BLACKSTARKIDS Explain The Many Influences Behind New Album ‘Puppies Forever’

BLACKSTARKIDS Explain The Many Influences Behind New Album ‘Puppies Forever’







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Music & Sports Editor

Taking a page from everyone from FKA twigs to Sufjan Stevens, BLACKSTARKIDS’ dynamic new album is a reflection of ‘where they are now,’ which is a celebration of life and ‘having a good time.’

It has been a momentous year. Nirvana’s Nevermind turned 30, as did A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory and Pearl Jam’s Ten. Weezer’s Pinkerton turned 25, and the band’s Green album marked its 20th anniversary. Both 2Pac and Jay-Z’s All Eyez on Me and Reasonable Doubt crossed the quarter-century mark, and a plethora of records turned ten years old. And while the calendar has been dotted with dates celebrating the past, one date — October 15, 2021 — marked something significant regarding music’s future: BLACKSTARKIDS released their debut album, Puppies Forever.

For those who’ve followed the trio — TyDeiondre, and The Babe Gabe – their Dirty Hit debut is the culmination of the sound they’ve been growing for years. For those just hearing about the Kansas City natives, Puppies Forever is the perfect introduction to their limitless music, one defiant of genre and classification. BLACKSTARKIDS bathe in the haze of 90s alternative while stirring in Aughts’ pop-punk, 2010’s hip-hop, and a double-dose of timeless pop sensibility.

It’s a method that The Babe Gabe once described as a scrapbook approach to songwriting. “There’s so much music that you love,” says Ty in an interview with HollywoodLife “Growing up, I wanted to be like everybody. I wanted to be like Tyler [The Creator]. I wanted to be like Toro [of Toro Y Moi]. I wanted to be like [Chief Keef]. I wanted to be like Sufjan Stevens. Like FKA twigs and like Frank [Ocean]. When you go back, and you have so many influences that you hold in the highest esteem. It’s like, you want to pull a little bit from all of the people who you love. But, also at the end of the day, you’re just being you, and it’s all of this stuff that we grew up listening to, helped make us who we are.”

“It’s just the vibe of it is like, ‘Did you all hear this the other day?’” says Deiondre. ” ‘Yeah, that was dope. Let’s make something like that.’ I want our music to feel like that. It’s just hanging out, and you’re able to play while hanging out too. That’s how most of the songs came about, anyway. Just from conversations we have with each other.”


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“Just really on the chill side things, but really cool at the same time,” adds Deiondre. “I don’t even know how to specifically word our sound, most of the time either…”

“Yeah,” interjects Ty. “If somebody asked me to describe our sound, I will be like, ‘Which, one?’”

That patchwork sound first began to turn heads with 2019’s Let’s Play Sports, the first project in a trilogy that includes the group’s two releases in 2020 – Surf and Whatever, Man. The new album showcases growth in the band. “We’re just kind of in a different place in our lives than when we were when we were making the trilogy,” says Ty. “I feel like the trilogy definitely summarizes our life –leading up to how we even became this band. And then Puppies Forever is kind of reflection of life as [it is now].”

“We’re definitely on the good side of things with Puppies,” says Deiondre. “We’re in the future we’ve been talking about in the past couple projects, for sure. We’re touring right now. We’re playing all the songs. We’re having a good time.”

The band is also meeting their heroes – almost. BLACKSTARKIDS played Riot Fest for the first time this year. It was the trio’s first time at a festival, period. In an on-location interview with iHeartRadio’s The Adventures of Pipeman, the group said they were hoping to meet Ice-T since the rapper/actor was scheduled to play with his Grammy Award-winning group, Body Count.

“We were so close to him. So close to him,” says Gabe. “Our trailer was right next to his, and we had a bunch of interviews to do in the middle of his set. So, I was really disappointed,” added Deiondre. Ty noted that he could have met Ice-T but opted not to. “He was very close to me. I could’ve walked up and talked to him, but he didn’t seem… I like Ice-T a lot. I love him a lot, but it’s just, he’s very hyped. He didn’t seem like he was in the mood to talk to anybody.” When asked when he was going to make the connection happen, Ty says, “when I’m worthy of Ice-T. I need to put in some work before I talk to Ice-T.”

That day is coming sooner than Ty thinks. Puppies Forever is set to be one of the albums that soundtracks a generation. The album’s seamless blend of influences and sounds reflects not just a lifetime with the Internet’s boundless access to every music known to humankind, but a sharp creative vision – one that extends beyond the music.

