Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to feature one of my favorite artists, syd B for her latest song, “Freezing” and today, she’s back on our pages for her new offering called, “Guilt Trip”. What’s best about this one is that syd didn’t do it alone; The up and comer enlisted help from her dear friend and close collaborator, Floyd Fuji which makes for a full piece overall. Instead of just writing some words in article format, I thought it would be beneficial to sit down with both syd and Floyd to talk about life, music and their working relationship! Continue reading to check out my conversation with them!
Sam: I’ve actually never written down questions for interviews. I just like having conversations and seeing where it takes us; So the first thing I’d love to know is how the two of you met. Both of you can take turns telling your side of the story.
syd: Okay, I want to go first!
Floyd: I knew she was going to try to go first! She hopped up so quick!
syd: Okay, so, we both went to Berklee kind of around the same time. I’m a year behind him and I only went there for a year, but in that year I got to know his old artist project and I was just a huge fan because he was just Berklee famous and I loved his music and he just seemed to be untouchable in my eyes…
Sam: Wait, you gotta tell me what “Berklee famous” means. When you saw him around, what was that like?
syd: I mean, its a different kind of fame for sure. Obviously EVERYONE at the school is doing music, but there are certain groups and certain people that kind of get popping there…I was not one of them but I only went for a year. So I already knew who Floyd was from being at Berklee and I would see him do shows in the cafeteria. So when I moved back to LA and I found out that he moved back, I just shot him a DM and I was like, theres no way he’s going to respond, but he did and we did a session January of 2019 I think and it was amazing and I was like, we’re going to be besties and it was just such a good time. Then we went in with his roommate Johannes, who I also work very closely with; He’s a producer. Then our other friend Alex from Berklee, we went in about three weeks later and started “Water me”. I wasn’t even intending on making an EP, but we did like 4 or 5 sessions and created the whole entire EP; So we met up for one session and quickly became fast friends and collaborators and have been working together ever since. So yeah, I was a fan first before anything!
Floyd: Yeah, it happened so quick as far as getting together right away, because that doesn’t always happen, but yeah, I knew of Syd at school. I would see her around because we just had mad mutual friends and stuff. Then stuff with my group kind of ended around 2017 because a lot of the guys in the group had moved out to LA already. I took a gap year at school and went back so they were already out here in LA making music and I was just like, guys, I don’t expect y’all to stay committed to this and at the time, I wasn’t like co-producing or even producing at all. I was kind of just writing songs on the guitar and bringing it to other people; So I was kind of in a space where I was ready to branch out, which led me to starting Floyd Fuji and when I moved to LA, she was already working with my roommate Johannes and he was like, she’s killing it, we could make some crazy stuff. And I actually played guitars on a demo for her before we officially met and then we linked up for those sessions and it was just instant sauce. It was magic.
Sam: Im gonna pivot really quickly. Tell me about your artist project, Kyle and the inspiration behind it. You went from being a part of a group to then doing it by yourself, so what was that like?
Floyd: Yeah, it was super liberating but also a learning curve. I think the whole point of a band in the beginning is that no one personally takes the blame. Everyone takes the blame. And that was very comforting for me coming from that background. A lot of those guys today are doing crazy stuff. My homie Brett who was in the band is playing keys for Halsey and they’re producing for crazy people. But yeah, they were producing for me and I felt like at the time, you have 3 or 4 producers on a song at one time..the song is done, but its not always fully encompassing of what you truly imagined it to be. So I took it as an opportunity to start production on my own and a lot of that stuff, my first songs producing, they’re out there, which is scary but also really cool; So I went home right before the semester that I was supposed to graduate and I was like, I’m going to do this and I told my mom that I was going to call myself Floyd Fuji and she was like, “what in the world does this mean”. I remember telling her at like a burger joint in Virginia, but it was just my way of manifesting the fact that I wanted to get to LA and I also want to go to Japan one day, so Fuji comes from that and the Floyd part comes from this TV show called White Famous with Jay Pharaoh and he’s basically a comedian coming to LA and navigating his rising fame and blackness in a way. And that’s a huge part of my identity, so I wanted to combine that.
Sam: Okay, now syd tell me about the beginning stages of this project and how you felt about dropping “Freezing”.
syd: Yeah, I think obviously this last year and a half was super wack and you know there were so many things to transition in and out of but I think one thing that I’ve been super grateful for has been just having the time to just sit with music because obviously I released an EP before, but I just felt like everything had been rushed and theres this weird thing that I feel like is going on where people are expecting constant art from artists which we can do, but it was just so nice being able to sit with it and actually decide what you want out because once its out its out. Yeah, all of this stuff that’s in this upcoming project is just so personal and I really got to sit with it. Even like the order of the songs, I got to think about that for a while which I wouldn’t have had time to think about in normal life to really tell the story that I wanted to tell. I got to sit with the project and listen all the way through in the way that I wanted to, so yeah I thought that Freezing was a great start. It was a great blend of a personal story, but something that catches peoples attention.
Sam: Floyd, give me some perspective on this song that’s dropping for both of y’all. What does this mean to each of you?
