Seeing Sounds with AG Club

AG Club are wistfully reminiscing over their recent brush with destiny as opening acts for Pusha T on his It’s Almost Dry tour. Jody Fontaine recalls one specific moment when he met Pharrell backstage. A true icon, he reminds us, as he proudly peels back his sleeve to unveil a N.E.R.D brain tattoo (placed amongst […]
by SOPHIA HILL Oct 12, 2022

AG Club are wistfully reminiscing over their recent brush with destiny as opening acts for Pusha T on his It’s Almost Dry tour. Jody Fontaine recalls one specific moment when he met Pharrell backstage. A true icon, he reminds us, as he proudly peels back his sleeve to unveil a N.E.R.D brain tattoo (placed amongst a collection of tastefully inked odes to the greats). And it’s this feverish excitement over anything music-related that carries on into the rest of the day’s shoot as we rabbit back and forth, geeking out over favourite albums and music videos.

Curiosity is a powerful tool, and for a group like AG Club, the mechanism behind their inexhaustible potential and enticing pull. There are no closed doors for them, if their inquisitive nature has led them down any given path, they will pursue it without hesitation. Their expansive appreciation of genres is just one cog in their wheels: with in-house videographers, designers, and producers like Cajh, Ivan, and 777Media – to name a few – the crew can craft their wildest dreams into reality. But it’s not all about the DIY wave for these avant-gardists, “We could just bust it out ourselves… But it’s about finding the time and carrying these ideas out once we have all the resources to make it really crazy” says Baby Boy.

The group officially formed in 2017, but leading up to that is a cheery tale about a handful of strangers who were drawn together by a deep-seated love for music. Jahan (AKA Baby Boy) and Jody initially met each other through Twitter after Jody happened upon some of Baby Boy’s music. After a few DMs, the two decided to meet, in a church no less, and the combined tag team brought their infectious energy worldwide from that day forward. In 2019 the group shared their debut EP ‘In My Mind: The Prequel’, and soon after came breakthrough track ‘Memphis’: an out-and-out artistic statement of shaped chaos, which rightfully inducted them into the hall of fame. Shortly after, the track was remixed alongside A$AP Ferg and NLE Choppa.

Their latest album arrived earlier this month titled Imposter Syndrome. The name alludes to those feelings of self-doubt, burn out and the pretence that surface with success. And although such shortcomings are an inevitable outcome, it’s also something that is felt by those who are most likely to prosper (evidence can even be found in research). And there’s no denying the pair have this sense of youthful self-assurance that is seldom found. “I feel like we were right at that sweet spot where there’s this feeling of possibility. But even just growing together there’s been times where you have those self-doubt moments and fortunately, we were in a group where we could lift each other up…” adds Jody.

Listening to AG Club is like feeding your inner child. With Baby Boy’s dizzying harmonies combined with Jody’s breezy flows, you can’t help but become enveloped in their fun-loving world of blue aliens and stop-motion mini-verses as the pair match each other’s energy in perfect synchronicity. It can be true to say that everything seems merrier when surrounded by friends, and if you’ve ever watched one of AG Club’s music videos you’d know exactly why. Their approach brings to mind past generations who pioneered the original hip hop supergroup blueprint. Specifically, the mid-90s to early 2000s rise of groups like N.E.R.D, Outkast, The Pharcyde, A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul. Much like this era, AG Club is this generation’s musical wayfarers with a natural ability to create something others will inevitably follow, effortlessly taking listeners back to their salad days. As connoisseurs of cool and instigators of dreams, it’s groups like AG Club stand to serve the generations beyond them.

GUAP: First off, you’ve just completed your tour with Pusha, which is a crazy accomplishment in itself right there. How has that been for you?

JODY: The Pusha tour was dope. It was a little different from what we’re used to because the crowd is a little different, so we had to adjust to that. But it was really fire. He’s a legend. And we got to meet him and Pharrell at the show in LA so that was a dream come true. It still doesn’t feel real yet.

Do you prefer these huge shows? Or are you more into those intimate performances?

BABY BOY: I’d say for me, it’s kind of like they’re both doing the same thing. We are still reaching somebody that we wouldn’t have reached otherwise. So in reality I love both show formats, it’s like a huge stadium crowd or just like 50 people in front of us…

When you’re young there can be this arrogance to try and hand at anything, a confidence you might start to lose as you get older… Do you think that if you met later on in life you would have started this supergroup?

JODY: You know what, thinking about it… I don’t think we would have.
BABY BOY: I agree. I feel like if we had waited till further down the line… Where would we have even been?
JODY: There would have been too many insecurities to have started this now. I feel like we were right at that sweet spot where there’s this feeling of possibility. But even just growing together there’s been times when you have those self-doubt moments. Luckily we were already in a group where we could lift each other up and can say ‘No, you still got this!’. But having to go through that before we established any of this, I don’t know… We probably would have just been like ‘nah, forget it’.

You start to overthink things…

JODY: Exactly.

I have to bring up the Memphis video – inspired by the incredible Spike Jones-directed ‘Drop’ video – how hard did you find emanating what they did there?

