finally out. We were all just waiting with our heads in our hands. So for me, that was definitely the most challenging moment.
In the video for Steamy, I noticed each verse is delivered through a different type of therapy: one-on-one, group therapy, and self-reflection. Is there a deeper meaning to this?
Josh: It was kind of like a “you’re not really fuckin’ listening” type of thing. In the video I’m sitting down spitting my shit with a tonne of energy, but the therapist is real chill. Like I’m giving you everything and you’re not even properly listening. That was the concept for the video, “can you fucking hear me now?”
Dre: Yeah, it was a call for attention. We’ve been here, we’ve been calling out, trying to get everybody’s attention and it seemed like nobody was paying attention. We are venting to ourselves and to audiences, we are ready – we just need y’all to listen.
Does being in a group bring out healthy competiveness?
Luke: 100%, most definitely. I think that’s something we pride ourselves in, every time we were in the studio or writing with each other, we are trying to out-do the next person, we are trying to stand out. And that is always going to be healthy because as long as we keep doing that we will just keep getting better.
Maddie: But it’s not the competitive energy where we are all in the writing room, scheming and hoping to set someone down. When someone gets in the booth and they fucking kill it, we are all out there like “OHHH!!!”
Luke: Yo, for real – a lot of the time someone is in the booth rapping or singing, we are all just yelling “YOOO!”
Josh: Doesn’t even have to be singing, when Maddie or Luke are doing vocals and they hit that perfect note, we all flip. And then to see Iggy doing this lil ‘thing on the thing’ we are all just like, yo this is crazy. And that drives us, that makes me get up and go “oh I want to do that, let me see what I’ve got in the bag!” and I think that’s super dope, and it comes out in the music for sure. It also makes me think how can I make a verse that is effective enough where it gets a moment in the spotlight, but still fits in with the scope of the group, not going to crazy and still giving others a chance to elevate. I want to make sure everyone is eating.
Maddie: Competing with the beat and production is huge. Especially for me personally, I was going in thinking I’m just a singer… and getting all these beats that sounded like… *starts beat-boxing*... and I was thinking how the fuck am I going to sing on this...? sitting there for an hour trying to write melodies to this, like this is impossible, but I’m a part of this group so I want to be a part of this sick ass song, so how do I do that? Oh, I gotta rap… sick! So I feel like I’ve grown so much as an artist because I’ve now discovered a new part of myself as an artist because I now love to rap, and if you told me two years ago that I would be rapping, I would have been like… “HAH!”
Luke: For sure, Kenny and Iggy really challenge us with the beats that they make. They’re on DMT making these beats I swear.
Mitch: For every song I think we deserve a WWE championship belt, because we kill it... Who’s gonna’ get the belt for today? It’s been passed around to everyone. It really is great. You get a lot of energy coming from everywhere, and think of things you’d never think of on your own.
What do you want seeyousoon to bring to the hip-hop culture?
Iggy: For me personally I would like to usher in an era in hip hop culture where being actually creative and not fake creative is widely accepted and applauded, instead of recycling trends from 2016 and being applauded for that. I really want music that is put together with care and attention to detail, and a sense of daring and exploration to be heralded as something that belongs at the front of the line. I think for us, something that is always in the back of our minds and what we talk about in recording sessions is that we don’t want to balance ourselves on any clichés, that’s not how we rock. We try to keep it as fresh, and as left as possible… it’s a fine line, but I think we have got so good at making the music we make, because we aren’t trying to sound different. For me personally I want to encourage other producers, artists and musicians for whatever their own hopes, wishes and aspirations are, to go at them like a maverick… don’t look to your left or to your right, look forward and push forward and try do something original. Why not make something new?
Kenny: I look past genre when we make music. I know we are very hip hop dominant, but I think of seeyousoon as genre-less. Whether we have songs that are more chill where people are singing, or a real raw beat where it’s just straight bars, or if it’s a combination of the two, or very heavily electronic. I think one day, at least I hope so… we will be viewed in a league of our own.
Check out seeyousoon's debut album 'VIDÉ' on Spotify below:
Words by Oli Spencer Photography by Oli Spencer, shot over FaceTime.