Meet 2012 Bid Adieu, the reality-shifting collective taking the internet by storm- literally. Or is it?
2012 Bid Adieu is the reality-shifting collective who makes music about the questions you’ve always pondered but never fully experienced- an expert translator between the physical and digital worlds, as it shares messages from the digital purgatory. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to connect with Jordan Clark, the “Sanity” vocalist and one of the three founders of 2012 Bid Adieu, who gave us a behind the scenes look into their music, the collective, and its inspirations. With 8 core group members and several contributors (full member list at the end of the interview), 2012 Bid Adieu knows how to collaborate and co-create thought-provoking music, even amidst remote collaboration challenges. We’re so excited for their next single, HOUSE RULES, set to drop later this month as they prepare to release their newest EP, reCAPTCHA. In preparation for that release, this interview offers you an invitation into their world and stories of the past, present and future of 2012 Bid Adieu.
How did 2012 Bid Adieu come together?
It’s hard to say because it happened serendipitously over time. The first time we all worked together was in 2015 on the set of Path Forked Years Ago, a solo single I was releasing. Jeff O’Neal, our Creative Director, lived in Baltimore at the time. Looking back, I think Lewis (Lew) put him on to the music Gray and I were making early-on, but regardless, Jeff reached out. I was still in DC at the time, but the scene I was in felt toxic and stale for me, so I was looking for something new. When we started recording in Baltimore, it was insane and we had such a good time. We made so much with zero budget. If anything, it proved we could make entire worlds with limited resources. The song had a good run and provided us our first placement on some major blogs.
A few weeks later, I moved to NYC. It took about a year after moving to New York for Jeff and I to reconnect professionally, although we still remained close during that year. I trusted Jeff and he knew us. At that time, Lew and I shared a one-bedroom apartment. To be honest, we were struggling. I lived in the living-room-turned bedroom-turned studio on a mattress on the floor. It’s where we made most of our debut album, 590 Flatbush, in honor of our apartment. We always enjoyed having a lot of people over for jam sessions. I think it’s why we have so many contributors on our debut album, because we had a rule that if you came over, you were invited to add to the album. As we were creating more music, we realized we were actually putting together some incredible new art. When we called Jeff to ask for his opinion on the demos, he was hype. He knew the direction we wanted to head in. With Gray managing the production side and Jeff managing the creative assets side, we had our two anchors to activate 2012 Bid Adieu.
What inspired your name?
From what I remember, we had everyone write down a list of words that resonated with them. This was early on, so there were only a few of us. We took a walk to narrow down our choices. It was shortly after the election and back when Jovan was still on Twitter. Before that walk, he tweeted something like “the year is 2012….you wake up in a cold sweat…everything was a dream…Obama is president…Kanye still cares about black people…you rub your eyes and hear “Oppa Gangnam Style” in the distance…” It got me thinking about 2012, the year Mayans predicted the world would end. What if it did? Donovan, our keyboardist, was there, and he liked the idea. We thought “what if we made an album about the simulation?” It got us talking about how the world makes zero sense. I mean, the common denominator in 2012 was that we all are millennials, and if there’s anything our generation likes to do, it’s turn our own existential crises into jokes. It felt right. 2012 was being birthed as part of a cultural movement where people on the internet were tapping into this disillusionment of the world (I looked it up, it’s called neo-dadaism).
But, there was another word on the list that we all liked, Bid Adieu. It was a toss-up between the two words…there’s something classy about bid adieu. It rolls off the tongue. Alone, it feels smooth, similar to a 90’s neo-soul group like Tony! Toni! Toné. Or Erykah Badu. We couldn’t decide. So, the original consensus was that we would use 2012 as an umbrella term to house all of our collective’s creative endeavors outside of music such as comedy, art, writing, video games, funny-shorts, etc. However, Bid Adieu would be the official band of 2012. As time passed, the lines became blurred and everything was 2012 Bid Adieu. It was hard to separate the music, the comedy, and the art because they all fed into each other so we combined everything, giving birth to 2012 Bid Adieu officially.
How has New York influenced your work? Are all members of your collective currently in the city?
I think we’d all give you different answers here. For example, I know Donovan was supposed to move up here, but he was just like, “look man, I don’t think the city is for me personally.” But then we got 2012 members like Synead and Otto who rep the city. Because 2012 Bid Adieu is a collective, people naturally come from all over and have their own opinion of the city. But what I think New York City undeniably gave the collective was the tool of resourcefulness. We didn’t have access to recording studios, rehearsal spaces, or connections to rely on, so we built all of that from the ground-up. I’d say that New York City contributed a lot to our success because we worked really hard to build that foundation in a place a lot of us weren’t familiar with. We were all we had for many years, and that’s why we are family.
How did New York City help grow the collective?
The city really helped us expand our circle, bringing in some crucial new members like Jachary and Dillon Treacy, who we met through mutual friends. Jachary and Dillon are the core of our live setup. Synead is another significant presence in 2012. We met her at a jam session in 590 with Emmett, who runs Unisex Records. Otto and Mamoudou we met by going to parties. The same goes with fam like Alex Pyle of Space Captain. We knew each other, but we didn’t know each other until we were able to collaborate out of 590 Flatbush, and have him mix our debut album.
