Track by Track offers artists an exclusive platform to share the story behind each song on their new album. Today, They Hate Change break down their new LP, Finally, New.
Tampa Bay duo They Hate Change have been planning out Finally, New, their debut album on Jagjaguwar, for the better part of three years. Out Friday, May 13th, the LP makes a grand statement with swaggering rhymes and an unparalleled sound drawing equal parts inspiration from East Coast hip-hop, Miami bass, and drum ‘n’ bass, as well post-punk, prog, and krautrock.
“This record was something we had been building toward for the last few years,” Andre tells Consequence. “We wanted to ensure that if this was people’s first time or last time hearing us, we made it count.”
Vonne adds, “Our direction has been clearly defined internally for a very long time. Once we noticed all of the parallels between the genres from around the globe that we love, we knew this is the album we could make.”
For lyrical inspiration, Andre drew on artists like Camp Lo, Rick Ross, Curren$y, Pusha T, and JAY-Z, while Vonne soaked up the “arrogance” of the unreleased Clipse album Exclusive Audio Footage and “energy and raw rhyming ability” of the legendary grime duo Newham Generals.
As Vonne explains, Finally, New was originally named after the Volkswagen Golf GTI Mk1 because the story of how the car became a real successor to the floundering Beetle resonated with what they were trying to accomplish with the album.
“VW had huge success in the ’60s with the Beetle, a new, alternative style of car that spoke to a huge audience crossing many demographics,” he says. “There were a few premature attempts to capture the feeling again, but nothing really struck the people until the Mk1 GTI hit the streets and solidified VW’s place in the market. That story was the perfect inspiration for the making of the album.”
Ahead of today’s release, They Hate Change earned a steady buzz with singles including “1000 Horses,” “From the Floor,” “Blatant Localism,” and “Some Days I Hate My Voice.” Pick up a physical copy here.
Stream Finally, New and check out Andre and Vonne’s exclusive Track by Track breakdown of the album below.
In support of Finally, New, They Hate Change will serve as the opener on English post-punk band Shame’s North American tour in August and September. Pick up your tickets now via Ticketmaster.
My verse is the second oldest verse on the album, originally written in 2019 when we had our first conversations about making a full-length album. Never properly written down, just committed to memory on a commute home from work, my first line references A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” to set the scene of us becoming rap globetrotters.
The title derives from a tradition started a decade ago by Tampa Icon Tom G. He would start off his mixtapes with a track titled “Snaptro,” aka an intro where he’s snapping, going hard, etc… “Stuntro” is our version: Stunting on the Intro. — Vonne
We’ve always felt like this beat was pure. Just enough bass, just the right amount of our bubbly synth patch along with ambience. We had to continue to float lyrically as well to do this production justice. The first words you’ll hear on this album are “Welcome back… for the first time!” Followed up with more statements to set the precedent of WE’VE BEEN HERE!
I wanted to ensure that the listener, no matter old or new, could relate or understand what this exact moment feels like. “This what full creative control sound like” is my opening line, followed by my explanation that it’s like driving a manual car. Whether it’s the punch from the acceleration to floor shifting, your timing and movements must be in sync. We are in control of everything sonically, and we take advantage of it. — Andre
“Noise Platinum, teeth golden, put your venue on the map” is a reference to a term created jokingly by William Hutson of clipping. to describe quickly selling out a short run of cassette tapes, combining that inside joke with acknowledging our position as outsiders in the DIY arena we helped to grow in the Tampa Bay area.
“Palm trees in the yard, I come from Palm Bay Drive/ That’s off of Palm River Road, Sarge was chilling on Langston/ We learned to live by a code by watching Tommy get famous” is a quick image of the fruits of our labor, combined with a short origin story, naming a few streets in the neighborhood I grew up in. SARGE (featured later on “1000 Horses”) taught me how to rap when we were like 11, and our biggest idol at the time was Tampa legend Tom G, who grew up in our neighborhood and lived on the same street as Sarge (Langston Drive).
We watched the moves Tom made at the time, which included turning down bogus record deals, refusing to move to Atlanta to really blow up (which was something every other Florida artist was doing at the time), and connecting with people directly to build an audience. All important lessons that we folded into our approach today. — Vonne
I’ll just go ahead and say it first, I felt like Sonny Cheeba from Camp Lo. Vonne made me re-record this verse a few times to ensure my charisma was there. I believe we might’ve only had this off-kilter wobbly sound from the Korg MS-20. A few days later, I received a 30-second clip with Vonne’s intro and a call saying, “Dre you gotta…. I don’t know. It’s something here, you gotta swag it out like Camp Lo a lil bit.” “Ice rock gritty/ Do da drunken monk when I’m in it” came from On the Way Uptown by Camp Lo, which features demos from their album Uptown Saturday Night. I wanted to be like them: cool, flashy, and use coded language how they would, and keep it ground level. They’ve also talked about their life and made it cool by getting groovy with their words. It’s as if they were dancing to the beat lyrically.
