Words by Matthew Spence:
The following preview will be screened with words and will require a vibrant imagination and a “Red Band” mind.
Red-Band, due to the fact, the dumbass writing this may slip up and say “fuck”….a few times. Oh well, fuck it. ROLL IT.
Head Scratching and Binging the Amazing World of Gumball. Blank stares and Random Vaporwave mixes. Constant pencil scribbling so audible the instrumental for “Stan” needs to play whenever writing occurs.
All of these sum up Matthews, Saturday Morning—a strung-out journalist trying to finish a piece before a tight deadline. Needing a mental and creative break, he decides to take a breather and run a few errands. Kick ass in Mario Kart & go to the opening of a new local record store called “Small Bites Records”. Little did he know, this little roundabout would change the course of the world. Yes, it’s that epic. Upon entering he’d meet the store, he’d the store owner, Gidi. A mid-20s music store owner who has the habit of breaking the 4th wall “Ferris Bueller” style (even though, there was no camera around and I was the only one in the store) and combing the funnies and music like: why did the chicken cross the road? because Tame Impala is just one guy. Get It?
The two strangers would soon become the opposite as they would have to band together to save the world when a powerful force. Side by side, they have to stop: Vampierre Carti, an entity sent from the realm of Opium who plans to unload Mayham amongst the civilians in the small city of Bitesville (or something like that). Armed with the power of nerdism and wielding toy keyblades they bought from a Halloween Store that for some reason was opened in December. With guidance from King Kendrick Lamar, the two must embark on the journey to the center of the WORLD. EPIC. WORDS. ALL CAPS TO EMPHASIZE EPICNESS.
Matthew and Gidi star in “Rush Hour 4”
Welp, breaking news due to legalities and a note that says: “Bitch, we’ll sue your ass”.
Matthew and Gidi star in: “Finding Jay Electronica” Rated R.
Now our feature presentation starts now…….sorta.
Being a fan of music is like being a student in a school of some sort. Enroll in courses, learn a bunch of shit that’s 50/50 on if it’ll benefit you in the long run. But a positive is the one person who’ll make the experience decent (I think some may call this a “friend”). Growing and learning as you walk through the hall and trying to avoid getting shoved in a locker by a guy who listens to Velvet Underground demos and Limp Bizkit.
Enter the (Wu-Tang) class, Gidi [Last Name Undisclosed]. With a love of listening to music & an infatuation with drawing/animation; from childhood to his teenage days, both interests would fuse together and bake the cake of what became his channel “onlysmallbites”. With over 200k subscribers, playful animation and art style make the art direction of Diary of the Wimpy Kid look like a last-minute homework project (just kidding Jeff Kinney). He uses his with a couple of objectives: make fun videos and unload music trivia that you can use to impress your coworkers at the water cooler. Educate with colors. Fun with facts. From his viral series “Basically in 30 seconds” to his “onlysmallbites” series where he discusses various music topics like guest features or album rollouts and all that lunch table talk to drop gems.
For instance, did you know Tame Impala is just one guy? I know right? Yet it wasn’t all so simple. The map to get there led to many areas before the destination. On a regular Nov. 15, I got to chance to talk to Gidi for 4 hours. 2 hours of an actual interview, and the other 2 hours of shit I might include. It was longer than Titanic but more entertaining.
Let’s start from the beginning. It all started with the Big Bang….wait too far. Fast forward a little, Cardi B and Megan the Stallion inform us we need to bring a bucket and a mop…… actually a little too far, let’s bring it back just a smidge…Right………Here. Before YouTube, a crafty tyke named Gidi was finding his way like many of us would with an outlet. His avenue, drawing. Making his own comic books, and doodling, from markers to colored pencils. “I’d draw everything, even the things I shouldn’t have been drawing on” to put it in his short words. “I love Art”. Going through Elementary to High School, with middle school in between somewhere He’d take a plethora of art programs and art classes. Sure, in his eyes, he wasn’t the best compared to his peers and close friends, but who gives a fuck it was still fun, and isn’t that what matters…Right?
