INTERVIEW: Wallpaper

The Bay Area has been producing some of the most unique sounds lately. Whether its Trackademicks, The Park, or Oakland’s Wallpaper, the fusion of old sckool groves with new school vibes is slowly taking off on the other side of the country.

Take Wallpaper, who returns to DC after a spirited show at DC9 earlier this year. The Oakland duo is rooted old school R&B and disco, and splices it with some humor to boot. Their track I’ve Got Soul, I’m So Wasted has been a Bay Area hit and their Autotune mashup of Jay-Z’s D.O.A. got people buzzing.

Wallpaper plays DC again tomorrow night at U Street Music Hall along with Spirit Animal and DJ Doc Rok. Tickets are only $8.

First off, who are you guys and where are you from?

We are Wallpaper from Oakland. Arjun Singh plays drums and Ricky Reed sings and Eric Frederic writes and produces.

So the concept behind Wallpaper is quite interesting. It seems like you guys are paying homage to R&B while having some fun with it at the same time. How did you guys come up with the idea?

It came about quite naturally. We were raised on these kinds of music. Furthermore the dudes making funk and R&B in its heyday were having one hell of a good time. We’re just carrying on the tradition. Carrying the funky torch.

What artists inspired you guys for the the concept?

We love George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Michael’s old records, and more current pop rap and gangster rap shit. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that people outside the musical spectrum like Mitch Hedberg, Anthony Bourdain, and Wink1100 weren’t big influences.

So many people know you guys for your covers and mashups. What’s the process of creating….say your re-interpretation of Jay-Z’s DOA/99 Problems?

It’s just getting a good idea and executing it in a timely fashion. Those ideas are usually very immediate and its necessary to grind em out quick. They are more about the statement than a well thought out artistic piece of music. Get the idea, sort out the technicalities of the mashup / remix and then hit the studio for a graveyard shift and send to bloggies in the morning.

I found out about you guys from the song, I Got Soul, I’m Soul Wasted. It’s a rather interesting title. What’s the concept behind the song?

It’s about how when you get twisted you feel like the most soulful dude in the world. All of a sudden you’re super good looking and you can dance, dance, dance. We got faded after a show in Sacramento and were killing it dancing with the folks post show. The rest is (not) history.

[youtube SSIgPGGe1O8 nolink]

And the video was probably one of the best I’ve seen all year.

Super slow motion for 90% of the time and super fast motion 10% of the time. Plus magic. Plus Jason Zada.

The last time you were in DC there was removal of clothing (some girl took her bra off and threw it at the stage). What can people expect this time around?

That was a long time ago in Wallpaper years. Our funk ages in something like dog years, only its Wallpaper years. So since that show the funk has aged 40,000 Wallpaper years. Thus people can expect to hear some new music and a whole new ass moving set from your boys. Oakland.

[vimeo 11446688 nolink]