Oakland's Wallpaper. Inks Deal with Epic Records
Wallpaper's Ricky Reed
Wallpaper., the thumping crunk-pop outfit led by Oakland's Ricky Reed, signed a record deal late last year with Sony Music imprint Epic, making it the latest Bay Area group to jump to a major label.
Best known for last year's breakout single, "#STUPiDFACEDD" -- which was featured on MTV and watched more than 2 million times on YouTube -- Wallpaper joined the Epic roster after a late-night meeting in early December with L.A. Reid, Epic's CEO and a judge on the music TV show The X Factor.
In an interview with All Shook Down over the weekend, Wallpaper's Reed says he was called to the Sony Music building in Beverly Hills late on Dec. 2, and found himself meeting with Reid, producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, and the Epic artist Ciara. After several hours of playing Wallpaper's music for the assembled group, Reed was asked if he wanted a deal, and by the afternoon of Dec. 4, he had signed a contract.
"[L.A. Reid] says to me, 'I do believe that I am in the presence of greatness,'" Reed tells SF Weekly, laughing while recounting the late-night meeting. "And I didn't know what to say. I was just like 'Alright, what do you guys want to do?'"
Reed wouldn't discuss the details of his contract, but said he's thrilled to be joining Epic -- the label on which, he noted, Michael Jackson's Thriller was released -- and excited to be working with Stewart and Reid. He says the label plans to push his latest single, "Fucking Best Song Everrr," on FM radio.
"I thought that all deals were engineered to be bad and painful for the poor artist these days, but we did a damn good deal with them," Reed says. "It's really exciting. I'll just say that I can focus on the music."
Both Reed and Steve Brodsky, Wallpaper.'s manager, say that fans of the band's unpretentious -- and often parodic -- hip-pop and funk don't have to worry about a change in style just because it signed with a major.
"He still really wants to make blue-collar party music," Brodsky says of Reed. "Just because we're signed to a major now, we're not going to have songs about popping bottles in clubs."
Look for more on Wallpaper.'s major-label deal in an upcoming print edition of SF Weekly, and check out "Just Tweet It," our 2009 cover story on Ricky Reed and Wallpaper.