Patrick Paige ii of the Internet on His Debut LP, ‘Letters of Irrelevance’
‘Hindsight is 20/20,” Patrick Paige ii tells TIDAL. “I learned so many lessons. All the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, I’ve gone through that.”
On his debut album, Letters of Irrelevance, Paige, who is also the bassist for The Internet, dives into his mother’s passing, his falling out with his sister and “the things that [he] could have said, that [he] should have said.” It’s a candid project that incorporates his various influences, from D’Angelo to Thundercat, and features some fresh voices from his musical network — SYD from The Internet, his good friend Kari Faux, his favorite L.A. rapper G Perico and more.
Like the other members of The Internet, Paige is exploring his own creativity outside of the group. With Letters of Irrelevance, we learn that Paige is not only a talented bassist, but a singer, rapper and skilled lyricist. Read below as Patrick talks about the process of the project and the impact his mother had on him as a musician.
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How does it feel to have your album out?
I’m anxious, but it’s more of a…I’m just glad that I did it. A lot of times I struggled with not being able to finish something or almost finishing it or taking too long. This happened just right.
What kind of responses are you getting so far?
A few of my friends want to fight me. They’re like, ‘You made me cry this morning!’
You incorporated a lot of different sounds on this album as well. How long have you been singing and rapping?
I’ve always messed around with rapping. Even when I first met SYD — me and SYD have been real close friends since 2007, before OF and all of that. I use to rap in her closet when she first was recording in her closet. I had fantasies about rapping, but it’s never something I wanted to call myself, a rapper.
Our keyboard player, Jameel, I have him to thank. If messing around or freestyling, whenever he heard me rap, he’s like, ‘It’s something you’re good at. Why don’t you do this? Like, why not?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess why not!’
My mom, before she passed, would tell me, ‘You have such a beautiful voice!’ I’m like, ‘How do you know? I don’t use it. I don’t sing.’ So I wanted to just try stuff. It’s definitely new grounds for me. Singing, though, I wouldn’t say I’m a good singer yet.
When did you start making this album?
‘Voodoo,’ me and my good friend Julian, one of the best piano players I know. I met him on Jhené Aiko’s tour. He plays for Jhené Aiko to this day. I met him in 2014, and we just started making music at his house. I started playing the bass for that, and he started playing the keys, and I sent it to a friend who played guitar on there. I’ve been working on this for a while. I wrote it a couple of years ago. It’s been a process, some stuff is new. It’s like a timeline.
When you’re going into this project and making something that’s entirely yours, how is it different from making something with the Internet?
The Internet…we’re like a super megazor. It’s five of us. We all have really good chemistry already because we’re friends first. Making music for us isn’t hard at all. Steve will start the chords, or I’ll start the baseline or Chris will have a drum loop or Syd will start some chords. It can go so many ways. It’s really working with different ideas with different people versus being alone and getting out my ideas right there on the spot.
Every single idea we all have doesn’t work for The Internet, but most of them do and they all blend. Every single idea that I have that I want to use or Steve or Syd or Chris or Matt will use for our solo albums, that works for us.
When you’re writing, do you have any ritual, or do you just jump into it?
It just happens. I just jump into it. A lot of it will be late night, I’m just making a beat or something. For example, ‘The Best Policy,’ I made that beat at three in the morning, and I just instantly started writing. It just happened, and I was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ It wasn’t something I planned. The best songs I write just come out of nowhere, like with most artists. I’m not special for that.
Your mom and her passing were a big part of this. I want to know what part she plays in your artistry. When you were growing up, what was she playing and how was she encouraging you as an artist?
She was a singer. Had one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. She was my biggest fan and supporter. Of course, I was too stupid to realize that or see that or be appreciative. Hindsight is 20/20. I learned so many lessons. All the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, I’ve gone through that. Drank, cried, whatever. You name it. She’s the reason I am an artist. She always gave me that room for creativity.
Growing up Christian, there were certain things I wasn’t allowed to listen to when I was younger. She would be like, ‘OK, if you want to listen to rap, why don’t you listen to gospel rap? Oh, you like rock now? Go listen to gospel rock.’ She was always trying to steer in those lanes.
Even when I got older, she’s like, ‘I just don’t want to hear it. Don’t play it out loud.’ She’s the key component. I wouldn’t be an artist if it weren’t for her. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. I just wish I could tell her I appreciate her.
Do you see this album as a gift to your mother?
Not so much a gift, but definitely getting some things off my chest — some things that I could have said, that I should have said. Not just to her, but to people, certain situations in general. Just how I feel about everything. Got real dark.
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