Wednesday, 19 June 2013 16:55

Mash-Up Masters The Hood Internet Visit The Pyramid Scheme

Written by  Elyse Wild
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The Hood Internet
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
June 22, 8 p.m.
$10 advance, $18 day of show
18+, (616) 272-3758

Though Steve Riedell and Aarone Brink are rarely in the same room, the two just released their seventh mixtape and remixed more than 500 tracks. While Riedell resides in Chicago and Brink in North Carolina, the mash-up duo known as The Hood Internet spent the past six years collaborating via the real Internet, remixing tracks that cut indie-rock with underground hip-hop and releasing them regularly to a growing fan base.

Reidell and Brink met in Chicago in the mid-2000s when they both played in the rock band May or May Not. The two became friends and started to experiment with remixing songs, and what started as a side project quickly became something more. In 2007, they began a blog under the moniker "The Hood Internet" as a platform to release the mash-ups they were creating for fun. That April, they unleashed "I'm a Flirt (Shoreline)," a remix of R&B star R. Kelly's "I'm a Flirt" and Canadian indie rock collective Broken Social Scenes "7/4 Shoreline." The remixed track caught attention all across the Internet, and has held it ever since. Despite all of the attention, The Hood Internet planned to keep creating, whether people noticed or not.

"A lot of times on the Internet, things get bursts of attention and it doesn't necessarily mean that it is something worth pursuing," Reidell said. "We were having fun doing what we were doing and people happened to like it. We would do it even if people didn't pay attention."

Their growing popularity came with invitations to play live shows just a few months after they launched their blog and started releasing mash-ups.

"(Our first live show) was at a place in Chicago called The Subterranean. It was a total disaster. We really didn't know what we were doing, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly after that," Reidell said.

Now, The Hood Internet tours heavily and recently played live shows in Brazil and South Korea.

What sets their tracks apart from the hordes of forgettable mash-ups released on sites like Soundcloud and YouTube? These guys don't just put song A with song B to create a semi-clever remix. Reidell and Brink having been playing in bands and writing music since they were teenagers, and they understand the anatomy of a song. The Hood Internet surgically removes elements of existing tracks and reconstructs a whole new beast. Most of their remixes pull songs from the indie genre and hip-hop, weaving guitar riffs, tight beats and juxtaposing vocals. Their significant arsenal of creations include '80s pop queen Cyndi Lauper vs. British crunk rapper Dizzie Rascal, rap legend Ghostface Killah vs. catchy indie-rock outfit Spoon, '90s hip-hop heavy weights Ma$e vs. Puff vs. B.I.G. vs. electro-pop artist Penguin Prison and hundreds more.

"Sometimes it comes from a notion about melodic or rhythmic similarities, other times it's a trial-and-error process, and very occasionally it's based on a title with a bad pun," Reidell said of the creative process.

Remixes have been around for decades, but thanks to a handful of artists, the past few years has seen mash-ups gaining credibility as an actual genre and craft. Remix artist Girl Talk, who composes one track using samples from dozens of songs, is largely credited with inspiring others that followed suite, and his work has been recognized by Time magazine, Wired and Rolling Stone.

The Hood Internet has seen its remixes performed live by the artists the duo samples from, notably in 2008 at the BRIT awards when English indie rock duo The Ting Tings performed its song "Shut Up and Let Me Go," with vocals from R&B artist Estelle's song "American Boy," exactly the same way The Hood Internet cut the two tracks together. Most recently, R. Kelly performed one of THI's mash ups live.

"In some ways, it's nothing new: people have been incorporating other people's words and melodies into their own compositions for a minute now," Reidell said. "But in the modern landscape, you see things happening, like R. Kelly performing his own vocals over one of Phoenix's songs at the Coachella festival (in April)."

To hear it for yourself, go to

 Suggested Tracks:

- Cyndi Lauper vs. Dizzie Rascal
- Just A Friendomania (Biz Markie vs. Phoenix vs Classixx)
- Kanye West vs. Daft Punk
- Drake vs. Kavinsky
- Big Tymers vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

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