Wordplay Magazine recently sat down with The Community’s Lenny Rudeberg, AKA Wisdom2th, to find out what computes deep within that fuzzy afro.
You’ve got new material on the way, what angle are you going for with this stuff?
I’m kind of trying to move on more or less from what I’ve got as a character, because I’ve been working with that computer concept for a while. I started writing new songs after the first EP; they were all pretty much the same shit [laughs]. So I thought why don’t I do an extended remix of it and maybe put a little more time, money and effort in to it and make it like a remix of the EP, plus more songs. So I’ll just extend it and be working with more people, like I’ve been working with D-Jeong and DJ Silence. I’ve been coming up with some other ideas as well that aren’t necessarily hip hop.
Does that mean your envisioning other releases under a different moniker?
Well I’ve always been into just doing whatever. I like hanging out at Beat Lounge and chatting to people, so I’ve been hanging out with that guy Mad Muther Beats. He does traditional raw sample based hip hop stuff. We’re going to do a release together, just an instrumental thing.
The last gig I saw you at I had a chuckle at your cardboard buddy Frobot, it was like something out of Flight Of The Concords. Is that comedic element in your live act something that plays a driving role in your creative process as well?
Yeah it’s an amalgamation of different things, definitely the Concords, that was a big influence on me. I’d always joke around, I’ve worked with various different groups, my first band I was in was a ska-punk group out of high school, I’ve been in jazz trio’s etcetera, various different bands, and I’ve always been a bit of a goof-ball. When Flight of the Concords came out I was like, oh wow, you can actually do this stuff and people will like it.
As for Frobot, I had this addiction to humanoid robots and computer related things, and one day I was joking around with my mates and said wouldn’t it be funny if I made this cardboard robot and got on stage with it and starting rapping about robots and stuff. We laughed and then two weeks later it happened.
So yeah I’ve always been heavily influenced by comedic music and also heavily conceptual music, like Pink Floyd and Ziggy Stardust.
That’s cool, so you’re expanding your creative vision beyond music and in to a character concept. And how about the hip hop angle then, where did that cultural influence enter for you?
Basically when I was growing up, I mean you’re pretty much subject to your surroundings when you’re growing up. I didn’t get in to music until high school so I had no idea or interest in it until then, but I first started creating and playing funk. I composed stuff with a sax player and later jammed with a bass player and a drummer. But you know it’s like you hang out with people in high school and they’re like have you listened to Tupac, have you listened to Biggie Smalls, that sounds like that. And I’m like no, have you got a cassette player so I can play this stuff? And I picked it up. I was actually exposed to good hip hop before I heard the more commonly known stuff, so I was listening to like Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, those were the first artists I listened to. But yeah it’s basically always been an amalgamation of whatever’s around me at the time. Just recently I’ve fallen in love with ambient electronic music, stuff that’s really spatial and free, free of strong structures.
Yeah I suppose it leaves room for something out of the ordinary to happen when you open up the boundaries and loosen the structure.
Yeah I mean I’ve always been a big fan of not creating restrictions by saying I’m hip hop, therefore I’m this. I guess one of my most influential groups was De La Soul, because they came out with that track Me Myself And I, where in the music video there’s like one guy who all the kids are bullying because he’s different. So I took on what De La had as a message, which is that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, or what you do, as long as you love creating, just do it. That’s basically what I’m into, and I like to have fun with it. And hopefully everybody else likes it too [laughs].
When you see artists that are really in their element, it’s like their performance and their style is the fruit of their personal spirit and attitude that’s been shaped and shaped by their experiences over time. If you had to sum it up, how would you describe that spirit that your music embodies?
The way I think about it everyone knows who they are when they get to a certain age. They know what they like, they know what their interests are, but a lot of people internalize it, because they want to be accepted in social scenarios, they want to be human, part of the clan you know. But being part of something doesn’t mean you have to disguise who you are, you know, what makes you ‘you’. And that’s why I love creating Wisdom2th, because the character is like, “fuck it, I’m going to do whatever I’m going to do, if you enjoy it then come along for the ride, don’t let your restrictions and your beliefs control what you want to do”.
Talking about restrictions, money is obviously a big barrier in any creative’s life, how do you find the balance between being dedicated to your art and getting by under the pressure of the financial world?
It’s a struggle. I think every artist I know, even the more well established ones, all feel it. The Community‘s a big thing. In The Community, I think every artist in that establishment, in their own way, balances working some kind of part-time job and creating in their spare time. Some of them are more successful publicly and get more from it, but yeah it’s a grind. Dan [Coin Banks] is a good example, he’s a very hard working individual and he’s put a lot of time in to his music and he’s broken through on Triple J and become huge, doing what he’s always done. I bet he’s thinking, what’s coming next, I got to keep pushing. There’s always that grind.
Do you think marketing is a mandatory process in that respect?
I don’t like comparing myself to different artists, I don’t think you should have to fight to create things, you just create it and if people like what you create then you can share that with them. But at the same time you have to be competitive in the music industry to be identified, it’s a marketing thing that is separate from the art. But yeah it’s definitely more common these days because there’s no real money in art itself.
You just got to love it right. So while we’re on marketing, how about a plug for your gigs and new tunes dropping soon?
I’m hoping to get this Wisdom2th expansion out as soon as possible. As part of that I’ve got two music video’s on the go, so there’s that. Other stuff with D-Jeong and DJ Silence will probably be out next year. There’ll be a production album with Mad Muther Beats out at the end of the year. I’ll be on stage at The Manor on Friday 1st of August and then at the Indi Bar on Saturday 2nd of August. Apart from that, I’ll just be riding the wave, seeing what comes up.
By Lyndon Kidman
Photography by Daniel Craig
Keep in the loop with Wisdom 2th at www.wisdom2th.com