People have been ta king photos of themselves and sharing them with friends, family and strangers on the web for years. Yet it was n’t until 2012 that a name for these se lf-portraits , often snapped at odd angles with smart phones and distributed via social media or texts, really hit the big time.
Nowadays, it has gotten so that a teenager cannot simply go to a concert without holding his or her iPhone in front of their face and impersonating a duck. America has gone crazy for the selfie, with teens, celebrities and even the Oxford English Dictionary embracing the cellphone selfportrait. The motive is almost always the same: to let the world know where one is, what they’re doing and how good
they look. It’s the newest form of narcissism, and Cazwell’s latest hip hop dance track, “No Selfie Control,” is capitalizing on the craze with hilariously catchy lyrics set against a minimalist retro-funk track and smooth playa beat.
“It reflects our ever-growing need to be viewed as popular and attractive,” the Massachusetts native says, himself a product of the Internet age. Cazwell became a YouTube sensation after a million people in a single week viewed his “Ice Cream Truck” music video. He has since earned hipster credibility with
a steady flow of danceable hip hop tracks ? including “Rice & Beans” and “I Seen Beyoncé at Burger King” ? that impressively showcase
his hypomanic take on pop culture.
“No Selfie Control” is his first collaboration with up-andcoming Viennese producer Dizzy Bell. In it, Cazwell sings, “If you could see me like I do, you’d be in love with me too.” Though meant to be funny, it pretty well reflects a generation that has become obsessed with attracting the spotlight. No attention is bad attention, except for, well, no attention.
What inspired you to create a song about selfies?
I dated a guy that was completely selfie obsessed, and it got me thinking about the concept of self portraits on the Web. The opening scene of the video, where I put my cell on the ceiling fan, is actually something he used to do.
Is the song meant to poke fun at the trend or celebrate it?
Both. You can’t deny howhysterical it is that we now take ourselves and our images so seriously. People go to such lengths to perfect a picture that only their friends are going to see.
What’s so special about Instagram? Isn’t it the same thing as sharing pics on Facebook and Twitter?
Sometimes it’s easier to just post a pic than to actually think of something to say. What really started to change things was when Instagram introduced filters to apply to photos before uploading. Now everyone can feel like a professional photographer.
Is the intention to get attention?
Again, duh. Hopefully, it’s positive attention that will get me some new followers. Most people I know are trying to get their Instagram game to blow up. Everyone has a different strategy.
Do you think America’s narcissism is out of control? Is everyone looking for their 15 minutes?
Screw 15 minutes. Everyone’s looking for their own reality TV show.
What does it take to get you to follow someone on Instagram?
I follow a lot of fashion because it’s a good way to keep up on clothes. I follow specific artists because I want to be updated on their work. There are some people that I have no idea why I follow them and I honestly can’t remember pressing the “follow” button.
I admit I’ve gotten stuck in a few instaholes that I had to pull myself out of.
How does “No Selfie Control” compare to your previous songs?
I actually sing in it for one thing. I think it’s probably the most relatable song I’ve ever written. It certainly isn’t as gayfocused as some of the others have been.
How does it compare to popular music today?
I’m not really sure if it sounds like what’s popular today, but I missed working with discoinspired tracks.
You haven’t done a disco track since “All Over Your Face.”
I’m exploring new sounds. For me, it’s about making sure every song is unique.
And tackling subjects that aren’t often addressed in popular music?
I guess. Even if you don’t do selfies, chances are your friends do them, or your friends’ friends do them. But more likely than not, you do them too.