“When we have something ready, it just comes out. It’s not really something that I think we ever thought that much about,” says Ty. “We made the songs on Puppies in 2020. We’ve been sitting it on a while, just doing everything else. You make the songs, but then, it’s like, ‘Alright. You got to think of art direction. You got to think of videos.”

“—It’s like a whole world,” adds Gabe.

“We have to take the time to do the things around the songs,” says Ty. “We end up sitting on the songs just to make sure that we know what we want to do with them after they’re done.”

(Jake Kelly)

Though the band’s approach is almost instinctive, there have been moments when allowing a song to simmer has yielded unexpected results. “This song, ‘Frankie Muniz’ — at first was my least favorite song on Whatever, Man,” says Ty. “It wasn’t going be a single, but I don’t know what happened because we were going to do ‘Tender In Love’ as the single, which is really weird to me now. But, we ended up doing ‘Frankie Muniz’ for some reason, and now that’s our most-streamed song. It’s one of my favorite. It’s probably my top five songs that we’ve ever made.”

On Puppies, Gabe’s favorites are the surging “Jimmy Neutron” and the head-boppin’ “Time Flies Flies When You’re Having Fun.” Ty echoes her choice while throwing love for the dreamy “Pals.” Deiondre likes “Piss Drunk Kids,” a celebration of the highs and lows of being young. The penultimate song, “I Hate Being In Love,” is the New Order song that bassist Peter Hook wished he had written.

“I came up with that song title just randomly,” reveals Ty. “I had written it down in my notes. I just knew I wanted to use it for something.” The song was made around Whatever, Man but didn’t fit in the tracklist. “With Puppies, it just made sense for what was going on in our lives. Not even just with the sonics, like what we were doing with the album. It just made sense, and so that’s kind of how that song came together, and we were definitely inspired by ’80s movies, like John Hughes movies stuff like that, like [Ah-Ha’s] ‘Take On Me,’ and the video was an inspiration and then like Simple Minds‘ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me.’ Sh-t like that.”

(Jake Kelly)

The group will soon share this take on 80s movies when they hit the road at the start of November, supporting fellow Dirt Hit act, beabadoobee.

“Bea is especially somebody who we now view as a peer and contemporary,” says Ty, “which is awesome. But still an influence and like somebody who was doing the stuff that we wanted to do, just a little bit earlier we were. So we were definitely looking at her videos at home like, ‘Damn, she’s going crazy.’ And we found out she’s the same age as us. “So it was even more of inspiration when we were finishing Surf to go crazy with what we were doing. So now, to be label mates with somebody who we were literally looking to as inspiration is crazy.”

Acts like BLACKSTARKIDS and beabadoobee are poised to make Dirty Hit the Sub Pop of Gen Z. Being on the same label as The 1975 and Rina Sawayama isn’t lost on the group (“They’re a big influence on the stuff we’re doing,” says Ty ), and they’re quick to give love to labelmates. “There are lots of people on the label who are doing cool, crazy shit. Like my friend Medici is our label mate, which is crazy, because he’s amazing. He hasn’t put anything out yet, but you guys will know who that is soon.”

Soon is a good word to apply to BLACKSTARKIDS. Soon, everyone will know who they are. The new album has already received great reviews from places like The AV Club and Consequence. Soon, they will be selling out headlining tours. Soon, they might even have their own movie, a version of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

“It would start off with us being broke and then just try not to be and then we’re like, ‘What the hell, do we do,’” pitches Deiondre, “and then we’re like, ‘Let’s start a band or something,’ and then each of us secretly just is super good at music and sh-t and then it would be the wackiest f-cking movie.”

“And Ice-T would be the antagonist,” suggests Ty. “He’s trying to stop us,” adds Deiondre. “He’s like, ‘Damn the BLACKSTARKIDS, I f-cking hate them BLACKSTARKIDS,’ and then he sends all seven of his bandmates to get us to stop.” But, as everyone will find out, there is no stopping BLACKSTARKIDS.

The year 2021 has been full of self-reflection on the records that have defined music’s past and present. With Puppies Forever, there is now an idea of where music is going, a guiding North Star poised to be as influential as any other landmark album celebrating an anniversary this year.

Though, BLACKSTARKIDS aren’t really into that hype.

When asked how fans in the future – ten, twenty, thirty years from now – might describe the band when inevitably citing BLACKSTARKIDS as influences, Ty just shrugged. “Some kids f-cking around, just doing sh-t,” he said of the band, with a smile. “Just [kids] doing sh-it.”

