Saturday, 22 September 2012

Interview - Paul Iannacchino

I have another interview to put up here! While I'm eternally grateful to Mart for doing the first interview on here it was quite easy to get him on account of him being one of my best friends, he's a dick but not so big a dick that he wouldn't help me out. Anyways, this time I have managed to grab an interview with someone I don't know, it's the film-maker and former musician Paul Iannacchino.

Picture taken from the first page of Google Images and used based on that hat.

For those who may be unfamiliar with your work please could you tell them who you are and what you do?

My name is Paul. I'm a Scorpio. I sell art for commerce to pay my mortgage.

The logical place to start would be the film you have in progress, can you tell us a little about Adult Rappers please? Who can we expect to see in it?

Adult Rappers is a documentary film that features a lot of passionate people that make a living off their art. However, none of them are not household names. A fact most people probably sees as a contradiction.

What was it that made you want to cover this part of Hip Hop rather than say a specific area's scene or the work of a specific artist? Where did this idea originate?

I've tried every step of the way not to make a hip hop documentary. This is a film about people. We've tried our best to avoid hip-hop cliches and retread familiar ground. The idea originated as a joke. Honestly. My phone rang one day and I said to a friend in passing, "I have too many adult rappers in my life". That's how it began.

Now Adult Rappers was KickStarter funded and seemed to do very well on there, how did you find that whole experience, obviously waiting all that time to see if you'd hit your funding and also coming up with rewards you felt were a fair trade for buying into the project?

I was actually well on my way down the road towards making this film when we launched the Kickstarter. I had piggy backed interviews onto other jobs anytime I could, baking interviews for close to a year. The Kickstarter, while successful, was never about "funding" the film. It was about finishing. I figured now we have a strong story - I need to be able to jump on a plane, grab a small crew and shoot when and where I want to wrap this up. 

One thing that was evident during the KickStarter was the interest some people seemed to take in it. For example a guy on Twitter (@Egyptoknuckles) essentially became a PR man for the project, retweeting everything and spreading the word practically non-stop, how was it to see that a passion project of your own was resonating so strongly with other people out there?

For sure. That was the unexpected upside to the Kickstarter campaign. We had a great deal of passionate people come on board as ambassadors for the project - for no other reason than they believed in it. We didn't raise $1 million, but you can't put a price on what those people like @Egyptoknuckles brought to the project. It was also validation that we had tapped into a story people were interested in seeing. It was like free focus testing. The fact that it resonated so strongly with total strangers only strengthened our resolve. 

What is the plan for the film? Will it be doing the festival circuit/limited run or are you looking to get a DVD out there as soon as possible? 

Our plan is the festivals first. We'd love to see this premiere at SXSW. It just makes sense given the artists involved, the timing and the themes we're exploring. That said, if the festivals don't provide us the golden ticket we have some other ideas about the best way to share the story with the people that want to see it most. Ultimately, it's for them. 

Obviously I imagine all your focus is on getting this film right at the moment but do you have any plans for what you will be doing beyond this film?

There's life beyond this film?

Now to get to Adult Rappers and the world of documentaries you've come via a fairly unconventional route, I believe you are currently a commercial director and you are the former DJ /producer of the tremendous group Hangar 18! That's a pretty unique C.V. How on earth did that happen?

Good question. I have no idea how I got here. I'm very, very lucky. People say that and usually it's some bullshit. I'm telling you legitimately, I know I am very lucky. My parents worked blue collar jobs. I went to public school. I'm not all that smart - I've been able to try on the life of a musician and decide it wasn't for me...not to mention I think I was horribly average. Most people don't even get that shot. I remind myself of that constantly. 

So how did this happen? How did I get here? I love telling stories. I love moving pictures and I love poop jokes. I'm able to make a living doing two outta three. That gives me the opportunity to pursue passion projects like Adult Rappers. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the sum of all those experiences. I'm a lucky bastard. 

Now I've seen it stated in previous articles and on blogs online that both yourself and Windnbreeze pretty much lost interest in the music business. Is there truth to this or was it just a case of people trying to attach a reason as to why a band with such a strong output just stopped?

Well, you're very kind. First, yes, the business of music is bullshit. As I said, I don't think I was very good at either the music or the business part. I think we all burned out on the business first and the music shortly thereafter. Second, my wife and I had our first child and her first year on earth coincided with our second LP. Something had to give on my end. I think I made the right choice. Musically it felt like the writing was on the wall too.

Do you miss that part of your life at all or was it very much a 'that was then' situation? Do you still make beats at all?

I love that part of my life. We had a fucking blast. I shared a tour bus with Shock G! Are you kidding? Every night I was like, "what are we doing here?" I just was not built for the life of a road dog...I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. It was amazing. I still boot up the MPC now and again, just for fun, I never save the beats.   

Who wouldn't want to share a bus with this guy?

