Interview: Tyler, the Creator

February 28, 2013

Tyler, the Creator stopped over in New York this week in support of his third LP (and second for a major label), Wolf, out April 2 via Odd Future Records. At a diner on the city's west side, he paused for lunch (nachos, hold the guac; an ice cream sundae) and talked about getting older, leather clothes and his upcoming tour, his first as a solo act.

What do you know about releasing an album now that you didn’t know when you put out Goblin in 2011? It’s not much different. I still put out stupid videos that I think are funny to help promote it. I’m not doing many interviews. I’m not letting people hear it early. They’ll hear it when the album comes out like everyone else. I hate when people release a single in January and the album comes out in May. I wanted to keep everything compressed. I can’t wait till this shit comes out so I can move on with my life.

What happens once you move on with your life? I wake up with nothing to do, I don’t have a meeting, I don’t got a show, I don’t got shit. I get to wake up and fucking ask my homie what we’re gonna do today. I don’t do shit at home but probably go to Amoeba and buy movies and watch them. I got an Xbox.

Are there songs on the album you’re particularly excited for people to hear? All the songs are my favorite for different reasons. I love the whole album. I want people to hear Lucas’ verse on the album. Lucas raps! Lucas and Nakel rapped on the album, and it’s sick. Lucas was like, When I’m gonna get my verse? I was like, Yo, come to the studio tonight! He came and it was one of the most epic moments of my life.

You and Lucas are close; what makes you compatible? I don’t know why I’m friends with my friends, we all click on different reasons and I don’t know why. We think shit is funny, like people falling. When you’re in your 20s, it’s time to grow up and not think people falling is funny but that’s cause most people who are 20 have to get regular real jobs and have to grow up. I don’t have to do that shit cause I already got money in the bank account so I can be as free as possible. It’s cool that I have people around me who can still have fun. That’s why we’re friends. And because we hate the same shit. Like niggas who wear tights with basketball shorts on top of them. We hate that shit, and that’s probably why we love each other. We hate leather. I would never wear leather pants. Recently all these rappers are into stupid fashion Tumblr bullshit. For example, I didn’t know what Givenchy was until Kanye said it. There’s this one nigga who was never into that shit and he tweeted the other day, “Givenchy tee, Balenciaga pants,” and some other high fashion shit I didn’t even know. A year ago, he wasn’t like that. He’s following a trend and it’s sad that everyone’s a fucking follower. Those are the kids that I hate.

A lot of the kids at OF shows are dressed just like you. Are they following a trend? I might be contradicting myself, but when I was 15, I was trying to dress like Pharrell. Whoever you look up to, you’re going to try to emulate them at a young age. But I’m talking about 30-year-olds that follow whatever is hot at the moment. Same thing with music. Everyone now is making this trap shit just cause people will probably like it more so they’re making what people fuck with. That’s the mindstate everyone has and that is annoying as fuck. I’m still making my own decisions, I’m not dressing myself based off what I think everyone else is gonna like.

You’ve said that you’d like to go back to 2006 in a time machine. Do you not like getting older? Naw, it’s just the music was so sick then. Hell Hath No Fury came out around that time, In My Mind dropped, that’s when BBC Ice Cream and BAPE was tight. The Dirty skate park in Hawthorne was open and we would skate there. I’m still excited about new music: I’m excited for Tame Imapala’s next album, I’m excited for Eminem’s next album. 2006 is just when everything was fun.

All the songs on Wolf are mixed, but you've said you prefer pre-mixed, rough takes. Why? I prefer rough drafts over a lot of songs that were mixed. But because of sonics and some other stupid shit that they explained, you have to get it mixed. Now I know for next time that for certain songs I’ll leave it at the rough draft, because it hits the way it’s supposed to hit when you turn it up. When you mix it they take out the distorted sub and it just sounds too clean. When you turn it up, the bass is supposed to hit annoyingly hard. It’s something I learned with mixing. This is the first album I got to mix. I’m stoked I got to experience that so now I know, next time, what sound I want and how I should approach it when it’s time to mix it and other shit like that.

Have you already started working on your next album? How long has Wolf been done? Wolf has kinda been done for a while kinda, just little shit that we had to finish that took so long. I don’t really wanna talk about the next project but I know where that’s going. It’s pretty sick, I like the way it sounds. You’ll probably like it a lot. It’s— I’m trying to use the right word, cause people take the shit I say so literal and then when it doesn’t happen—it’s tight! You’ll see. I don’t know when it’s coming out.

Will there be another Golf Wang photo book? It’s gonna come out hopefully September. We started on it last year. I have been slow with taking photos, I don’t take a camera around as much anymore. Instagram is chill. But there was a point in time when I was just taking Polaroids and shit. I have 600 of those, which don’t sound like a lot, but 600 single Polaroids is a shit load. I got some freaking good ones. One of Jay-Z and Beyonce. I made this girl put crackers in her ass, I got that.

What’s up with Mike G? This is a direct quote from Jayden Smith, he said this shit last night: “Why doesn’t Mike G have sex?” I don’t know what Mike G is doing right now. I haven’t talked to him in a couple days. Mike G’s out there being nasty.

You’ve only played one solo show. Are you looking forward to touring alone? I’m nervous. All the songs are just my songs. I’ll just let the crowd know, This is awkward, let’s do this. And then get over it. On the last Odd Future tour, we did some big venues. They were cool, but for my tour I wanted to do smaller venues like we did when we first started. I like those shows, they’re way more fun. I like sweatboxes where if I stand at the edge and go forward I’ll fall into a bunch of people.

You’re sober. Can you foresee a time when you wouldn’t be? When I have 10 million dollars in my bank account, I’ll take a sip of a drink.

Interview: Tyler, the Creator