Hanna Schwinn ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly Books Writer
The two halves of psychedelic rap duo Sonic Selection are as different from each other as night and day.
In one section of an oovoo screen, Mazing, wearing a black baseball cap so it half-obscures his eyes, talks like he raps: fast and clever. He’s sitting on a rooftop deck in the Bronx, resting after a long day of helping a few friends paint an African-inspired mural.
In the another section, Lukie Spitta relaxes in his Boston apartment, wearing a red beanie and black square-rim glasses. He is quieter with a steady gaze: the passion to Mazing’s enthusiasm, the slow-burning embers to ground Mazing’s fireworks.
It’s a yin-and-yang relationship that has worked since the two met in high school, growing up in Boston, Massachusetts. But most best childhood best friends don’t go into the same industry as each other, much less work side-by-side.
“It just kinda happened,” Spitta shrugs.
Also on the call is Robie Rowland, the head sound engineer of the recording studio, Echo Boston, where Sonic Selection records. Rowland is also Sonic Selections’ producer.
He thinks they’re perfect together. “They came in, and they were rough, but I liked their sound. Talented right off the rip, with a natural ability. They just needed some extra work.”
That extra work has made Sonic Selection the mode-breaking artists they are today. “Pop music is a formula,” Rowland says. “These guys make their own, original sound, so they’re in the studio working more than most artists.”
Mazing and Spitta attribute all the credit for their sound to their egalitarian work style.
“There aren’t a lot of pictures of us in the studio recording, because we’re just so focused,” Mazing says. “It’s just Lukie and I in those moments, giving each other feedback, going back and forth.”
This back-and-forth paid off when they put together their newest single, “Dance With The Goons.”
“As far as the music goes,” Spitta begins, “I was on vacation and I had this beat stuck in my head. I played around with it for a bit, but I thought it was going nowhere because it didn’t have a bass line.”
He sent it to Mazing, who wholeheartedly disagreed and wrote the lyrics to prove it. “Dance With The Goons” is about the two of them—the titular goons—daring women to dance with them. It’s easy to dance to, a seductive, crazy-fun song.
“We just wanna have a good time,” Lukie insists. “We just wanna have fun.”
“Dance With The Goons” is the second single for their album, LIBERATION, but with all the other projects they have planned, a release date hasn’t been set. That doesn’t bother them.
“They’re true artists,” Rowland says. “They paint, they sing . . . They’re working on another project. And they’ll be doing more shows. They’ll have some merchandise, probably clothing but we haven’t really figured that out.”
What they have figured out is who they are.
“[Our music] is about the lightness and darkness of life,” Mazing says. “It’s happy, but we also have records that are pretty dark. You can listen to our songs when you’re in a good mood—or a bad mood, to give yourself the energy to fire yourself up and defeat the darkness.”
Is that what Sonic Selection is? A way to defeat the darkness?
Mazing takes a breath.
“Sonic Selection, in one sentence, is an exploration of color combined with an uplifting of spirit as well as an acknowledgment of darkness.”
He smiles, proud. The light of the rooftop deck where he sits illuminates his smile, turning it almost goon-like. It’s not altogether a bad image.
Then Lukie cackles. “The darkness, exactly!”