During ComplexCon, celebrated artist-of-all-trades Pharrell Williams and the rest of N.E.R.D sat down for an interview with Scott Vener in the OTHERtone studio, where Pharrell expressed just how much he fucking hates “Hot-n-Fun.”
The track appears on N.E.R.D’s 2010 album, Nothing, and according to Williams, was the byproduct of record labels chasing trends instead of trusting the artist.
“The record company, at the time, wasn’t understanding where we were and the world was changing.”
“‘Life as a Fish’ and ‘Inside of Clouds,’ that’s where we wanted the record to go, but the record company, at the time, wasn’t understanding where we were and the world was changing,” Williams said. “The way people were consuming music was starting to change… The internet became this beautiful place where you could make music and not even end up on a Billboard chart, and sell a shit load of records.
“The old system of, ‘You make a song, it fucking charts or people see it in that world, and that sort of tells you where you are, that sort of gives you this sort of barometer of what your song is and where it can go.’ Whereas this internet thing was coming and the record company just didn’t get that. They were like, ‘We need you guys to do some uptempo records. We need you guys to do something we can play in the club.’ We acquiesced and I hate ‘Hot-n-Fun.’ I fucking hate it.”
“The internet became this beautiful place where you could make music and not even end up on a Billboard chart”
Throughout the interview, Williams speaks in a measured tone, attempting to conceal his frustration. The remainder of the group described the making of Nothing as a “dark, depressing, creative time.” For Williams, “Life as a Fish” and “Inside of Clouds” were the record’s gems.
Of course, Williams’ sentiments are correct. The internet has fundamentally changed the way we consume and champion artists. Though the music market has been besieged by oversaturation, it’s now easier than ever for an artist to release the music they want and find an audience eager to connect with it.
Let this be another lesson the record labels won’t learn: trust the artists to make their art.