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Interview: Spank Rock – Part 2

In the second part of our interview with Spank Rock, we find out more about the influences behind his new LP ‘Everything is Boring and Everyone’s a Fucking Liar’, why he chose to release it on his own label, and how he ended up becoming best friends with Amanda Blank and Santigold.

Notion: It was five years between the release of Yo Yo Yo Yo Yo and Everything is Boring and Everyone is a Fucking Liar – what have you been doing?

Spank Rock: I’ve done the Bangers and Cash EP, I was featured on a few songs but the most fun was the Mark Ronson collaboration ‘Bike Song’ with Kyle Falconer. Then just touring around with that for maybe about a year, we started touring last summer. I got bought of out a record deal with Big Dada. I’ve changed record labels twice now before this one could be completed, so that took some time. I think for maybe the first two years after Yo Yo was touring, and all this buzz was happening and all these record labels in America – and the UK – wanted to sign us, and it took about two years for it to settle and get a new record label.

Notion: You’re releasing the album on your own label. If you had so much interest, why did you feel the need to do this? Was it for creative reasons?

Spank Rock: I think the record industry has changed so drastically since Yo Yo. I got a new deal with Downtown right before the music industry kind of crashed, so I thought I was set, then all of a sudden you see all these record labels folding, music stores started closing and everyone just starts freaking out. So the switch from being on Downtown and me putting out my own record is pretty much just about me being stubborn and thinking I had some real value in myself – they wanted to renegotiate the deal they had given me, and cut my advance in half, and then they wanted to take money from merchandise and touring, and I just don’t believe in that. Especially when I didn’t see the company doing much to help anyone – there was no A&R I was pretty much on my own, reaching out to friends. I thought if I’m doing this on my own then I’m doing it on my own! So, I eventually got a distribution deal through The Orchard and I started up a record label just to put out my own album.

Notion: Will you be releasing other artists’ music on Bad Blood Records?

SpankRock: It’s just for me unless I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to put out other people’s work but that’s not the goal right now.

Notion: What does the album title mean?

Spank Rock: Of course there have been some really exciting and wonderful things happening in music, but there are more exciting things happening right now in politics. I think that in pop culture especially with musicians neglecting all the wonderful things that are happening around you and concentrating on things that happened in the past or focusing on getting a billion YouTube hits, I feel like these are very easy, cheap ways of putting yourself in the top or in this limelight. And I think that anyone can do it, it’s so easy. I feel like the way that people are consuming their music these days is really uninspiring and it’s like all the spirituality is taken away out of it. So once the spirituality is taken away from it everything does become boring, it becomes a very stale, obvious way to market a product and sell it.

That’s one of the hardest things to deal with, to deal with a music industry that no longer believes in what you do because some other young kid who isn’t as creative just got a million YouTube hits and everyone is scurrying over there going ‘oh this is where the money is’. It’s like they’re cool, but now what are you gonna do with that? You can’t sell it. It’s just people at work, in offices and in schools being like ‘look at this dumb video someone’s made’, it has no meaning, soul or passion to it at all. So when you see people scurrying around in this wasteland, in this very cheap and instant way to be entertained, it does become boring.

Notion: You said that one of your influences is ‘bounce’ music. What is that?

Spank Rock: New Orleans’ traditional rap music is called Bounce. You’ll hear it in all Master P music on No Limit, like ‘Back That Ass Up’ by Juvenile – it’s a classic bounce beat. All those southern, new Orleans, popular south rap songs come from the bounce scene.

Notion: You work a lot with Amanda Blank and Santigold. How did you meet them?

Spank Rock: When I moved to Philadelphia for school, I started hanging outside of my scene, trying to go to more indie rock dance parties and meeting a new crowd of kids. Amanda was always out, and she just looked so cool and was so wild and had this great spirit. I had a huge crush on her, and we ended up becoming best friends over time.

Then, my friend Roxy Cottontail who is a party promoter in New York introduced me to Santi’ as “the girl who wrote the Res album”, she’s a soul singer from the early 2000s. I met her and I was like “You’re amazing, I love that album so much.” She was flattered and we stayed in touch. I think with those two, it’s because of their range and what they can do. Santi is an amazing singer, she can rap if she wants to, the way she makes her music, she mixes lots of different styles so she’s always pulling from the same places I want to pull from. Amanda’s the same way. I think it was really easy for us to talk about music. That’s my crew.  Musically, Anything that’s happening questions or inspirations I’m always talking to those two. They’re my support system, they’re awesome girls.

Notion: You’re part of the Alexander Wang 2011 T Collection campaign with Santigold. Fashion and hip hop go hand in hand – do you see yourself maybe launching your own line?

Spank Rock: Fashion is really important. It’s one of those things that’s the most important thing in the world but not important at all. All my favourite artists have been on top of their fashion game, and it was totally flattering to be asked by Alexander Wang to be a part of his big campaign. I’m afraid to go to SoHo in New York right now as the posters of me and Santi are up and I don’t want to see them in real life. I think if I had it in me a bit more I would release some fashion pieces, but I never understand how those artists can be so talented in music and then have time to put these wonderful outfits together. I guess for me, I find making music so hard I guess I spend too much time on that!

Everything is Boring and Everyone is a Fucking Liar will be released on September 27th

For the full piece, check out Notion 53 online here.

-Kara Simsek

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