Wednesday
Sep262012

Yung Klout Gang: Hashtagging Their Way To Infamy 

Yung Klout Gang may not be a name you're familiar with if you don't follow Twitter. They're a group of young creative types (including up and coming recording artist, Chippy Nonstop) using social networking to their advantage by getting their name out there and taking anyone who wants to follow them along for the ride. Kids don't want to be down with the most popular crew in their hometown anymore, instead choosing to live vicariously through their favorite internet personalities and YKG is here for those dreamers.

I had a chat over IM with Lina Abascal, a representative of YKG who recently moved to Brooklyn from YKG's Bay Area homebase. This was my attempt at finding out what was behind this human internet meme.

Introduce yourself and explain Yung Klout Gang to me…

Hey I’m Lina Abascal, I’m 21, I live in New York. I used to live in SF and before that LA. I interview DJs and musicians for a couple different magazines and do a video show on Youtube that’s on a soon to be over hiatus.

Yung Klout Gang is basically the silly name me and my 7 best friends gave ourselves, kind of just to be silly and easier and make it sound like some bullshit high school clique a la Mean Girls, but then other people we knew IRL (In Real Life) and URL (UnReal Life) started referring to us as that to be easier and then it stuck and now it’s getting a lot of internet attention for the various activities/things we do.

So just like everything on the internet, it started out as a private joke?

Yeah, absolutely.

And I’m going to assume the Klout part is taken from the Klout site?

Yes, one dude in YKG introduced us to it, Franko, I never really cared much about the site and despite my Twitter follower count being 3rd highest my score is kind of low. but its 69 which i think is funny so im down with it. Klout as a corporation recently noticed us which made shit more "mainstream" if you will.

Everyone else in your crew is still in CA or have you spread out?

Yeah they’re all there. Brittney is the newest member she’s in LA. Chippy [Nonstop] is in Oakland, Jazper is San Jose, Franko, Bradley, Erin, Demian are all in SF but all those cities are really close to each other so basically Bay area. I’m all alone =[

Was YKG around before Chippy started being noticed or is it vice versa?

Chippy and I met April 2011 at Coachella and began our bff-ship in August 2011 after I did my first episode of Lina Loves It with her. She’s been blowing up and then our "success" has been recent, a lot of the hashtag fame has come from her. I’d say probably 70% of fans find us through her, then pick members they like and leech onto them, typically Jazper and myself.

Is it gonna be like Junior MAFIA? If she blows up is she gonna put you guys on? Will you all have to learn to rap? Is that reference too old for you?

[Laughs] like Three 6 Mafia?

No Junior MAFIA was Biggie’s crew. They were all just dudes he was friends with before the fame and then once he blew up…forget it….

The beauty of YKG is that we all do different shit that can be collaborated together, i.e., Demian is a photographer, Franko is a graphic designer, Bradley is a DJ, Erin edits videos, I host video shows and Jazper styles, shoots video for Chippy.

Since it started out as kind of a joke, is there an endgame? You guys talk about a reality show and I don't know how much of that is bullshit and how much of that is realistic.

Well it began as a joke, but to be honest right now it is looking more realistic than ever. Four members have refused to be in it and we’re in talks pitching concepts and sharing videos and info with two producers who then want to shop it to cable networks. Reality TV has had such dumb shows, I don’t know why we couldn’t get one.

Seriously. It’s pretty crazy though, in talks to get your own reality show at 21 due to a twitter meme.

I would really like it. Mostly because I love MTV and pop culture but also because I want to stop having a basic job. I would use it as a platform for endorsements and more job opportunities if I could.

You wouldn't care about the exploitative part of it?

We’ve talked about it. Chippy was probably the most serious I’ve ever seen her when she told me. I will probably never have an authentic friendship or relationship after it begins because people will use me. So I’m kind of trying to get all my shit in order before and hope those people stick with me.

You’ve been rubbing elbows with some pretty well known people lately according to Twitter, how much is that due to YKG on the internet?

Honestly not too affiliated. I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by some awesome people due to writing about music and sneaking backstage until I’m there so often people think I’m supposed to be. I’ve been going out for a long time to music stuff. Music "celebs" are probably the only kind I know but also only kind I care about. Diplo and Flosstradamus shouted us out on Twitter, that felt good.

Well that’s a relief to hear honestly.

[Laughs] How so?

It was kind of frustrating to think you would get to do all this cool shit just because of Twitter. Well I’m a girl and I am very internet so I network through that.

So are you guys, really getting kicked out of clubs and partying as hard as your tweets describe?

I don’t get kicked out. I’m probably the best drunk and responsible one lately, but I often leave because they get kicked out. Chippy and Jazper get kicked out a LOT.

I’ve watched a couple of your Youtube videos while i was stalking you, is that your passion? Interviewing people?

I love writing and interviewing people goes with that. The video stuff is mostly a way to get my work out to people because no one likes reading. I’d love to be like on E! News or Fuse or MTV or something. Also I’m vain so that helps.

Sometimes I think interviewing people is so awkward. I genuinely want to know your deal, so it’s easy for me to ask you questions, but usually I’ll watch interviews and I can feel how awkward it is. Have you gotten starstruck while interviewing anyone? Can you even be starstruck?

I could, but not from any of these rave DJs. They haven’t like impacted my life enough. Sometimes i look starry eyed because I think they are hot and get called out for it in the comments. If it was like Jay Z, or Rihanna or fuck I don’t know… I think i could keep my cool.

All the slang you guys use (SUS, ALT BRO, AWK, etc) is that your own slang or is that just a Bay thing I don't understand because I'm not from there

Alt Bro is a term Jazper coined for the type of dudes he likes, it’s kind of become a thing but a lot of people don’t get it. It just means like a non frat type of bro. more of a skater type Urban Outfitters bro. Sus is definitely a Bay thing. I’m hooked on saying it though so maybe it’ll catch on here.

Alt Bro is a pretty sweet term.

Yeah alt bros holler at me.

Seriously, alt bros holler at her. Before i leave you alone, do you have anything to say that i possibly missed?

I think people will be pleased I did an interview that isn’t just like, I WANNA BE INTERNET FAMOUS AND LIKE BOYS.

I was kind of afraid of that honestly

I like surprising people =], I’m smart. Honestly we all are. Otherwise this shit wouldn’t have blown up. Marketing shit. Social media. Search engine optimization. Promo. It works.

Ok Lina, thank you for being a mature 21 year old and not awk at all, I wish you and Yung Klout Gang all the best

Awe thanks bb <3