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An interview for the ages.

An interview for the ages.

He needs no introduction. But here’s the quick and dirty: Anthony Fantano, aka TheNeedleDrop, is one of the most prevalent music resources on the net. He has nearly a million YouTube followers. He’s been blogging for a decade, and vlogging for roughly eight years. Fantano has an impressive output, and uploads videos at a voracious pace. He’s a busy man. I reached out to him for a few words.

—————–

Tristan: Kicking off with the burning question: did Sam Hyde ever get around to beating up your dad?

Anthony: Nah, he pussed out. Sam is a lotta bark, but not a lotta bite. He’s a big softy beyond his abrasive, disorienting outer shell. His odd behavior is more like a test to see who is truly with the shit. It’s like he’s testing you for a fight club that exists in his mind. It’s all as a means to weed out the normies who can’t take his bullshit, and entertain himself by attempting to take the piss out of any situation he finds himself in. It’s all harmless fun for him. However, I wouldn’t wanna be there to witness the moment Lena Dunham makes him feel like he’s in physical danger.

That being said, there are ideological views Sam holds that I vehemently disagree with, but I personally don’t see that as a reason to trash or silence his artistic endeavors. There have been much bigger scumbags to climb up the ranks of the entertainment industry: child molesters, abusers of various types, etc.

Just YouTubed that rant for clarification. Lmao. “I’ll put her in the ground in a fucking box.” I guess this segues nicely into another question: any albums you’d want to be buried with? Or, to speak more metaphorically, any albums you can see summing up “who you are” in a retrospective sense after you die?

LOL, sure. I mean, honestly, I think what album I answer with depends on what point in my life we’re talking about.

In high school, I probably identified most with the punk albums I listened to due to their anti-social attitude and rebellious nature. Same with all the metal I was listening to. I sort of “matured” in college onto way more singer-songwriters, jazz artists, hip hop, electronic music. Still keeping to my love of punk music, tho.

These days I’m just kind of listening to everything. There are still tons of artists and records from my teens and twenties that mean a lot of me: Wire, Talking Heads, Roland Kirk, Mission of Burma, The Slits, Godspeed, Sunn o))).

To this day I still love Green Day’s Dookie, RATM’s Evil Empire, and that’s what I was listening to when I was 12. There was some TLC, RHCP, and Boyz II Men in there, too. My Weird Al tapes were what I wore out to death, tho.

But these days, honestly, I feel like I most identify with the music Death Grips puts out. There’s sort of a dark, destructive side to the lyrics that I gravitate to. Probably because I have a somewhat negative review of the world. But I guess a huge part of it has to do with the fact that so much of their music deals in the technological culture we live in today. Spying, tracking, paranoia, digital “trash,” the worst of mankind being uploaded to the net every day. For someone whose living is made on the Internet, a lot of it is pretty poignant.

Has making a living on the internet shaped you in negative ways? Or, positive ways?

Both. I mean, it’s given me more control over my destiny, I feel. I like that. I like being at the helm of what’s happening in my life. It’s something I get from my father. He likes doing things on his own terms and that’s it. I’m a bit more open to compromise, but I still want to reach my final destination.

The negative is that a significant chunk of my life kind of exists in a bubble. Reconciling regular, everyday Anthony with Internet Anthony can be a hassle sometimes.

Yeah, there can be a separation between IRL identities and internet identities, aside from obviously anonymous posting and such. Would you say you strive to merge the two as much as possible? Or should they remain separate to an extent?

I try to put as much of IRL me onto the Internet. That’s why the reviews are so approachable, straightforward, conversational. However, ya can’t do it all the time because the Internet isn’t IRL. There are situations that you shouldn’t react to in the same way you would if someone was saying X, Y, or Z to you on the street. Some things need to be taken less seriously. Meanwhile, my picture gets used to identify a mass shooter, which has me looking for a lawyer to talk to.

I think real life and the Internet are inseparable at this point, but they’re not 100% fused. I don’t think they should be either. The Internet should still, for the most part, remain a playground. Real life should be where meaningful, significant interactions and events happen.

I think it’s best if the two remain at least a little separate going forward.

The Internet is a great place to let off steam, but can be really overwhelming and loaded with worthless trash. Real life is where we should be able to get some serious business done, slow things down, and “unplug” as they say.

