The prolific producer/DJ talks the WEDIDIT Collective and why incest can sometimes be a good thing.
We live in a complicated time for independent music. It seems as though there are hundreds of pseudo-indie labels buying and selling artists based on their subcultural worth like some sort of weird musical stock market. The WEDIDIT Collective may be able to offer up some sort of answer to this system. WEDIDIT is a group of friends based in LA headed up by Noisey favorite Shlohmo and they are making some of the best electronic music to come out of the United States at the moment. I talked to the man himself to get to the bottom of how WEDIDIT came to be.
For those who don’t know, what is WEDIDIT?
Right now, we're sort of turning into a real label. It’s in the early stages, but we're starting to get some physical product while still trying to keep it very DIY and put out some weird stuff. It started back in high school as a group of friends that would hang out together and make music. It was just the people that I went to high school with and some other homies from other high schools; it was just something we called the crew that was making music and art. When we we to art school and college and stuff like that, we started meeting more people and everyone stood up. We wanted to start a platform for people to see this kind of stuff and share other shit from younger kids that were making stuff as well. At the time, Myspace Music was cracking, and there were all these kids our age making really cool shit, so it wasn’t a difficult feat to find that community.
Since then, it’s been building super naturally and I’ve been doing all the design and stuff, which I think has become a big part of the aesthetic, "professionally unprofessional." We get a lot of shit done, but it all looks like shit, which I think falls more in line with the DIY aspect of us. For example, we wanted to put out something physical so we did the patches. I got asked recently about the patches being more in line with the punk or hardcore scene, but I think it's funny because we all grew up on punk music and skating, which has turned out to be been a big part of our influence. We want to make DIY shit that’s not like an elitist techno label or something.
The sounds you guys are making and putting are aesthetically cohesive, but it’s almost as if they sit in a musical place that hasn’t really been defined yet?
Yeah, definitely. I think it’s all stuff that we are drawn to. It’s contemporary electronic and rap music, but it doesn’t necessarily fit into underground or pop or what ever the fuck you want to call it. I think basically the stuff we look for and want to release, or the people creating that, are in the collective are very like-minded. We all kind of see the internet the same way and respond to the same things. It feels like everybody that we’re looking for all kind of share that same strange aesthetic.
Are you guys all based in LA or are you starting to spread out more?
When it started, we were all in LA, but then it started to spread out when we left for school. We were all in different places meeting different people—like, Hemsworth is from outside of Toronto. Now, I dropped out of school and Groundislava dropped out of school, so everyone is kind of migrating back to LA. It's rad, because we kind of have a homebase again.
One of the things that I think makes you guys unique is that you seem to be really close; you collaborate and work on each others tracks and promote each others work. As things start to move more towards a functioning label are you going to keep that tightness?
Most definitely. I think a big part of it is going to be the LA community and continuing to grow within that. The whole thing is a small crew and that’s not going to stop. Right now, we actually have this platform that people are looking at, so I think that we are going to take that more seriously. We are in a position where people are actually asking us for things, so we are going to make stuff to give them.
How do you see WEDIDIT differing from the conventional label model?
I think we give far less of a shit and we have a really specific thing that we do aesthetically, so that’s a big part of it. For me, the more I get involved in the music industry, the more I just want to keep it at something that’s not like another label with the same kind of political system bullshit that ruins music for everyone. I wanted to keep it really “grassroots,” but that sounds whack. We want to do something that’s for the people, by the people, but not some high up corporate bullshit. We aren’t trying to sell people's shit—it’s not a money thing. We are making a hundred of each product and we want people to want it. We have a really cool fan base and it’s the kind of people who collect things, so we want to make it a fun thing for these kids. It’s what I want to, it’s like "there’s a hundred patches and we have a thousand Facebook fans so grab them quick" sort of thing. I just didn’t want the impersonality of a bigger label, but I think that this is all in hindsight now. We built this by accident just by getting on the internet and interacting with everyone.
You guys have been doing a lot of shows in the LA area. As your fanbase grows, do you find them coming to the shows with a certain expectations, but then leaving having seen something completely different?
I think that’s the funniest and coolest thing about the kids that fuck with us. It’s not like the kids that fuck with a band or something where they want to hear a specific song. Our aesthetic is so fucking bizarre to most people, so if you fuck with it, you actually really fuck with it. All those kids that come to the shows are very fulfilled and satisfied—it’s like if they have come to expect anything, they have come to expect the weirdest shit. I think that has helped a lot and I think it’s pretty rad. I don’t think anyone is disappointed.
I feel that your Boilerroom.tv session really showcased what you guys are all about. What goes into creating a set for something like that?
Well, for Boilerroom, it was kind of different. I grew DJing, so I do that as well—Serato stuff. When I play live, I use Ableton, very similar to Groundislava. That night, I was actually using Serato and I was on a new computer, so all my files ended up being corrupted and I didn’t know until I got there. That’s why I’m hunched over my computer the whole time, because I’m actually just searching my hard drive for all the songs and then dragging them into Serato. It was dumb as fuck.
It seems like you guys are always co-producing and remixing each other's tracks. Is that an important aspect to what WEDIDIT is all about?
Most definitely. We’re all best friends and shi, so I think if we didn’t fuck with each other in general, we wouldn’t fuck with each other's work. Everyone is doing really different shit under the same blanket aesthetic, so I think keeping it very incestuous has been really nice. We treat it the same way we would treat our group of friends—like, "That song is really tight, let me fuck with it."
Is it easier to do something like that when it's your friend instead of going through a bunch of channels to even get the remix started?
Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the shit that we would be doing anyways. I’ll be at Groundislava’s house or some shit, and he’ll be playing something and I just ask him to remix it; it’s that easy. The same goes for all the remixes we get for the albums and stuff; it’s just our friends and friends of whoever we’re releasing. We don’t want to put some shit out that is cool or anything—it’s for our friends and people that we fuck with. We might not know them yet, but we hear some shit that’s on the same tip and it’s cool, so we want to release it.
Is that how it went down with Ryan Hemsworth?
Yeah, exactly. We had been talking to Ryan online and following his stuff for a little bit. Nick Melons, who helps run the label, eventually started talking to him about a release, so he sent over this EP that he had been working on and it was fucking incredible. We just asked if we could release it, and he was down, and that was that. I drew the cover up, got all the remixes from the homies, and threw it up on Bandcamp. That release has literally been more successful in the past two months than anything we could have imagined. You make more off of this stuff doing it DIY rather then having it up on iTunes and all that shit, so it’s been a really nice process.
If you guys could induct any dream member into WEDIDIT, who would it be?
I have been trying to contact this dude Isadar. He’s an older cat and his shit is amazing.