Anna Paquin cover for Dazed & Confused

Thoughtful and dry-humoured, with a quivering, bird-like alertness, New Zealand-raised actress Anna Paquin is a dichotomous creature – an ingénue who has seen it all; an old pro who remains wide-eyed; a Hollywood powerhouse in a 5'4" woman-child frame. She’s 28 now, but was, by her own admission, “a bit of a goth” in her teenage years – an awkward gap-toothed girl who hid behind long dark hair and DM boots, nervously squinting under the glare of the lights and cameras that had followed her around since she was a schoolgirl. As such, it’s fitting that she should go on to become a poster child of our vampire-obsessed culture, star of the graphically violent, unashamedly erotic True Blood, in which she plays telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, a post-feminist small town blonde with a penchant for push-up bras and undead men.

Your character, Sookie Stackhouse, is telepathic. Some people say that telepathy is how super-evolved human beings will communicate with each other one day. Is Sookie super-evolved, being so hyper-sensitive that she can read minds?
I kind of like the way that Sookie actually thinks of it as being a disability, rather than some super-evolved trait. Because often what makes people more special sometimes, on a practical day-to-day level, makes life a little awkward. Most people just want to fit in and she can’t, because she’s got this internal monologue of what every single person is thinking 
all the time.
Yeah, I guess it would kind of be a bummer. And that is the interesting thing about it; that her superpower is a bummer to her.
Personally, I’m pretty happy not being telepathic. If you don’t want me to know something, that’s all good.
You have your own film production company with your brother. What’s happening with that?
We did one film and then my life became all about True Blood. I really enjoyed being in the driving seat though, as far as making decisions about who we hired and how we did things. I have been doing this for like 19 years, so 
I guess it’s natural to want to expand the range of responsibilities in my job. Most people want to climb up the ladder in terms of responsibility, or start working behind the scenes.
You seem conscious of being a grown-up as you approach 30.
For me, I feel like my numeric age is finally catching up with how old I feel. When you live in a world that is more traditionally occupied by grown-ups, it tends to make you grow up a few years faster – but if you are 18, 19, 20 and you look like you are 14, people tend to treat you like you are still a kid. At this point, it feels like the reality is catching up with what people expect of someone my age. I’m almost 30, so I guess it’s normal to have bought a house and be married.
So you’ve always felt older than your actual years, because you look young?
Yes, but I’ve stopped looking like a teenager, which I am pleased about – I feel like I looked like a teenager for way longer than most people do. There is something to be said for looking like an adult. There is a certain sort of thing where
“Never think too highly of yourself. It sets you up for a big fall”
people will look at you and think they know what your degree of life understanding and life experience is. Eventually, when people get to know you they realise you’re not some young flake – despite the fact that you look like you should be carded to go to an R-rated movie. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, but sometimes people treated me like I was a kid – certainly not people who actually worked with me, because I don’t think I had the work ethic of a kid. 
What’s it been like, transitioning from being a New Yorker to being an LA girl in the last three years?
I swore I would never leave New York, come hell or high water, because I loved it… but I really love living in LA. And then as I kept deferring school to go work, and then my class graduated without me, I stopped pretending I was going to go back.
I want to ask you what you think of fate and destiny. Your career came about because of your talent…
(Laughs) If you say so! 
But also you were in the right place at the right time.
Well, certainly it’s very easy to see how you take a slightly different turn here or there, and it can lead you down a completely different path. I feel that stuff works well to explain the good stuff, but it doesn’t necessarily work to explain
“I guess they cast him and me in that combination because they thought we had chemistry. As it turns out, that wasn’t too 
far off the mark.” When tragic, horrible things happen to people. That’s when I have a little bit of difficulty with the notion of fate. Like well, if I was fated to end up where I am today, then if someone who was very close to me has cancer, was that also fated? I don’t believe that. I have been incredibly lucky. I don’t know if it’s anything more involved than that.
You seem to be a bit uncomfortable with compliments.
I will say thank you to compliments – I am told that is the appropriate response. But I promise, you are not going to get me to own any of that stuff – I refuse to own any of what people are saying to me, about me. It’s just the culture I was brought up in. I don’t know – I think English people have a good dose of that as well.  Never think too highly of yourself. Never make it seem as if you think it’s all sorted. Because on that level, it does set you up for a big fall.
That’s very un-LA of you. In LA, people tend to have the opposite approach, over-hyping themselves and their accomplishments in the hope that people will believe it’s true.
I find it really fascinating when people will freely tell you things they are really good at. It’s like, ‘Wow, I am really happy that you are so confident!’ I guess part of me feels like if you think you’ve already got it all sorted then you’ve got nowhere to go. Then there is nothing to strive for and nothing to be attained. If you think you’re as smart as you need to be, then where do you go from there?
Complacency is not something you can be accused of, then.
I am ambitious, but some of the things I’m focused on have changed a bit. When I wasn’t married and had all the time in the world to focus exclusively on work, work, work, more work… that was what I did. At this point, there are other things that are important to me, so to take some job that would take me to someplace for six months becomes a different sort of decision. Now I have a home that I would be leaving and people who I would miss.
It seems like working on True Blood has meant life-changing experiences for you on every level – doing a TV show for the first time, and then meeting your husband, who happens to be your co-star, who your character is in love with on the show...
Yeah, it’s all right. I guess they cast him and me in that combination because they thought we had chemistry. As it turns out, that wasn’t too far off the mark.

