Remember when artists had character, stood out and entertained? This guy certainly does, so we talked to him about his 15 mixtapes, being signed to Interscope, the UK scene and shampoo.
What's your name and where you from?
It came up with me man. Boom! Wherever I lay my baby blue fitted. Or my socks. I can never hang on to a hat for more than a week. I have lost more hats than brain cells. I had this fucking lush pink leather one I bought in Harlem and I left it on a roof in Brooklyn. It is a travesty.
Being an 80's kid, what's your fondest memories of that decade?
Well, Now That's What I Call Music two and three were pretty boeth. The Reflex, Free Nelson Mandela, Howard Jones, Against All Odds, Two Tribes, White Lines (Don't Do It), One Love, Smalltown Boy, Time After Time, You Take Me Up… Dude! Those were some tunes! And, you know, I was well into Tellybugs. We didn't have a telly, so I saw it at my Garanddad's. Tellybugs was nuts. They were like flying lego spacemen. To be honest, I have a really bad memory, but Linda Lusardi was hot you know.
Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations?
Hmm. EMF, NWA, Carter USM, ODB. All the acronyms. The Shamen, Billy Bragg, Guns N Roses, Adam And The Ants, Sham 69, The Temptations, Snoop and Dre, Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Hunter S, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Racist Ass Enyd Blighton, Skid Row, Terminator 1 and 2, John Hughes movies, He-Man. Todd Macfarlane. Rah.
I always forget Nirvana and Oasis when people ask me this. But I loved Nirvana. And Oasis were the shit until just after Whatever. Timmy Mallet an all man. That dude's vibe was all, be you! Doesn't matter if you're a twat and you wear stupid glasses, you can still get on Top Of The Pops! Thinking about it, that was Elton John's vibe too. But he's been shit since Rocketman, so fuck him.
How long have you been rapping and how'd you describe your style?
I have been rapping in earnest since 11:30 am, 01/01/2000. I wouldn't describe my "style". I don't know if I have one. I don't think about that aspect of things though. I probably should, right? I just open my mouth in sequence. Get me?
What projects have you released so far and what track could people check out to get the strongest impression of you?
Rah. I done lots you know. I'm 12 mixtapes deep into my ATD series. I've released two EPs, a single, and a bunch of MP3s. I would suggest you log onto Akirathedon.com, download ATD12, and take it from there. I dunno about impressions, but that's a dope tape.
You've got downloads and mixtapes all over the place. Doesn't that make the discography messy, or is that my OCD kickin' in?
Yeah it is! Stop watching telly! Well, I know what you mean though. I Lime Wired myself recently and there were songs on there I completely forgot I'd done. And that I don't own. I think that's cool though me, and if I were a wee baban looking out for Dr The Don, I think it'd make it more exciting innit.
Are you signed to a label or are you sticking with the indy route, and what'd you prefer?
Odd as it sounds, I'm currently signed to Interscope in the US. Over here I'm currently very indie. It's kind of cheating, I suppose. As for which I preffer, I'll let you know when the depths of both have been properly plundered. Majors do put you in nice hotels and fly you around the world and buy you laptops and stuff. But there is more to life than hotels and laptops! Or so I am told.
What projects are you currently working on and what gossip can you let us in on about them?
I keep myself proper busy you know. I got an album ready to drop wot is bomb. I'm in the midst of ATD13 right now, which features my WhyLout? peoples, Enveh, Narstie, JTWR, Miss OddKidd, Bashy… and lots of other swine. I'm doing some stuff with Black Piranhas. An album with Bravecaptain. I just did a track for Mothboy's new LP. I'm involved in a transatlantic love song with a dishy blonde popstrel who shall remain nameless. Amongst other things…
Do you handle your music's production yourself or are you working with any beat makers?
I do most of my own stuff, but I like working with other people as well. A wank is a wonderful thing, but you can't wank all day long.
I read that you're a big fan of Fruityloops. What other stuff do you enjoy using to create sounds?
I wrote a song about this once. Fruityloops and Acid. That's what the fuck is up! And Soundforge. I got Cubase, but I don't really mess with it, Fruity and Acid holds me down. If you wanna get deep, I use Atmosephere a lot for synthy stuff, Trilogy and Sytrus for bassy stuff, and other people's records for an awful lot. I like a bit of crackle. I am no sonic snob neither. I'm half deaf. So MP3s suit me lovely.
Who are some of your favourite artists and records at the moment?
That's why I make mixtapes and insist on DJing at gigs I think. I am hungry for new noises always and I like to foist my tastes on people. I am a secret fascist. Right now, by which I mean today, I have listened to the second WhyLout? mixtape, some Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Bearman, Bruza, Bashy (it's about the Bs!), Ali Love, Mogwai, Adam Green, Paul Wall. I listen to lots of noises innit!