Speaking of which, a friend implored me to ask: “if YouTube salary is enough to pay for hair plugs”?

I dunno. I haven’t looked up the price of hairplugs, lol. Y’all are just obsessed with my hair. Like, my scalp is visible because I shave my head. Go to any point in my YT history and I’m bald as fuck. I dunno what to tell you guys. My hair’s never been thick. It’s really fine and a light brown. I like my chrome dome. It’s made worse by the fact that my fluorescent LED lights bounce right off my head and make my lilly white scalp pop. 😀

Well, I guess that answers the 8 or so melon-related queries I had.

OK, good. But feel free to ask if any new melon-related questions arise.

I just want to apologize for my mediocre hairline. It’s crooked and weird. I don’t mind it tho.

My dad tells me he was balding like a motherfucker when he was in his 20s, so I figure I’m doing pretty good at this point, lol.

Your dad is also a powerlifter, or so I’ve heard … no? Do you lift? Favourite albums to grunt and groan to?

Yes, he was. Anybody looking to get more info on that can probably find it online somewhere. He was a powerhouse in strength and personality. Maybe a bit too much on the personality end. He was pretty intimidating back in the day. Had more to do with how he handled himself than his size, tho. He bounced at bars, ran with bikers, and could tell you a million stories about a million fights he’d been in. He was a true mad man. I definitely inherited his attitude and lack of fucks to give. I have to kind of remind myself I can’t get too reckless because anything I do or say could come back to haunt me.

As far as workout albums, it’s usually whatever the loudest, heaviest thing I just reviewed was.

But artists like High On Fire, Black Breath, Denzel Curry, Death Grips, Wiley, Injury Reserve, YG, Nails, Death Grips, and Vektor are in regular rotation.

Oh and Clipse and Public Enemy.

Oh, and that new Idles album. That’s a barn burner.

Coincidentally, I had a decent squat session to that album the other week.

epic!

Until the ol’ pink sock slipped out, of course.

I suppose it’s high time I pretend that I prepared for this interview ;] can you tell us a bit about your start-to-finish process of reviewing? Can you define what the “start” is?

I put the album on to listen to it BAM the process has started.
And over the course of listening and relistening I’m researching, writing notes, contemplating.
And I’m either sitting there, standing there, lifting weights, running, doing some dishes, asking a close friend what they might thing of a certain song or sound.
I’m listening to the new Colin Stetson album while I do this interview.

Once I have a clear idea of how I feel, I pretty much get to writing.
And rewriting.
Until I have a script I’m happy with.
Which I basically improvise off of on camera.
And I send that to a buddy of mine to be edited down before I give it a final pass and export it.

Can we get the scoop / hot take?

I love that he’s starting to incorporate some new sounds into his repertoire. Sounds like there are some new percussive sounds he’s conjuring with his sax somehow or adding in post. I’m not sure. He’s always innovating.

I wish he still took it a bit further. That collab album he dropped not too long ago was so refreshing. It was great to hear him alter his style a bit to accompany a collaborator.

When he’s solo, he tends to get into his own endless avant-arpeggio bubble.

I like it, tho.
Looking forward to getting a video out on it. I think it’s better than New History Vol. 3.

Were you referring to Sarah Neufeld’s collab with him? What did you make of her latest solo album?

Haven’t heard her new solo stuff yet. I’ll have to look it up. I’ll make a note after I get done with this Colin vid.

I know you mentioned in a recent podcast that you haven’t really 180d on albums, but do you ever look back and maybe second guess the lens you used while reviewing?

I think once you’ve sort of acknowledged your opinion has changed, the lens has probably changed as well. The lens you’re seeing the album through, that is.

Has a band or label ever contacted you complaining about a review? I assume yes, but is there anything you’re willing to divulge?

For sure. On a few occasions.

I can really only talk about the ones that were super public, which are already out there.

But not all negative reactions have negative outcomes.

Me and Post-Malone get along pretty well now. He’s a nice dude.

