Just got word this morning that the upcoming soundtrack Daft Punk made for Tron is no longer under wraps. This shit is dope! It happens to come at a perfect moment for me too, when I’m rediscovering how good Daft Punk really is (especially after dwelling in a few different Boston nightclubs and realizing that 99% of DJs all play the same house music). Listen to them here – and rush, cause these will probably be swept off the net soon.
I’m now hunting for clean mp3s of this track so I can bump ’em at a house party show in Vermont next weekend. If anybody knows where I can get mp3s, holler. Also – if these get taken down at the website I’m directing you to, and if you realize it before I do, let me know so I can try to find them somewhere else.
Daft Punk forever!
Just saw the cover art for Carlton Mellick III‘s upcoming novel and had to share it. This looks like his funnest shit since Punk Land. In his own words: “Return of the living dead style zombies + punks of the apocalypse in a battle royale style game show. Coming soon.”
My brother is probably sick of them, cause anytime we’re together in my car I grab his iPod and flip it to these same two songs to start the ride.
First is the Daft Punk club-bumper “Indo Silver Club.” I’ve always loved Daft Punk – when I was living in Brighton we used to have massive dark room dance parties to their album Homework. I recently developed a new appreciation for them, in a different way (probably provoked by my DJing nowadays). Despite this song having only like, three or four pieces that fade in and out and filter-morph, I could listen to it all day on repeat.
The second is by the Jungle Brothers – “My Jimmy Weighs a Ton.” But I cannot find the original on YouTube for the life of me. Maybe some of that skeezy copyright stuff prevents it. Hunt down the original on their incredibly groundbreaking 1993 album, J Beez Wit the Remedy. This version still bops though – remixed by Q-Tip, I believe.
Read the article here. Some of the nicest praise the Bizarro genre of writing has gotten recently… and from a mouth as official as The Guardian, no less! For the most part, they’re discussing my former roommates, Jeff Burk and Cameron Pierce, as well as the Eraserhead Press peoples (who lived down the street from us). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you especially have to read this.
7 Poems, 8 Beats is dead. It died before it was born, kind of – only 28 copies were printed, many of which are already in other people’s hands. It’s a beautiful-looking thing, with art by Jase Daniels – who I never stop gaining respect for – and the mix is tight, taking the Gas Monk originals out of When You Can’t Afford Weed, Smoke This and reblending them with a few new exclusives. But it died, and there’s a set of excuses I can give but in the end it was a revelation about the nature of art and the communication of ideas that made me kill it.
The less important excuses include printer malfunctions, pretty much on every step of the way, which gave me an increasingly unbearable headache. The product itself was flawed in its initial print run – things as stupid as the staples being in the totally wrong place – not just aesthetically wrong, but functionally wrong, so everything became useless. Staples. Staples! I feel about staples kind of the same way that Allen Iverson feels about practice.
I’m too poor for that shit. But I ate my losses and got the first batch of product ready.
Then came the more crippling error, one which you might’ve already noticed. The vast majority of orders were not going through. I didn’t know it at first, but for whatever reason, the online payment system I’d set up was just not happening. Proving once again that Gas Monk is only human no matter what certain kids try to say. Nothing was going right, and all along I kept asking, quietly at first then VERY fuckin loud and firm in my head, “Why am I doing this?”
7 Poems, 8 Beats is a collector’s edition sort of thing. Something the true Gas Monk heads could own and be happy with. But true Gas Monk heads are probably not like that, because I’m not like that. The Gas Monk heads, like me, care about the ideas, and it hit me that I wasn’t really selling new ideas, just a nicer packaging for them. And they care about supporting the artist, but know there are more practical ways to do that than buying a “collector’s edition” of something. Like, telling your friend. That’s worth more to me, because then two people are listening instead of one.
Meanwhile, When You Can’t Afford Weed, Smoke This was burning through Boston, with no packaging other than a beautiful Jase-designed CD in a slip case. That felt so right. Kids ate it up, shared it, were proud to own it. Are still eating and sharing and proud. I saw both of these things happen at once. It all made me decide that I will never charge you for something that didn’t cost an especially large lump of cash to make.
I eat a small loss on every mixtape I put out, and I’m happy to, because it’s all connected me to so many people who’ve paid me back tenfold, simply by being enthusiastic enough to burn copies for all of their friends. It’s a new age – I bootleg as relentlessly as the rest of you; I understand. The Aborted Mixtape, as I think of it now, was a lesson. It reminded me how much I love my fans, because you’re all I make this music for. Expect to keep having free music put on your plate. I don’t think the idea of collector’s editions are dishonest, but Gas Monk is for the beat junkies, flat pockets or fat pockets, and if you like me you can pay me by putting me on, in the way that matters most – with your word.
Anybody who does love collector’s editions of art, email me at email@example.com and I’ll let you know if I still have any copies of The Aborted Mixtape (aka 7 Poems, 8 Beats) for sale. It’ll be the last project of its nature I release, so if that “collectibles” urge is an urge you have, I’m here to help you satisfy it (until we’re sold out).
To the others – “One For Zane” is the only song on it TOTALLY unavailable elsewhere. I kind of think it’s cool if it remains like that. I made it for a girl I wish I could have, but she lives across the ocean from me, and only exists in my songs now. Booooyakasha.
For all my French peoples – I was interviewed recently in the awesome French artblog, Makinfluence. It is very interesting to see what things I say look like in another language. Probably a lot more elegant than my real talk. Word up to my man Camilla for making this happen! If you speak French, read the interview here. If you are monolingual (?), like me, read the original English interview below:
Why did you decide to create a blog? What does it deal with exactly?
