Published Apr 12, 2012Last year, Sacramento rap crew Death Grips released Exmilitary, their stellar debut mixtape that drew major attention internationally. The group -- composed of rapper Stefan "MC Ride" Burnett, producer Andy "Flatlander" Morin and drummer/producer Zach Hill (best known for his work in Hella) -- have since signed with Epic Records and promised two albums for 2012.
Death Grips caught up with Exclaim! to explain how they came to be and what the future holds. Rather than answer individually, they chose to make group statements.
"We started in the winter of 2010, mainly out of dissatisfaction with our immediate environments," they explain. "Zach and Stefan lived on the same street from 2006 to early 2011 in Sacramento. We had talked about starting some kind of energy outlet with each other for a while. The real inception of Death Grips was during a trip to New York City in September 2010. We had borrowed a friends practice space for a week out there. While working in the space we experienced a kind of hallucination for this group... we immediately began to chase it down in reality."
From there, the group released Exmilitary in 2011 to much fanfare. So much so, in fact that they were immersed in discussions with various labels.
"We were meeting with lots of different record labels throughout last year," the trio explain. "At the time, we had no expectations when meeting with anyone and many concerns about signing to a label in general."
For a group as aggressive and dark as Death Grips, it may come as a surprise that they ended up on a major. Still, they explain that Epic was the best fit.
"L.A. Reid got in touch and asked if we'd meet with him at the Sony building in Los Angeles... It quickly became apparent that these people truly believed in what we were doing and understood our vision. We recognized the unlimited possibilities and total freedom this relationship would bring artistically... we signed with them that night."
As for any concerns that a label would meddle with their sound in favour of accessing a wider audience, Death Grips have no concerns about that.
"The label is entirely with it," Death Grips say. "They spend so much time designing artists' entire careers that working with a group like ours is somewhat alien to them... in a good way. They know not to fuck with it."
Death Grips will make their Epic debut with The Money Store. Comparing it to Exmilitary, the most major difference noted by the band is "a very minimal amount of sampling," adding, "It's much more diverse and dynamic as an overall listening experience. We're thinking of each track as its own iconic piece of pop art, themed in intense struggle, sexuality, demons, addiction, mysticism and violence. We thought about Andy Warhol's work and perceived attitudes and applied that inspiration to what we're currently experiencing in the digital dawn, paired with our personal unrest, problems and positivity...."
As previously reported, The Money Store will drop on April 24. The music video for "The Fever (Aye Aye)" is available below, along with the band's upcoming tour schedule.
4/12 Pomona, CA - The Glass House
4/13 Indio, CA - Coachella
4/20 Indio, CA - Coachella
5/5 Sacramento, CA - Sacramento Electronic Music Festival
5/18 Dublin, Ireland - The Academy
5/19 Glasgow, UK - Stag & Dagger
5/20 Manchester, UK - The Roadhouse
5/21 Nottingham, UK - The Bodega
5/22 Norfolk, UK - Norwich Arts Center
5/23 Brighton, UK - Green Store Door
5/25 London, UK - All Tomorrow's Parties
5/26 Paris, France - Grande Halle de La Villette
5/27 Rotterdam, The Netherlands - Worm
5/28 Amsterdam, The Netherlands - OT301
5/29 Nijmegen, The Netherlands - Merleyn
6/1 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival
6/2 Barcelona, Spain - Field Day Festival
6/4 Brussels, Belgium - Magasin
6/5 Gent, Belgium - Charlatan
6/6 Cologne, Germany - Mtc
6/7 Berlin, Germany - Gretchen
6/8 Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang
6/9 Porto, Portugal - Primavera Sound Porto
6/12 Philadelphia, PA - The Barbery
6/13 New York, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
6/14 Boston, MA - TT The Bear's
6/15 Montreal, QC - Club Lambri
6/16 Toronto, ON - Wrongbar
6/18 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
6/19 Grand Rapids, MI - The Pyramid Scheme
6/20 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge
6/21 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock