Chiddy Bang, an alternative hip-hop group from Philadelphia, killed it on the stage at the Majestic last night as part of the AXE One Night Only Tour. The group Chiddy Bang is made up of Chiddy, the emcee, and Xaphoon Jones, the DJ and producer. The Badger Herald caught up with this lively duo backstage before they graced the stage.
BH: So, I did not hear about this concert until yesterday. Has it always been your plan to just come here, give out free tickets and go on your way?
Xaphoon: It’s part of the way that AXE is running the tour. They are producing the whole tour with us, Diplo and Lunice and this is their style of doing the shows. When we signed up for the tour, we knew it was going to be kind of secret and hype at the last minute.
Chiddy: It’s dope man. That definitely makes it interesting. It’s like, ah, we tell you guys three days, two days before we’re doing the show — Diplo, Chiddy Bang and Lunice are gonna be here, get them tickets. Well not even get them tickets, cuz it’s free. So that’s like, it’s free, they’re just gettin’ a good experience right there.
BH: Yesterday there were certain spots where they were giving out the tickets and the lines were insane. Have you guys been getting a lot of tweets about it?
Xaphoon: We have.
Chiddy: Yeah, a fair share.
Xaphoon: When Diplo tweets about it he tags @chiddybang the group one, but he doesn’t tag Chiddy’s personal one. But yeah, there’s been a lot [of tweets].
BH: Do you guys respond? Are you active with the fans?
Xaphoon: I respond to unique shit, not to like the tweets you get hundreds of times, like, ‘You should check out this song.’ But if some kid is like, ‘Hey, did you produce this song from Big Sean?’ I’ll be like, ‘yeah, I did’ just to clear it up.
BH: What is it like for you guys to be on stage with a huge crowd that’s really excited about your music?
Xaphoon: That’s more of a question for Chiddy because I’ve been performing since I was like nine. So it doesn’t even really register with me anymore. But I have felt nervous like once.
BH: When was that?
Xaphoon: Lollapalooza. Like when you do a festival in the UK, it doesn’t matter really, cuz if you fuck up, no one at home cares. So doing an American festival for the first time was like, ‘Oh shit, you better nail this shit.’ And we did and we had an amazing time.
Chiddy: For some reason I wasn’t nervous for that one.
BH: Do you get nervous?
Chiddy: Sometimes, maybe, yeah. Glastonbury [England].
Xaphoon: Yeah, you do. Well, you’ve seen when I get nervous; I’ve seen when you get nervous.
Chiddy: You see when I get nervous? It’s not often.
Xaphoon: It’s not. It’ll only be like … if we’re opening for someone and that’s not the same genre as us then Chiddy sometimes gets nervous. Usually after a couple songs he’s good.
BH: How do you guys react to the crowd when they’re really excited?
Chiddy: It’s the best thing. When they’re…
Xaphoon: It builds off each other.
Chiddy: Yeah you build off each other. You get the energy from the crowd and that’s way better than being in a situation where the crowd isn’t giving you anything. If they’re just standing there looking at you, that’s just wack. But I’m still gonna go hard regardless.
Xaphoon: Not as hard as if the crowd was going crazy.
Chiddy: Not as hard.
Xaphoon: Chicago is the best example. We did a small show for our fans around the album release and the energy was so crazy that Chiddy was like, ‘OK, Chicago, about to go in.’
Chiddy: Chicago just…
Xaphoon: One of our shows in the UK we just did there was crowd surfing. I was pouring champagne.
Chiddy: We poured champagne in London, but Manchester I feel like ‘I Can’t Stop’ was absolutely crazy.
[Comments about opener Lunice killing it as the interview ensued]
BH: How do you guys like performing to college crowds? Is it different than other crowds?
Xaphoon: I think we like it the most because it’s people our age. We’re both 21, so.
BH: Oh, really?
Chiddy/Xaphoon: Yeah [in unison]
Xaphoon: So we’re all the same age, so performing for your peers is the goal. It’s the dream.
BH: You guys met in college, right?
Xaphoon: We met freshman year.
BH: Alright, so what’s in store tonight for the crowd? Do you have any hints as to what’s about to go down?
[Pause 10 seconds as Chiddy listens to Lunice dropping a beat]
Xaphoon: Old songs, new songs and explosions.
BH: Is every show different?
Xaphoon: Some shows are similar, but I think every show is different because sometimes you freestyle, sometimes we switch it up. We like to talk about the set list like 30 seconds before the show starts. We can see what the vibe of the crowd is. Switch it up.
BH: What is a typical show day like for you? What have you guys been doing today?
Xaphoon: Today we flew into Madison, went to the hotel, showered, came here [Majestic Theatre], started setting up, started drinking and now we’re about to go on.
BH: Is that how tour is for you guys?
Chiddy: Yeah, then the next day we get in the van and drive off and go to the next city.
Xaphoon: It’s different every tour. Sometimes you’re taking a bus with other people, sometimes you’re the headliner, sometimes you’re opening, sometimes you get a lot of food, sometimes you get a little beer [motions to beer that he is holding].
Chiddy: But a lot of times you’re driving to a different city each day.
BH: Do you guys like being on tour?
Chiddy: Um, yeah, I mean, it’s fun. I feel like we do it, but, do we not realize we’re doing it, or…?
Xaphoon: We miss out on certain things, like you miss out on the normal social life of college and you miss out on having a normal group of friends you’re always with. But, for 21 year olds, it’s fun ‘cuz you travel and I think we have fun with it. And we’ve just come to accept it because we care about the music thing, so we have come to be like, ‘yeah, this is part of it.’ We learn to love the positives in the situation.
BH: What is your social life like on tour; do you go out?
Xaphoon: That’s why it’s good — we are friends with Diplo and Lunice because if you’re not friends with the other acts on tour then you just chill. It depends. We try to be open-minded and have fun wherever we’re at.
Chiddy: Always ready to have a good time.
BH: So, I know that Breakfast just came out, what has the response been like to your new album?
Xaphoon: Crazy, we sold a lot more than I thought we would, and we made a lot of people happy. I thought it was a really good point A because we have so many more things to do now. I feel like the best point A is something that is simple and positive, and that’s what Breakfast is — really positive. It showcases a little of what we love, plus what we are able to do on the single side, but it leaves a lot of room for improvement, also.
BH: So what’s next?
Chiddy/Xaphoon: Lunch [in unison].
Xaphoon: These guys [crowd at the Majestic], mix tapes…
Chiddy: Australia. We are going on tour in Australia.
Xaphoon: To write more music you have to have more life, to inspire more music.
BH: What inspires your music?
Xaphoon: It’s hip-hop. It’s everything. It’s new genres. It’s being alive and being a young person in 2012 and having so much at your fingertips with so many options and so many ideas and so many tools to use to make those ideas come true. That’s really it.
BH: Do you guys have anything else to add about the show?
Chiddy: It’s gonna be live, we just have to do it big. He’s (Lunice) goin’ off right now, do you hear this? [Inaudible banter about Lunice’s performance] It’s only right we go in and do an excellent show, and that’s what we’re going to do.