INTERVIEW: Hodgy talks fishing, his debut album "Fireplace," and why his "crave for anger is gone."
The diaspora of Odd Future artists has proven the collective's incredible depth of talent. Hodgy (f.k.a. Hodgy Beats) tended to play second fiddle to Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt and though he released the first solo mixtape by anyone in Odd Future -- 2009's The Dena Tape -- he has admitted that he was sometimes too selfless for the sake of the group.
On his debut album Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide, the 26-year-old steps out to how show how has evolved since the not-so-long-ago days of Corona smashing of head thrashing. Two weeks ago, HNHH had the opportunity to talk to Hodgy about fishing, the album, and why the "crave for anger is gone."
I enjoyed the video for "Barbell." I haven’t seen many rap music videos about fishing. Is fishing and boating something you actually do as a hobby?
Yeah, I do some fishing. When I was younger with my uncle and shit. Some of my cousins would take me out. We’d do little family get togethers, we’d always go fishing. It was just a thing the guys did. The funny thing about that video is I’ve never caught a fish my whole life of fishing. I’ve never caught a fish, and the day I actually caught one was the day we shot that video.
Was it big?
It was like two pounds or something. It wasn’t huge, but it was a big fish for me at least. I caught about four or five that day, it was actually kinda cool.
Confirmation I was doing the right thing.
What made you wanna go fishing for that video? Where’d that idea come from?
I’ve been going back home a lot recently. One of the times I went back home, I actually went fishing. I was like “I’mma shoot a video, I don’t know what it’s gonna look like.” I didn’t know what the location was gonna look like till I arrived, and we got there to shoot. My cousin picked a location, so I coordinated with him. He produced the whole idea and made it come to life. t
You’ve been putting out a lot of lo-fi tracks in the past year. Why does lo-fi appeal to you?
Well, I love hi-fi shit, but I came from the era of recording lo-fi. Everything we recorded sounded like that. It’s not like you made it in a fucking garage or something. It’s a texture to it. I believe artists appreciate it more than the normal listener. Everyone is so spoiled by the clean sound on mixtapes and everything. Lo-fi – I wouldn’t say it’s a lost sound, but people are using it less. It’s declining. It’s a part of music, it’ll never go anywhere – if anything it’ll be recycled. In a good manner.
Why’d you put a monkey on the cover of your album?
Monkeys are very curious albums. Normally disruptive. You can’t domesticate a monkey without the monkey fucking a bunch of your materialistic shit up. It’s a good symbol, what a monkey does – very disruptive. I think there’s a meaning behind all of that shit. Fireplace is kinda like Curious George. He’s laying on a bed of roses, trapped – what do you do?
Do you identify with Curious George?
Nah. I’ve been curious in my life about damn near everything, but I don’t feel like the monkey. It’s just a symbol. I have felt like that in life, but it’s all about how you make it out, man. The destination.
In a recent interview with The Fader, you mentioned dropping acid and doing a finger painting that became your album’s back cover. Do you regard acid and drugs in general as an essential part of the creative process, or are they more of a diversion that you do for fun?
Nah, I used to drink a lot. For fun, and to suppress. I stopped drinking for a while, and I’m sober a lot, but there are times when I do wanna push my cognition. I’d rather be a wizard or scientist and take a potion and do art. I don’t sit around and get high, that’s just – I don’t know what to say about a person who can sit around, get high, and be idle. I feel like you gotta apply things correctly in order for them to be of good use.
You post on Twitter and IG on a semi-regular basis, but I wouldn’t say you treat it as an indispensable tool like some artists do. Do you have any particular philosophy or approach to social media or on how to use it?
I respect social media in a way – how else would me and my crew had gotten on in the streets? Now that we’re known, I’d rather take it to the streets than the internet. That’s just kind of the person I am. I’d rather pipe out the streets, than do it on the net. Not necessarily by the means of a physical fight, I’d rather work in this world. The internet does work for you I guess as well. I’d rather be in this world, and get it done in that way.
This is your debut album. For a lot of people there’s an important dichotomy between a mixtape an album, and for others there’s no real distinction. Did you treat this project differently than you have your last mixtapes?
Yeah, definitely. This is the investment. I work a lot. I’m learning to hold on to more music because there are gems in every tape that I probably could have kept. But this is my solo album, I’ve worked on this shit for a while. I’ve put my everything into it. This is the project that will get me to the next one.
Was there a moment when you decided to it was time to make your first album?
[My manager] Clancy is so fucking crazy. I believe Tyler was getting another deal, and me and Domo hadn’t gotten our solos yet. So Clancy’s crazy ass, he went up to Sony and fought for that shit. He didn’t leave until it was solved. He walked away and me and Domo had our deals. He caught me by surprise, we’re kinda like “yo, I don’t know” - is this gonna happen or not? Honestly I took it as a big-ass blessing, and an eye opener to really make this or break this shit.
You’ve called your son an angel that continues to save your life. What else would you say in your life do you regard as a blessing that you try to not take for granted?
Music is a big savior for sure. Shit keeps me in the house. I’m not hella reckless or anything, but the world is, and sometimes your character will be challenged. Things happen out in this world. I’m just glad I can fucking focus on things while I’m at home, and I don’t have to leave too much to go work or record. You don’t actually have to be out in this world. Normally it’s a choice. I’m not afraid of the world, but I’d rather be at home.
Do you have a recording set up at home?
Did you do a lot of the recording for the album there?
Yeah I did. A lot of the writing, a lot of the things came from the house.
What do you do with your son for fun? Do you get to see him a lot?
Yeah, me and his mom split 50-50. Niggas pay child support, but that’s cool. What me and him do for fun? Life is very simple. It’s as easy as just reading to this kid. Picking up a cat that we just got. Simple shit. We grow together basically – that’s our experience. We’re fuckin best friends. He’s great. I try not to control his mind or his actions. I’d rather guide him, so it’s hard for me to tell him not to do something. It’s fucked up. I’m trying not to create your world. You’re doing it cause it’s yours. There’s a certain way and etiquette that you have to be out in public, so it’s a process. But we’re growing and it’s awesome.
Left Brain just put out a song with MellowHype and it sounds like that’s sorta getting started up again.
What the fuck? What did he put out? It’s called “Beat 4” or some shit?
Honestly I haven’t heard the song. It’s probably some old shit.
I think it is.
Cool cool. Yeah, we working on some shit for sure. Left is the guy who – I used to be the dude who changed his phone number super often, until I figured out shit, that that don’t work in my favor. Left is that guy as well, but he’s gotten worse. I don’t even have his new number. But that’s my dawg.
I got the sense the group had fizzled out like a year ago. It’s not dead?
Nah, we just focusing on solo shit, and we taking a break. I’m finishing up my album, planning out this next one or the next couple. Anyway I’m not planning too much. I’d rather prepare for the future. I’m just making a bunch of tunes honestly.
How has your mindset changed from what it was like five years ago? How have you grown as an artist and a person?
I put all my emotions into my art and work and ethic. I actually stay focused, keep my eyes on the prize. I guess my life has kind of changed day-to-day. Growth-wise – I guess I see the bigger picture. I’m just chilling, I don’t know. I don’t rage as hard. The crave for anger is gone. It’s kinda tight.