Read the interview at Dazed & Confused's website here

Odd Future for Dazed&Confused mag

Amid the graffiti’d freeway overpasses, lofty palm trees and downbeat liquor stores of central Los Angeles, eight of the ten members of hip hop family Odd Future are huddled together in their studio. They’re sticking close, staying alert as the countdown begins. Tick. Tock. There’s a tidal wave coming – and they’re it.

Odd Future is Tyler The Creator,  Jasper Dolphin, Domo Genesis, Matt Martians of the Super 3, Left Brain, Mike G, Hodgy Beats, Taco, Syd and Earl Sweatshirt. They often go by the acronym OFWGKTA – Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Aged between 16 and 19 years of age, they hang out at stores on the streetwear mecca that is Fairfax Avenue, where it intersects with Melrose. There, Tyler and his buddies are faces – kids who skate around, hang out at stores like Supreme and Diamond Supply Co, and make weird beats and videos. Their sound is a stripped-down, dark and heavy synth drone,  and their rhymes reflect a comedic obsession with ass-rape, Jermaine Dupri, scat, dead bodies, weed, brain tissue, swastikas, the morning chat show host Steve Harvey, bacon, and pretty much anything else that sounds funny at the time.

Odd Future was too weird for the rap underground to get its head around, and certain key blogs flat out refused to support their music. Beyond a few online “fuck you’s” the kids in Odd Future didn’t sweat the rejection too much – they carried on skating Fairfax and making beats and videos for themselves and their friends,  and self-releasing solo albums, EPs, and mixtapes on their Tumblr blog… all of it available for free.

Then, in September, something happened.  Writers from outside the underground hip hop and streetwear worlds started stumbling upon Odd Future. Independently, and all around the same time, they caught the bug – Fader, LA Weekly, and Rolling Stone among them. Pitchfork, the last word in American music snobbery, declared Odd Future “at the vanguard of modern hip hop”. It was a publicist’s wet dream, the media attention coming seemingly from out of nowhere. By October, the hype snowball had evolved into a fully-fledged viral avalanche, with Wu-Tang comparisons flying in from all angles.

Dazed met up with Odd Future just as the avalanche was beginning to hit, and we sat down for their first ever in-person interview. Eight of the ten members were there (Earl and Domo Genesis were missing). While Odd Future is very much an equal opportunity tribe, Tyler is without doubt its chief visionary and 
natural spokesperson.

“So Tyler – what did you do today?”

Silence falls over the room. Tyler considers the question for a few moments.

“What did I do today? Yo, I don’t know what the fuck I did today. Shall I keep it real?

Seriously… I woke up this morning, I jacked off, I took a shower,  I went to get some soul food and now I am here.”

His voice is as deep, and confident as his wit. Aged 19, he is one of the oldest members of 
Odd Future.

You’re studying film at college, right?

“I actually dropped out. I am not bullshitting. I am taking a semester off to focus on this music shit. If that doesn’t work, I might go back to school.” 

I tell him I think that’s a good call.

“Yeah, things are going pretty well. It’s going pretty swagged-out.”

“Swagged-out” is the adjective of choice for anything that is, in Odd Future’s opinion, awesome. Like Quentin Tarantino, for instance. Tarantino is swag (Tyler has a song called “Nosebleed” and his goal is to have Tarantino shoot the video for it). And Stanley Kubrick is swag, too. “Clockwork Orange is pretty swagged-out,” says Tyler. He watched the film for the first time two months ago because people kept telling him that Odd Future’s words and visuals reminded them of the film: “So, I said, ‘Fuck it, I’ll watch it!’” Unsurprisingly, the film resonated with Tyler – nihilistic ultra-violence and Nadsat-esque teenage slang are the defining characteristics of Odd Future’s creative output. He’s considering dressing up as the sociopathic Alex DeLarge – the film’s twisted anti-hero – for Halloween. “I wanna find a diaper with a hard cup in the front and swag it out,” he says.

“They sell those at CVS (American pharmacy),” chimes in Syd, the only female member of Odd Future “They sell man panties. Man diapers, for you.” Syd engineers all of Odd Future’s beats, and she holds her own in this room, heavy with teenaged testosterone. We ask her how she hooked up with Odd Future.

“I literally walked out of my house and there were 13 random niggas on my back porch. So 
I was like, ‘Everybody, hey!’”

So, you make beats? “Yeah. I am just the engineer,  pretty much.”

“Not ‘pretty much’,” Tyler interjects. “She’s a fucking excellent engineer!”

Your name is Syd, I say, like Sid Vicious?

“Yes… I guess. I’ve heard of who that is.”

