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INTERVIEW: MIDNITEMEN
The Quietus , April 12th, 2014 10:54

Listen to new material and a mixtape from Akira The Don's new project, based on the philosophy of PEAKWAVE

Hardworking maestro of of the internet Akira The Don has been busy of late, leaving London for the sunny climes of Los Angeles. Here, with long-time associate Wade Crescent, he's been putting together a brand new pop/club/high-end entertainment project that's now finally seeing the light of day. Midnitemen have been busy making pleasingly high-energy bonkers remixes of anyone from Chvrches to Queens Of The Stone age to Pet Shop Boys and Roxy Music. These are collated on a mixtape they've done in honour of this weekend's Californian festival of sobriety and not wearing much on a polo pitch, Coachella. You can listen to that above and download it here, and listen to 'Sex Drive', their first own pop banger, in the interview with Akira The Don below. He also informs us that this Monday will see the Ziggy-esque termination of Akira The Don himself, with a final ATD RIP LP released to commemorate his demise before he is "hopefully reborn in the ancient Egyptian manner". More information here

What have you been up to of late, and what has been the most notable experience of that?

Akira The Don: Well, I had a baby, which was pretty notable. He was called Hercules, and he still is for that matter. He's 15 months old and he loves really ignorant rap music and k-pop, same as me. He helped me out with the backing vocals and harmonies on this new record, we elevated Empire Of The Sun's 'We Are The People' from an 8 to a 10. Aside from that I've been spending a lot of time in L.A. working on my new project, and I've just temporarily moved to Colwyn Bay in North Wales while I apply for my US visa. Colwyn Bay is right by the sea and has castles all around it, and of course it's beautiful, but its also so poor it has more charity shops in its town centre than anything else and the cash machines dispense raggedy old five pound notes. You only ever see old people because the young ones are all indoors doing smack and playing Xbox.

What is the biggest difference between LA and Wales that you have noticed since your return?

ATD: Well, the biggest difference, the one most glaring when you're to and froing with any kind of vague regularity is a top down attitudinal thing. There are two great lies hanging over the heads of the people, instilled from birth with great ferocity and violence - over here the lie is that there is A Monarchy, who are better than you and always have been and always will be, and you will never be one of them, but as their subjects you live at the pinnacle of civilisation. This is a as good as it gets. Over there they're told they could be The President, or a movie star, or a Kardashian, and they also live in the greatest place in the world. Therefore people here can be very pessimistic and down on themselves and each other, seeing obstacles at every turn, wary of ambition and overreaching. Our magazine racks are heavy with horror, shame, accusation and resentment. There is no such thing as a service culture, because serving is associated with subservience, and curtseying and shit, and basically fuck that. Whereas over there people are insanely positive and eager to try and make things happen, and people are super happy to bring your drink to your table because its part of their journey to the top. Also the weather here is harsh and unforgiving, and over there I was wandering around in a vest all Christmas. You could argue that over here people are realistic and over there people are gassed, but the truth is as ever somewhere in the middle. I tell you one thing, there's way less doom mongering and reminding you of your place over there, and tacos are the shit.

Tell us about 'Sex Drive'? Is that pretty representative of what you've got planned with the music from the Studio Of Dreams?

ATD: Sex Drive was the third song Wade and I wrote together. We wrote the first by accident, while I was out there working on what was supposed to be my third album, and he had some little riff idea, and next thing we knew we had a song, and it was just homerian. Then he came to stay with me in Don Studions IV, Hackney Wick (R.I.P.) and we wrote another and it was even more ridiculous, it's called 'P.A.R.T.Y' and its kind of the greatest rap disco record since Will Smith. We wrote 'Sex Drive' in half an hour the night I returned his place in Hollywood after being in London for a few months, and we just danced around joyously for an hour singing it. Every song we've done is a fucking smash hit of some kind. We make these super peak experience songs that make us feel the emotion at a heightened, extreme level, whether its joy, or rage, or longing or Mighty Amorousness whatever. Then we get rid of any bits that aren't peak enough, so all there is is peak, so we're calling it PEAKWAVE. Its pretty much the most fun I've ever had making music.

ATD: We've written two albums worth of material, and we're doing these remixes and things, so I can get better at production, like, I've never made dance music before, at this level, maybe bits here and there on mix tapes, but I've pretty much been doing rap for a decade, and only listening to rap as well, unless its old Leonard Cohen records or whatever. Like, why didn't anyone tell me there was a band that sounded like Mercury Rev if Mercury Rev were into euphoria rather than pathos? Going out DJing with Wade in LA three nights a week for three months was a huge education, it was like I'd been in jail for a decade and I'd got out and the world had completely changed.

So now I'm listening to shitloads of different music and learning all these new skills remixing it, and we're polishing these songs we've written to a point where we can compete with Kanye and Rihanna and G-Dragon and 2NE1. Then we're opening our own nightclub this summer and we're gonna play them every week until we're better performers than AKB47. Then we're taking it to Vegas.

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