Akira The Don has just released the excellent Clones single to critical acclaim, is busy putting the finishing touches to his album and has recently announced a couple of live dates in London.
As he’s very good at keeping his website up to date and is obviously far better on a computer than we are, we decided to break him off from his busy schedule to conduct an email interview with him. The results are both interesting, informative and most of all very entertaining reading.
Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us it’s much appreciated.
It is a plesure. I type fast, although there is beer on my keyborad and the up arrow is sticking.
Your new single Clones is released shortly, I’m sure you are rightly proud of it?
I love it muchly. Alice Cooper personally approved the sample, Bashy is amazing on it, and the squelch bass sound came out as hard as it was in my brain, so I am a happy camper.
Does it give a fair taste of what to expect on the forthcoming album?
Well, in that there will be raps and beats and the discussion of The Stuff. Its one of many doors in The Mansion.
What gave you the inspiration for the Alice Cooper sample?
I was listening to some songs, and that one came on, and I thought STEAL THAT SHIT! And I did. That’s what usually happens. Now I have mastered Fruity Loops I can make these things as soon as I think of doing it, so I don’t get bored. It rules. And so does Alice Cooper. TRASH is one of my favourite albums ever.
Are you wary of what samples you use or do you feel that anything is fair game to be used?
Exactly that. Anything is fair game if I think it sounds dope. I was fucking with Oasis’ Whatever and Billy Bragg’s Brickbat last night. A lot of people said I was insane to sample Chris de Burgh. That is silly. Shit sounds ill. “Cool” is a bizarre and segregationist concept employed by the Terrified and the Ludite.
How has the recording gone with James Brown and how has he found working with yourself in comparison to somebody like NIN?
James Brown rules the world. He is kind of responsible for my slide back into my fag hole, but that just shows how weak spirited I really am. Anyway, we have a nice musical telepathy going on now, so the whole process has become very intuitive and easy, so we shall be doing lots more together. He is a deeply talented, beautiful little bastard. As far as how I compare to Trent, work wise, I am perhaps shorter, sunnier, and less fucked in the head, as I haven’t had to endure what he has. Yet.
You’ve got around a bit in your recording sessions for this album, LA, NY, why did you go to America to record and how do you feel that has influenced your writing and recording?
Well, I went to New York to play with James, and later Emile, and LA to play with Danny Saber, just because they were there, and I wanted to play with them. As it went, it was pretty amazing. I saw a country in turmoil. I saw the Resident get reelected then I saw him ethnically cleanse New Orleans. It was fucking crazy.
Looking at your website it looks as if the internet has opened up avenues for you that maybe wouldn’t have been available to other artists ten years ago. Do you view it as a useful tool or a necessary evil in this day and age?
All I know is, all the stuff I’ve done, I wouldn’t have been able to do on such a huge level without the Interweb. I think it is the greatest gift humanity has received, and I am terrified they will take it away from us, which is why I am rinsing it on such a hardcore level. All this musicing is, is communicating via noise. I am lucky to be able to communicate via words and cartoons and shit also. They bump my shit in Iran, for fuck’s sake! That is awesome!
I like the fact that you try and do an update every day for people on the site, especially like the fact that you let people know what you are listening to, even if it is A ha and Aqua!
Like I said, communication via noise! And A Ha and Aqua are dope. I have fallen in love with that Aqua lady. She is saucy and hardcore and clever as fuck. And that Tarzan And Jane song is amazing.
Where did the idea for the animations come from?
When I was little I liked music and comic books, so it was just the natural thing. When I first formed my old band, the idea was we’d be an animated, rapping boyband. Then Gorillaz happened. And it goes back to the whole digital craziness thing – I can make cartoons on my laptop on the train. It is awesome. Me and my little brother did this new one for no money with just us, and it shits on most of Gorillaz’ stuff – no offence… But they had, like, 300 people and many thousands of pounds. The doors are off. Zef’s still at school! He was doing the video after his homework and on weekends! Shit is a slightly bumpy playing field right now. I love this future shit, serious, it is amazing to me daily.
How do you feel about Gorillaz as they are obviously all built around animation?
Ha! What funny cosmic synergy. I think Gorillaz are ill. Their videos could be better though. I am sure they will be. I especially like the dub version of that last album, shit was hardcore. And Deadline was my favourite magazine when I was little, so it is a joy to see Jamie Hewlet doing well.
The remixes you’ve commissioned on this single are fantastic, did you always have those people in mind for this track or was it more by chance?
Thank you very much. Radioactiveman is an old mucker from my Crack Village days – we played together on a boat in France and we he liked us, weirdly. So he was always in mind, and came through with the tragic illness. Whitey, I keep having spirited rows with in late night drinking establishments in London and New York, and we always talked about doing something, without having heard each other, so that made sense too. Mothboy is my boy from old, and Danny, of course, I’ve been staying with in LA with making huge sounding film soundtrack shit, so that too was completely natural. The only one I missed was Erol Alkan, who was doing that Franz remix at the time, but we’re gonna do something soon, he just bought a load of synths, and is very excited about using them. As am I.
You’ve got a couple of live dates coming up in London in the next month, how easy is it to put together your live show with the type of music you are making and the different components that go into?
It is a bit tricky, to be honest. I’m still in the process of getting it right. The stuff I WANT to do is rather expensive and finnickety, but we’re getting there. Every show is different, at least. And my band kick ass.
Thanks for your time and good luck with the shows, the single and the recording.
Thank you very much also. Pax Donicus. And don’t eat the yellow snow. x