Interview with Mod Sun, the Modern Day Hippy


Derek Smith a.k.a Mod Sun released his highly anticipated new album, Movie. His new single,“Beautiful Problem” ft. gnash and Maty Noyes.

In addition to releasing Movie, Mod Sun has also released his first short film entitled “Album,” which showcases the artists’ breadth of creativity as not only a rapper and songwriter, and painter, but, a film maker, screenplay writer, and actor. 

He gaves us a minute to talk about his new album, life on the road and how it feels to direct his own short film.

All photos by Catie Laffoon

All photos by Catie Laffoon

Teal Magazine: What inspired the short film "ALBUM"?

Mod Sun: Well obviously with the album being called "MOVIE" I basically wanted to put down the whole idea of it, which is that something plays in front of your eyes right before your life ends.

So you have that experience, so in the short film I really wanted to bring that to life, to show that in a cool way. What really kinda nailed the point of doing that is that the last song on my album is called "The End or Start Again?" which kinda builds it off of allowing me to show that. Ya know, this album is kinda like a stepping stone of where i'm headed with things, and it's kinda like the next chapter of who I am.

TM: You recently released the "Beautiful Problem" music video, what inspired that?

Mod Sun: Well, that one is based slightly on the film Pulp Fiction, so that was kinda the basis of it, to make it kinda in the realm of Bonnie & Clyde style. Then switching the role of that to the point to where we're in the middle of the chaos, but showing that even when there's a problem going on around- love can swallow you whole, so you don't even notice anything going on in the room. So it's kinda about that whole kinda idea where you don't really notice anything else going on when you're in love.

TM: Tour started about a week ago, which shows are you most excited for?

Mod Sun: Well I have a lot of great shows, but honestly New York City and Chicago right now, those are what I'm looking most forward to. NYC because you always have a big good show in New York City, and Chicago because that's pretty much the closest I'm playing to my home town on this tour, it's going to be awesome!

TM: Could you describe your audience/majority of fans?

Mod Sun: Honestly, I can't. You know I have bonafide grown ups who show up, you're expecting them to bring up their kids but they're buying a MOD SUN shirt and asking me to sign it to them. Last night a three year old with MOD SUN sunglasses on and a t-shirt. You know what I'm saying? It's really wonderful, and it's my headlining tour so I'm pretty certain a lot of the people are there for me. I've seen that I really branch out to a lot more than just 16 to 21 year olds.

TM: With a new tour, what song is your favorite to perform live?

Mod Sun: Oh man! Beautiful Problem is definitely my favorite song to perform live! It's so wonderful, man. I have the whole crowd sing it back to me. It's a special moment.

TM: What was the creative process while writing/producing the album "MOVIE"?

Mod Sun: Well, writing was a different thing for me, when it comes to making music.
I like to sit down and write when it comes to a lot of things but with music I really like having the music tell me what to do, and kinda follow that path. Cause you're usually onto something when you let the music tell you what to do.

So writing wise I tried to distance myself from any second guessing that might come across in an artist when they're writing songs, or let's say doubting of something good enough. I really decided to throw that all out the window and wrote as many songs as I could, and while doing that I came across a whole other style of me making music. Which started adding a whole bunch of beats to my access from other people. Trying to make as many possible songs I can, and I found this old voice inside that I had been waiting for this whole time.

TM: What does "MOD SUN" represent & what exactly does it mean to you?

Mod Sun: "Movement On Dreams, Stand Under None" was basically made to empower yourself, this is your world, your life, you're 100% responsible 100% of the time. If you want to love your life it's up to you to do it. Basically "Movement On Dreams" is to always follow yourself, let yourself guide yourself. "Stand Under None" means don't let anyone stand in front of you or tell you how to do it.

TM: What are some of your favorite fan gifts?

Mod Sun: My favorite gifts to get are like jewelry and crystals, because those are the two things I always make at home. Getting other gifts is always old, like you get a t-shirt and you might wear it for a week and then you try to hold onto it. When you're on the road, you're making sure you come back in one piece. While you got all this other stuff going on. It's a challenge, man. Of course, when I get letters I keep all those letters. Um, but yeah I love getting crystals and I love getting jewelry.

TM: Favorite artist/album at the moment?

Mod Sun: Uhm, let me think for a sec. Well, I really enjoy the band The 1975, I stay listening to them and I'm excited to to see what they keep doing. So, I'm going to say them, honestly.

TM: Amazing! Thank you so much!

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