Who have you found to be some of your biggest artistic influences?
I don’t know about everyone else, so I don’t want to speak too much for them but I can recall that Gray is a D’Angelo fanatic, but he also consumes literally everything. Dillon spent all of 2020 talking to me about the gospel of Ty Dolla $ign so I know that’s where he was at for a bit. Donovan loves Radiohead, you can hear it when you listen to his music. Listen to Synead once and you can instantly hear her Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child, and Prince influences. For me, I attribute a lot of my artistic influence to D.C. I was raised by the culture there, and it’s especially visceral when I’m taken out of the city.
Although I’m in a constant battle with the new parts of D.C., I attribute a lot of the way I look at drum beats to go-go music (shout out to Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Northeast Groovers, Raheem DeVaughn, etc.). Other influences that stand out are SlimKid3 from the Pharcyde, Parliament, Andre 3000, Frank, N.E.R.D. and seeing Stevie Wonder live on his “Songs In The Key Of Life” tour! Seeing him perform live was like holy fuck and that stuck with me.
You just released “Sanity” earlier this year which really seems to touch on the wild year that was 2020. What do you all think about the song?
2020 was the first year we all really were forced to collaborate digitally. “Sanity” takes me back to those first few months of quarantine. I wake up, scroll Twitter until something pisses me off, get out of bed, go to the living room, scroll more, get pissed off, repeat. “Sanity” is an important song. We’re in such a flux right now that I don’t think anyone has figured out what they are actually doing. Half of us think “we’ll be fine by summer” and the other half of us think “this might just be how we live from now on.” All of this puts a strain on my mind, and I think that’s where this song comes from: that place of uncertainty.
We Died in 2012: This is Hell was your first full-length album and touched on the theme of living in a digital purgatory. For readers who are less familiar with your work and that concept, can you shed some light on what living in a digital purgatory means to you?
Essentially, the idea is, “what if the space in between life and death was just the internet?” A digital purgatory of our own design, a vast macrocosm of 0s and 1s. The goal of 2012 Bid Adieu was to exist as a sort of way for us to talk artistically about this digital space we live in. Everything, especially in our earlier stuff, was a homage to the millennial experience of being tapped in digitally (i.e. Nintendo, AOL, Spongebob, Tim & Eric, MySpace, Vine, “Looking for a job,” Blockbuster, Sallie Mae).
Do you have any other large projects in the works and can you give us a preview of what we can expect next?
“Sanity” was the first release off of our upcoming EP reCAPTCHA. It’s a four-sided EP coming this summer and each side has its own vocalist. It’s an introspective album and a bit darker than our earlier stuff, but 2020 was simply blow after blow of horribleness, so of course, the source material is going to reflect some of that. What I’m most excited about this project is that we’ll finally be unveiling one of our newest artists Lewgotproblems. Be on the lookout in April for the next single off reCAPTCHA titled “HOUSE RULES.”
With such a large collective, what have been some of the largest challenges you’ve faced in working together during COVID?
It wasn’t bad at first because it gave us all a chance to step back and explore our own personal art. But, after a few months, working in a vacuum just became cumbersome. We all function better in a room full of people (we love a hot-mic). Sending song edits back and forth kind of sucks when you know that you’d be able to express your thoughts easier IRL (in real life). So 2020 definitely felt like a trial and error situation in regards to finding our rhythm. We shot some promo via Zoom, but it was definitely a bit more complicated than our usual process of grabbing a camera and shooting the first funny idea that comes to mind. The year has been a constant cycle of adapting and communicating. We took an intentional step to not work on Album 2 until we could physically be in the same space – it just wouldn’t feel right.
We love Bid Adieu’s goal of expanding the definition of an artist. What advice do you have for readers who are passionate about art but are too scared to call themselves an artist?
I think it’s time to start talking about alternatives to the current way we acknowledge who is and isn’t an artist. Let’s give power back to the artists and ourselves. There’s a common belief that “some of us have it and some of us don’t.” Implicit in that statement is the assumption that most of us fall into the latter category. It’s all bullshit, everyone is an artist in their own right. Just by existing, you are creating something new. I don’t like giving advice because it’s all so subjective, but if I had to say one thing, it would be let your art live in a space where you feel comfortable. If that space isn’t the internet, don’t feel pressure to have your art exist there. I have tons of friends who are incredible artists who do it just for themselves.
What’s something that you want the people reading this to know?
Bobby Shmurda is back! This next EP dedicated to him.
What are the best ways for people to support you?
If you like it, share it with the homies! If you had an idea, or a project, and want to collaborate, holler at us!
List of 2012 Bid Adieu members:
Recurring core group members:
Jordan Clark – Co-founder/Producer/Vocalist
Gray Hall – Co-founder/ Master Producer/ Vocalist/
Jeff O’Neal – Co-founder/ Creative Director
Lewgotproblems – Vocalist/producer
Dillon Treacy – Drummer
Donovan Duvall – Keyboardist
Jachary – Bassist
Synead – Vocalist
Alex Pyle – Assistant Mixing Engineer
Otto Fernandez – Actor
Eli Moran – Actor
Ambra Parker – Actor / Creative Direction
Chris Fonzi – Photographer/Videographer
Alyza Enriquez – Photographer/Videographer
Andrew Espinal – Photographer
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