Death Grips is a very intense band that has a rough approach to marketing that fits their music though, arguably, it's all just their art and some of it can be used as you would promo material. Their newest album, The Money Store, comes out April 24th on Epic Records and I have no idea what they're doing on Epic. Their uncompromising approach to music is pretty rare and the promo materials they've been putting out are totally unlike anything I would expect from an act that's about to release their first album on a label owned by Sony. But these are weird times and, like Hunter S. Thompson said, in such times the weird turn pro.
Just to be clear about things, I love Death Grips even though I can only listen to a few of their songs at a time. At a point in history when avant garde and experimental are almost universally meaningless terms, they somehow embody experimental avant garde music.
Death Grips - I've Seen Footage
I've seen their work labeled as rock/rap, punk-rap, experimental hip hop and industrial hip hop but they come as close to escaping genres as anything I've heard in a long time. Then again, their latest video for I've Seen Footage above, suggests they can be a bit more accessible aurally and visually when they so choose. At least in comparison to a track like Guillotine (It goes Yah) in the video below.
The Money Store is due Tuesday April 24 on Epic Records. Epic's website appears to require subscribing to look at (or maybe that's just an email list) though you can access outdated sections via Google. But however confused Epic may be at the moment about their own brand on the web, Death Grips seems very focused on marketing themselves in a manner that fits their aesthetic.
MTV Hive has a post titled Death Grips' Tips on How to Shoot a $20 Music Video but I have to wonder if they even spent that much on videos like the following for Guillotine (It goes Yah):
Death Grips - Guillotine (It goes Yah)
Christina Lee talked to Death Grips' drummer Zach Hill for MTV Hive and seems to be quoting him though without quote marks:
"There isn’t an ideal scenario in the way we work, because the things we imagine in our minds aren’t accessible and within our budget. So even if we think of an ideal location in our imagination, maybe it’s not realistic for us to make that happen. So we were forced to work with whatever’s available to us because of those limitations. Those limitations are actually what creates the videos in the first place."
Each of the videos discussed by Hill and posted on MTV Hive reflect the limits within which Death Grips has been working. It's interesting to see the I've Seen Footage promo video which, by contrast, looks like it's taking the Death Grips aesthetic and applying a bit of polish but not too much.
Death Grips - RETROGRADE 52
I almost hesitate to call the RETROGRADE project promotional. Like their videos RETROGRADE is simply an extension of their music that, when inserted in various contexts, can serve as a promotional device. It's basically a wall of Gifs composed of 109 videos like the one above, RETROGRADE 52.
The Creators Project has more from the band about RETROGRADE as well as their approach to making videos. Here's some of what they said about RETROGRADE:
"The piece itself is a musical instrument. Our real performances are disassembled, mangled, and thrown back together in a renegade way. We recommend the 'PLAY ALL' button. This is exactly how we create our art. It’s dirty, chaotic, and constantly on the brink of catastrophic failure. We encourage others to deconstruct our ideas and this piece in similar ways. We are excited about people creating their own content out of this device. It’s not about the machine itself but the process of exploration."
Death Grips x BitTorrent
Though the major labels and lots of other people equate filesharing with theft, Death Grips is publicizing The Money Store with a BitTorrent bundle of music and videos. I love the fact that this bundle is being publicized, in part, by a press release distributed via BusinessWire:
"BitTorrent will promote the bundle on the company’s two main Web properties (www.bittorrent.com and www.utorrent.com), via advertising to new users, and by offering the bundle directly in the two software clients. The promotion is designed to offer Death Grips fans a special preview for the new album using the fastest download technology available, engage new global fans, and help facilitate pre-sales of the album 'The Money Store' on sale April 24th via Epic Records. "
BitTorrent also held a live chat with Death Grips on Twitter which they then transcribed and excerpted.
This week Death Grips dropped all the audio tracks from The Money Store on their YouTube channel. Whatever the deal with Epic, so far Death Grips seems to be maintaining their uncompromising stance towards art and business. It will be interesting to see what happens now that they're getting a lot more attention and, hopefully, real label support.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business & Revenue Models and about dance at All World Dance: News. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.