I've been recording a lot of other people lately, getting my engineer/mix/post production on. I am not amazing at it, but I listen to that stuff loads. I have to. So you get really deep into a track in the way you'd never dream of doing when you're little and you just, um, listen to records. I did this thing with Enveh and Taz and Tego the other day, I was mixing that earlier. It is so amazing man. People are deep. You forget that sometimes, living in your own head all day. Makes me wanna cry, actually. Sob.
With Radio One/NME type bands ripping off history, would you agree that hiphop remains the only real innovative genre?
See, I remember Jack White complaining that hiphop was shit because it involved nothing but ignorant theivery. This coming from a dude who rapes the legacy of old black dudes for a living. Fuck a genre in general, and I've said this before, but hiphop might be the ultimate musical artform, since, in theory, you can express anything vocally over anything musically. How sick is that?
Although the culture's really creative, it still feels like people are scared not to look identical. How could individuality be promoted more?
That is a good point. We're gonna have to start early if we're gonna sort that. School is set up to kill any kind of individual urge. It all leads from there. I dunno man. The modern world is all about the suppression of individual action, expression, and thought. I noticed that one as soon as I could notice.
I do what I do, personally, and rah for me, but I'm not going to hate on a man for not wanting to get laughed at on road, as it were. It makes me very sad when I think about it. Nice one. You done made me sad now. Boo hoo!
Wern't you in a rock band once? Tell us what that was like.
I was in a band called Narcotic in '96. When I was 16 and had a shaved head and wore lots of eyeliner and platforms and stuff. We were hardcore. Well, we were somewhere between Suede and Nine Inch Nails. Our drummer was in a Slayer tribute band. The guitarist and bassist hated each other. We split up half way though our first gig. The guitarist threw his guitar at the bassist's head. Everybody thought it was amazing. This girl I fancied kissed me afterwards. Being in a rock band was dope.
You've had tons of press over the last couple of years. What's been the most memorable thing written about you so far?
Um. I can't think of anything. Ha! That says a lot. Well, it would, only I have a legendarily poor memory. Oh yeah, NME said I have Gwen Sefani on speed dial. That was pretty funny.
It looks like you're big on the blogging. Is it a must for 21st century artists to have this up front relationship with fans?
Nah. It works for some like me, 'cause I like to write, and I can. But I don't want to read Prince's blog, all those 2's and Us'd do my eyeballs in. Some people blog and they really oughten't. They write like spastics and fuck up any romantic idea you might have had of them with one poorly considered "lol". There is still a place for mystique, for the artist that lives in a cave and refuses to do interviews.
Alongside crushing individuality, the modern world (well, this side of it) is about the death. The total abandonment of privacy. Everyone's a brand. Everyone's diary is public. We know where this road leads. We have read 1984. Fuck, we don't need to anymore. Read the fucking Sun. It's happened.
Are those illustrations around your website your handy work? Who are some of your favourite designers/artists?
Yeah they are. My first loves were comics, cartoons and music. Prolly they shall be my last. This week, Art Spiegelman, Evan Dorkin, Bill Waterson, Johen Vasquez, Jae Lee, Frank Miller. Yes.
How long did it take you to grow your hair that long and what shampoo can you recommend?
I think it's been two and a half years since I last shaved it. Maybe three, and in all that time, I have yet to settle on one bottle. Fuck brand loyalty. Really, it's all the same you know. Saying that, I had a big tub of Dove conditioner one time, and that was the shit. Aint seen it in the shops since. Rah, Dove, holler at yer lad!
Have you got any advice for people who despise everything about 'reality' TV yet get sucked into wasting their life watching it?
Yeah. Throw your telly out the window. I did. If I need lazy visual stimulation I download episodes of The Sopranos or South Park off ye olde interweb, because I am gangsta. Fuck all that twattery. Life's stunted enough.
Who's your most famous enemy and most famous friend?
Enemy? Brian Molko. Friend? Dude, if I told you me and Jeff Goldbloom were tight, he'd get pissy with me.
Is Bono a great guy for all that nice stuff he apparently does, or a wanker for wearing shades indoors and being in U2?
If I was your Skygod I might smite Bono. Cunt ruined my birthday by taking over The Independent and running a load of spun-to-fuck vanity interviews with him and Gordon Blair. Nob.
Have you got any hello's or plugs you'd like to chuck out there to round this up on?
I do, cheers. That is kind of you. Ur, hold tight. All my fellow Chris de Burgh fans in Iran waiting for the hurricane. Look out for Bashy's new mixtape. He said this after that's "out soon" (best be son). Marv The Marsh's 'Hoods And Badges' EP and mixtape, Narstie's tape wot is called 'I'm Better Than U', Miss OddKidd's 'I Heart OK'. Enveh's album later this year, Black Piranhas, Swine, and yes you best keep an eye on AkiraTheDon.com 'cause ATD13 is coming in a matter of days (seven or ten, perhaps), and it's gonna be fucking rah times infinity. Yes that is true. Big up your badman self. Raaah!