Featured

TWO FEET / WON’T SHOW HIS CARDS ALL AT ONCE

November 6, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Two Feet is in his own lane with his own sound, with his own tremendous cult-like fanbase. Hailing originally from New York, the singer-songwriter, producer, and guitarist is the originator of “electronic blues, R&B sex music.” Reeling in genres from all angles, to date he’s racked in over one billion streams and 6 million monthly Spotify listeners.

Going viral with his breakout single “Go Fuck Yourself” back in 2016, Two Feet, whose real name is Bill Dess, went on to hit #1 on the Billboard Alternative charts with “Feel Like I’m Drowning.” Aside from the sonic soundscape listeners are instantly engulfed in, it’s Two Feet’s message that does not go unnoticed. His lyrics acknowledge that our worst behaviors and impulses are often deliberate and premeditated. Sometimes we know we are being drawn to the darker side of things and we do it regardless. It is his fearless acceptance of his weaknesses that endears him to his loyal fans and somehow neutralizes their shame.

Fast forward to 2020, the recording artist is excited to be releasing his forthcoming album while simultaneously debuting his sonic alter ego. The lead single “Think I’m Crazy” speaks volumes to the voices in Two Feet’s head, inspired directly from the internal and external demons he had to overcome as an artist, who left his major label deal with Republic Records, to finally be enjoying the taste of newfound independent and creative freedom.

Max, the titular character that serves as the protagonist of Two Feet’s upcoming album is an amalgamation of the people and experiences Two Feet has encountered, while tackling his own mental health issues in the past.  Flaunt caught up with Two Feet at the Kandypens house in the California hills to discuss his future, his alter-ego Max Maco and why everyone likes to have sex to his music.

Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

Biggest influences coming up?

Honestly I listened to a ton of hip-hop, I really liked Eminem and 50 Cent. I’d listen to Amy Winehouse, Rufus Wainwright, Radiohead when I was younger. It eventually branched out to electronic music like Flume and ODESZA, then I got into more house-music. I really like Nicolas Jaar and Dark Side.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?

When I started making money from it. The first time I ever made money through music, I was asked to make a 30 second sound clip for one of my dad’s friend’s company he was starting. He gave me a couple hundred bucks, I thought “oh okay, I guess I could actually do that for a living.”

What inspired your name? Do a lot of people ask you that?

A lot of people ask me that, I give them a different answer every time. It was intuitive. It came out of the air, it created itself.

Mikey (manager): A wild night. [laughs]

There’s got to be some significance in Two Feet.

There’s not, it came out of nowhere. People get very angry at me, they’re pissed off. They’re like “I thought your cousin’s uncle went to Mars” that’s what I said during a GQ interview. But, the truth is, it just came to me, like the ether.

Do you like the number 2?

I do, that’s why. 2 is my favorite number. If you have 2 of something, you have more than 1.

“Go Fuck Yourself” has 397 million on Youtube alone, did you foresee it going viral like this?

No, I definitely did not. Didn’t think that was ever going to happen. I thought some people might like the song, the way it popped off is beyond belief to be honest. I didn’t even have management. I literally posted it online, it was organic. No money was put into it at all. No ads were put into it, no pitching Spotify for playlisting, no nothing. Completely 100% organic.

What was your reaction?

I’m like what the fuck’s going on? Overnight, it had thousands of plays from nothing. I had a bunch of major labels reaching out to me, had a bunch of managers reach out. I decided the name “Go Fuck Yourself” and Two Feet at the same time. I didn’t even know what Spotify was, I didn’t have Spotify so I just posted it on SoundCloud. This was 2016, it blew up and continues to blow up because it’s also one of the biggest TikTok songs.

Were  you ready for all of this attention?

Not at all. Honestly, I thought I was going to become a producer for rappers because that’s what I was doing living in Harlem. I was producing beats for the kids around me. They would give me $200, or not giving me the $200. [laughs] I was doing that forever so that’s what I thought I was going to end up doing, until my own stuff with myself singing on it started popping off.

Talk about your stint at Republic Records and what happened.

I had a lot of success with Republic. They’re very good at doing what they do, which is push songs on radio. I had a #1 song on the radio then, “Feel Like I’m Drowning.” They did a lot of successful things for me. At the end of the day, I own my earlier music and was seeing how much money I was making from my independent music, because I never sold that to a major label. I compared and contrasted between how much I was making from the music Republic owned. I thought I’d love to get out of this deal, because I stream no matter what. They honestly were nice enough and we parted ways totally well. “ I  think because they’ve had success together and they were like we don’t want to hold anyone’s creativity, so spread your wings, do your thing.”