One of questions I always like to see artists I'm a fan of answer, whilst cliched, is... who inspires your work and why?

Oh, man. Too many to list. I'm a 70's baby, so basically all the shit that's popular now that everyone who's under 30 thinks is the new shit. 

The main purpose of the blog is to try and put people on to new stuff so we have a few favourites/recommendation questions for you. First given that Adult Rappers is going to give a fresh new perspective on Hip Hop, what other film around Hip Hop culture would you recommend people check out?

Old school. Style Wars. New School. Tha Carter. Both classics in their own right. 

Have you watched anything worth checking out lately?

Does the Twilight saga count? For sure, the one film from the last year I'm amazed how many music and film people haven't seen is Drive. If you're one of those people first get some friends to flog you with soap in the sock, Full Metal Jacket style. Then watch it. Best film of 2011 bar none.  

If you could put people onto any three films what would they be and why?

3?! 3 films??? Jesus. 
Let's go recent docs then; 
1) "It Might Get Loud" - because it's creative oxygen for anyone that's needed a little inspiration.
2) "Bill Cunningham NY" - because, New York. 
3) "Inside Job" - everything else is derivative when it comes to current history.

Are you reading anything currently?

No, any suggestions? Last great read was "Check The Technique" Brian Coleman.

What three books would you say are essential reading for one and all?

The Bible
The Koran
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  

What are you listening to currently?

Mike Eagle - 4NML HSPTL
Suicidal Tendencies - Self titled
Any Band of Horse LP
Alaska's new demos and whatever SYFFAL sends me.

Finally, why should everyone check Adult Rappers?

I think it's a story that's relevant to anyone that grew up a part of generation X. Anyone who's parents told them "go to school, get a "real" job work hard, get married and everything will work out"...especially if now you're out of work, half crazy and wish you took a different path - or at least tried. If you pump NWA "Straight Outta Compton" even with the kids in the car, this film is for you. Now I'm confused. What was the question?

So that's the interview, hope you all enjoyed it and make sure you keep an eye out for Adult Rappers mainly because it looks like it's going to be spanking but also because Paul Iannacchino is clearly a good dude, I'm not sure too many people would have agreed to do this interview! I'd like to thank him for agreeing to it and thank you all for reading.

Almost forgot, if you want to keep up with the progress of Adult Rappers or if you just think Paul seems like a decent sort then follow him on Twitter @pawlmadethis.



Monday, 17 September 2012

Essential Listening

Picture taken from (not sure who owns it)

Today's review is going to be of the criminally slept on Fingathing and the Big Red Nebula Band. For those that are unfamiliar with Fingathing, the band consists of the classically trained Bassist - Sneaky (chap on the left), Artist - Chris Drury (centre), and Turnatablist and MPC wizard - Peter Parker (on the right). It's not your typical line up but then again they don't make your typical music.

Fingathing are generally found in the instrumental Hip Hop section at most retailers/online outlets but it is very hard to actually categorize the music that these guys make. I've seen them listed as Trip-Hop, Nu-Jazz, Dance, Electro, and countless others. The easiest way to label the music, if you absolutely have to, is to file it under awesome.

Now Fingathing and the Big Red Nebula Band is the third full length release from Manchester's own Fingathing and is a prime example of a band reaching a whole new level in their ability. Whilst their debut LP 'The Main Event' served as a great introduction to the band and showcased the rawness of how well the turntable and bass can compliment each other (key tracks - Head to Head and Big Monsters Crush Cities), and the follow up 'Superhero Music' put across more of the band's personality and took the warped concepts Fingathing put out there up a notch (key tracks- Ogre and title track Superhero Music), for me Big Red Nebula was a release that should have put them over in a massive way. I cannot for the life of me understand why this album isn't considered to be the classic it so rightly deserves to be and hopefully with this blog I can encourage more of you to check it out and discover a type of music you never knew you'd love.

Chris Drury does not mess about

Big Red Nebula band is a concept album, and it picks up from where Superhero Music left off. These concepts are one of the things I love about the band, not only are they giving you a narrative for their album which I think gives the whole thing a bit of focus that's missing from a lot of albums, but it shows that they give a damn about what they put out there, they're taking extra time creating a story for their album and also have the ridiculously talented artist Chris Drury bringing another perspective to their musical creations to life with his artwork (one of the elements of Hip Hop that is sorely lacking these days). The concept of this album is, and stick with me on this one, Parker and Sneaky are floating through space in metal coffins after faking their own death at the end of previous album Superhero Music, the coffins are basically picked up by a bunch of alien musicians (Big Red Nebula Band) and essentially a massive jam session and madness ensues, with giant robots, re-animation, and interstellar joy-riding all on the cards there is a little something for everyone. There is more to the concept than that but hopefully you can all discover that for yourselves when you pick this album up (go on, they deserve your hard-earned).

