Naeem Juwan, better known as Spank Rock, will be bringing his wall-sweating, pipe-bursting, hip-grinding Baltimore Bass moves to Summadayze 2012.
2006 saw Spank Rock unleash his debut release, the seminal electro-rap album YoYoYoYoYo with production partner Alex ‘XXXchange’ Epton and DJs Chris Devlin & Ronnie Darko. Hailed by Pitchfork magazine as ‘one of the most precise and brilliantly produced albums of the year’', the success saw Spank Rock invited on tour alongside many a big name, from Beck to Björk to the Beastie Boys.
After a lengthy break, enter new album – Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a F**ing Liar, the first released through Naeem's own imprint, Bad Blood Records.
The albums sound and influence, Naeem notes, was diverse and surprising.
'I was thinking a lot about Michael Jackson, because he died right while I was still writing songs. I was thinking a lot about Prince too. And there are a lot of moments on the album that get kind of crunchy and weird. I was going to a lot of live shows and I'd get excited over how obscure and noisy the music was'
Spank Rock can also check dream collaboration with Grammy-winning producer Mark Ronson off his to-do list; a collaboration that inspired the creative drive on the new album.
'The opportinity to work with Mark Ronson was definitely important. I learned the most through that collaboration. I was put in the studio with a lot of amazing musicians and songwriters, it felt very competitive. The process for me is usually just working at home, on my computer in my bedroom. Making beats and rapping over them. Working with Mark was the first time I truly felt the pressure in the studio. I was just so inspired by him and all the other amazing musicians. He knows exactly what he wants out of a song and a collaborator.'
Another surprise pairing came in 2008 when Spank Rock featured on the Benny Blanco remix of Kylie Minogue's Heart Beat Rock, taken from the US release of her album X. An unlikely duo, sure, but a memorable one at that.
'It was during the time that Benny Blanco and I were making the Bangers & Cash album. The opportunity came in for him to do the remix and I was suggested to be the rapper. It was one of the friendliest experiences I had with being asked to be featured on another artist's body of work or someone else's song. I was really excited and surprised that Kylie was even a fan of my work'
Naeem too relishes the creative freedom that comes from operating free of major record labels.
'I hope I continue to work like this! There's still a lot I have to learn about having my own label. There's so much responsibility [laughs]. Before, I would kind of just yell at the label and say 'I need more money to do this!' whereas now, there's a lot more responsibility and pressure. But I definitely love it, I love the freedom.'
'I shot the video for the song Energy. It was a really weird video to a really weird song. I felt like if I was on a major label I wouldn't be able to do these kind of things, and make music I'm really excited about.'
Dare I sense some cynicsm towards record labels and pop music? For artists like Spank Rock and his creative counterparts Amanda Blank, Santigold and M.I.A, their once unique and trademark sounds have now become commonplace amongst the top 40 and mainstream artists – a trend in popular music circa 2011 where the mainstream typically 'borrows' from indie and underground genres to remain fresh and relevant (hello, dubstep?)
'The state of pop music today really is supported by indie artists. Out there on the fringe of the Internet, in the 'wild wild west' of music, there are indie musicians who aren't afraid to put their soul into music and to do something different. I think it definitely shows that the media and that record companies are more interested in having something to market and sell rather than a true art form. They [record companies] just give an aesthetic or a sound to a 'face', someone who will do anything to be well-known and heard. I hope it becomes known that there are cheap imitations out there' Naeem says.
'I just hope it gives more light to underground musicians. Some people really deserve to be recognized and heard.'
And one thing I had to ask; how does someone get away with such a blunt, bold statement for their album title?
'I don't know if there was much thought behind it… When you make bold, obnoxious statements like that, not a lot of thought goes behind it [laughs]'
Well, everyone may be a liar and f***ing boring, certainly not Spank Rock however.
Rymill Park, Adelaide