 

Shia LaBeouf & Margaret Qualley Split After He’s Accused Of Abuse By Ex In Lawsuit

Shia LaBeouf & Margaret Qualley Split After He’s Accused Of Abuse By Ex In Lawsuit

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News Editor

Shia LaBeouf and Margaret Qualley have called it quits, according to a new report on Jan. 6. The news comes after the actor’s ex, FKA twigs, accused him of physical and emotional abuse in a lawsuit filed in Dec. 2020.

Shia LaBeouf and Margaret Qualley‘s relationship has run its course. “They broke up on Saturday. They’re just in different places in their lives,” a source told People, citing the breakup date as January 2. It’s unclear why the two reportedly parted ways, especially since they’ve been spotted together in recent days as Shia faces  allegations of abuse by his ex-girlfriend FKA twigs (née Tahliah Debrett Barnett).

Shia LaBeouf & Margaret Qualley on an early morning jog in his Pasadena neighborhood on December 29, 2020. (Photo credit: MEGA)

Another source revealed that Margaret, who is the daughter of actress Andie MacDowell, was aware of the “backlash” she received for staying with Shia amid the abuse allegations. The first source added that Margaret’s top priority remains her acting career, and she is “ready to get back to work.” The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actress will soon travel to Canada, where she’s set to begin filming a movie alongside Margot Robbie, who also starred in the latter film.

It’s unclear when Shia and Margaret got together, although it’s rumored that sparks flew when they starred in the music video for Love Me Like You Hate Me — a song by Margaret’s sister, Rainey Qualley, who goes by the artist name, Rainsford. Shia and Margaret have not confirmed or addressed the split report, and HollywoodLife has reached out to representatives for the actor and actress.

Many fans assumed Margaret decided to stick by Shia after news of his ex’s lawsuit went public. They were spotted together on a number of occasions since FKA filed the court documents in December of 2020. More recently, Margaret and Shia were seen holding hands on Monday, January 4, according to People. Before that, Shia and Margaret were photographed on early morning jog in his Pasadena, CA neighborhood on December 29.

Shia LaBeouf & FKA twigs on a stroll in LA. (Photo credit: MEGA)

In the December 11 lawsuit — which FKA filed in a Los Angeles Superior Court — the 32-year-old singer recounted a specific alleged incident “just after Valentine’s Day 2019″ where Shia was driving recklessly while she was in the car. FKA claimed when she “begged” to be let out of the vehicle, Shia allegedly assaulted her. HollywoodLife obtained the aforementioned court documents.

Shia responded to his ex’s abuse allegations in an email to The New York Times, which read: “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt,” Shia continued, adding, “There is nothing else I can really say.”

Following news of the lawsuit, HollywoodLife reached out to reps for both Shia and FKA for comment. FKA’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman, shared the following statement with us: “Shia LaBoeuf has abused Ms. Barnett, Ms.Pho and others. We tried to resolve this matter privately on the condition that Mr. LaBeouf agree to receive meaningful and consistent psychological treatment. Since he was unwilling to agree to get appropriate help, Ms. Barnett filed this suit to prevent others from unknowingly suffering similar abuse by him.”

On Christmas Eve, Shia’s attorney confirmed that the Transformers actor was seeking treatment. “Shia needs help and he knows that. We are actively seeking the kind of meaningful, intensive, long-term inpatient treatment that he desperately needs,” Holley told our sister publication, Variety, almost two weeks after FKA filed the lawsuit against her ex. Additionally, Olivia Wilde has allegedly fired Shia from her movie, Don’t Worry Darling, after insiders told Variety that the actor “displayed poor behavior” and that “his style clashed with the cast and crew.”

Shia began dating FKA after he cast her in his film, Honey Boy. The relationship began sometime after his split from actress Mia Goth in 2018, and lasted less than a year. The pair was fairly quiet about their relationship while they dated.

Shia LaBeouf Kisses GF Margaret Qualley After Ex FKA Twigs Files Lawsuit Accusing Him Of Abuse

Shia LaBeouf Kisses GF Margaret Qualley After Ex FKA Twigs Files Lawsuit Accusing Him Of Abuse

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Shia LaBeouf wasn’t shy about packing on the PDA with GF Margaret Qualley. They were spotted making out in his pick-up truck after she arrived in LA.

Shia LaBeouf, 34, and Margaret Qualley, 26, were spotted getting hot and heavy! The couple were seen making out after Shia picked Margaret up from Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, Dec. 19 in photos obtained by the Daily Mail. The Transformers star and Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood actress walked towards his Ford white pickup truck where they weren’t shy about putting their PDA on full display.

