Freestyle Frenzy With Timeflies

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I caught up with Cal and Rez of the hip hop/techno duo Timeflies last Friday on their way to perform at The Granada in Lawrence, Kansas. If you’re not familiar with the Brooklyn-based duo, just wait. Their first album The Scotch Tape debuted on September 19 and is definitely worth talking about.

Not Your Typical Tuesday

They’re the perfect example of the power of YouTube. Cal and Rez began producing weekly webisodes called “Timeflies Tuesday” to stay in touch with fans by remixing songs and creating original beats to freestyle raps. 

“Rez works on the beat for a little while, and then we come up with a way to do topics,” said Cal. “I just walk right up and do it and try to keep the freestyle integrity.”

From classics like Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son”, “Say Ah” by Trey Songz and their most recent cover of The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” each Tuesday never disappoints. The Disney favorite “Under the Sea” boasts the most views and features Rez on the steel drums. “My mom actually bought the drums for me as a graduation present,” said Rez. ‘Under the Sea’ is a pretty classic steel drum piece.”

The Scotch Tape

They describe their sound as “electro hip-hop” but try not to limit themselves by categorizing their music. “We’re not really in to the whole genre thing,” they said.

Originally meant to be a mix tape, The Scotch Tape evolved into an album of original songs inspired by Cal’s beverage of choice. “Well I really love scotch, and the vodka tape didn’t sound as good,” he said.

The response has been huge and unexpected. After the album’s release on iTunes, people haven’t stopped buzzing about Timeflies on Twitter and Facebook. “It was pretty wild. We did not see it coming at all,” they agreed. “People will tweet us lyrics and stuff like that. It’s nice to see that they really like it because we put a lot of time into it.”

On the Road

Timeflies’ recent tour has taken them to college campuses and local venues, but life on the road is something they had to get used to. Performing is part of the job but doesn’t seem like work. They’re just partying with the crowd.

“It’s a different story every day,” said Cal. “It’s fun because whether it’s a packed house or 100 people you learn to play your best show every time.”

For now, it’s all about learning, improving and putting on a great show, but things can get crazy. A near death experience for Rez’s laptop in Dayton, Ohio, meant the show must go on. “We were jumping around stage to ‘Cars Money and Fame,’ and the laptop fell off the stand and died,” said Cal. “I guess Rez and I were jumping too hard. So, I said, “Have you guys seen Timeflies Tuesday?”

While Rez was dropping a beat and fixing the computer, Cal started freestyling. Just as he was about to finish the verse, Rez cued up the laptop and hit it with “Under the Sea.”  Everyone went wild. “Everyone was saying, ‘You definitely planned that’ after the show. I definitely didn’t just bang my laptop on the ground for fun,” joked Rez.

What’s Next?

“Who knows,” they said. A mixtape is in the works, but don’t expect anything different from Timeflies. They’re not interested in signing to a label anytime soon but continue to focus on recording in their apartment in Brooklyn while staying true to their small town roots.

“We’re gonna keep making music, keep doing Timeflies Tuesday, and not try and be something else,” said Cal.

Having Some Fun:

Favorite Nintendo 64 game
A toss up:  “Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart.”
 
First CD
Rez: “Macy Gray”
Cal:  “James Taylor”
 
Celebrity Crush?
Rez:  “Jessica Alba”
Cal:  “Scarlett Johansson”
 
Favorite alcoholic drink?
Rez:  “Vodka”
Cal:  “Scotch”
 
Favorite Holiday:
“Thanksgiving”
 
IU or Purdue:
“Don’t put us in that position! We love IU.”
Photo: by Josh Berlinger

Junior > Journalism & International Studies > Indiana University

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