Interview: Intergalactic Interaction with N.A.S.A.

Intergalactic, genre-straddling duo Squeak E Clean and DJ Zegon, aka N.A.S.A., recently followed up their A Listed The Spirit Of Apollo LP with The Big Bang, a rework of their seminal collaborative debut. Squeak E Clean beamed down explanations to further posthumous sword crossing, and age-old questions revolving around the economic drought the music industry's apparently headed towards like an organism-engulfing black hole and the existence of Life On Mars and beyond...

Dots: We're obsessed with genre pigeonholing in a vain attempt to facilitate personal tastes, all the while complicating preferences forever further. N.A.S.A., whilst of course rooted rather firmly in hip hop, transcends genre, with artists from all walks, ways and eras climbing aboard. Was that always your intention?

Squeak E Clean: I am a big fan of very eclectic music. So is DJ Zegon, and we made a record accordingly. I think people in general are much more open minded and now have really eclectic tastes. So many kids listen to so many types of music, rather than being pigeoholed to a specific genre. Our record kind of reflects that in our culture now a days.

Dashes: Was it equal parts inspiring and anxious to work with acts you've grown up with such as David Bryne and Tom Waits and how strict a regime were you working towards on jotting down your collaborative wishlist?

Squeak E Clean: At first it may have been a bit intimidating, but making the record was like musical university. I learned to work all types of people no matter how much I idolized them. I also found out that all these artists really just care about making good music and getting it out there and being excited. It was sort of an obvious lesson but still a good lesson to learn.

Dots: You might expect a project by the name of North America/ South America to sonically resemble Central America. What diverse aspects, both musically and culturally do you feel your partnership with Zegon has brought to fruition?

Squeak E Clean: The album took a lot of elements from Brazil even though it didn't exactly feel like Brazilian music? It was important for it to feel unique but still show the influence and inspiration from Brazil. Whether it was samples of Brazilian funk and soul, or Brazilian percussion. We really wanted to make a record that was about cultural unity.

Dashes: Of course with the dawning of a digital ice age, many consumers veer away from acquiring physical copies of contemporary releases. Did you feel as though your attempts to unite music and art was significantly thwarted by such generational progression?

Squeak E Clean: Well of course it would've been better to sell lots and lots and lots and lots of copies of the record. I don't auto think the fact that people are getting stuff for free really hurts the artistic side of making music at all. You know of course you can't spend tons of money on music videos but you know it is nice to be creative and also what separates separate something that really doing so just out of love and versus doing stuff just to make lots of money. So I feel like we had a lot of great visual representation or four record with all of our amazing videos in five different album covers and not think the fans at least really knew about that and I felt a lot of appreciation.

Dots: What'll await when The Big Bang explodes imminently?

Squeak E Clean: The Big Bang is our new record and basically it was the way we did our songs live. We created all new versions of our songs to play much more up tempo to kinda rock the party a lot harder and at a certain point we kinda realized wow this stuff should be released, it's great you know people will want to hear it so while we were doing a few new songs at the same time. Anyways we decided to throw those on there and you know, the record is the live way we play our show with some new songs.

Dashes: You've already featured a posthumous spot from Ol' Dirty Bastard. Were you able to dig up a grave or two and reanimate any recording artist, with who would you set off into the studio?

Squeak E Clean: This question is really easy. I mean my favorite artist of all time, James Brown. We tried to get him on The Spirit Of Apollo but  it just couldn't happen. He was touring nonstop till the day of his death pretty much but yeah If I could work with any artist that was dead definitely it's him cause he's an amazing dude and changed music really.

Dots: Blur infamously attempted to send a song up to Mars. How would a N.A.S.A. record fare in the upper echelons of our solar system? And as intergalactic hip hoppers, is there life outside of this here atmosphere of ours?

Squeak E Clean: There's no question there's definitely life on another planet somewhere in the giant universe of ours and I think we've really scrutinised extraterrestrial music and sounds to the point where I think our music really relates to members of the galaxy other than Earthlings.  We know cause we played a few shows in hyper space on other planets and we really know how to rock an interstellar party.

   N.A.S.A. featuring Max Hedrum & Barbie Hatch - I Wanna Be Your Lover by Hypetrak