As one-half of The Hood Internet, Steve Reidell has made a career out of mashing songs together. What you may not know, however, is that Reidell also mashes food items together to create beautiful culinary concoctions.
Next to electronic mixmeister Greg “Girl Talk” Gillis, Reidell and fellow beat alchemist Aaron Brink are, as The Hood Internet, probably the most recognized brand in madcap DJ ingenuity. On their latest offering, the aptly titled The Mixtape Volume Six, the two bring together the likes of Tyga and Neon Indian, Rihanna and tUnE-yArDs, Taio Cruz and Foster the People. Behind all these loony couplets lies a genre-defining sense of taste—The Hood Internet’s combination of Broken Social Scene (“7/4 Shoreline”) and R. Kelly (“I’m a Flirt”) made waves when it first dropped in 2007, and has garnered a surprising amount of radio play, to the point where many mistake the revised arrangement for an original song. Again, in 2009, The Hood Internet’s blending of Estelle (“American Boy”) and The Ting Tings (“Shut Up and Let Me Go”) found a larger audience when the bands themselves replicated the same track live at that year’s Brit Awards.
The Hood Internet’s curious assemblies don’t stop there—the duo landed an award from Urlesque in 2010 for their blog Album Tacos, where they superimpose images of tacos across famous album covers. (Bruce Springsteen hiding a taco in his bomber jacket? A mischievous burrito leaping out of The Black Keys‘ El Camino van window? Yes, please.) Reidell and Brink’s odd love affair with tacos most recently manifested itself in the form of album art for their self-titled release, The Hood Internet, where the two spent no less than $465 on Taco Bell tacos in order to make their gloriously absurd vision a reality.
The world that Reidell and Brink have created can be overwhelming; it’s a place where Dead Prez can rap alongside Grizzly Bear‘s celestial choruses, and the Beastie Boys (R.I.P. Adam Yauch) are able to freely shake rumps beside Matt & Kim. Reidell, who takes our phone call from his kitchen, has set musical tinkering aside for the evening to prepare dinner.
JOHN TAYLOR: What are you doing right now?
STEVE REIDELL: I’m making vegetable gumbo. Right now I’m having trouble mincing garlic.
TAYLOR: Are you cheating, or are you using an actual knife to mince the garlic?
REIDELL: I don’t know, man. I’m knifing it up. I’m at great risk of cutting myself, as I am anytime I try to cook something. The Hood Internet does dangerous interviews.
TAYLOR: Walk me through this veggie gumbo. What’s going in the pot?
REIDELL: My girl got me a vegetarian cookbook, so I’m trying to make something out of that.
TAYLOR: A “vegetarian slow cooker”?
REIDELL: The slow cooker is not made for vegetarians. It’s just a regular slow cooker.
TAYLOR: Oh, I misunderstood.
REIDELL: I was thinking, what if the slow cooker was actually a vegetarian, and what if the slow cooker doesn’t actually cook meat? You try to put meat in there and it just fucking barfs.
TAYLOR: How’s that garlic coming along?
REIDELL: I’m looking at an eHow, which is what I’ve done every other time I’ve minced garlic. I don’t quite have it down in my memory bank yet. I think if I could get better at chopping vegetables, then I would be a much better cook. But this is the thing that generally slows me down. I got mad cloves going on here. I’ve got these onions cooking… I might start crying. This interview might get really emotional.
TAYLOR: Let those tears fall. I’ll tell my editor it was the onions that did you in.
REIDELL: I’ve been reading that Steve Jobs book; the biography of Steve Jobs. He cries a lot. Never really during cooking though.
TAYLOR: What made Steve Jobs cry the most?
REIDELL: I can’t tell you that, because I haven’t finished the book. So far, it’s when he goes over to Steve Wozniak’s house, in the early days of Apple, and Steve Wozniak’s dad is real mad. He goes, “You didn’t do anything, my son deserves all the money and the credit,” and Steve Jobs just straight up starts crying. I mean, it’s real. It’s real and it’s emotional. I can’t take that away from him. I shouldn’t even call it a scene. It’s real life.
TAYLOR: If Steve Jobs were still here, do you think he would be better than you at mincing garlic?
REIDELL: He probably could. He was a fruits and vegetables kind of guy. I bet he had an iPhone app that would chop it for him.
TAYLOR: What’s a really good food mash-up? Veggie gumbo and…?
REIDELL: There’s this restaurant in Chicago, the Soup Box. You can take any two of the foods on their menu. They have 12 different soups every day, and you can just mix two of them together. They have really good gumbo—it’s not vegetarian—just regular gumbo. Sometimes I mix that with their veggie soup. I have mixed their chicken chili with their beef stew, both of which are pretty good. I guess I don’t know what the best one is.
TAYLOR: This interview is brought to you by The Soup Box.
REIDELL: [laughs] The Soup Box is one in a long list of many that we have promoted, even though they didn’t ask us to. Just like Arby’s.
TAYLOR: …and back to that gumbo! What’s the status?
REIDELL: I’m just cooking these onions, celery, got some garlic in here. I’m trying to get this bottle of bay leaves open… little bitch.
TAYLOR: What does eHow say about opening up a bottle of bay leaves?
REIDELL: Whoa, buddy! Take it easy.
TAYLOR: Say you have your own cooking show. What are you cooking?
REIDELL: I would try to recreate an Arby’s roast beef with organic ingredients.
TAYLOR: Sounds difficult.
REIDELL: Wow, these bay leaves are fragrant. Here, let me ask you a question about bay leaves. So I’m opening up this jar, and it’s got a little punch hole thing at the top like it’s a pepper shaker. You’ve got to take out this whole leaf. What the fuck is the purpose of that thing? Am I supposed to crumble this up?
TAYLOR: Perhaps you could put the gumbo in the bay leaf jar, and then finish cooking it in there.
REIDELL: It’s not gonna fit, but I’m gonna try it anyway.
THE HOOD INTERNET ARE ON TOUR NOW, AND ARE PLAYING AT IRVING PLAZA IN NEW YORK TONIGHT. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE ARTIST, AS WELL AS THEIR LATEST RELEASE THE MIXTAPE VOLUME SIX, PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.