The 34-year-old actor appeared to lift Margaret into the vehicle as he began kissing her. Margaret affectionately wrapped her leg around him as they made out in the parking lot, continuing the session as they entered the car. They both appeared to be happy and smiling as they held hands on the stroll, with Shia also offering to help with her blue Away suitcase. Margaret — who is the daughter of actress Andie MacDowellpreviously dated SNL star Pete Davidson, 27.

Shia LaBeouf & Margaret Qualley. (MEGA)

Margaret was casually dressed in a gray crew neck and cozy sweatpants, rocking a pair of brown moccasin shoes. The brunette kept her hair up in a ponytail as she appeared makeup free. Shia was also low key for the pickup in old Converse shoes, gray shorts and a black fleece sweatshirt. He also carried her blue TNA Super Puff jacket ($298) from Aritzia, along with a blue Jansport backpack.

The very public display of affection comes after Shia’s ex FKA twigs, 32, filed a lawsuit against him. FKA Twigs — née Tahliah Debrett Barnett — is accusing Shia of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress according to court documents obtained by HollywoodLife on Dec. 11. In the documents, she alleges Shia was responsible for “reckless abuse” aimed at her. She specifically described an alleged 2019 incident where Shia threatened to crash unless she professed her love for him, also refusing to let her out of the vehicle. “I’d like to be able to raise awareness on the tactics that abusers use to control you and take away your agency,” FKA also said in an interview to the New York Times.

Singer FKA twigs has filed a lawsuit against ex Shia LaBeouf. (MEGA)

Shia also responded to the newspaper with a statement of his own. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel,” he said via email, going on to acknowledge that he struggles with alcoholism. “I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say,” he also said.

FKA Twigs Says Sharing Her ‘Abusive Relationship’ With Shia LaBeouf Felt Like A ‘Nightmare’

FKA Twigs Says Sharing Her ‘Abusive Relationship’ With Shia LaBeouf Felt Like A ‘Nightmare’







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Senior Evening Writer

Singer FKA twigs is revealing that she ‘never thought’ she could end up in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship, after suing ex Shia LaBeouf for sexual battery and assault.

FKA twigs is opening up about her decision to sue ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf, 34, accusing him of sexual battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress in documents obtained by HollywoodLife. After filing the December 11 lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, she now says that she’s hoping that by sharing her experience, she can help others who are in any similar situations as she was, and saying she “never thought” she could be involved in such a toxic relationship.

which is why i have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an intimate partner violent relationship leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option.

— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) December 11, 2020

In a series of tweets later on Dec. 11, the singer wrote, “It may be surprising to you to learn that I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. It was hard for me to process too, during and after I never thought something like this would happen to me. Which is why I have decided it’s important for me to talk about it and try to help people understand that when you are under the coercive control of an abuser or in an intimate partner violent relationship, leaving doesn’t feel like a safe or achievable option.”

the statistics on domestically abusive and intimate partner violence relationships are shocking and during covid i have been really anxious because i know many victims will have been literally trapped with their abusers with no relief or way to get out.

— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) December 11, 2020

Singer FKA twigs says it was a ‘nightmare’ to have to share her story of physical and mental abuse. Photo credit: MEGA.

“I hope that by sharing my experience I can truly help others feel like they are not alone and shed some light on how those who are worried somebody they care about may be in an abusive relationship can help, because I understand it can be confusing and hard to know what to do,” she continued.

“The statistics on domestically abusive and intimate partner violence relationships are shocking and during covid. I have been really anxious because I know many victims will have been literally trapped with their abusers with no relief or way to get out,” the singer — real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett — explained. DV has become an issue worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, as domestic violence rates have skyrocketed as victims are literally trapped inside with their abusers and nowhere else to go.

here are some amazing charities and helplines that i recommend donating to and calling if you or somebody you know needs support…@freefromorg @ndvh @Sistah_Space

— FKA twigs (@FKAtwigs) December 11, 2020

The musical artist confided to fans that, “My second worst nightmare is being forced to share with the world that I am a survivor of domestic violence. My first worst nightmare is not telling anyone and knowing that I could have helped even just one person by sharing my story.” She then shared, “here are some amazing charities and helplines that I recommend donating to and calling if you or somebody you know needs support…” and tagged @freefromorg, @ndvh and @Sistah_Space.