It has a bit of a standoffish tone, but we are letting it be known that we aren’t like everyone else. Not to say we are saying a bunch of new stuff, but it’s the details that set us apart. Sergio Tacchini’s logo might look odd/bootleg to some people, but those who do know understand that it’s a classic brand. I also mentioned a Haro bike, Roger Linn (created the Akai MPC), and Adidas trainers; not that a specific model was mentioned with any of these, but I wanted to pique the ears of those who have or had these timeless items. Even if the listener doesn’t have it, they are accessible to everyone and not just of the “elite”
We understood with this type of loop/break we had going for this beat we couldn’t let it play for another two minutes. We added a bunch of layers and then stripped it all away. This gave us a bit more clarity as to what we were trying to achieve both lyrically and sonically. To ensure this, we thought about how we would DJ and blend tracks together. We combined three beats into one; not to say that it’s groundbreaking but it was a challenge for us. Our verses had to be loose enough to allow us both to continuously switch. We didn’t want the beat to switch and then also have our flows change as well. — Andre
“I pour a drink out for Loko, we going in for the kill” is about my childhood friend that got killed by police. We came up rapping together so I try to keep his name going through the music.
There’s a lot of DIY scene talk here detailing the feeling of going out of town, not playing for a big crowd, splitting up a small amount of money, and crashing on another band’s floor. Citing these experiences as proof that we’re really meant to be here, whatever here means to the listener: on Jagjaguwar, in their favorite publication, on the BBC, or in the wider hip-hop conversation in general. — Vonne
Over the years I’ve seemed to become jaded with a lot of things in life. Mostly with people’s opinions and perceptions of how I may or may not be living my life. I felt like my opening line said all of this and more. Sometimes things are out of my control and that’s okay. “Paint me a villain because my skin tone tinted/ I built a roof and my family fed, fuck yo feelings!”
Oddly enough, we’ve always thrived in places that might’ve seemed to be “outside of our environment” like plenty of DIY shows where the speakers didn’t do us any justice. We just had to rock out with just synthesizers and samplers. We either couldn’t use the mic or gathered around everyone and yelled out rhymes. — Andre
Another suite, this one has four movements. The first is made of tingling noise and my close childhood friend Bill doing what he thinks is a Caribbean accent while on vacation in the Caribbean, describing the scenery to show you how life could be with a clear understanding of what really matters. A flex and a life lesson all at once.
The second movement is another deep Tampa reference, repurposing bars from an early Tom G classic “Making Cash Forever,” all wrapped up in our best Silver Apples impression. “Can’t tell me I ain’t the shit/ Police jump behind me like I ain’t legit…”
Third, a luscious switch from the previous movement, something to sink into. It’s inspired by our favorite drum ‘n’ bass comps like Total Science, which featured tracks with super smooth, jazzy, and ambient sections that crashed into heavy bass sections and somehow brought it all together by the end. A reverb-y female laugh sits inside the track as an homage to Ethereal, the Awful Records producer whose 2012 album Car Therapy was our first glimpse into the world of jungle that we came to be so inspired by.
The final movement features Vritra, the artist who inspired our journey into becoming experimental producers through his work in Odd Future’s Jet Age of Tomorrow (with Matt Martians). Vritra shows up in the fourth movement and turns our messy chords, sharp noise, and rolling breaks into pure anger pop. — Vonne
Vritra, formerly known as Pyramid Vritra, has been a HUGE inspiration for us dating back to 2011 listening to Journey to the 5th Echelon by Jet Age of Tomorrow, which includes Vritra and Matt Martians. Over the years we’ve developed a great relationship and it’s always special to hear one of our idols paired with our production. — Andre
Inspired by skate punk band JFA’s debut EP of the same name, we used this track to address everything we’re seeing wrong with musicians, locally and in the mainstream. The cycle of rap cliches that are coming back around like the rented cars, fake street stories, guns that only get pulled for video shoots, etc.
We balance these callouts with dropping references to our real-life flexes — designer dogs, vintage cameras, and DIY touring revenue — in an attempt to steer lifestyle rapping in the proper direction, at least in our local orbit. — Vonne
While everyone was showing off cash and fake jewels, we bought gear. After coming back home from our tour, we bought more merchandise and samplers. Some fail to realize that you can’t stand on those gimmicks for too long. Our live shows are part of the reason we are here and we don’t take that for granted at all. “I never had to flash my tour money/ I reinvested got mo money/ My uniform is understatement/ Just weighted jeans, cotton tees/ Still they can’t fuck with me.”
