Wednesday, January 16, 2019

the dream of the Nineties is alive in... Chelmsford?

well, a dream of a Nineties

from Jon Caramanica's New York Times profile of the Angloid emo-rapper Ratboy

"A couple of months ago, the 22-year-old musician who records as Rat Boy rented a huge empty warehouse a short walk to a lovely little stream and a slightly longer walk to a small black sign leaning against a decayed wall that reads FARM TOILET. Here, slowly, he, his father, and brother have been building out the raw space into a place — inspired by the Beastie Boys’ old G-Son Studios in Los Angeles — where he can work, and also play.

A few days before Christmas, it was mostly empty save for a roughly fashioned studio. On one wall was a Public Enemy “Fear of a Black Planet” poster. On a shelf was an autographed vinyl copy of the Beastie Boys’ “Hello Nasty.” On the center table, an old issue of the Beasties’ publication Grand Royal and some obscure graffiti magazines. Up against the wall, a small-scale screen printing rig and several of Cardy’s ghoulishly realistic illustrations. Sitting on a pallet under a blanket was an Amek Einstein console, the same kind that the Dust Brothers used to work on, that Cardy bought for about 6,000 pounds on the internet from Peru. It’s the most money he’s ever spent on anything, he said, but he still wasn’t sure it worked....

The 1990s are the leading touchstone for Cardy, who has studied the era with loving devotion and built a specific, refined aesthetic from it: “It’s a bunch of people that are around my age making something for themselves. I love the way stuff looks — making their own magazines, the music, being motivated to put stuff out,” he said, slumped in a chair wearing a Supreme bottle cap T-shirt, his hair pink and scraggly. “They did everything right, but did they know they were doing it right?”

“I kind of see Jordan as the nexus of what was happening in the ’90s when punk and hip-hop were blowing up,” said Brett Gurewitz, the founder and chief executive of Epitaph Records, which is releasing “Internationally Unknown” via its Hellcat imprint. “Rat Boy is the embodiment of that time.”

... When he became curious about music, YouTube was his university. “I used to watch thousands of videos,” he said.

Cardy’s natural artistic curiosity was buttressed by a creeping sense of outsiderness. “When I was in school when I was a kid, I did feel like there were not, like, people that were into the same stuff,” he said. “Everyone was into what was happening around here, and I’m just liking [expletive] that happened 20 years ago.”

...  One of the first people in the music business he met was Drew McConnell, who plays bass in the British band Babyshambles (which is fronted by Pete Doherty) and was introduced to Cardy’s music by an intern at his publishing company. Before long, McConnell was setting up management and label meetings for Cardy, who was sleeping on his sofa.

“He had obviously listened to a lot of records,” McConnell said. “The way he would sing would remind me of Elvis Costello, or Robert Smith from the Cure. But at the same time he’s a huge hip-hop fan.”

Wait a minute, I'm confused here - he's 90s-redux and 90s-obsessed, but he sounds like New Wave?

And elsewhere in the piece as Caramanica does his breakdown of constituent parts, it sounds even more atemporal and mish-mashed:

"This month Cardy will release the second Rat Boy album, “Internationally Unknown,” a high-energy collision of punk convulsion and hip-hop storytelling full of raucously fun, sharp-tongued songs about slackerdom, resistance and disorderly joy. It’s shaped by late 1970s punk with flickers of dub, nods to 1990s hip-hop (and also the early 2000s English rapper the Streets), and embraces the musical exuberance of 2000s pop-punk.

Which is to say, it is an extremely of-the-moment amalgam, refusing to draw distinctions between genres. It’s also part of a long continuum of British punk that looks for kinship in black music and part of a wider re-engagement with the 1990s as source material."

Further confusing me

"In person, Cardy is gentle and soft-edged. But on both his first and second records, his attitude is consistent: a permanently extended middle finger to authority, and a robust sense of working class agitation."

What working class kid in his very early twenties can afford to drop 6000 quid on a vintage studio console? Because it was used by the Dust Bros?

He's certainly obsessed with the Dust Bros, whose claim to fame eludes me (Pauls Boutique? that Urge Overkill album?)

"Cardy went to Los Angeles and spent six weeks working with Armstrong at the Boat, once the studio of the Dust Brothers. (John King of the Dust Brothers also worked on the new album.)

This stuff about his dad Brett also puzzles me - 

"Cardy recalled how Brett never pushed him to pursue things he didn’t feel strongly about, like schoolwork: “It’s always been, like, do what you want to do.” They spoke about Cardy’s music and the unlikeliness of his performance intensity, joked about living in close quarters and celebrated hating authority. Recalling when Cardy was first learning to race cars, Brett explained his hands-off parenting philosophy, which felt like the foundation for all of Cardy’s subsequent life choices. “Just let him crash,” Brett said. “He ain’t going to do it twice."

Is it rebellion / slackerdom / DIY if you learn it from your dad? Or am I being old fashioned here, myself?


also on the topic of different kinds of Nineties, a Nineties you might have barely intersected with, and "is this even the Nineties we're talking about here"? -  just got this press release through the mail, for a Hip Hop Brunch thrown by an organisation called  -

Whether you’re the ultimate ’90s fan or you just really like gettin’ jiggy wit it, this affair isn’t to be missed. The 90s Brunch’s entertainment this weekend has been seasoned with the spiciest nostalgic flavourings in the cupboard. We're talking glitter, transfer tattoos, lip-sync battles, dance-offs, and a full soundtrack that pays homage to the best decade ever. Now how’s that for 90’s nostalgia?

And you can’t forget the best part – a lip smackin’ three-course meal and an hour (yes, an hour) of bottomless cocktails – that should really get you in the mood to dance (or roller skate) like it's 1990.
Held on Saturday, Jan 19th from 12-5pm at a secret London venue, this brunch is guaranteed to be the best day-party out there.

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