Monday, April 6, 2009

N.A.S.A. brings back the supergroup

We all love a good collaboration between artists on a song, you've got several artists coming together to make something together. No I'm not talking about T-Pain's painful "singing" on just about everybody and anybody's song, or Nate Dogg back in the day (did he ever even have an original song of his own?)

N.A.S.A., which stands for North America South America, is an album of supercollaborations. I see it as an experiment of sound using as many creative sources as possible. This album is chockfull of talented and legendary artists coming together to make music. Incorporating a lot of Brazilian funk to make an indie hip-hop record, this is the epitome of creativity.

The guest appearances on this album are astounding. With a record with guest appearances by David Byrne (of Talking Heads), Tom Waits, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Kanye West, RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), MIA, and countless others, this is a super album of epic proportions. The name N.A.S.A. actually fits because this album is literally out of this world. Cheesy, I know, but I can't deny the truth in that statement.

N.A.S.A. started as a project between Los Angeles' Sam Spiegel aka DJ Squeak E. Clean and Ze Gonzales aka DJ Zegon at a crowded party in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They decided to make an album influenced by their shared love of vintage brazilian funk, soul and hip hop. What came out of this project is a album that spans genre and time, musical styles and influences, into a uniquely original album.

UPDATE: I was able to reach DJ Squeak E Clean for a mini-interview.

Coast Report: Why did you and DJ Zegon decide to make this album?

Squeak E. Clean: We met at a friend's party in the Hills and started talking about what type of music we enjoyed and realized we had many of the same influences. Old Brazilian funk records, hip hop, movie soundtracks, etc. Literally, the next day we were making beats together at my studio in LA. We didn't know what we wanted to do with them right away until we did "Strange Enough" with ODB, Karen O, and Fatlip. It is a somewhat strange combining of people and we realized that it would be amazing to be people together from different backgrounds, cultures, and styles and see what type of material that could create.

Coast Report: How did you manage to get so many collaborators on board with this

album? Was it difficult to get some of the people (David Byrne, Kanye, Method Man, etc?)

Squeak E. Clean: We put together a huge list of all the artists we would ever want to work with and put it up on the board and then we just started trying to figure out how we could get a hold of them to send them a letter basically stating what we were trying to do with the project, where we thought they might fit in, and hoped for the best.

As far as choosing who went on which song, it was a fairly organic process, in which we would come up with ideas for the theme of the song and try to take people who have very different backgrounds and skill sets and hoped we could bring them together in a way that played off of this and in a way that would have a very unique end result.

Coast Report: What can we expect to see at a live show?

Squeak E. Clean: 4 turntables + 3 mixers + videos that we control + our very own intergalactic dance crew = Best party in the universe!!!

Here is N.A.S.A. - The People Tree (feat. David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift Of Gab & Z-Trip)

Another treasure from the album, N.A.S.A. - Gifted (featuring Kanye West, Santogold & Lykke Li)

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