Tyler bursts back into the conversation. “Oh my God! He’s like my fucking idol. His music was whatever, but as a person he was so fucking gnarly. He stabbed his girl… he stabbed that bitch. Then he died.”

Yes, he was young, he was 21 when he died, we tell him. He OD’d. Taco, Syd’s younger brother and the most boisterous of the group, bursts in to the conversation. “No, he died of 
ass cancer!”

“Ian Curtis,” says Tyler, ignoring Taco. “He was young too, when he died…”

19-year-old Fairfax skater sneakerheads don’t ordinarily reference Joy Division, Sid Vicious and Stanley Kubrick in the same breath. Tyler’s rich set of cultural influences, which extend way beyond the worlds of rap and skate, are reflected in Odd Future’s lyrical content and retro visual aesthetic. Perhaps that’s part of the reason they’ve captured the broader imagination. They’re significantly more sophisticated than they should be.

We ask Taco, the court jester, to tell us a little about himself. Before he can, Matt Martians of the Super 3 – a rapper and talented visual artist – interjects. “He doesn’t do shit.”

Adds Syd: “He literally doesn’t.”

“I am a gymnastic superstar!” Taco counters, and everyone cheers and claps. The energy and humour are infectious.

How did they all come together? Hodgy Beats, all brooding good looks, doesn’t skip 
a beat. “You asking us if we really come together?” he purrs.

“Dayum!” squeals Tyler.

“If we did, I would be the happiest nigga ever,” says Taco.

More laughs.

“We were destined to be together,” says Tyler, finally addressing the question. “It’s like nature. I really don’t know how we met. We just do what we do.”

Tyler describes his role in Odd Future thus: he makes instrumentals and then he makes lyrics and then he records them to each other. He repeats that over and over until he has many tracks to choose from. Then he picks one track out of the bunch, and shoots a video for it. Then he makes cover art,  if he wants that song released. And repeat.

“Also I am a chronic masturbator,” he adds.

Tyler’s not one for sampling. He usually says that’s because samples inhibit him, and that he doesn’t feel as creative when constrained by 
a sample’s blueprint. “Actually, it’s more because

I really suck at fucking sampling, so I just leave it alone,” he says. “Anyway, I like coming up with new shit. I like seeing how far my fucking mind can go.”

Tyler’s scrolling through his phone and looking at a photo of a pretty young lady. He shows it to me.

“I want to fuck her in her eyes,” he says.

Why would you want to fuck her in her eyes? That might ruin her look. Hodgy interjects: “No he said in her ass, not her eyes.” Asses come up a lot in Odd Future conversation. Asses, and in the mix, deep shit.

“What about your folks and stuff,” I ask. “Are they artistically inclined?”

Tyler shakes his head. “I don’t have a father.” Tyler’s much-acclaimed album Bastard is pretty much all about his father, whom he never met. He goes to dangerous places, emotionally and spiritually. (When he was younger his grandmother told him he was from hell… and he decided to roll with that.)

Syd picks up on the “artistically-inclined” part of our question. “Autistically inclined!” she chuckles. It’s true – people say Tyler is a little austistically-inclined, because he has an uncanny ability to remember the exact dates that albums came out. We test that out.



In Search Of… (by NERD)?

“The UK version came out September 2001. The US version came out in 2002.”

Maybe Tyler is a little bit autistic, we concede.

“I might be a little R Kelly,” he nods.

We ask him where Earl is. Earl, along with Tyler, was the most visible member of OFWGKTA – until June 6 when he disappeared off-radar. Earl Sweatshirts’ video, “EARL” has been dong the rounds, viewers repulsed and fascinated in equal measure by its fucked-up Larry Clark teen skater zombie drug aesthetic. But word is that Earl, despite being well on his way to becoming a superstar rapper,  has been grounded by his mom until further notice. Tyler is tightlipped about the truth, stating over and over that Earl is “on vacation”.

We ask them how they feel about all the Wu-Tang comparisons floating around. It’s a sensitive issue, one that Hodgy ends up answering. “It’s petty cool because there are not many groups that have actually been compared to Wu-Tang. At least, there aren’t many people our age that will actually be compared to Wu-Tang. Wu Tang is a big-ass dynasty, and a lot of people look up to them, so if we are being compared to them, then that is pretty great.”

Syd agrees – she likes the comparison. 
“I think it’s accurate, structure-wise, if you think about the way we make songs. Like those two guys might make a song together, or those two might make as song, or we all might get on a song together, or everyone puts out their own album. We keep it all in the family.”

Keeping it in the family – keeping things simple; keeping it tight. If they have a plan, that seems to be the main one for now. They’re not recruiting any new members, and the doors are closed.  “I like keeping shit in house,” says Tyler. “When it’s not, shit gets fucked up.” The kids nod their heads and you get the sense they’ve all found the family they were looking for. Regardless of whether Odd Future rises to the ranks of the Wu-Tang or not, a new dynasty has been born.

“Oh, and by the way – I did not fuck OJ Simpson,” announces Tyler solemnly, totally out of the blue. “I did not fuck OJ Simpson.”

(Published 2010)

Read the story on Dazed& Confused's website here.