Smart beats, Stupidfacedd
Wallpaper has your party mix tape covered
Sacramento, CA 95814
Wallpaper is about to get huge. The band is your greasy burger lunch, supersized. It’s your social confidence after three whiskey sours. It’s your junk, 20 minutes after swallowing Viagra.
Those are metaphors. Another metaphor?
Nah, let’s stick to the facts: Wallpaper is the musical moniker of Oakland music producer Eric Frederic when he dons a fedora and gold chains and morphs into party ringleader, ex-Foot Locker employee and alcoholic emcee Ricky Reed. In the last two months, Wallpaper has gone from Bay Area indie-dance favorite—also magnetic locally—to a serious generator of national buzz.
Witness the act’s trajectory: March 1, Wallpaper premiered a new video for the unignorable party anthem “#Stupidfacedd,” which quickly became the second most watched video at MTV’s website. Apple’s iTunes began pushing both the single and the video as “what’s hot” on its home page. Wallpaper rocked two showcases at South by Southwest later that month, before flying home to work on a new album with funk godfather George Clinton.
On the verge of releasing a follow-up album to 2009’s Doodoo Face (a reference to the expression one makes when listening to something truly funky), Wallpaper is still small enough to feel like a NorCal insider phenomenon. That won’t last much longer than the haze of a black-market Four Loko binge, so mark your calendars for April 29, when Wallpaper plans to fill Ace of Spades with wall-to-wall doodoo faces. This time next year, it might not be so easy to party with Ricky Reed.
BMI’s MusicWorld reported earlier this month that Frederic had stopped allowing his alter ego to talk to the press, because “Ricky has proven to be awkward and upsetting to interviewers.” Frederic must have left his Gmail account unattended while he was busy with Clinton in the studio, because Reed responded to all our queries with his characteristic gangster sensibilities. Read on for Reed’s take on minimalist production values, sexy sandwich metaphors and the best way to pre-game for his shows.
How was the Wallpaper 2011 SXSW experience?
SXSW was dope. It’s always a big shitshow of pickleheads, both musicians (real/fake) and industry heads (real/fake). Thus SXSW becomes a process of sussing out fakeness and realness. Luckily Wallpaper is the realest act on planet Earth and does well attracting realness.
I saw the picture of you with George Clinton in the studio on Facebook. How did that come about? What important funkadelic wisdom did Clinton pass on?
Mutual friends. It was a bona fide pleasure working with George. And we still going! George’s brain is as sharp as it ever was, and his wisdom came in the form of lyric. Tongue twistin’. Verb flippin’. Inspiring to watch. He still “got dat doo doo.”
How’s the new album coming? What kind of face will we make when we hear this one?
Great. We got like a jillion (over 20) songs. Make no mistake, a doodoo face is always present when listening to my shit. I just named the first record that because it was more of a funk-specific album. But I been making stank-ass faces (everybody has) since [James Brown] and George and Sly [Stone] and all those dudes. Just had to put a name on it.
What elevates a song from mildly catchy into compulsively danceable, ear-worm territory?
Unique-ness and extreme funkiness. Minimalism! Be a gangster. Stop doing shit to your track. Make it sound like you walked in and were just a genius off the bat, did like two things, said a weird word and rolled out to go see a lady friend. You know? Producers sound like they got lil’ baby dicks all cluttering up their tracks with hot garbage. I need to make room for mine on the track.
In your audience, what is the ratio of indie-music fans laughing from an intellectual distance at a song like “#Stupidfacedd” to people who literally party as “#Stupidfacedd” as your lyrics? When you write music, who are you aiming at?
People are universally getting down. Laughing from an intellectual distance, honestly, sounds terrible. Of course, everybody is entitled to their own user experience. But I came to dance, did you?
Speaking of “#Stupidfacedd,” the “ham and cheese on throwed rolls” lyric confuses me. Help a sister out? Like a nerd, I resorted to searching for “ham and cheese” on Urban Dictionary and learned only that people think up some pretty skeevy stuff while eating sandwiches.
Throwed Rolls, Springfield, MO. It’s a type of roll, or somethin’. I seen it on a sign when I was there and thought it was a great word. “Going ham” is well-known slang. So you know R.R. gonna take it to the next level, “going ham AND CHEESE!” A roll is a butt. Throwed roll is extra butt.
Has Wallpaper drummer Arjun Singh officially moved on? Are you playing solo or are you working with new musicians on stage?
He in Bollywood. Indefinitely, working on The Public Access Show. I am performing with one or two drummers and backup singer Novena Carmel.
How famous do you have to get before you quit your job at the Footlocker?
1) Am famous. 2) Already quit. 3) Cousin still works there so I get the fatty hookup.
What is the best pre-game cocktail plan before a Wallpaper show?
Triple-well whiskey no ice.
Fashion tips, please?
In “I’ve Got Soul (I’m So Wasted)” you tell listeners you want to see some tugboat and caboose. Caboose seems self-explanatory, but how does someone show you their tugboat on the dance floor?
Hahaha! I would hope the dudes don’t show they tugboat on the dance floor re: legality. But I wanna see the caboose and tugboat interlocked (clothed) in all sorts of freaky arrangements.