The bigger picture

Interview with Anthony Naples

The bigger picture

07-11-2014 | 11.44

After his inaugural release of the Mad Disrespect EP in 2012, Anthony Naples has been rapidly building a name for himself. He dropped out of university after one semester of linguistics to focus on pursuing music, and his talent was quickly noticed, with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) becoming a big believer in him from the start. Two years and several releases later, Anthony has begun to really establish himself within the scene and even set up his own label Proibito in 2013. He's currently working on an LP set for release with Text Records next year and we are very eager to see him perform on Saturday during the Audio Culture night.

Hi Anthony, nice to meet you. First off: on your Twitter, I noticed you have a pretty busy November schedule in Europe. How much do you enjoy/have you enjoyed performing over here, particularly in Amsterdam?
"Well, considering I do about 5% of my yearly gigs in the States, it's no comparison. I’m mostly over here! In Amsterdam I've always had a great time - I've played three times in three really different situations (Lente Kabinet, These Guys inside of a crazy Shell gasoline tower, and ADE) but never in a real 'proper' club situation like Trouw or something.

You launched the record label Proibito in 2013; are there any new releases in particular coming out you feel we should keep an eye out for?
"Right now is about catching up with what’s happened and focusing on the LP I have coming up on Text. I’m doing the Digital and CD (maybe) versions via my own label, so aside from that, a single from the LP, and a reissue/second ed. of the Royal Crown of Sweden 12". I'm just working on boring stuff like trying to account to the artists for their releases and whatnot. I feel it's best to keep up with that and get everyone paid and psyched to be part of the label then it is to just pump out releases without knowing the ins and outs I guess."

Is there a particular direction you are steering the record label into? I read in a few interviews with you where you emphasised your desire to create something that outlives you as a producer. Do you feel like you’re heading down the right track?
"Hmm, I’m not sure. I'm just making it up as I go along. I had a lot of help and experience in doing a label from my previous job doing distribution at a record label called Captured Tracks, but I don't know if much of it carried over. It’s definitely an evolving process and my goals have changed from when I started. In 2015, I want to put out only really huge records; not necessarily club based, but just with a wider reach then before. I’m tired of running in the same circle I guess." 

Since your career really started accelerating after the release of “Mad Disrespect” back in 2012, how do you feel your musical knowledge and awareness has developed up to this stage? How do you keep yourself motivated to keep improving and developing yourself both as a DJ and producer?
"Well, it didn't really accelerate as much as it just started from 0 and went to 100 in a year - I mean my 8th and 13th gig EVER were Sub Club and Panorama Bar. I feel like getting thrown in the deep end helps in a lot of ways, but I definitely don't feel I've really even done 5% of the overall goal. I get motivated by reading about great artists or records (like how the artist made them). Recently I've read this book on the downtown NYC music scene in the 1970s /1980s and people like Arthur Russell and David Byrne have been pretty cool to get to know more about. I hope I can go from what I did with Mad Disrespect to making a solo Cello and Delay pedal album or something haha. It’s inspiring to see people do totally different things in the span of 20 years, I definitely have to keep moving or I get pretty down about myself."

I understand that Keiran Hebden (aka Four Tet) was a big believer in you early in your career, how has it affected you (not just musically but also in general), being surrounded by such big names and respected producers and DJs?
"I guess it's affected me in a way that I can see the bigger picture in things when I talk to someone like Kieran, because he's been through it all. He's done just about everything I could want to do in the field, and he's good at calling bullshit for me. So instead of getting a managers opinion, I just ring him up. I don't feel some sort of pressure if that’s what you mean. Life is long and it’s taken Kieran many years of hard work to get to where he's at. And from hanging around with him, I usually come away feeling like I just need to stick to what’s right, not what’s cool or in at the time, and just keep working hard towards my goals."

You’re working on an LP set for release with Text Records next year. Could you sum up what we can expect from you?
"Kind of hard I guess, but it's got some more straight-forward things, some stuff without beats, lots of the typical AN troupes - tape echo, fizz, some warpy chorus. The big difference is that everything was played and recorded into the computer instead of just using a sampler and taking bits from other people. There are like two samples on the whole thing. I wanted it to sound like NYC in some way. As I was making it, I was moving out of NYC and I kind of owed the city for helping me find my way. Not to be cheesy or anything, but I kind of came up in the city at a pivotal time in my life. Lots of things happened, really crazy and great things, and I just wanted to think about that and make music around those feelings. Something like that, yeah!"

Let’s say next week you decide to drop out of the music scene altogether and do something totally new, what would it be? Is there another strong passion you hold in addition to music (I assume not studying linguistics again!)?
"I'd work in a wildlife rehabilitation center if I could, but I think you need to study biology and animal sciences and right now I don't think I can focus on that. But some day soon!"

Text: Ben Rogerson