Even at first glance, Tay Walker comes off as a humble soul. This Sunday Tay greeted me into the Odd Future carnival with open arms, and soon after his exceptional performance of his song Karma during The Internet’s set at sundown, our interview took place. Completely unprepared for the questions I was about to ask, these were his insightful responses. We discuss his progression since Flashlight, touring with The Internet, and his upcoming album 25 Hours a Day. Listen down below, and follow along with the transcript.
OFT Exclusive: Interview with Tay Walker, 1/5th of The Imaginary Friends
Tell us about yourself for those who are only just discovering who you are.
TW: My name is Tay Walker. I’m the guy that sings with Syd on Flashlight and I’m also the guy on They Say. You know, I got a couple of tracks out and me and The Internet are gonna do a lot of damage in the future.
Speaking about Flashlight, I wanted to let you know that the song that actually pushed me into listening and learning about Odd Future was the song Flashlight, by you and Syd. What do you think about that?
TW: You know what, that’s dope. That’s actually my favorite song that I’ve ever done with Syd because it was so random. I literally show up at her house and she’s got this beat and she’s like “Yo, nigga. I need you on this shit” and I’m like “Nigga, you already know this.” We recorded it in no time. I didn’t know it was gonna get this big, but it did. It blew up pretty fast.
In what ways do you feel like you’ve changed since the days of Flashlight?
TW: Well, for one, I’m doing a lot more solo stuff. Syd is helping to push me and so is Matt. Honestly, Flashlight was like a start for me but I’ve gotten so far recording-wise and performing-wise that now I have a whole setlist for myself and Syd. It’s good, it’s looking good.
A lot people know you’re a very talented vocalist, but I think many people dismiss the fact that you’re also a producer. Have you been producing as long as you’ve been singing, or is that something you picked up on more recently?
TW: I’ve been playing the piano since I was like 10, but producing…I started producing beats maybe in high school, when I was around 18 years old. I started making beats and they were coming out pretty good, so I figured hey, why not? [Laughs]
Is there a certain album that you have on rotation right now that you draw inspiration from?
TW: There’s a couple of songs that I draw real inspiration from. Karma. I’m not gonna lie, that’s like my baby. That’s my heart and soul song. That’s my song that somebody wanted me to sell and I was like “hell naw, that’s my shit. I’m keeping it.” That one keeps me motivated, keeps me thinking like a writer, and it keeps me musically inclined. You know what I mean?
Who would your dream collaboration be with?
TW: Psh, dream collaboration. I’ve got a lot of people that I really wanna work with. Stevie Wonder dude…if I ever get a track with Stevie Wonder man, I’m just not going to continue making music. Imma just stop there and that’ll be it. That’s all I need.
Well, everyone knows you’re very good friends with Syd and Matt and you’ve even toured with them through Europe. How was it like touring with The Internet?
TW: Man, it’s crazy dude, just being on a different soil and seeing cars on the other side of the road. I’ve never been out of Cali. Cali’s the only spot that I’ve ever seen, so being in Europe where people speak different and look different, and everything’s just completely different, it’s mind-blowing bro…and I love it, every second of it. We’re gonna continue to tour too.
What was your favorite experience from tour?
TW: Dude, one time the whole crew smoked out princess Diana’s memorial in London and I thought that was kinda tight and like borderline ‘we need to stop doing this shit before we get cursed’ type of shit. It was fun man; every second with them is tight.
Any place in specific where you’d love to return to for a show?
TW: We’ve been to New York and we’ve been to Europe…I say London. London is very exciting and they’re turnt up over there. Trust me. Don’t take them for granted ‘cause they’ve got a fancy accent. They shook the whole building when we performed, it was dope over there.
You’re also part of a group with Syd, Matt, Chris, and Pat called The Imaginary Friends. Is that something you called yourselves out of fun, or do you guys have any plans of releasing an album as a collective?
TW: You know what, before The Internet even started up it was me, Syd, and Pat. I met Chris and Matt a little bit afterwards, but we started off calling ourselves The Imaginary Friends just ‘cause we jammed out all the time. We were like, “yo, we need a name or something.” This was before Odd Future, this was like super long ago, and we just stuck with it. I guess you could say it’s like our production name if we all make a beat live together. The Imaginary Friends will be producing the next Internet project.
Do you have an estimated release date on your album?
TW: I thought I did, but I’m still working really hard on it. I don’t wanna just give ordinary music; I wanna make sure that this is a classic that people play over and over. I’m still working hard on it, maybe in about another month or a month and a half. The whole album, all the video work, the artkwork; everything will be done and I’m pretty sure everybody’s gonna enjoy it.
You’ve said before that you consider yourself a storyteller. What story are you telling in your upcoming album 25 Hours a Day?
TW: 25 Hours a Day is about how I’m thinking about this girl so much that it ends up leading into my next day. Like, I don’t stop at all throughout the whole day and it’s so scary because she starts popping up randomly in mirrors, windows, and behind me in my car while I’m driving just like a ghost – you feel me? The video is gonna be super creepy, but I’m pretty sure people are gonna like it. It’s gonna be tight.
Well that’s it; do you have any last words for Odd Future Talk or for anyone listening?
TW: Man, I appreciate you Javi, and I appreciate everybody who is listening right now…and uh, 25 hours a Day, look forward to it.