December 21, 2020

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Hip-hop is home to endless iconic groups, from Odd Future to A$AP Mob and now… AG Club. The next hottest act out of the Bay Area, AG Club consists of Baby Boy as the lead vocalist and in-house graphic designer, Jody Fontaine who raps and writes, Mick Anthony who sings and raps, and Manny aka 777MEDIA who serves as their go-to director for visuals.

In a world where social media numbers and clout unfortunately take precedence, AG Club pays no mind — they’re simply focused on themselves and doing what they love. With absolutely no genre boundaries or confinements to their art, it’s the dynamic within each member of the group that yields undeniable high energy, relentless bars, braggadocious punchlines, and a whole lot of swag.

Coming off the heels of an explosive remix, tapping NLE Choppa and A$AP Ferg on breakout single “Memphis,” the guys showcase their ability to both sing and rap, while bringing their songs to life in their cinematic visuals. Now, they return with their newest single and visual for “Columbia,” holding fans over until their highly-anticipated debut album titled FYE (F*CK YOUR EXPECTATIONS), set to release top of the year.

Flaunt caught up with AG Club via Zoom to discuss their roots in the Bay, the inspo behind their name, new visual for “Columbia,” getting Ferg and Choppa on the “Memphis” remix, studio essentials, goals, and more!

Photo credit: Ceremony of Roses

What part of the Bay are you guys from and how does that influence your music?

Jody: We’re from the East Bay, Antioch area. It’s not as alive as the rest of the Bay is like Oakland or San Francisco. It’s a trickle down area where we get the excess. Growing up there being interested in the music we’re interested in and trying to make the music we wanted to make, it wasn’t very common in our area because everyone was trying to rock with the sounds coming from Oakland or San Francisco. Us not being directly in the center of all the activity, we got to be exposed to a bunch of different inspirations outside of a regional sense. We grew up around Bay Area music, but we weren’t the Bay Area kids.

You didn’t come up to the Hyphy Movement?

Jody: 100%, but our lives didn’t revolve around it because it wasn’t around us 24/7. It was just another piece of inspiration upon many inspirations.

Biggest influences coming up?

Mick: In high school, I started expanding my music because I was surrounded by a lot of Bay Area rap and classic rock. High school I started going into all types of lanes.

Babyboy: When I was growing up, my grandma used to listen to a lot of Michael Buble. I have a thing for Michael, not gonna lie. My mom used to play a lot of reggae and rap music, whatever she was listening to I was listening to in the car. Getting into my own music taste, I remember my cousin showed me Frank Ocean and Odd Future. I really started getting into them from middle school to high school.

What was the inspiration behind your name?

Jody: We started making music in Antioch. At the time, not many people were making the type of stuff that we’re interested in making. We wanted to open up a door for people who were interested in what’s considered weird stuff then. AG: Avant-Garde is a movement in art, like a reformation. It’s a change in how people see things, it’s weird pretty much. [laughs] That’s what we were. We wanted to create something people could feel a part of, make people feel “alright just because you’re from a certain place or you’re around this certain type of style, doesn’t mean you can’t do whatever you feel.”

Everybody coming from our city was trying to make this one particular type of music. The Mike Sherm era and a little before SOB x RBE, everybody was trying to chase that same wave. As much as we love listening to it and as fun it is, that’s not where we’re coming from. We wanted to say “yo if you don’t want to make that type of music, that’s okay. You can make shit like this, it’s not a problem.” That’s why we’re Avant-Garde Club, we want people to be able to not only feel a part of what we’re doing, but let our shit make them more comfortable to do the shit they want to do. Not feel the pressure of having to ride the wave to feel accepted.

“Columbia” out now, how are you feeling?

Jody: It’s pretty tight, “Columbia” is a really wild song with a really wild visual. This is the beginning really, we have so much stuff to come. Now it’s starting to feel like the rest of the world and the rest our audience is so late. We have so much stuff we’re sitting on, so much stuff we’re waiting to put out. “Columbia” dropped and we’ere already moving onto the next thing. We got a lot to do.

Who’s idea was it to have an alien land in the visual?

Babyboy: The original idea was too expensive. [laughs] We were some Men In Black type characters, we’re going to take out a whole mothership full of aliens. We were supposed to have aliens marching through the streets wherever we were, we’d have glasses. They told us we didn’t have enough money so we had to shrink it. Still use an alien but just one, not as many special effects.

Where was it shot?

Babyboy: That was in LA, we shot that around Culver City and the Venice area as well. What was the best memory? I could say the worst memory.

Everyone: [laughs]

What was the worst memory?

Babyboy: I was an alien, the makeup wasn’t on me. It was paint but it was wet the whole time so anything I touched would turn blue. I couldn’t touch my clothes. I had to stand in a T pose all day, it was wack but it ended up looking cool. It was fun.

Talk about how creative you guys get with your visuals.

Babyboy: From the beginning, we’ve always wanted to do everything from the ground up. When we make a song, we usually spark ideas from the jump. We’ll say something like “okay, let’s work on this. Let’s build on this.” We’ll get together and conceptualize the video. Me and Manny have been doing video since high school so we’ll shoot it, it’s always been like that.

“Never stoppin, tell the club haters they should lay low.” How do the haters fuel you? 