FKA and Shia’s relationship began in 2018 after they wrapped Shia’s film Honey Boy and lasted less than one year. During that time, FKA claims Shia repeatedly abused her physically, emotionally, and mentally. Her aim in going public, she told The New York Times, was to explain how even someone with fame, money, and a strong support network could fall victim to an abusive relationship.

Actor Shia LaBeouf has owned up to being prone to terrible behavior towards himself and others. Photo credit: MEGA.

Shia responded to the allegations in an email to The New York Times. “I’m not in any position to tell anyone how my behavior made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalizations,” the Transformers star wrote. “I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I’m ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say.”

Tove Lo Announces Surprise Wedding To Boyfriend Charlie Twaddle: ‘Oops’

Tove Lo Announces Surprise Wedding To Boyfriend Charlie Twaddle: ‘Oops’

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Weekend Writer

Surprise! Grammy-nominated singer Tove Lo wed her beau Charlie Twaddle in a secret ceremony, and she gave fans a glimpse of her stunning dress.

Singer Tove Lo is officially off the market! The Swedish singer-songwriter, 32, said “I do” to her boyfriend Charlie Twaddle in a surprise ceremony. She took to her Instagram Story on July 25, offering fans a glimpse at her beautiful wedding dress. In the selfie, the newlyweds held their hands up to the camera and flashed their wedding bands. True to her quirky form, Tove Lo simply captioned the story “oops”, taking fans totally by surprise!

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@tovelo on her instagram story #tovelo

A post shared by Tove Lo Fans France (@magic_laurent) on Jul 26, 2020 at 12:32am PDT

She wore a white lace gown, with a choker featuring elegant white pearls, and a matching headband. She kept her makeup relatively minimal, opting for a light blush and rhinestones placed above her eyes. She also had a fresh manicure, flashing her dark grey nails as she showed fans her wedding band. So sweet!

The Swedish superstar hit the ground running in 2020. Her hit “Glad He’s Gone” was up for Best Music Video at the 62nd Grammy Awards, and though the competition was fierce –  Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” FKA twigs’ “Cellophane,” Gary Clack Jr.’s “This Land” and The Chemical Brothers’ “We’ve Got To Try” were also nominated – she told us she had a secret weapon: her unflinching honesty.

Tove Lo is officially off the market. Image: AP Images

Known as a fearless songwriter, Tove has never shied from sharing both her triumphs and her failures in her music. In fact, her 2019 album, Sunshine Kitty, has been called her “most vulnerable writing” by Pitchfork. While some artists might struggle at exposing so much of themselves in their songs, for Tove, it’s second nature. “I treat my music in general kind of as like a journal,” she said while talking EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife. “So, I think I’m always quite open and vulnerable, but I feel like this album I wrote from a happier place, which was kind of new and great. So, like a different kind of vulnerable.”

Speaking of being in a “happy place,” Tove said she experienced “pure happiness” after she found out that her video was nominated for a Grammy. “It was kind of like, ‘Is this a joke? Is someone messing with me?’ ” she told HollywoodLife. “But no, just pure happiness and so happy for everyone involved. My whole team pulled it off, and the directors. We put so much love and effort and time into this video, so that was a very special moment.”

FKA twigs – Home With You Lyrics

Play this song

[Verse 1]
I’m so wired for it, seen it, tried it
I’d die for you on my terms
When I get my blessings
When will I get my lessons learned?
Apples and cherries, pain
Breathe in, breathe out pain
No, no, novocaine
Still maintain my grace
How come?

[Pre-Chorus]
The more you have the more that people want from you
The more you burn away the more the people learn from you
The more you pull away the more that they depend on you
I’ve never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi
So I wonder if your needs are even meant for me
I wonder if you think that I could ever raise you up
I wonder if you think that I could ever help you fly
Never seen a hero like me in a sci-fi
You’re my savior, my revival it belong to you
Mary Magdalene would never let her loved ones down

[Chorus]
I didn’t know that you would love me
If you’d have just told me I’d be home with you
I didn’t know that you would were lonely
If you’d have just told me I’d be right down the hills to you

[Verse 2]
When I vision eyes
All I see is black
Ground me to the core
Just a little more
Get it on, I know I’ve been gone
You’ve been all alone
Stoking at the fire
Set the place alight
Call me late at night
And I’ll be running home to you

[Chorus]
I didn’t know that you would love me
If you’d have just told me I’d be home with you
I didn’t know that you would were lonely
If you’d have just told me I’d be right down the hills to you
I’d be running down and down, the hills to be with you
Home
I’d be running down the hills to be with you
I never told you I was lonely too

[Instrumental Outro]