Yeugh! This is that fucking SHIT right here my G, damn.
A pretty perfect sentiment for A.T.D.R.I.P., huh? CROOKED is my english language cover version of the K-pop Mike Jackson’s turbopunk mega hit from late last year. I was obsessed with it from first listen, but the video was another thing entirely. “What bit of South Korea looks just like East London?” I demanded of my friend and collaborated Blonde Jeremy Deacon, who pointed out that it was indeed east London that G-Dragon was stomping around, and he was not wrong. Shit, look, there’s Cargo, where I did one of my first ever gigs! There’s Brick Lane! There’s that basketball court opposite my old office! Etc! What the fuck!
And so, I decided that not only would I cover the song, translating it into rhyming rap English with the help of the KpopLyrics site, but I’d cover the video too. So BJ helped with the music, and super producer, synth pop pioneer and good friend of mine Stephen Hague jumped on board to lend his super producer skills (doing clever super-producer things like chopping out half of the second verse). Soon we had ourselves an awesome pop record, and with the help of old friends and sleuths on Facebook, we tracked down all the locations, and steadicam don and SFX photographer Andrew Bainbridge came onboard to shoot. In the end the only thing we couldn’t film was a scene inside an old hotel, as the room had since been torn down. So we shot those bits on an abandoned old sofa outside Don Studios IV in Hackney Wick (RIP).
Thanks to THE CREW (including the beautiful Charlotte who helped with styling, planning, execution, and ensuring my posture was swaggy) , THE EXTRAS (and BJ for rounding them up on the street outside Cargo half an hour before the shoot like a G), THE REAL LIFE BOUNCER (for real life throwing me at the ground), THE MAGICAL KOREAN ARTIST LADY who painted my special Big Bang/Anarchy In South Korea shirt, and everyone who helped find the locations (here’s some google maps of them for those that asked). And the good people of Cargo, awesome and legendary location.
FAREWELL SWEET WORLD!
Welcome then, to the farewell ATD LP. I’m saying farewell, rather than final, because no one truly knows what the future holds, and bands that claim to be going away for ever then return kind of annoy me – but I have no plans to making any more Akira The Don music, not in any kind of near-future anyway. And I’m saying LP, rather than album, because I view an LP (long player) and a studio album as separate things. The Queen Is Dead is a studio album. Louder Than Bombs (my personal favourite Smiths record) is an LP. Like, When We Were Young and The Life Equation are albums. Two parts of a purported trilogy, written to a very specific brief and created very deliberately, and executed in a high end studio environment.
The music you’ll find here was created and written at various times and in various places for various reasons over the past year or two. Only thee of the songs were intended for the purported third ATD studio album, the conclusion to the trilogy I started with When We Were Young. Along the way, however, I realised I wasn’t ready to tell that story yet – more things had to happen in my life first, I had more to learn.
When I’ll be ready to tell it, I do not know. I maybe I ever will be. Its a heady task I set myself with that: The Answer To Everything, the Conclusion, the shape of the flat circle from the outside. 5D.
A.T.D.R.I.P. is not that. It is a collection of dope-ass songs I made that I wanted you to have. It was going to be an E.P. then a mini album, but I wanted you to have all of the songs, which was 12, too big for a mini album, so have them you shall, regardless of whether they fit my increasingly OCD ideas of what albums should be. Rap songs, punk songs, a k-pop cover, a lullaby. It is the end of a ten year block of time in a human life, and the end of the line for the creature that was ATD in that time, the creature that burst forth from the Long Winter with a song called The First Day Of Spring, rapping excitedly over stolen pianos. Oh, the adventures that followed! Now the creature must die, so that something else might have a chance to live. Valar Morghulis, as the High Valerian goes. All men must die. Yet what is dead may never die. But rises harder, and stronger. Like Daft Punk robots.
Thank you for being with me on this journey, brothersister. Whatever lies ahead I hope we face it together.
LONG LIVE THE DON!
Don Studios V, Colwyn Bay, April 2014