In a recent-ish interview I did with another reviewer (Scaruffi), he said, “It is also upsetting that so many people want a review “right now” of the new album. If it’s a good album, it will still be good ten years from now, right? Why do you need to listen to it “right now”? If you ask me for the review of a new album, you already told me that you are not interested in good music but in what gets promoted by the music industry.” Do you think people should care a bit less about the “right now”? I understand the “right now” is kinda your bread and butter, but nonetheless…

I could see where he’s coming from. I mean, I’d like to be able to take a more laid back approach to all of this one day, but as a young buck I feel like I gotta get out there and help drive the discussion we’re having about the albums that are hitting us here and now.
It’s cool that he wants to give a more final, experienced word once all the dust has settled.
I’d rather be a part of the opinion mosh pit

That’s what I’m trying to be a part of now.

I don’t see a reviewer being less beholden to the music industry just because you’re review an album 10 years after the fact

Like the industry doesn’t influence our opinion of what albums are classic?

Like the industry isn’t selling us copies of Pet Sounds, Nevermind, Rocket To Russia, and It’ll Take A Nation of Millions?

And while I know the Scruff’s opinions run a bit more avant-garde than most, I don’t think being an alternative voice has anything to do with the timeframe in which you speak.

In my opinion, it’s kinda easy to say something is great once history has proven it to be so

Sensing greatness in something that’s fresh–and especially unorthodox–is the real challenge.

Can you comment a bit on contextual importance? For example, backstories of albums like A Crow Looked at Me vs the fiction of albums like Hospice. If you found out the latter was biographical, would you judge it differently?

My lack of enjoyment in relation to Hospice has mostly to do with what I feel is its drab sound, and not its backstory.

I get that a lot of people get meaning out of the story, but whether or not it’s true doesn’t really matter. It’s about the song and the conviction of the storyteller.

Jeff Mangum never went back in a time machine to save Anne Frank, but we’ve all sat there feeling for the guy as if he had or could. And was she ever a little boy in Spain playing pianos filled with flames? I mean, listening to Aeroplane, it certainly feels like it.

Do you think the music vlog format is still struggling to garner more legitimacy, in relation to sites like P4k and Consequence of Sound and such?

To an extent. We’ve got way more legitimacy than we used to, believe me.

Would you say that’s largely due to support from viewers?

For sure. You can deny what I have going on, or what other channels like mine have going on all you like. Go for it. The views and engagement don’t lie though.

Do you have any fond music-related memories during out-of-country travelling?

None, really. I mean, of course but I get anxious when it comes to traveling to new places and all that.

I was actually gonna hit you with some rapid-fire material. I created a thread on the site letting the users know I’d be interviewing you, and asked for some questions to include. Care to indulge a handful of them?
Do it for the children.

OK
let’s go

user sixdegrees asks: “does he vape?”

hell nah

user Keyblade asks: “why is his taste in hip hop so basic”?

I don’t know what keyblade is talking about. considering i’ve routinely championed artists like Busdriver, Shabazz Palaces, Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Injury Reserve, Danny Brown, clipping….
Hardly boring, basic, run-of-the-mill.
You may not like it, but basic?

user hal1ax asks: “have you ever passed by urban outfitter without stopping to go inside?”

I’m 6’1″ and a broad-shouldered 230 LBS. Urban outfitters does not make clothes for me, lol.

user Sinternet asks: “you say you vegan, but why you always beefing?”

It’s my only SOURCE of beef. I have to get it somehow.

user ZippaThaRippa asks: “Did you get a chance to talk to Nardwuar after the interview? And if so, can you give any insight into the man behind the ‘mask?’”

He’s a really nice guy. Not as jittery as when the camera is on, but very kind, gracious, thoughtful, and always grinding. He’s the total package and a complete inspiration. I can’t say I really got to know him on a personal level, but I still look up to the guy so a little mystery is good.

user GhostOfSarcasticBtrd asks: “if he’d square up with Sosa and if so how long would he last?”

Depends on his lean intake that day.

user JWT155 asks: “are there any glaring needs/vacuums in terms of music conversation/discovery that he feels aren’t addressed currently?”

I think we could be doing more to try to bridge the gap with the greater international music community out there. There are loads of worthwhile artists outside the borders of North America, but searching for them is hard when you aren’t some kind of linguistic genius. I think sites like Bandcamp are making that search easier than it’s ever been, but it’s not perfect. I try to do my best to cover some artists outside the US, but even I myself am guilty of an American music bias. However, I think there’s more room for people to jump in this convo that I’m a part of. Start your own channel, blog, or podcast and start covering a music beat that matters to you.

user Balcaen asks: “what the deal is with his increasing presence in commenting on “political correctness” ie making videos about memes that pander to the alt right but aren’t *technically* alt right in themselves”?