Anywho, one hobby down already, traveling in his re-animated world until he travels across the bridge of animation. Drawing in YouTube like we all do at this point, in time, he’d get caught in the rabbit hole of YouTube Animations. Shout-out to Newgrounds. The animation site and channel played a big figure in his journey at the time. On the side, Eds World. “I watched his stuff all the time and it made me go ‘I wanna do my own animation’. He did, making a bunch of stuff but those videos are in the vault with Detox and the Nicholas Cage “Superman” movie. His animation journey took baby steps; here’s a lengthy quote: “I never knew how to animate, I really only learned how to do more video creation cause while I was doing art, I was making my own videos in Windows Movie Maker and early copies of Sony Vegas. Around the end of high school, I wanted to try animation and some animations every now & then and post them online” The quote lives on. “Again they didn’t go anywhere, people would see them but it didn’t lead to much”.
Now, what was the first entry for the “onlysmallbites channel, simple: Kanye West beat remakes (well at least, those are the first videos we see on the page). On the other side of the court, by 2016, he got into producing his own beats. “On & off with animation and drawing, producing was a main focus at one point” “Even before I knew what FL Studio was, I would just hum melodies into my iPod or iPhone cause I’d go ‘hey one day I’d make this into a song”.
Cracking down from 2018-2020, he was slanging beats online like scammers handing out bootleg DVDs on the corner. Like Jehovah’s Witness hand out pamphlets. But sadly, nothing stuck, in the midst he decided to turn around and use his channel and remake beats, not thinking much of it. From Kanye’s deep cuts to Lupe Fiasco tracks. Don’t worry though, he still produces on the side for fun. And Don’t worry (2x), he won’t remake “Drunk and Hot Girls” again.
One side of the court: is drawing/animation, and the other: is music producing. Both are serving back and forth. While this is happening, the channel is still fairly empty with a direction. Vacant once more, he realized: “OK I’ve been making videos for some time, I’ve been going in and out of animating for a long time. I love music, so let me combine all 3 of these things”.
LADIES & GENTLEMEN… onlysmallbites.
In the beginning, the burn was slow. His first topic video on Posthumus Music was a great opener but soon would reach a stagnant moment. Daft Punk-based videos became a focus once they announced their breakup. Great at first but after a few and hammering the nail, led to creative contemplation. Being pigeon-held isn’t anyone’s first idea or hopes and dreams. This leads to his questions: Be the Daft Punk guy? Accept that no one really is checking out the stuff I’m making? Or change and adapt? Option 3 it is. The show would go on. Soon would make his series “Albums in…(Seconds/Minute)”. Take an album, multiple lyrics clips, and animation of the artist; all to tell a one-off story about…… well anything. Kendrick Lamar & DAMN. It’s about Kendrick in school getting a D to an A+. Fun, random, entertaining. Animation the world is yours yo. “You can do whatever you want and that’s why i gravitate towards it”. “You can imagine what world you want and you can do it. Distopian Robots, you can do that”.
Regarding the Basically series, he says: “When I first started, I just wanted to make a fun little short video on albums I like and as well everyone likes”
An onlysmallbites Q&A Section
Process for the “Basically In 30 Seconds…” Videos?
-Whenever I make one, it always starts as “What kind of story I can tell with the music that’s given to me? I’ll chop up stuff and mix and mash whatever until I hear something and can make out something with these pieces and try to make something enjoyable to watch but also tell a story. And I feel people who try to do their own don’t see it that way”. “While I’m animating it, writing it out, storyboarding it all that stuff, put things together and make things that aren’t supposed to work, work. Put emphasis on stuff like that makes the video semi-enjoyable” <laughs>
Do you study an album beforehand/ How do you dive into an album?
I’ll listen to an album and go through it. If I’m hearing for the first time, I’m just listening to it, then if I decide to do a specific video, then, I’m gonna listen again but the intent “what can I take out and make into something else”. There’s a lot of editing that goes into, as you’re taking pieces of the song then it’s like “OK” you end up piecing together mini scenes & weave them together.
Albums/Videos for the Basically series you scraped or couldn’t do much with?