We live in an age where most people have two selves now, physical and digital, and my digital self was wandering around the internet with no place to come home to. A blog is a home like that. As an artist, that also becomes an attraction, sort of a ghetto DIY storefront where I can represent myself and my work. I talk about what I like, what I’m thinking about; also give a lot of props to artists I respect and keep my readers updated on whatever projects I’m busy with at the moment.
What are your main inspirations?
Art, girls, drugs, conversations. Dali was huge for me, Dali changed my life. I have a melting clock tattooed on my arm. Graffiti, old train tracks. Telephone wires. In film, I’ve been profoundly changed by Aronofsky and Jodorowsky; in books, people like Burroughs, Faulkner, Lorca. And you couldn’t spend one hour with me without hearing some hip hop; I never stop listening to it. Dilla! Also long nights where we drink more than we should, and lose sight of real life. And the constant circle of falling in love and getting heartbroke. That stuff all inspires me somehow.
Have you got models, some artists that are like guides?
I pay very close attention to what Madlib is doing. I love Stones Throw, and what Buckshot does with Duck Down. I love when an artist can make business part of his art; I think that’s all part of the 21st-century aesthetic. I used to be so anti-business it was crazy, but the reason I started making art in the first place was always to communicate, and the proper representation of your art as a “product” is how you communicate with people in the 21st-century. It doesn’t mean compromise; I never compromise. It just means being strategic in how you deliver information. Hip hop has always engrained this into its aesthetic, and I love that.
What can we find on your iPod?
Mostly hip hop, mostly from the 90s. Lots of instrumental beats – I love Doom, but I actually have Madvillainy Instrumentals on my iPod (which maybe some Doom fans will hate me for). Lots of Dilla, Pete Rock, anything Premier does… the stuff I have on there that’s not hip hop would probably surprise some people – stuff like Circa Survive or At the Drive-In, Boards of Canada, Explosions in the Sky…
What are your favorite writers/poets?
I already mentioned some of them above, but let me say that anybody unfamiliar with these contemporary writers is doing themselves a disservice: Cameron Pierce, Steve Aylett, and James Chapman. All of them deserve to be legends, and if this generation’s illiteracy doesn’t fuck them over, they will be. Reaching into the classics: Dante, Dostoevsky, Keats. I’m reading One Hundred Years of Solitude now and it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Also, keep locked on Swallowdown Press! Jeremy Robert Johnson is a genius.
Have you got favorite French artists?
Yes – DJ Cam! He’s my favorite. France should be very proud of him – is he well known there? Debussy, Celine, the surrealists… Daft Punk… Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. Many of my favorite artists spent significant time there, too; Dali, of course, Giacometti, the Hemingway crew, the Beats… I love thinking of the Beats livin’ the grimy life at Rue Gît-le-Cœur.
You seem to be very interested by the subculture? Why?
Because I am the subculture. The subculture is the real culture. People I meet in Europe often have ideas of who I am before they know me, because I’m American. But I’m proud as fuck to be American, because I know so many people here who do what they do despite the police or the mainstream ideals of “American living.” The subculture is the only culture worth celebrating – but of course the mainstream is worth studying, and understanding.
About skateboarding and graffiti, what do you like in the street art?
The absolute freedom of it. A homeless man in Boston once said to me, “You kids don’t skate just to do tricks – you skate to be free, and ride through the city.” It’s true – skateboarding is so free, so different from organized sports. ANYTHING can be your playing field. I’m even more obsessed with graffiti, and similar reasons apply. I often say that graffiti is the best art gallery available today. It’s free, done purely by people with real passion, and it’s constantly updated – whether it’s because the trains in the yard just switched or because somebody’s piece got painted over by somebody better, graffiti walls are updated even more frequently than the walls in a museum (and those walls cost 10, 15 bucks to look at).
What are the best films of the decade according to you?
Of the decade? Shit, that’s hard. Aronofsky’s the best director going today, no doubt. I don’t know when all of his films were mde, but most were in the 21st-century. If I had to pick one film, I’d say The Fountain.
Why Gasoline Monk?
For the monks who burned themselves alive in protest. Some people have taken offense to the name, which always surprises me. It’s meant in tribute more than anything else. I believe it’s one of the most powerful gestures human beings have ever made to express themselves – I’m not even saying I “condone” it, and I’m definitely not making fun of it – but it’s power as a gesture is indisputable. Hip hop is all about self-expression, so it felt natural. The name had been kicking around in my head for a while, too – a bit before I started applying it to my music.
What are your regular reading (blogs, magazines…?)
I read mostly books. I do cruise around blogs sometimes, but my life has always been too messy to commit to reading things on a regular schedule – it usually has to be a book, something separate from time elapsing. Right now I am studying the way ideas spread through societies, and also reading Marquez, like I mentioned. I like to learn about things then walk away from them; I was always a miserable student, and can swallow knowledge only at my own pace. Lately I read Rolling Stone a lot, because I think it’s fascinating, the way different people deal with fame. But in general, it’s just instinctual – I’m the kind of person that’ll take 20 books out of the library and read only one, but chew on bits of the others and feel like I know them.
Thanks again Makinfluence – that was fun.
I love picture blogs when they are done right, and this one is done very right. Awesome Eye, comin straight at you from France – dip in, relax, walk out head-expanded.
Anybody who understands the above reference gets $5. Lemme know. (You probably won’t get any money, but street cred is worth more than dollars and you’ll get tons of that).
Just wanted to share this interview with my favorite producer going today, Madlib. He doesn’t seem to give interviews a lot but he’s always got something inspirational to say – hip hop producers, music lovers and art geeks alike will get down with this.