Le Tigre‘s “Deceptacon” is a testament to what can be achieved when conventionality in music is tossed and creativity takes over.
Red Bull Music Academy’s Documentary Series has been producing clips for “beat:repeat NYC.” Episode 6, one of eight, is about LeTigre’s 1999 underground dance-punk hit “Deceptacon” and the drum machine that shapes the song.
In the clip, Johanna Fateman talks about her Alesis HR-16B that she bought at Rogue in New York City. She said she was discouraged from buying the drum machine and was told it was for hip-hop, but she knew it was what she needed. According to Fateman, the drum machine’s presets allowed the band the freedom to just experiment. Using the HR 16-B spoke directly to Le Tigre’s DIY/Riot Grrrl mentality.
Fateman even shows off the original instruction sheet she used to craft Deceptacon using the hi-hat, snare and other drumbeat options on the HR-16B. Fateman insists things don’t have to be done the way they were in the past; if that’s as far as people get, we won’t get very far.
‘”You don’t have to do it in a professional, expert way. You can do it in your own way,” Fateman says.
The documentary series coincides with the Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York; the series launched May 1 at redbullmusicacademy.com. “beat:repeat” throws a spotlight on the iconic drumbeat sounds that frame so many DIY songs and New York City anthems.
Other artists in the series include Blondie’s Chris Stein, Ninja Tune’s Lee Bannon and Black Moon’s Evil Dee.
Also throughout May, the Red Bull Music Academy is hosting a 101-drum-machine exhibition at Red Bull Studios New York. The items are from beatbox collector Joe Mansfield. The exhibition is open Wednesdays through Sundays from noon to 7 p.m. at Red Bull Studios New York, 218 W. 18th St., NYC.
See the beat:repeat clip here and learn a bit more about what makes this punk classic tick. The video for “Deceptacon” on Youtube clocks in at more than 3 million views. if you haven’t seen it yet, get right over there and take a look. The two dancers, the only people in the video, stay in constant motion and a somewhat symmetry, appearing like early-Devo wannabes. Their quirky dance moves, paired with Kathleen Hanna‘s bad-ass shredded vocals, singing “Everything you feel is alright alright alright alright alright!” makes for a rather hilarious, and perfect, anthem.