Syd, the 26-year-old lead singer of the soul band The Internet, is really into interior design. No, like, really into interior design. She credits the interest to her parents: her mom, who once worked as a city clerk and dreamed of being an audio engineer for musical artists, and dad, an entrepreneur who emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica.
“I grew up in a house that was constantly under construction,” Syd, whose real name is Sydney Bennett, says over the phone with half-mocking disdain. “It’s been under construction my whole life. My mom loves interior decor, and my dad loves construction — he loves demolition and building new walls. Now that I’m back at home, I’m trying to finish up certain projects and start the interior design projects that I want to start.”
One such project involves remodeling the one-bedroom guest house that’s stationed behind her parents’ Southern California home, which is where she’s living and where The Internet’s studio is. Although this is where she spent her formative years, she’s moved around a lot within Los Angeles County — and the studio, where the band primarily records, has moved with her. It started in her bedroom, which is now her brother Travis’ — or Taco, as he’s known, a member of Odd Future and friend of Kendall Jenner’s — room. From there, it moved to various other spots in and out of her parents’ house before settling in the back house, which she believes is ideal because of its privacy. Despite her sibling’s Kardashian friends and her own appearances in Drake’s work — she was in his “Nice for What” video this spring — privacy is what she seeks.
“If I have a session with an artist who I’ve never worked with before, they don’t have to meet my parents, you know?” she says. “Unless they want to.”
The Internet’s new album “Hive Mind” comes out today, and it’s the first body of work cofounder Syd, cofounder and producer Matt Martians, bassist Patrick Paige II, drummer Christopher Smith and guitarist Steve Lacy created since their last album, “Ego Death,” in 2015. After that release, each band member took a break to make solo music projects, an experience that Syd says allowed them time to mature their sounds — and themselves. When the five band members rejoined to make “Hive Mind” last year, they again sought out a home base, and rented out an Airbnb in Agora Hills, Calif., for the recording of the album’s single.
The band set up a makeshift studio on the dining room table, and for the first few days, they did nothing but play laser tag. Then, over the course of about 72 hours, “Roll (Burbank Funk)” was born.
The Internet shot the video for “Burbank Funk” and the other single, “Come Over,” with the wardrobe firmly top of mind. It was a first for the band.
“In our past videos, the wardrobe was never really a thing,” Syd says. “We never had a stylist or anything like that. But this time, the clothes definitely played a role.” When listeners were introduced to Syd, she primarily wore hoodies and understated T-shirts. But in the “Burbank Funk” video, she appeared in a cropped top and wide-leg pants — a sign that her interest in aesthetics is piquing.
Syd is also making her way into the fashion world through another channel. She attended the Valentino men’s fashion show in Paris at the behest of creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, who also called on Nas and the rapper A$AP Ferg to be his guests.
“Fashion has always been influenced by hip-hop,” Syd says, commenting on the recent influx of interest in streetwear and rap culture by those in the fashion community. “I think the whole world is superinfluenced by hip-hop, and has been for such a long time. But I remember watching Kanye try to ease his way into fashion, and being frustrated, feeling like, ‘Man, nobody accepts me. The couture world, the high-fashion world, doesn’t accept me.’ At that time, I was thinking, damn, they won’t accept Kanye? If you’re not gonna accept him, then who else will you accept?”
Her experience in Paris was a unique one, and she says she was pleasantly surprised to find that she enjoyed herself, despite some nerves at the prospect of being in a new environment. But all the action just so happened to go down inside the confines of the Hôtel Costes where she stayed — and where her friends ended up hanging out, too.
“A lot of the people there for fashion week were staying there as well, and if they weren’t staying there, they ate at the hotel restaurant at least once,” she says of the Hotel Costes. “Virgil [Abloh] called it ‘the fashion cafeteria.’ After the Louis V show, everybody that was at the show was in my hotel restaurant. Virgil was there, Miguel was there, Chadwick Boseman, and all my friends from L.A. like Simi and Haze and Bella Hadid. They were sitting at this big, giant table. I walked in and saw them and was like, ‘Oh! Well, hey!’ They were like, ‘Hey, join us!’
“Just sitting in the restaurant and people-watching was enough entertainment,” she adds. “I went outside to have a smoke with Pierpaolo, and while we’re chillin’, chatting it up, I see Kid Cudi walk through, and go over to say hi to, like, Nas or somebody.”
With time and experience comes growth, Syd reasons. Whether she’s exploring uncharted territory — flying halfway around the world to attend a fashion show, putting costumes first in the conceptualization of a new music video — or sitting amid the familiar surroundings of her parents’ home, the singer says she’s rolling with the peaks and valleys of life. But that process does not come without its renovations.
She thinks back to when she was finishing up her own album “Fin,” which, at first, was to be called “Dive.” She figured she’d call it “Dive” because she wanted to perform a deep examination of herself before she started the next Internet album. But she showed the solo music to some family and friends, and they questioned the title.
“I think it was my dad who said something like, when you take a dive, it’s not a good thing. ‘Damn, my sales took a dive,’” she says, laughing. “I kinda got scared, and decided to try something else.”
Plus, she said that while she was recording the album, she didn’t think she’d injected enough emotion into it. It wasn’t until a later revisitation to “Dive” that she found, in fact, she had.
“I realized I had given it a lot of vulnerability, even though I was flexed up on a lot of the album,” she says. “I never do that. I’m never a flashy type of person. But I really needed to get that off my chest. Like, just so you guys know, I am the s–t, and I know it. I just don’t say it all the time.”
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