Watch out, Martine! I’m gonna turn you into a meme if you don’t ease up on my shitty 2nd channel videos.

We’ll hit the home stretch: did you ever have a sputnikmusic account? There are some rumours.

I might have started one at one point, but I don’t think I ever used it.

Wise.

I’m just a Sputnik lurker.

By the time I discovered the site, I think I was already pouring so much effort into TND.

Any memorable reviews/reviewers come to mind?

Death Grips’ The Money Store basically being called some uninspired dubstep diarrhea.
LOL.

Thanks for indulging me, and the good denizens of sputnikmusic.com.

❤️❤️❤️

photo-2

theneedledrop twitter: https://twitter.com/theneedledrop
theneedledrop youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/theneedledrop
theneedledrop Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theneedledrop/
sputnikmusic twitter: https://twitter.com/sputnikmusic
sputnikmusic Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sputnikmusicreviews/





JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
whoomp, there it is

Hellscythe
05.03.17
my child will never know the truth of his parentage

Sinternet
05.03.17
time to spam his twitter i guess

pjorn
05.03.17
Yo, the money store is uninspired dubstep diarrhea tho smh

ZippaThaRippa
05.03.17
That was the 2nd best of my three questions but I'll take it

Cygnatti
05.03.17
👌

AdolfChrist
05.03.17
"Well, I guess that answers the 8 or so melon-related queries I had."

lmao

Dewinged
05.03.17
Good read Johnny. Never thought he dug Death Grips so much.

Rowan5215
05.03.17
I don’t know what keyblade is talking about. considering i’ve routinely championed artists like Busdriver, Shabazz Palaces, Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Injury Reserve, Danny Brown, clipping….
Hardly boring, basic, run-of-the-mill.
You may not like it, but basic?


so this is a meme now right

Prancer
05.03.17
MC Ride & the Death Grips

ScuroFantasma
05.03.17
Super fun read dude, great interview

pjorn
05.03.17
@Rowan yeah that's some spicy pasta now

Trebor.
05.03.17
Of course Martine got in there

klap
05.03.17
you may not like it, but that is what peak staff performance looks like

macman76
05.03.17
Trost/Nixotano

Conmaniac
05.03.17
what an interview, great user questions lmao

FourthReich
05.03.17
This is fucking amazing thank johnnydepp

Storm In A Teacup
05.03.17
good interview lmao

cor22222
05.03.17
I hate this poseur guy

Flugmorph
05.03.17
dang was hoping for more sputnik related questions but eh, still a nice interview.

EvoHavok
05.03.17
Neat interview.

Keyblade
05.03.17
I'm dead. basic hipster taste is still basic my man

s/o to johnny this was amazing lmao

lobstah
05.03.17
Well done interview. I really enjoyed reading that.

Keyblade
05.03.17
also when did balcaen come back

owen
05.03.17
he actually did it, the madman

chug73
05.03.17
/mu/ himself.
Met him last year in Melbourne, legit guy.

AdolfChrist
05.03.17
kind of surprised you asked some of those questions. entertaining read.

SowingSeason
05.03.17
Really cool interview. I was surprised by some of the questions as well but more often than not the ballsy approach pays off and makes for a more engaging read. Had no idea he even knew what Sputnik was, was that's kinda cool that he had an account at one point. Fantano seems like the perfect candidate for a sputnikmusic interview, so nice work here.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
yeah, it felt like a long time coming. and he's definitely no stranger to dealing with trollish remarks that I was sure he'd laugh it off and even roll with things a bit. figured it'd be more interesting for him and everyone reading than a purely formal approach.

Relinquished
05.03.17
shoutout to balcaen

TVC15
05.03.17
Aw my question didn't get asked. I really wanted to know what his top 10 all time favorite albums are

Sweet shit anyway, loved the initial Twitter beef he had with Post. Nice to know they're on giod terms

JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
yeah sorry. i could tell i was wearing him down before the user questions, and tried to keep the number somewhat small.

pjorn
05.03.17
there is nothing more sput than the site running like shit the day a big interview is posted

TheMrAlexK
05.03.17
Ayyyeee sick review

TheMrAlexK
05.03.17
Interview**

JWT155
05.03.17
Had my question asked, neato, nicely done review Tristan

plane
05.03.17
aw damnit this made me like him

JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
yeah he really couldn't have been more of a champ tbh. some of the Qs were borderline rude

PistolPete
05.03.17
Great interview, neat to hear him get more personal.