Floyd: For me, its crazy because its been 2 years since we made it. We sat on it and we loved the song but she had just put out the EP and we were about to go on tour in Europe, so I think the whole tour was really dope because we got to test out a lot of the songs and get a lot of reactions and that one specifically just had a different energy. It just felt like we were kind of finding the pieces and she was finding the pieces of what she really wanted to say and the style of some of the stuff thats going to be on her newer project. And being able to bob and weave through genres; so for me, its just a huge guilt trip. We were literally on a trip and got to experience that song. I just think of Europe every time. Specifically London every time I hear the song, so it’s really cool to have a moment in time where every time you look back, its like ah thats the song.
Sam: That’s dope. What about you syd?
syd: Yeah, same. It’s interesting what you just said Floyd because this song like technically is about me… I went to Palm Springs with a friend of mine and we wrote it about that, but I’m glad I didn’t put it out then, because now it just has this whole different meaning. Yeah we played it at every show that we did in Europe’s it’s crazy that 5 countries have heard it before its even out. But, yeah so now I’m not even thinking about that boy anymore. I’m actually thinking about all of the experiences that we had, like Kyle said, we got to take a trip to this song, so thats why it’s special to me now and I think its just kind of like “Water Me” on crack. I think people will love it.
Sam: Okay I want to get deep really quickly. Actually, not deep. I want us to get intentional. I want to hear what y’all love about working with one another. I’d love for y’all to verbalize those feelings so we can get it on paper, so in case y’all ever get in an argument we can be like, y’all said this! But, yeah obviously music is so collaborative and you get to work with a bunch of people, but it says a lot about the people who you choose to work with in a recurring fashion, so yeah, tell me about what y’all love about working with one another!
Floyd: Yeah, I think Syd is special because she likes to try everything. A lot of people aren’t willing to try everything and sometime it’s out of fear; shoot, sometimes you do it out of fear but when we’re working together, she has videos of her sounding wild and me sounding wild, but at least we tried it. You know, just being in a space where you can try things and experiment and really figure out what you want to do or say and I hope more artists can do that even if they don’t have people around them, because it really makes for the most genuine piece of yourself to offer up and it definitely has encouraged me to go deeper within myself. Anyone can make a fire song that’s about whatever, but to be able to make it personal, I think there should be a healthy ounce of fear every time you put out a song and I think that syd puts herself into the music and thats all I can ask from anyone.
Sam: Okay, your turn syd, you gotta top that somehow
syd: First of all, it’s just a great fucking time. Obviously you have sessions planned, but its really just a hang and you end up making music, not even in a cheesy way. That’s actually what its like. When Floyd and I work together, its really organic, with no pressure. I feel like everything we do together, we put out, so I just feel like that it doesn’t work that way with everyone, but we’re kind of on the same wave and I’ve learned so much from Floyd, just in terms of songwriting and technical stuff but also just attitude and with how to conduct yourself in a room. He’s empowered me in a way that I hope I have been able to empower him too. I’ve just learned so much about myself though working with Floyd and theres just not pressure. You can be so open and thats how you learn about yourself and learn about what you want. And he’s just so fucking talented. It’s so easy. I feel like even being a woman, Ive been in a lot of rooms where I just haven even felt comfortable enough to try things out and its such an honest and open room tot were even if something that I created doesn’t work, if Floyd was to say, maybe lets try this, I’m never offended or uncomfortable because I know he’s looking out and whatever he’s going to say is going be better. Working with him has empowered me in so many ways.
Sam: Yeah she may have beaten you on that one dog!
Floyd: I’m going to cry!
syd: Nah, I feel like we text each other like once a month and we’re like, Im so grateful for you, bye!
Sam Okay, last question as we wind down. Outside of music, what are some things that y’all are in to, or things that y’all are excited to do when the world opens back up?
syd: Um yeah for me, the thing that’s on my mind mostly is travel, because I didn’t realize how much that inspired me before I wasn’t able to do it. So yeah I think leaving LA is really important for me. Maybe because I’ve lived here my entire life, but leaving LA from time to time really fuels me, so I’m so excited to be in different cultures and see different parts of the world. I just took that so for granted because once it went away, I was just freaking out. I can’t wait to just do stuff that forces me out of my comfort zone. I feel like we all got so comfortable with being at home all day so making myself feel uncomfortable in situations is so important because that’s when you grow. So much to look forward to though.
Floyd: I would say for me, I really hope that when shows come back, regardless of if I’m performing, I hope the community stays strong as far as music and the scene. My end goal with music has always been to give back. Whether that’s through starting a music foundation in my hometown or the occasional guitar lesson. That’s always been my gift..to just give back. I’m always concerned with community and with all the craziness going on in the world, there’s like a shooting every day and I don’t want to get down about it but my hope is that the community sticks together and that people will support other people. I feel like it’s so easy as an artist to get bubbled into release schedules and planning this to the point where we neglect out peers who are making amazing work, so that’s what I’m looking forward to. Obviously traveling is a big part of that, but I just can’t wait for the big bear hug. It’s going to be crazy!
(Interview Photo Credits: Alexander Cody Nguyen)