As L.A.-based singer, producer and songwriter Syd (aka Sydney Bennett) closes down her first-ever solo tour, she looks back on a massive year.
The former member of rap collective Odd Future, and current frontwoman/producer of Grammy-nominated alt-R&B collective The Internet, released her solo debut, Fin, in February.
More stripped down and pop-influenced than her previous work, the album was still met with critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, Vice, and The Guardian. But building on that first undiluted foray into her creative process would have to wait.
Already committed to a heavy touring schedule with The Internet, Syd was forced to put her solo career on hold. That is, until this past September, when she released the three-song EP, Always Never Home, and followed it with a 19-date solo tour of the same name.
Taking the stage essentially by herself each night has helped the multi-faceted artist expand her palette and is already influencing the work she does with her band.
PACIFIC caught up with Syd between gigs to discuss it all.
PACIFIC: There was a pretty significant chunk of time between your album and tour. Feel good to finally get out there alone?
SYD: I was on tour with The Internet all year. So I didn’t have time to do my own tour. And that’s why, at least partially, I dropped the Always Never Home EP — to kind of give myself another reason to do this. I had music that I wanted to get out of my system, but I was also uncomfortable with doing a tour seven months after dropping an album. Releasing new material made it feel worth it.
Has it been an easy transition from being part of a big group to doing it solo?
It wasn’t initially, but it ended up being easier than I thought it would be. I was scared for a long time to do this — to just sing over tracks without a band or anything. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how much easier it really is (laughs). Ironically, it’s been so much simpler than with a band because there’s so much less equipment and so much less noise on stage. Those parts of it are great.
Do you think the process of doing the solo gig will bring a fresh perspective to how you do things with The Internet?
Definitely. These solo shows have really taught me a lot about performing. And that’s something that will definitely come back to the band. It’s also the first time I’ve ever had to design a stage — to actually go out and get a bunch of stuff to make s**t look cool (laughs). But that’s also something I definitely want to take back to The Internet.
Can you see the solo thing having live musicians at some point?
I don’t think so. That’s the only way I can separate the two — which is why I chose to do it that way. Other than my keyboard player, who sits on the side of the stage, I’m alone up there on these solo shows. I can see him, and he can see me, but the crowd is just looking at me. It’s a drastic change, but it also feels very natural.
At first it was going to be me and a few other players. But at the last minute, I decided that maybe it should just be me. I wanted to force myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to have to connect with the audience without anyone else.
That has to be rewarding.
It’s been really cool.
Do you work on all of your projects simultaneously or one at a time? What’s next?
The band is a very collaborative thing. I don’t really work on anything alone for that. But there’s always something going on. And the solo shows have been great.
Next is a new Internet album. We’re working on that right now. It’s very exciting to be getting another one done. That’s the priority right now.
Syd w/ Buddy, Malia & DJ Osh Kosh
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: The Observatory North Park, 2891 University Ave., North Park