There is a theory that no story is original, and in today’s world of spin-offs, remakes and sequels, maybe it’s true. But who’s to say that reusing isn’t a form of innovation itself? Like the most skilled found-object artists, The Hood Internet play with everything from music to Mexican cuisine as they spin reincarnated gems that, while hinting at their original form, have morphed into fresh entities of a very different kind.
This Chicago-based DJ duo of Aaron Brink and Steve Reidell, better known as ABX and STV SLV (pronounced Steve Sleeve), began mixing tracks in 2007 and have since continued down the road to success, thanks to their catchy, razor-sharp mashups, which combine everything from hip-hop to indie-alternative to pop.
While the songs of digital-sampling pioneer Girl Talk tend to over-incorporate at times, The Hood Internet wisely narrows the scope of their focus to include just a handful of samples on each track, some of which might fly under the radar of the average listener. Their main goal on tour is always to “string together a bunch of Hood Internet mixes, new and old, to keep the dance floor moving,” and after listening to some of their tracks online, it is easy to imagine them achieving that goal in concert.
Brink and Reidell are not often in the same place when working on new remixes.Reidell attributes their ease of collaboration to “the speed of The Real Internet.”
“It makes it easy to bounce projects back and forth,” he says. Among their latest creations are “Mayer Hawthorne vs. M83 Fabolous vs. Classixx” and “Beyoncé vs. Of Montreal”—each a well-matched hybrid of attracting opposites.
For Brink, there are a couple conditions that a song must meet before it finds its way into a mash-up. “It has to be a song that I like,” he says. “It also has to have instrumental parts that I can chop up to make the beat, or an a cappella version must be released, so I can layer on the vocals.” Recently, the two released a compilation of all of their remix and production work thus far (available as a free download on their Website), and they’re looking forward to some upcoming collaborative projects with other musicians. Among the best tracks on their album are remixes like “Foster the People feat. Hollywood Holt” and “All of the Lights2 (Ellie Goulding x Portland Cello Project x Kanye West).”
Their creative aesthetic finds other forms, though, as seen on their weird and wonderful Website AlbumTacos.tumblr.com, where they take photos of classic album artwork and rework it to include a taco or tacos. Fans have also submitted their own album tacos, but the most recent one is The Hood Internet’s own: the cover of their self-titled 2011 compilation, with “The Hood Internet” shining through the negative space between 370 tacos.
Their favorite taco restaurant? Taco Bell, of course. The Hood Internet was part of Taco Bell’s “Feed the Beat” program in 2010; they received $500 worth of “tour support in the form of Taco Bell Bucks,” most of which went toward the purchase of tacos for their current album cover. After throwing away most of the surplus tacos after the shoot, the team then donated $465 to the Chicago Food Depository to counteract their waste.
This just goes to show that music isn’t the only thing The Hood Internet recycles, though it might be the medium they’re best suited for. During live sets, they “like trying out new stuff that we haven’t posted up on our Website yet ... and we’re looking forward to bringing the party over to The Urban Lounge.” The unpredictable vitality of these soundscape dumpster divers is the element that keeps us wondering: What treasures will be dredged up from the deep and already-created next?
THE HOOD INTERNET
w/ Muscle Hawk, Flash & Flare, ChaseOne2
The Urban Lounge
241 S. 500 East
Saturday, Jan. 21, 9 p.m.
$12 in advance, $15 day of show