"This EP contains what's best about Chicago house, New York electro, Detroit funk and German techno while maintaining a 'dirty' sound with immaculate production. Really unique stuff." This Discogs user was reviewing last year's Zipacon 12-inch for Trilogy Tapes, but he could have been talking about most things in Anthony Naples' catalogue. Since he got his break in 2012, the New York artist has become adept at taking a little something from several places and making it all his own. His rise has dovetailed the wave of noisy, leftfield club music that's been coming out of New York in recent years, but in a crowded scene Naples has always stood out. His best tracks—"Perro," "P O T," "Moscato" etc—are slathered in lo-fi sonics but they still kick hard in the club; he also has a way with melodies and rhythms that makes his music memorable. "Mad Disrespect," his breakout track, is another great example of this. Tough, crunchy drums are at its core, but smart vocal samples and warm melodies draw you in and keep you hooked.
Around the time of Mad Disrespect's release, Naples cemented a couple of key relationships. The EP was the first release on Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin's Mister Saturday Night, the label offshoot of the popular New York party, and Naples became a key member of the group, later returning to the label for another 12-inch. Mad Disrespect also caught the ear of Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet, who asked Naples to remix his track "128 Harps." The collaboration eventually paved the way for Body Pill, Naples' debut album, which was released today through Hebden's Text Records. The album is a compact extension of the ground Naples has covered until now, with an exploration of styles and tempos that brings to mind the best work of Actress.
Naples seems to have produced RA.455 in a similar spirit. The set starts with Led Zeppelin and Terry Riley, builds with the crispy house and techno bangers Naples is known for, and then brings things home with some vintage funk.
What have you been up to recently?
Taking it easy, maintaining, the usual. Settling into the Eurozone for an extended visit.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I recorded it at my parents' house in between movements overseas and the holiday season, on a Sound Workshop 421 rotary mixer I've had forever, and a pair of totally shit CDJs I "rented" from Guitar Center for the day.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
No real sort of idea I guess, I was pretty limited by not using my record collection whatsoever—it's now in storage until I get back home. I used CDs, a lot of which have unreleased stuff from myself and friends, along with a few things I haven't managed to track down on vinyl yet. I always wanted to start a mix with the Zep' track, and I just kind of built up the vibe from there. It's a little darker than I'd normally play when in a club, but it is what it is.
You mentioned some interesting aims with the album. How do you usually attempt to translate the essence of an object or an experience into music?
Oh I was just kidding around with all of that. The press release thing just had to say something, it couldn't be blank or whatever, so after a long night out with friends, then drinking three Versailles espressos, I just spewed a bunch of nonsense and it came to be. Maybe that's over-sharing, but the reality is that the LP is just a group of songs that I enjoy and I feel really represent how I felt at a point in my life, and I hope other people enjoy them and find something for themselves in there as well.
What makes Text a good fit for what you do?
I've only worked with labels that I've truly identified with in the past, and Text is just an extension of that. Kieran's records are some of my favorite music, and I've been hugely influenced by what he's done over the years, or who he's put me onto through mixes, interviews, remixes, etc, and it just makes sense to be part of that linage instead of working with some label I have no real interest in, for money, some sort of credibility, or whatever. Traditionally this is how my favorite artists developed in their "careers," too. You work on friend's/mentor's labels, then you go off to do your own thing, and then you turn that around and help put your friends on when you can.
What are you up to next?
I’m just messing around with ideas right now. Learning what I have in front of me, buying more records and taking the time to listen and absorb them fully. Playing those records wherever people will have me. I wanna say thanks for that so far—everyone from Tokyo to Tallinn, thanks again and again.
Photo credit: Keogan Photography