Not necessarily. There were some I did want to do. Thriller at one point and Viva La Vida at one point [Note: not his favorite Coldplay album btw]. After I did the Gorillaz video, I noticed everyone wasn’t meshing well with the videos that weren’t rap
After a while, like most creative people, an itch for wanting to do more and change it up occurred. After working on the “Basically In…” series and wrapping it up with a 20-minute video (of course, he’ll make one every now and then). The channel entered a new era for smallbites. Bigger focus on topic videos and a new and improved face of the channel, Cauliflower Man, who made an appearance in the first video in 2021. He’d get a teen movie makeover, but we’ll get there.
Not Another smallbites Q&A Section
One thing I’ve come to terms with is: that I’m never gonna cover everything. Whenever I’m thinking of or have an idea for a topic, I get into this rhythm. “Ok this topic, I know I’m not gonna cover everything so I’ll just talk about the stuff I know of and is interesting to me” Go Google, search up some stuff and do some research on artists/whoever I could find. Funny enough, Wikipedia is a good source but not the actual bio but the sources and link at the bottom. I’ll just sparknote a bunch of things I wanna talk about that’s interesting & I’ll just start writing once I have enough [info/facts] then I get to writing.
What is enough?
If I feel I represented each genre that I wanted to enough. 1/3 Hip-Hop, 1/3 is Rock, 1/3 is other.
What do you listen to when you edit?
I usually listen to instrumentals. [Metal Fingers aka DOOM] Special Herbs. There’s this one I really love named Pogo. He does a bunch of movie mashups and makes these songs sound super magical
The moment you realized YouTube could work out for you?
That’s the thing, I don’t even fully think I’m there yet funny enough. I still feel like I’m on this uphill battle. I’m still working, trying to carve out my lane. I’m still trying to get to this point where people are watching the channel for me and trying to make this specific lane in music and music blogging that people aren’t doing”
Cauliflower guy, how did he come to be?
Back when I used to make flash animation, during that time like 2013-2016, the way I drew my character back then was really reminiscent of the character I have now. Granted, I had no hair <chuckles>, but it was the same general idea. I made this character all the way back then and then I used that or all my animation. Later on, I started growing out my hair out, then I’m like “Ok, well, I already did myself from back then, I’ll just take take that idea and change the hair”.
Personally, I like to imagine his hair is like Kyle Broflovski’s hair.
Gidi is living Tribe style: Beats, Drawings & Life. With his platform and forwarding on, he builds and progresses in many ways. “I feel I’m able to express the things I wanna say a little bit more clearly”. Learning bits and pieces, reworking on what sparks his urge to create, and reminding himself of gems. “Before I used to kinda box myself into the niche of hip-hop and a lot of stuff, but now I’m like “ok I wanna cover music as a whole and enjoy music as a whole and the culture as a whole and experience it with you guys and all that stuff”. Simply as he puts “Comparison is the number 1 thief of joy, just make the stuff you wanna make”.
Growth as a storyteller, as the days continue, Gidis’s creative path gets more directed to the destination. Beyond the following, his main focus trends back to one thing: music should be fun. Bring the energy of lunch table talk with the homies. Convos with your cousin in the basement, debates that start civilized but lead to passionate harmless shouting. You rub your hands like Birdman because you can actually use your fun facts that outside of the convo won’t mean shit. In a time where we can see countless reviews, album breakdowns, rankings, etc (don’t get me wrong, all that is great as well), we can get lost in the sauce of criticism and forget to appreciate the little things. Nerd out. Learn with fun, all delivered with simple, charming, playful animation.
200k subs, there’s still more for him to accomplish. What does the future hold for Gidi? He has a few ideas and hints. “Merch is one. More collabs, I’d love to do more collabs with people, I wanna get more into streaming and just start growing the channel a bit more. I wanna spend a whole year and grind this out, just see where it can go. Cause people are showing love and enjoying, it’s only gonna grow as much as people are interested. I just wanna make videos people will enjoy and videos that’ll make me happy. It’s crazy how many ideas I have.
With curtains rolling down, it’s safe to say Gidi and the onlysmallbites are bringing it back to the basics while balancing some innovation. Two series equal = 1 bundle of dopeness.
[After the interview we talked about a bunch of stuff: Kingdom Hearts and random music stuff. I didn’t know what to add or leave. Maybe I’ll drop the full convo…maybe not, either way, here’s this.]