Once we get past that ridiculous yet epically brilliant concept we are left with thirteen tracks, thirteen tracks of sheer brilliance that ranges from hauntingly beautiful soundscapes to futuristic bleeps and whirrs over heavy pumping drums and almost everything in between. As is standard I would like to talk about a few of what I see as the biggest tracks on this album (although I could honestly rant about every single track on this album) so I will start with....

Walk In Space - This is the album opener and serves as a great introduction for where this album is headed. The combination of soothing strings, the fat bass line, dope spaced out cuts, and crisp drums are delivered with a swagger that befits a band at the top of their game.

Themes From The Big Red - A bizarre track that manages to be both ethereal and downright filthy at the same time. There is a real airy quality to this track and the intro in particular sounds like you could float away on it but then there is also a really filthy bass line, the kind of bass line that was clearly played with that classic bass stank face. Add to that the crazy 50's sci-fi sounds that Parker is cutting in and you have a real giant of a track. The last couple of minutes of this track are all business, there is a great build to it and it has an epicness about it that for some reason makes me think of a colossal fighter making his way to the ring for a fight he'll never lose. Huge song.

Rock The Whole Planet - This is a great club track for me, there is so much rawness in this song and it has a real Hip Hop vibe to it. Go check the iTunes Hip Hop of the week list right now, look at all them rappers like 2 Chainz (how's he keep popping up?) and know that in their whole career they will never make a track as dope or thug as what Fingathing do here and I will guarantee they sure as hell won't manage that shit in space either! (Author's note - It's a scientific fact that things are always better INSPACE, think of an activity and add IN SPACE to the end. Infinitely better right? Even with things like eating a sandwich...IN SPACE).

Cluster Buster -  Fingathing are comprised of a turntablist/MPC wiz, a bassist, and an artist. It says so right at the top of this post, so now we have to ask ourselves how two musicians, who aren't shredding it on guitar, can rock as hard as these dudes do on this track? The drums are ridiculous and the bass is heavy, I dare you to listen to this song and not nod your head, not rock a stink face, and not feel pumped up by it. If you can manage that then I'm afraid you're dead inside, also stop reading my blog, there's probably nothing here for you, nothing at all (Actually don't stop reading, I appreciate the views and I'm sure we'll agree on something eventually).

Lady Nebula - How do you follow the pounding ferocity of the previous track Cluster Buster? Well if you're Fingathing you play the chilled out wonder that is Lady Nebula. An astonishingly beautiful song that sounds as though Sigur Ros are hurtling towards the Sun in a broken spaceship (probably one of the best compliments I'll ever give a song). If you aren't into the heavier stuff check this out.

Return To Ert - Starting off like some Ennio Morricone score, which is an influence you can hear throughout the Fingathing back catalogue, then beefed up by the Hip Hop drums and layered cuts that Fingathing are so adept at creating, this track is a great end to a great album. If this was put out in DJ Shadow's name then it would be on every advert ever made, every Super Sunday montage ever created, and would be widely regarded as one of the greatest instrumental Hip Hop tracks ever made. This track will make your life better, that is a scientific fact.

I've covered almost half of the album so I'll leave it at that because hopefully some of you will actually go out and check this band, I urge you to try something you may not have heard before. If I haven't quite sold this album to you then consider the following, if someone asked me to write a tagline for this album (this is my reviewer soundbite), I would describe the album as...'like John Carpenter, reinventing Electro, in a back alley church on Mars'. I would mean every word of that shit too.

It's also worth noting that the album is co-produced by James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco fame and also producer for the Klaxons 'Myths of the Near Future', Test Icicles 'For Screening Purposes Only', and most of what Arctic Monkeys have put out. He also produces for Florence and Those Other Guys which television and magazines tell me you kids love so get involved.

Please check the band out and if you ever get the chance try and catch them live as they really do put on one hell of a show, the Fingathing and The Fiends show is still one of the Top 5 shows I've ever been to. Also they are coming back and have put out some new material recently and you can go to the following site to not only stream a funking spectacular new track but you can also download it for free! Free music everyone (well free and without you having to steal it you dirty internet thieves)! CHECK IT OUT...

I have deliberately avoided posting any of their tracks for you to listen to because you really should search these guys out.

I'm out.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Jukebox Champions

So I saw the following video the other day and I liked it, figured I'd post it on here in case someone else might enjoy seeing them. I don't really know anything about these dudes other than what you'll see in the video. Enjoy.

What the hell, here's another one.



Monday, 10 September 2012

A Couple More Robots

So there are a couple more Adult Rappers robots to show. I went for a pun with the Taxi Driver effort because I'm a child. The MCA tribute is the robot from the Intergalactic video throwing up some graffiti, loved doing that and cheers to the guy that made the request. Check-check-check em out!

Robo De Niro

MCA Tribute