Interview: Kid Cudi Breaks Down the Custom Spacesuit He's Wearing on the "Cud Life" Tour

We got a special look at Cudi's new onstage look.

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Complex Original

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Kid Cudi's currently invading cities across the country as part of his "Cud Life Tour." Besides the music, the talk of the show has been Cudi's next-level spacesuit he's currently wearing on stage. Cudi swapped out the usual vintage t-shirt and jean uniform for the astronaut-esque suit that was designed by noted Hollywood costume designer Jose Hernandez.

Officially dubbed the "Satellite Academy Space Suit" Cudi will wear the otherworldy duds on every stop of the "Cud Life Tour." As he explains, it's more than just an interesting clothing choice; the suit represents a transition in his mind-state back to the highly anticipated Man On The Moon III album that's coming in 2015. While Cudi was traveling to Vancouver, he spoke to us about the details of the suit, and what we can expect from the final chapter of the "Man on the Moon" trilogy.

Interview by Joe La Puma (@jlapuma

I thought it would be cool to give people some type of Moon Man visual, which I’ve never done before.

What made you decide that this tour was the right time to have a customized spacesuit?
Well, when I look back at the Indicud album coming out, I realize that it was a big transition for me as an artist. I wanted to absorb the music and take my live show to the next level.

With that train of thought, I took a step back and started to think about ways I could bring an experience to the kids at the show. Leading up to the storyline of Man on the Moon III, I feel like everything that’s happening up to now is the prelude. With the way Indicud left off, it was like I went back to the moon to gain some peace of mind. I jumped back in my ship and left Earth after I was resurrected from the death of Mr. Rager in Man on the Moon II.

So this is part of the warm-up for Man on the Moon III.

This is me thinking about the trilogy and the theme of the story to show what Man on the Moon III is going to be, subject-matter wise. I thought it would be cool to give people some type of Moon Man visual, which I’ve never done before. It’s always been metaphorical, but coming up with the suit idea just hit me.

How did the process of the suit being made start?

I reached out to my boy Omarr Rambert who works with Jaden Smith after I saw the After Earth suit in the preview. I was watching the trailer, and I thought, "Man, that suit is fresh. It’d be dope if I had something like that on the road." Then I just started wondering if it would be possible.

Omar made some calls and got me in touch with José Hernandez, who created the suit for After Earth and many other films. He’s been a part of so many things, whether it’s X-Men, Spider-Man, or Tron. The dude’s work is remarkable and he pays close attention to detail. He’s a genius. Linking up with him was awesome because he understood my vision. We went back and forth a couple times on the designs, but once we had it, we had it. Then everything came together.

What are some special features that, to the untrained eye, people may not catch?

Well, the first special feature is that there’s a zip-hole for me to take a bathroom break—not kidding—that no one knows about. There’s that. Also, it’s really comfortable. We did a full-body scan so that it would be totally designed for my body, and it fits really well. It’s actually a bit of a workout on stage, and it feels awesome to be performing in it and sweating.

Outside of that, the detail on the backpack is something that we paid close attention to, because we wanted to have my ears hidden. José got the measurements and created the little hidden space in the book bag with wires so the antenna can come out, and I can adjust the volume on the pack as well. So that’s a dope little custom feature, as opposed to back in the day, where I had to reach behind on my back pocket and turn up the volume. Now the pack is hidden, and it’s not such an eyesore.

What other aesthetic details were the focus?

With the logo on the chest, I was like, "I really want to have an emblem, but I don’t want it to be super fuckin’ cheesy." I just wanted to have my logo, and I designed the whole gold crest that it’s in. When he showed it to me, I was like, "Holy shit, that’s exactly what I’m looking for."

José said, "Do you want to have lights on the shoes?" And I said, "I don’t want to take the lighting to the extreme." We even got to a point where we were talking about a helmet at first, but I think that the suit and the emblem on the chest are enough flair. It’s already intense that I’m wearing this suit. We didn’t wanna OD on it and cross that line between creative and cheesy because it’s a thin line.

It's still a far departure from most on-stage ensembles.

Let’s be real, I’m ultimately performing in tights. I’m always thinking about the best way to execute things with taste. It’s still flashy and dope. People aren’t going to look at it and be like, "What the fuck is this dude doing?" Even the people who are looking at it that way, whatever. I’m wearing a fucking awesome ass, custom-made space suit designed by the hottest costume designer in Hollywood. Shit is a dream come true. 


You’re known as a fashion-forward artist, obviously. But is this going to be the outfit on every single stop of the tour?

Yeah, except for Rock the Bells.

It’s time to take them to the moon again.

OK. Then the Saint-Laurents come out, right?
Yeah, the Saint-Laurents. We really planned ahead as far as how many suits we needed. And we got four suits made—full suits, boots, everything.

That’s crazy. I thought it was only one.
Oh no, we got multiples. We did this shit right. I paid for it out of my own pocket, too.

Was the price absolutely absurd?
I mean, let’s put it this way: I think I could have got myself another Mercedes SLS.

[Laughs]. I’ll take the space suit.

How long does it take to get in the suit?
It usually takes about 15 minutes. It takes three people to help me get in and three people to help me get out. 

I like that the suit represents more of a mind-state for you. It’s not a costume, it’s gearing up for The Man on the Moon III and getting ready for 2015.

Yeah, exactly. It’s like when Kal-El found his Superman suit and put that bitch on, and he said he could be a hero. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready to put on that suit, go out there, give these kids a show, talk to them, and be their guide. It takes a level of maturity.

It took me a while to finally get to this point. I’m totally comfortable with who I am, the discography I’ve created, the stories I’ve told, and the fanbase that I have. As I look at shit in retrospect, I’m really blessed. I’m still here doing my thing, and I can draw crowds and sell out concerts. I’d like to see a lot of these guys that are hot now doing this shit five years from now. It’s not easy.

It's safe to say you're in a good headspace on this tour?

Nothing’s promised, and I just feel really fucking happy and lucky that I have a strong fan base that believes in me and everything that I want to do creatively. To be able to create without boundaries, whether it’s the music, creating my crazy-looking stage, or wearing a spacesuit, it’s awesome that I have so many people who are onboard with whatever I want to be. So, it’s dope, man.

I have to ask about the music for Man On The Moon III. You said you haven't recorded anything yet, but is there anything fans can expect?

It definitely represents the full cycle of the trilogy—becoming a man. When people hear Man on the Moon III, they’ll see. There’s a crazy twist to the whole tale. There are things that we were missing, that I was missing, and that the kids were missing this whole time. A lot of things will be revealed in Man on the Moon III, a lot of like, "Ahhh, OK. Man, we had it wrong. We went about it the wrong way." It’s gonna be a dope conclusion, and I’m really excited about it.

I was more nervous with Man on the Moon II because I feel like there will be no Man on the Moon III if Man on the Moon II wasn’t what it was. And yeah, I’m really excited, man. The albums in between were great segues. It’s time to take them to the moon again.

Have you sat down with Plain Pat and Emile?
I hung out with Pat. He came to LA, and we talked and shit. I played him some beats. We vibed out. We definitely started talking about how to approach Man on the Moon III. Emile, I haven’t spoken with. I’m pretty sure he’s busy, handling his business. He’s constantly creating. Man on the Moon III is way off. We got time. So when Emile is ready, and when Pat has time, we’re definitely gonna get in there and create this fucking classic.

For the full list of "Cud Life" tour dates see the flier below...

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