Toad
05.03.17
I don't know what keyblade is talking about. considering i’ve routinely championed artists like Busdriver, Shabazz Palaces, Quelle Chris, Open Mike Eagle, Injury Reserve, Danny Brown, clipping.
Hardly boring, basic, run-of-the-mill.
You may not like it, but basic?

basic is a relative term obviously; to call that taste 'basic' you've be some sort of hip-hop expert. anyway if the melon reviewed hyper-obscure stuff often he wouldn't get any views.

RadicalEd
05.03.17
Thx for doing this, cool review. Anthony seems like such a chill dude.

Jom
05.03.17
Terrific read, seemed like he had a good time and got some inquiries he wouldn't get anywhere else.

TheManMachine
05.03.17
Nice

manosg
05.03.17
Very interesting review. I've only checked literally a couple of his videos and he seemed like a nice dude. Great job Tristan.

WatchItExplode
05.03.17
prime content here Johnny

Piglet
05.03.17
awesome job as usual spotttyjohnny
not sure tho, it isn't that clear in the title that you're actually interviewing him

plane
05.03.17
Yeah, gotta be honest, I thought this was going to be satire like Chan used to do.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
no this was legit. he shared it on twitter fwiw lol

JohnnyOnTheSpot
05.03.17
and it's filed under "interviews"

Keyblade
05.03.17
@Toad I was being facetious for the most part and didn't expect my question to actually be asked lol. if I knew, basic wouldn't quite be the term I'd use. I don't even know if there's a word for it, but it's just cut and paste /mu/ / typical internet hipster taste which his response ironically solidified

Keyblade
05.03.17
maybe that's true for the rest of his taste too idk I can't remember, but I usually just notice his hip hop reviews these days

Toad
05.03.17
yeah i got that, i was really just replying to sach tbh
i need to stop doing that

LewisShaw
05.03.17
Sinternet came through with the real question

deezer666
05.03.17
Enjoyed this.

hal1ax
05.03.17
ayyyyy

hal1ax
05.03.17
also sosa would whoop this guys ass even at maximum turnt

RogueNine
05.03.17
Ah, the Sobhi review.

theacademy
05.03.17
haha he knows who balcaen is

TheMrAlexK
05.03.17
Is there a user on this site that Sosa couldn't wipe the floor with?

hal1ax
05.03.17
lol probz not

rabidfish
05.03.17
Wow, I mean for someone who listens to a TON of music, dude sure has a basic bitch taste tbh.

AdolfChrist
05.03.17
"figured it'd be more interesting for him and everyone reading than a purely formal approach."

i hate reading interviews where the interviewer is trying so hard to suck the interviewee's cock. its also better when its conversational rather than just emailing a list of questions a questions and having them fill them out.

Maco097
05.03.17
Tristany who?

Spacesh1p
05.03.17
"i hate reading interviews where the interviewer is trying so hard to suck the interviewee's cock."

Are you saying that's what's happening here?

AdolfChrist
05.03.17
no.

GhostOfSarcasticBtrd
05.03.17
Of all my Qs in that thread I guess I can be content knowing my Sosa one made the cut.

AdolfChrist
05.03.17
fuck, i wish we could edit our comments on here.

SteakByrnes
05.03.17
That was a great interview Johnny, I love Fantano haha

BrainlessLoser
05.03.17
Nice interview.

mumbleTRAPPER
05.04.17
"user sixdegrees asks: “does he vape?”

hell nah"

Important

this is super cool

mumbleTRAPPER
05.04.17
"user sixdegrees asks: “does he vape?”

hell nah"

Important

this is super cool

JigglyPDiddy
05.04.17
Love Antonio Mangolio. Fine interview, ol' chapo.

50iL
05.04.17
Sounds like a fine lad but I just can't get into his videos

ShitsofRain
05.04.17
good good

TheMrAlexK
05.11.17
lmao anyone see that beef with him and wale?

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