At every turn of the century there's a section of society that thinks the end is near. But there's more access to media now, so it's more in our faces.
I just wonder if it's to create so much fear that people will start buying loads of stuff and enjoying themselves now. And everyone starts developing an attitude like, "Yeah, whatever, the world's gonna end."
That's one of the most important things, to always stay creative on the Internet and not get bogged down by it.
I wonder about that too, but I don't think people, the world, or even government is that organized.
Yeah, I mean, this is the first time in our lifetime that we've seen conspiracy theories on mainstream television. They've got a show called Conspiracy Theory! That used to be an underground thing for people who smoked lots of weed. [Laughs.] Now it's on the news and it's kinda weird. Maybe there's something to be said about the fact that everything's owned by corporations and corporations have more say than ever before.
Sure. Hey, did you see many animals growing up?
Yeah. Elephants, lizards. I ate an iguana once.
I know. My grandpa had a farm and on the farm was all kinds of wildlife. He got his shoulder dislocated by a wild elephant.
I know. It was just part of the culture, I suppose. We had goats, you saw snakes there. It's cool.
Are there animals you liked to ride?
When I was a little kid I used to ride the goats like they were horses. I'm just waiting for Ikhyd to get old enough to do that. I definitely want to go to the desert and ride a camel.
What was your impression of America when you were little?
The first place I came to was L.A., and I just loved it. From the airplane looking out the window, the landscape just shines—all the lights are twinkling, all the cars are reflecting the sun. It was very Tinseltown. If you're coming from Sri Lanka and you want to experience the West, that was the extreme end of Western civilization to me—the vastness of L.A. was truly different. I wasn't impressed with New York, 'cause it's a bigger version of London. But L.A. was kinda cool.
Has your idea of America changed as you've grown up?
When I first came in the mid-'90s, I was listening to loads of hip-hop, and the gangsta-rap era completely engulfed me. There's where I spent my time. Those were the clubs I went to, and those were the people I was hanging out with, so I had a weird understanding of it. But now I get to see a bigger picture of America. It's different.
The thing that I enjoyed about it when I came to L.A. was that it was just people doing whatever they liked. It was your life and you could do things and you were in charge. There were barbecues all the time in every park, house parties. Just so much more joy. And now it doesn't seem like that. And it's because it's so expensive there. By the time you've got to doing your house, insurance, your car, and paid a bill for your baby, it's just too hard for you to have any fun, you know?
I don't think it's that dismal...
It's not that dismal, but if you go to South Central now, there's not speakers on every side of the corner and people hanging out. Maybe culture has changed, but I also feel like the hustle's changed. It's come into this corporate hustle world. That's the times we're living in.
When you're making art—whether it's visual, music, or fashion—does it all feel the same? 'Cause your visual stuff looks the way your songs sound to me.
Yeah. I think so.
Do you have a process, or do you create when you feel like it?
I'm really into some sort of digital ruckus and that's kind of what it is in the sound and imagery. I don't wanna say it's chaotic, but if we're being given certain tools, it's rediscovering and reassembling, I suppose. The bottom line is: Sometimes my work is really uncomfortable and doesn't sit well, but that's the point. It's OK to push it out this far—someone's gonna be like, "But I like it over here." But at least the door's open and you've pushed it that far, so the possibility of a range can exist.