Jody: It’s funny because In high school, I was a huge Lil B fan. BasedGod task force. Me and my friends would say we were the Lil B task force. Anytime someone would diss Lil B, we’re there to attack. It’s funny now that we make music and we’re at this stage, people will come for us and we have a little bit of a task force building. We have some fans that’ll really get grimey over AG Club. There’s a couple of crazy fans that really have our back and we appreciate them. Weird to be on the side of it now.

You guys are super fresh, how would you describe your drip?

Jody: I just started caring about how the fuck I dress. The only reason I care about how I dress is because of Babyboy. I’d see him pull up at the crib when we’d be making music in 2019, he’d always have a fit on and I always have sweats on. I’d never really get it, we’d go out places and I’d never really understand it. At the beginning of this year, you know what I’m about to start putting on clothes. Babyboy’s the reason that I even care about what I wear.

Mick Anthony: When I first followed you, I’m like bruh this boy got drip. Babyboy been had the drip, he’s classy.

Babyboy: And now I wear the same thing every day for two weeks, but I’m fancy.

How’s it feel to have “Memphis” hit over 1.7 million views? 

Everyone: Crazy, really wild. Super mainey.

Jody: We used to get so juiced for getting 500 views. Every single view used to count back. Back when we’re at home and could name every single fan of ours from the top of our heads, it was crazy. Damn 500 people like our stuff, 600 people like our stuff. Nowadays we can’t even keep track of how many people like our stuff. We don’t even know the majority of the people listening, I can’t name a million people right now at all. It’s mainly because it’s gotten way out of control, it’s fire though.

Best memory from the original “Memphis” shoot?

Jody: The funniest thing was when the cops pulled up on us in my old neighborhood when we’re doing the droptop scenes. We’re riding around in the whip going 5 mph, it looked like we were going crazier than we actually were. We really weren’t going that crazy, the police still pulled up on us and were trippin’ on us. They used to pull up on us for every single video shoot from the very beginning. The first video we shot for the song “Summers Over,” the first one that Manny and Babyboy shot for us. They pulled up on that one and it became a thing. Now in hindsight, I look back on that and that’s the last time the cops pulled up on us because that’s the last time that we were in the bay. That was the last video that we did before we moved and everything got crazy. That means so much because damn. [laughs]

How was getting Ferg and Choppa on the remix?

Jody: Choppa happened because Choppa’s from Memphis, he heard the song and was interested in it. One of our managers Lil Jake knows Choppa and had a connection with him. That was the first one, the one we knew about from the beginning. One day during summertime, we got a call from Brad our manager. He’s talking really weird about famous people as a flex. He said “someone heard your song, they really like it and want to get on.” We asked “who?!” He said “I don’t know if you know him, but he made this song called ‘Shabba’.” We all lost it, we’re going crazy because Ferg is a don. That’s a legend. We got to kick it with Ferg, that was super fire. He did his verse in the studio, he played a bunch of music for us and we played music for him. We got to kick it with Choppa when we shot for the video.

Where did you shoot that at?

Jody: We shot with Choppa in LA at the Walt Disney music wall. We shot with Ferg in downtown LA, that was the original alley right?

Manny: The original block from the Pharcyde “Drop” video.

How’s it feel to be compared to an early A$AP Mob or Odd Future?

Jody: Crazy. You stay up all night as a 12-year-old watching Odd Future videos and A$AP Mob videos like “damn, I want to be like that one day.” I want to kick it with my homies, have the world at our fingertips. Not even giving a shit because we’re kicking it together, just living. Now for people to even say it makes them think of that, even if they’re not comparing us, the fact that they say it reminds them of that is crazy. It’s mind-blowing, makes you forget that this is real life.

3 things you need in the studio?

Everyone: [laughs]

Jody: We talked about this the other day. Babyboy needs some type of game whether it’s the PlayStation set up, a Switch set up, or Minecraft. Ben needs some weed, it’s 100% necessary. I said candles. Most importantly, I need everybody there, all the homies there and I’ll be straight.

One thing you want fans to get from Halfway Off The Porch

Jody: Just do It. Anything they want to do, do it. Jump off the porch already. Halfway Off The Porch is crazy because we’re making music for two years before Halfway Off The Porch came out. We started off making music because it was fun, but then life got in the way. A lot of people around us were quitting and giving up. We had jobs, bills, mama needs this, family needs that, we gotta pay rent and feed ourselves. That was breaking a lot of people and made a lot of people fold, but we kept pushing because that’s what needed to be done. The biggest takeaway from Halfway Off The Porch for anybody who listens is just do it. Figure out what you want to do and do it, go all in because it’s going to be worth it. Whether you figure that out in two years or 20 years, I’ll be worth it to some degree.

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

Jody: We have the regular ones, we want to sell out a stadium. Definitely get a Grammy. We’re much more concerned about what we do outside of music. We want to make films, make a name for ourselves in the film world. We have a whole brand part of our team called Impressions, we want Impressions to take over the world. Becoming a collective that does everything, not just music. Music is a stepping stone, we want to take over all facets of everything. Babyboy does all of our merch, one day our merch could be its own brand. Not artist merch but an actual brand that people buy regardless of music. We want to take over everything to the point where people who didn’t even know we make music, know about us and respect us.

What can we expect next?

Jody: We got FYE, F*ck Your Expectations on the way. That’s our next album coming out the top of next year. We have a shit load of visuals. We got some different series we’re rolling out on our YouTube, different skits. “Memphis Pt. 2” video coming before the end of the year.

Photo credit: Ceremony of Roses

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