2006 saw the emergence/takeover of Spank Rock, the name plastered on every magazine cover, lighting up every blog and gracing most/all "Best Of" charts by the end of the year. Their debut "YoYoYoYoYo" caught the ear of just about anyone, well, anyone with an ear, and left everyone and their media dog panting to find more about these boys. Yes, these boys. Boys who had created an imaginative, artistic sound that no one else could quite touch: combining hip hop with the bass-driven sound of Baltimore house, filtering filthy raps into deep electro and furiously quick BPM's, and the odd guilty pleasure to boot. Despite all the hype and media-worshipped success, they still have a rare, down to earth charisma and the addictive enthusiasm of 4 starry-eyed boys from Baltimore, completely in awe of their position and unaware of just how much they've wowed the world.
Flash back to 2000, when fun-loving DJ Chris Devlin's (a.k.a. Chris Rockswell) apartment 320 was often found heaving with rowdy parties, bubbling with the likes of introspective producer Alex Epton (Armani XXXChange), quick-tongued filthy-minded MC Naeem Juwan (MC Spank Rock) and rambunctious battle DJ Ronnie Darko. The four collectively formed Spank Rock organically, with Chris Devlin and his apartment being the centre point. After going to school with each other, Chris DJ'd in Naeem's first hip hop band with a guitarist named Chip (who Chris now produces with today). Alex, who lived down the street from Chris, got introduced to Naeem at one of Chris' graffiti art exhibitions. Aspiring DJs, Chris and Ronnie met randomly in Music Liberated, where Ronnie was flyering for one of his parties. Then through no effort of their own, Alex and Naeem's little studio projects suddenly got whipped up by Big Dada, after their mate Wes (aka Diplo) had secretly passed on their demo.
"The thing is, we fuck around a lot, all the time...and I think a big part of the aesthetic of our performances and how we roll, as far as making the party, is debauchery and fun. And if something's sloppy, you kind of own that a little bit, you know? So we just sort of carried that over into the fabric mix, we thought maybe it would be good to have a little bit of humour in it. And there's some other stuff - we did a lot of recording, we made a lot of sound effects. For example, there sounds on there that sound like bombs dropping, which we made by mic'ing the sound of us picking up amplifiers and dropping them. There's little stuff in there that took a while to make, and yeah...there's some stuff in there you gotta check for. It was really fun to make." Spank Rock
When preparing their Fabriclive CD, the boys were fully prepared for their mix to be compared to the one from their label mate Diplo, coming from the same east coast and often helplessly grouped into the same category (mashup, party-style DJing etc)...so to battle the comparison, they deliberately altered the mix. And the result is Fabriclive 33, a statement-making mix bursting with personality. From the dialogues in the intro and outro (which Alex secretly recorded before their performance on the Jimmy Kimmel show) to their secret sound effects to their debauched singing to just the quick draw, short attention span levelling of genres, if this mix asks a question, the answer is downright hilarious. Tricks are for kids and don't you forget it.