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.
So I’m sat here in Wade’s apartment in LA, on the seventh floor fo a palatial block opposite the looming terror of The Scientology centre, sipping on some delicious and hardcore fresh juice concoction planning the rest of my time in LA, and I realise I have yet to bless you, dear reader, with much in the way of info on the first part of this most recent American adventure, in which i journeyed to San Francisco, to hang out with excellent people and play a show at the world famous Isotope Comics Lounge, home of the world’s largest collection of illustrated toilet seats, along with “the world’s tallest stage”.
James Sime, human dynamo, and his partner Kirsten Baldock, trapese artist, mixologist, and librarian, both co-organiser’s of last year’s transcendent Morrisoncon event in las Vegas, had booked me to play an instore/happening, and put me up in the award winning Sleep Sauce, above a famous restraunt owned by a man called Trip, who invented the Jager Bomb whilst working for Red Bull a decade ago.
Trip looked at me as if I’d demanded to fuck his mother when I asked for a Jack and Coke, and presented me with another conncotion, some sort of Root infused Bacon Bourbon thing that had been lurking evilly in a small barrel downstairs for a few months. That pretty much set the tone for the next few days. Cocktails, super interesting and enthusiastic humans, cocktails, and more cocktails. San Francisco loves cocktails.
I spent many happy hours wandering the city in the blazing sunshine, investigating a road called Mission, which goes on for many miles and basically ends up in Mexico, where they have full blown cowboy shops and the most turnt up Tube Station I have ever witnessed. Like something from The Walking Dead, it swarmed with crack and meth addled zombie people, lurching and swaying in the breeze, dancing spastically around boomboxes, complimenting my ragged shorts, and falling into heaps. I saw an old man with no teeth spinning on his head.
I wouldn’t have known anything about The Bombing had I not wanered into a shop and seen a mass of people screaming angrily at the TV, shaking their mobiles phones in the air like maracas, baying for vengeance.
I was shown many Great Times by many Great People during my stay, but the PEAK was, naturally The Show. It took place on the the 20th of April, AKA 420, National Weed Smoking Day, when the streets of San Francisco run green, and a cloud of marijuana enveloping the city, the young and the old swaying about joyously, proudly waving their myriad smoking paraphernalia like torches, untroubled by poleeces, jubilant, triumphant.
I didn’t partake in any of that though, as I am a motherfucking pro-fessional, and I was preparing to entertian the people as best I fucking could. In addition, the CDs I’d brought to sell had turned up with no sleeves. James had the great idea to “make individual signed and numbered record sleeves”, and so I spent many happy hours drawing on little squares of paper, and testing Kirsten’s in-progress cocktails as James DJed West Coast classics. I was joined by ace local artist Jamaica Dyer, and later Morrisoncon allumini and Unicorn-Scribe Kelly Martin who collaborated with me on some really fucking lovely rare little artworks, and before I knew it people were waiting outside to get in and I had to run off and put my power suit on.
So I suited up (I’ll tell you the magical story about my T-shirt another time), and me and my new Bay Area DJ Predator_Dreads – last seen dropping me off at the airport after my recording session with Issue and associated benders – checked sound. JH and Wendy Williams walked in just as we were finishing, which was somewhat rousing. There was a sweet, brief calm before the inevitable storm, then DJ Bear Z Bubs started spinning consistently turnt-the-fuck-up amazing sonics on Akira The Don iPad turntables, kicking off, appropriately, with E40. I was later stunned and honoured to discover that entire thousand-odd song set had been specifically created around me and my Unique Vibe.
Exciteable humans, who had been waiting patiently outside in the San Franciscan green smog, suddenly gained entrance, and all was party. The aforementioned multi-skilled Kirsten Baldock opened up her complimentary cocktail bar, serving, amazingly enough, specially created Akira The Don cocktails. James was rightly proud of his sign, if dissapointed that text covered my tits. I don’t know why everyone’s insisting on digging up all these 2005-era nudey pictures of me, something must be in the air.
I sipped cocktails and signed CDs and engaged in amateur breakdancing amongst turbo breakdancers, and met all sorts of ace people, some of whom drove all the way from LA especially because the mighty power of DON MUSIC had bought them love, sweet love… People bought beautiful gifts and offered me technological weed miracles, which I gratefully declined, until after the show at least (as I am a motherfucking pro-fession-al) and PD and I had only had a few hours rehearsal and did I mention it was the “world’s tallest stage” upon which we were performing? Quite.
Presently, we were ready TO ACT. At this point I will hand over to drummer and photographer extraordinaire, Dyami Serna (pronounced De-Army, as in, “Woooh woooh we’re in de army… noooow…”), who documented the whole thing in a stunning set of photos you can see below (unless you’re on a mobile Apple device, in which case click here. Amen.
Straight from the boroughs of East London comes AKIRA THE DON – legendary rapper, producer, cartoonist, internet personality, sbwriel speaker, facial hair sporter and True Elemental Force of Good. This human ball of amazing magical energy hit the Isotope’s “world’s tallest stage” and nearly blew the front window off the store! Featuring an all-new AKIRA / ISOTOPE shirt, hand-drawn and numbered CD covers by Akira himself (and with jamart by two of the Bay Area’s best cartoonists, Jamaica Dyer & Kelly Martin), pre-and-post show bodyrock by the legendary DJ Bearzbub with vintage synthesizer accompaniment by James Sime, and a bevy of bevvys! Akira-themed original cocktails by the Isotope’s maestro mixologist Kirsten Baldock! See The Uncontainable Don daredevil leap off the Isotope’s balcony! Witness breakdancing prowess! Swoon at the JH Williams III suit by Artful Gentlemen! Indulge in the second-hand vapors as AKIRA THE DON takes San Francisco! THE DON CANNOT BE CONTAINED
Yes, it was a joyous time. I would like to thank the people of San Francisco, for the generosity of spirit they showed me, for the corincopia of bizzare weed devices they forced upon my person, for the cocktails, the company, the conversations, and the inspiration. I am grateful and blessed to experience such wonder. I LOVE YOU AND I WILL RETURN.
DAMN SON WHAT A WONDERFUL TIME I HAD IN SAN FRANCISCO!
I have lots of pictures and video and I shall try and post them as soon as possible. If you have any please do send them over. But first, there is this incredible #RARE clothing art that I made especially for the show, that you can now buy, as I have a small amount left over. GO HERE AND BUY AMAZING SHIRT NOW, QUICK!
1: that is a NEW VIDEO! I managed to get it uploaded with minutes to spare before leaving Don Studios to fly to San Francisco yesterday. Enough minutes for a spliff, in fact. AMAZING. The video was shot at V Festival last year, in the Our House party spot that I was emceeing masterfully. I must have spent about a week editing that thing. It was a Herculean Labour of Love and I hope you dig it.
2: I AM IN FRISCOOOOOOO! INSTANT JOYWAVE! IT IS SUNNY AND LUSH! I GOT MY ROOTS DID BY HAIR OF THE GODS! AND DRANK WHISKEY COCKTAILS!