BABY BOY: I think the hardest part was trying to figure out what to hang off of upside down!

Not the part where you had to say your bars backwards?

JODY: Surprisingly not. At least, that wasn’t hard for him! [points to Baby Boy]
BABY BOY: It just took a little bit of practice. We just played it backwards and then had to try and kind of reenact that audio.

Spike Jonez would be an incredible director to work with. But if you could work with your director of choice, who would that be?

JODY: Ooo, who would we say? I think with this question, whoever you say has to work with you [both laugh]. It’d be so sick if we could have Wes Anderson do a music video.

Imagine those visuals!

JODY: I feel like, because there’s two of us, right there is a perfect parallel visually. So there would just be so much opportunity to do some crazy ass shots with the symmetry that he works with.

It’s clear that AG is a true force of creativity: the shows, the videos, everything. Do you ever envision taking your creativity a step further? Perhaps a film or series?

JODY: Nothing coming up right away, but there are so many ideas that we have and that we want to execute. I’m kind of working on some of those things, we definitely want to branch out to movies and TV shows, that kind of thing for sure.
BABY BOY: We have so many ideas for films and shows that we just build on all the time. But it’s about finding the time and also doing it once we have all the resources to make it really crazy. Because we could just bust it out ourselves, which we’re not against; but at the same time, if we wait a little bit longer then we can get into a situation where we can really bring this to its full potential. With all these different resources and stuff to really make it stupid.

There’s always been this talk around you guys being the DIY pioneers etc. But in reality, you can now level up and take that next step..

BABY BOY: Exactly. See, with the DIY pioneer thing it’s funny… I just want to say, because that wasn’t necessarily a choice [laughs].
JODY: We just didn’t have any money. So we just did everything ourselves. And we’d love to do things that way. But you know, of course, you want to be able to take different resources and really take your ideas to the next level like that. That was always the goal, to just upgrade the hell out of our ideas.

No doubt. I’m curious, have you guys ever just walked into a random location or maybe you’re watching a TV show and you suddenly hear one of your tracks?

BABY BOY: There was one time I was getting my hair braided and my hairstylist was playing a show… I forget the name of the show but it was a reality TV show. And our song started playing. And I’m sitting there in the chair looking at her laptop, and I’m thinking should I say something?… She’s like, ‘are you okay?’ And I just responded with ‘Um, yeah… I’m just… this is my group’s song playing’ [laughs]

Do you feel like that gave you a new layer of appreciation for what you’re doing?

Yes! Definitely.

And now here you are, performing in Europe, doing photoshoots in London… In just a few years you have gone international. When you both first met, if you told each other this is what you are going to be doing… What would your reaction be?

JODY: [to Baby Boy] Remember that one time when I saw you at that church or whatever? And we had only talked maybe one time on Twitter.
JODY: And that was the first time that I met you in person and we at the time it was, ‘Oh, hey, what’s up! Nice to finally meet you.’ What if, at that moment, I walked up to you and I was like, ‘In five years time… We’re gonna be in London, doing an interview talking about how we just played at the main stage of Wireless Festival.’ Imagine. I don’t think we’d be here now if I said that [laughs].

You might have established a weird friendship out of it for sure…

A lot of good music comes from the Bay Area, but you guys have been able to really break away from the standard in many ways. How would you say the Bay Area has influenced your creativity growing up?

JODY: It’s just really diverse. Especially coming from the East Bay it’s just a melting pot of different people and influences. But any opportunity, there were lots of fellas from Oakland and we would take trips to wherever. So we would go to different spots and there’s just so many different cultures and things like that within the Bay. There’s a lot to play with. And also there’s this bounce, there’s just this swag with people that are from the bay that is really cool, like this natural coolness. And I feel like that carries on into the things that we do and our overall image.
BABY BOY: Just the love they have out there, they really show a lot of love for this stuff. That’s rubbed off on us a lot. We just love that shit.

My last question to you guys is – having built yourselves up to this point, what does it mean to have success?

JODY: Just the younger kids looking at us and what we do, and being excited about it. Encouraging them. Growing up, we really loved the music – we grew up looking at Odd Future and A$AP Mob… We came up, looking at all these groups of friends doing this type of thing. When we were first doing our thing it wasn’t something that could be thought about coming from our neighbourhoods. And doing the things that we’re doing now, a lot of people were judging it saying, ‘ah that’s so stupid, like, stay in college.. or get a job…’ And because of that, a lot of people just give up. We’ve seen so many people like that, who were a little bit older than us, who really were really passionate about it just give up because they had to. So when we do these shows and these kids walk up to us, and they’re like, ‘Yo, me and my friends, we make music’. That situation to me is insane. When we were doing that, in the beginning, we didn’t really know if it was going to work or not. So now, five years later, there are kids that are following our formula, which didn’t even exist before. It’s really dope, that shit is the most important thing. That’s what’s going to keep us pushing forever.

Creative Director + Producer + Journalist : Sophia Hill | Photographer : Zek Al Bostani | Stylist : Jermaine Robinson | Stylist’s Assistant : Israel Runsewe | Make-Up & Hair – Blessing Kambanga