There’s just so much stuff going on in the industry that we all see through. I think it continues to be that way because we sometimes reward it. I’m not saying we’re above it at all, but there needs to be a balance. This song is a PSA for everyone to cut out all the fluff and really stand on your craft. — Andre
“Coded Language (Interlude)”:
Keeping with our love for switch-ups and movements, this joint is split into two parts. The first half was recorded as an iPhone voice memo, to mimic the feel of a Smack DVD freestyle. It was meant to evoke the image of someone in a random hallway kicking freestyles to a super stripped-down track.
The track melts into the main movement, utilizing pitched vocals and krautrock-style metallic crashes to create this menacing landscape for some gritty stunt raps. My verse is focused on emphasizing our feeling that we don’t need to change our approach to see success and that any barrier to that has been created by a fucked-up industry full of artists that are way behind the times and lying about their age while going broke — all while simultaneously turning their noses up at the underground. — Vonne
I wanted this verse to be fun and found a pocket that would hopefully cause the listener to bounce the same way I did. It needed to feel like Dr. Dre’s 2001, riding in the low rider with the Beastie Boys in the back buggin’ out. More of that Camp Lo swagger was added here to make the verse seem like it’s less of an attack, but more like a concern for those who counted us out.
There are quite a few things being addressed here. For short, our company/band Fitted Trucker that Vonne and I started about 2 years ago. People would see us out, with tons of books and taking photos of stuff with an odd smirk on their faces. They know we’ve been plotting something and they are excited. I also poked fun at people who we saw bouncing in SUVs online. Those same people who were a part of that trend later claimed label issues or money issues. It can happen to anyone but ensure you take care of your home base first before getting flashy. — Andre
One of the more maximal tracks on the record, everything here is stated pretty plainly in contrast. I keep most lines straightforward, but still as punchy as possible.
Featuring SARGE, who I grew up with, and who taught me how to rap. This verse is from when we were still in a group together over 10 years ago, but still incredibly fresh. In certain circles in Tampa Bay, SARGE is known for exactly the type of charismatic lines he drops casually here, so I wanted to make sure he had a slot on the record to bring that style to the world. — Vonne
Sometimes things are just better stated explicitly. That “Fuck dat choker chain/ Show me how ya live” line was to those who are just surface level. Granted, we aren’t spilling out all over about my personal life, but you get a glimpse of what it’s like. I would like to think our music has a bit of a human feel to it. People have stated that they could relate to or understand how we feel and rarely is it ever due to possessions. — Andre
All the hate people threw at us over the years, I have managed to let go. With the position that Vonne and I are in, I can only be grateful and continue our growth. I would not only be carrying the weight of everything dealing with music but also in my personal life. I tried to mention some of this pain, but also balance it out with hope. Along with my own personal growth, I’m also the closest thing to a father figure my brother has, which puts me at a crossroads.
In 2020, I brought my first home. Between the family I have here and back home in Rochester, New York, there are about four or five of us who own a home. I could tell it was a bit surprising, judging by the looks I received. Some people would be in conversation with us and ask how much our rent is, rather than asking if I bought or rented my home. Not too mad at it, though: My grandfather told me “Son, when certain people move in, you hear ‘HERE IT COMES’ and when others move in, it’s ‘UH OH THERE IT GOES.'” — Andre
“Some Days I Hate My Voice”:
We co-produced this track with experimental hip-hop producer Titmouse. I’ve written a bunch of sad lyrics about gender identity in the past, mostly while being sad about gender identity. Sad songs are played out though, so I approached this joint charged up, and went at it from a different, equally honest perspective that represents the experience of having a gender identity or expression that’s constantly in flux (in a positive way!).
“Might bring that Black Flag back/ Ain’t talking Raymond Pettibone, I’m talking Team Fetti Gittz…” is a reference to a rap group I was in as a youth, running around with bandanas doing bad shit. I’m basically saying we might bring that energy back if need be. — Vonne
This was one of the first tracks made for the album, and one of the more fun joints. We don’t typically do hooks, but when we do it’s always on a fun, not-too-serious tip. It’s directly inspired by Krank music and Teen Nights, where people used to do the Wu-Tang to vibe-y ecstasy jams like Grind Mode’s “I’m So High.”
The production is a slight homage to Iceberg’s “Naked Hustle,” with slow, filtered keys and an occasional drum roll for the swing, along with some classic South Florida vocal chops for the heads. — Vonne
We wanted our verses to be punchy but live inside the beat. Everything has this bounce and muted tone and we matched it. This track was for sure made with the idea of it blasting at house parties. Vonne mentioned some of the old Krank music that was being played at teen nights. We were able to incorporate the flavor those tracks offered with a bit of our twist vocally. This one is for sure dedicated to that black tall tee era. — Andre