This week, Adult Swim will release the soundtrack for the preposterously titled Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. Most of the projects Adult Swim produces feature local talent, and the soundtrack is no different.
"The general feeling we have here at Williams Street and Adult Swim is that we're proud to live in Atlanta," says head of music Jason DeMarco. Williams Street is the studio that produces the Adult Swim cartoons. "We like to represent Atlanta as much as we can."
Adult Swim's relationship with the local music scene dates back several years, shortly after it debuted in 2001 as a late-night programming bloc on Cartoon Network. One famous early contributor was Danger Mouse, who produced several "bumps" (brief snippets that run in between cartoons). He later teamed with beloved underground rapper MF Doom to form Danger Doom; the resulting The Mouse and the Mask was stocked with guest appearances from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman. Danger Mouse's work, with its kaleidoscopic approach to popular culture and use of pseudonyms and costumes, represents the way in which Adult Swim's snarky and sometimes adolescent irreverence has seeped into the music world.
Cee-Lo played a character on "The Brak Show" once. Comedian and former Adult Swim writer/animator Chris Ward improbably launched a rap career as the bratty nerdcore star MC Chris, when his classic "Fett's Vette" debuted on "Sealab 2021." Other contributors include Chris Devoe ("InuYasha"), Psyche Origami ("InuYasha," various bumps), Minamina Goodsong ("Super Milk Chan"), Collective Efforts ("Super Milk Chan," "The Boondocks"), Mike Geier ("12 oz. Mouse") and Intellekt and Dirty Digits (various bumps). (You can find many of the Adult Swim bumps on a fan site, www.bumpworthy.com.)
Unlikeliest of all is self-described "comedy core" band Attractive Eighties Women. "Our experience is a little different than most of the artists because I actually work on a show for Adult Swim," says lead singer/spectacle Mack Williams. When he's not donning ridiculous wigs and singing anthems such as "Hipster Douchebag," Williams works as a writer/animator for "Frisky Dingo." The show featured one of the band's songs, "Lightning Bolt."
"We're a crazy band. We want to make people laugh, and rock them at the same time," Williams says.
For the ATHF soundtrack, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis teamed with DeMarco to assemble a hodgepodge of hip-hop, indie-rock and metal acts. Inevitably, their road led back to Atlanta and local acts such as Brass Castle, who contributed "Bookworm Resin." "A couple of guys who work here were like, 'Hey, why not Brass Castle?'" DeMarco says. "They're big fans, so they were immediately like, 'Yeah, that would be awesome.'"
Other Adult Swim employees, such as Director of Development Nick Weidenfeld (who suggested Killer Mike), chipped in their favorites. Theme songs and skits from the ATHF characters are scattered amid cuts by Mastodon and MC Chris, giving it a loose structure. But mostly, DeMarco says, it sounds like the show and movie: insane and all over the place.
"We felt the soundtrack should be like the show," he explains. "Hopefully, there's something for everybody."
RANDOM NEWS: Nitti, the producer behind Yung Joc's "It's Going Down," has signed a distribution deal with Warner Bros. for his Playmakers imprint. He is currently working on his solo debut. ... DG Yola of "Ain't Gonna Let Up" fame was shot in the face during a botched robbery attempt March 24. He's currently recovering from his wounds. Meanwhile, his Atlantic debut, Gutta World, has been pushed back to later in the year.
CD RELEASE: Soul polyglot PJ Morton issues Perfect Song Saturday, April 14, at Center Stage Atlanta. The concert will be recorded for a live DVD.