How’s it feel to be independent again?

We started a month ago with the first single from it, just came out of it. Honestly, it’s been great so far. The key is I’ll own my masters forever. The difference between seeing 18% of your own royalties versus seeing 100% of your royalties is dramatic. People continue to stream music no matter what so it’s checks forever. That and the fact I get to have complete creative control to do whatever I want. If I want to spend money, I can spend money in places I want to spend it. It’s not being spent without asking me. I’ve liked it a lot better, definitely feels like I’m guiding myself more.

“Think I’m Crazy” is out now! What were you going through recording this one?

My new album, I created a Two Feet universe that my fans live in. I look at it separately from me, Bill. They’ll either call me Bill or Two Feet, that made me start separating the 2 universes from each other. This new album I added an additional character to the universe, his name’s Max Maco. The whole album is going to be from the standpoint of Max Maco, be about his whole journey.

Writing it was super different from anything I’ve done before. Putting together a movie, hiring an acting coach, we dove to the character and stripped everything apart. I wrote a novel explaining the characters’ background to write the lyrics for the album. It’s been a very different experience, this is the first single. I don’t expect people to get it yet until the whole thing’s out. Once everything’s out, it’ll make a lot more sense. We have it set up at least, not show all of the cards at once.

What can we expect visually?

We’re putting out an animated series for Max Maco to tell his story. It’ll make it more engaging for people to understand the story before the album comes out. We just finished some of the voiceover work for that.

Max Maco – how did the name come about?

I had it in a dream. I woke up like “that was a weird dream,” I was the person in it. I Googled the name to make sure I wasn’t using anyone’s name. This isn’t anyone’s name, I actually came into my head.

Is this going to be your alter ego? 

I wouldn’t say an alter ego, but an additional character in the universe. We’re together, but he’s his own thing. He dresses his own way too. Right now Two Feet’s in the room, I didn’t want to come as Max and freak you out. [laughs]

How is music an outlet for you?

Without music, I’d have no outlet. Sometimes when my life gets thrown off, I usually break down to the fact that I’m not consistently writing, working on music, or thinking about music. I have to be doing it all the time or I’ll go a little crazy. It’s important for everybody to have a creative outlet. Not even creative, something you’re passionate about in any sense. It could be anything,  it doesn’t have to be creative. Something you’re passionate about that you want to think about and wake up for.

3 things you need in the studio?

Cigarettes, a guitar obviously, then Ableton.

You produce everything yourself?

Yes, play all the stuff too. I need complete creative control or I’ll go crazy.

Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

How is it creating your own lane with your distinct sound?

The artist Sub Urban is a really good friend of mine, super talented. When we first met, he told me he loved “Go Fuck Yourself.” He said he doesn’t believe anyone’s copied a drop more than how many people have copied the “Go Fuck Yourself” style of bass and guitar. He’s heard it copied so many times exactly, so many people have tried to rip that. In a way, I created my own mini-genre within a genre. Honestly I’ve been trying to move away from it the past couple of years because I want to branch out and explore more stuff. I’m in my own lane, more artists are joining in which is good for me because I get more inspiration. I can listen in on younger and newer people like “oh that’s a cool idea.” I can still learn from everybody no matter what.

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?

I think about that all the time. I might be dead, or… I could never have gotten through school. I might be painting houses, chillin’ and relaxing. Becoming a ski instructor, but I’d have to learn how to ski first. Something chill.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to do interviews. [laughs] I’m kidding. I like doing stuff associated with my career for fun. Sometimes it can be awesome, playing festivals, playing shows, talking to interesting people. On my own for fun, I really like hiking up Runyon. I like to play with my dog, watch movies. Normal person stuff.

Do you miss performing?

Yeah, more than anything. I feel like part of my body has been chopped off, which is fucked up. I really miss performing.

Have you been able to do anything virtual?

We’ve done some virtual stuff, got some super good reactions. I’m happy about that because sometimes guitar solos or vocal stuff, really cool moments in shows are lost forever after the show happens. But when you record it live, you get to keep it online and it lives forever. Moments and certain solos are now captured and stored on my YouTube page, which will live forever.

Goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?

I’ve had a 4.5 year career. I see people fade in and out in 16 months. I’m super proud that every year, my project’s growing. My sales are going up, my touring is getting bigger. I want to be a bigger artist when I’m 40 years old than I am right now. Not a flash in the pan, not a 15-month 2-year long career, we’ve already passed that.  Long-term 15-year plans: keep everything going. Showing everyone how I can play the guitar, how I can write songs.

Anything else you want to let us know?

Album top of 2021, you’ll meet Max Maco. Thank you so much for having me.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply