Photos by Ria Bose
As a part of UCLA Radio’s Camp Flog Gnaw coverage, we have had the incredible opportunity to interview some of the hottest names in the world of alternative R&B. My press partner Mary and I had the pleasure of speaking to Jody Fontaine and Baby BoY of AG Club, a creative rap collective rising to prominence with their eclectic blend of genreless music, graphic designs, audiovisual content and more.
Ria: We are so excited to interview you guys! You are really iconic, you’ve been on the festival circuit for a while and at Coachella you successfully filled it up by 2:15! Now you’re at Camp Flog Gnaw, how do you feel about the festival circuit you’ve been on this year?
Fontaine: It’s been crazy, it’s very fun to do these things.
Baby BoY: Full circle, full circle!
Ria: Do you prefer concerts, festivals or both, depending on your mood?
Fontaine: I like festivals because we can do a bunch of stuff and see a bunch of other artists too. Concerts are cool but it’s very one-and-done, you gotta keep moving. This is a bunch of fun because you can just chill out.
Baby BoY: Yeah, I agree – it’s like a bunch of mini concerts,
Ria: You have mentioned before the importance of visuals for your music and this is clear through your meticulously planned music videos. How do you guys bridge the gap between your audio art and visual art, and what’s the creative process like for those music videos?
Fontaine: To be honest, I feel like there really isn’t that much of a gap. A lot of times when we make music, the visuals come as we’re making it. A lot of ideas spring up as we write the words, as the beats are being made. It all happens at the same time usually, and if it doesn’t it’s still very hand in hand. However the music makes you feel, it comes through in the video.
Ria: Yeah, I get what you’re saying! They’re not mutually exclusive, they interact a lot with each other. You can be inspired by visual forms to make music and the other way around too.
Fontaine: Yeah exactly!
Ria: Are there certain artists or concepts that you like to pull inspiration from, not just for your music but also for your music videos because they’re so interconnected?
Baby BoY: Lots of movies!
Fontaine: Yeah, lots of movies. And also TV shows, old ads and stuff like that. Definitely movies though, for sure – we pull a lot of inspiration from different films.
Ria: What movies have you taken inspiration from recently, and for your favorite projects?
Fontaine: Well, Wong Kar-Wai for sure, he’s been a big facet for us. For the new thing, we’ve taken inspiration from Better Call Saul.
Baby BoY: Wait, lowkey?
Fontaine: Like the billboard.
Baby BoY: Yes! Yes, yeah.
Fontaine: Yeah, Better Call Saul, and like Godard, French new wave cinema. And Playtime by Jacques Tati. Just like a wide mix of films that are very artful and colorful, I feel like that’s the stuff that really catches our eye.
Ria: Is there a dream collab that you envision or a collaboration you really enjoyed working on, and what aspects of this person/group’s artistry do you admire the most?
Baby BoY: I feel like Pharrell, that’s a big one. I guess for me, [Aska Agway Awka], that’s been a collab that just hits every time. He’s our bro, he’s from Sacramento but he’s out here now. Every song we make with him is super sick, and anything he hops on is just…
Fontaine: Magic! Really solidifies it.
Ria: I also know there’s the AG Club collective that you guys have, which isn’t just music but also includes videographers, fashion designers and graphic designers. How did that come to be, and how did you guys come to execute that vision? How do you feel about the collective now and in the future?
Fontaine: We’re from a kinda small area, we’re from the 925 (East Bay Area). There’s neighboring cities such as Brentwood, Oakley, Antioch and they’re all pretty close to each other. Because we’re from such a small-ish area it’s kind of Riverdale-esque – everyone just kind of knows each other or you know someone who knows someone. And that’s kind of how it happened. We were making music and we knew that that’s what we were passionate about. I found out about Ivan because he was making videos and photos that I thought were really cool. The rest of our friends that are part of the collective are either people that we’ve met in our time in the city or people we’ve known from way back. It’s one of those places where if you’re doing something like that, you know pretty much everyone that’s doing something like that. It’s a big part of what we do because it keeps us grounded, and it allows us to do whatever we want with our best friends. We don’t have to go and get people to accomplish things because we have our own team, which is pretty great.
Ria: I guess it’s also good because since you guys are from the East Bay, it reminds you of where you guys came from and where you started out. You’ve been working together for a while, so there’s also that sense of community you’ve built within yourselves which is visible in the work you put out.
Baby BoY: Exactly! We’re a family.
Ria: I’ve also heard there’s a house in LA where you guys swing by and watch movies – what movies have you guys watched recently?
Fontaine: Recently we’ve been so stressed out, I’ve been so stressed out about Camp Flog Gnaw that I haven’t really had much time to watch many movies. But my homie Manny and I had been watching a lot of stuff before we started getting prepared for this. We watched High and Low by Kurosawa, which was dope. We also watched The Birds by Hitchcock – we like to go on movie dates, me and Manny. Lots of Wong Kar-Wai of course, and lots of Godard. I love all French new wave, but I love Godard. I love Contempt by him, and also Weekend – an amazing film, so beautiful visually and very inspiring. His films, Kurosawa’s films are really good things to put on in the studio on silent and work with. They get you thinking.
Baby BoY: Insomniac Spiderman!
Fontaine: Oh yeah! I feel like I watch a lot of movies and he watches a lot of shows. He’s got the shows, run your shows.
Baby BoY: Spiderman is what I’ve been playing, but I’ve been watching a lot of anime. Recently I’ve been watching Spy x Family and Doctor Stone, nothing crazy and super thought provoking.
Fontaine: You’d say it’s a calm little vibe?
Baby BoY: It’s a calm little, real light vibe. I’ve been playing the new Spiderman too. I honestly forgot the question, I just know that I wanna say it’s Spiderman.
Ria: You know what? Sometimes you just need to shout out Spiderman.
Fontaine: Yeah, facts
Ria: Love it. This is a more of a fun question – what sets are you looking forward to at this festival, and what sets have you seen that you’ve really enjoyed?
Baby BoY: Ice Spice, the Hillbillies.
Fontaine: We saw Kali, we saw Tyler. Saw a little bit of Clipse, which was really dope. Today I’m trying to see redveil, Yachty and Earl Sweatshirt! About to cry at that.
Baby BoY: SZA, for sure! We wanna get as close to SZA and cry. Winding our hips, it’s gonna be dope.
Ria: For sure! My friends said they wanted to mosh to Normal Girl at SZA’s set.
Baby BoY: Bro, our boys were saying the exact same thing. Open the pit up! There better be some.
Ria: In other interviews the artists have mentioned how this festival is a sample of the best in the industry, all together as a community of artists. Have you guys felt that community as you’ve prepared for this?
Fontaine: Yes, I think this is different from all other festivals because it feels like everyone’s here just living. All these crazy superstar people are kind of just existing, which is super dope because we get to exist in their space. Me and my girlfriend took a picture with Nardwuar yesterday, which was crazy.
Baby BoY: Wait, because he was in that little box right?
Fontaine: He was standing outside of it, that’s why we were late to Teezo Touchdown. I wanted to go inside the box but I didn’t want to invade his space like that.
Baby BoY: I was like damn, how do we get in the box?
Ria: Since UCLA Radio is an online, completely student-run radio station, we aim to uplift student artists and collectives that are in our area and in the greater LA community. Is there any advice you would like to give to up-and-coming artists on how to navigate the industry, how to stay driven and passionate?
Baby BoY: Just be casual. Be casual.
Fontaine: Yes, be casual. And our new thing that we’ve been saying is commit to the bit. If you think that you want to be in a certain position or if there’s something you would like to accomplish, you have to already see yourself there. You can’t always see yourself as trying to get to that point, you have to operate as if that’s already your reality. I feel like a lot of times we get really nervous and self-conscious and stuff, the homies will get self-conscious. With this new era and everything, we’ve been like “no bro, you’ve just got to commit to the bit”. Wherever you’re at, whatever you’re doing, act like you’re supposed to be doing it. Act like you’re supposed to be there and you deserve your spot, because nobody’s going to make you feel like you deserve your spot if you don’t already act like you’re where you’re supposed to be.
Baby BoY: If you want to be a doctor, if tomorrow you say “I want to be a doctor” nobody is going to tell you you’re a doctor. No one will treat you like a doctor. But if you keep working and you keep studying and studying, you’ll become a doctor. It’s the same with music. When you first start, it’s gonna be rough. But you keep going, you keep building yourself and you keep showing what you can do – and that’s what people will recognise.
As we get the opportunity to spotlight incredible talent, we would truly appreciate your support in helping the artists we interview by checking out their amazing work! Catch AG Club’s latest release, their EP WE’RE ALL BRODIES* on Spotify, Apple Music and more. Additionally, check out the AG Club website to keep up with audiovisual content produced by the talented collective.