I t’s probably fair to say that Kevin Spacey isn’t a fan of Cassettes Won’t Listen.
How does Cassettes Won’t Listen’s mastermind Jason Drake know this? When he was prepping for the release of his third full-length album of indie electro-pop tunes, he wound up settling upon the name of “Kevinspacey,” which seemed to accurately reflect that mature, thoughtful, but still playfully fun sound of the record.
The two-time Oscar winner, however, was not amused, and a cease-and-desist letter followed in no time. In thinking of a way to avoid this legal quagmire, Drake had an idea: Take a letter off.
Now, Drake is going about the country in support of his latest disc, “Evinspacey,” and it’s as dramatic funky, and offbeat as his previous work. Maybe it was all the time he spent working at Def Jux Records, honing in on his craft and doing a large amount of remixes for that label’s unique indie-rap roster, but with “Evinspacey,” it feels as if Drake is finally ready to break through.
Drake discusses how he relates to a character in the feel-good movie “Kids,” never goes on vacations, and how he’s ventured into a realm that few other electronic artists have ever entered in before: improv comedy.
1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
“Wall-E” was probably the last movie that made me cry. It’s amazing the story you can tell with animation and minimal dialogue nowadays. The movie is the quintessential love story set in a dystopian future with commentary on our world’s current lifestyle. A love story between two robots is such an amazing juxtaposition of man and machine. It makes me cry just thinking of it.
2. The fictional character most like you?
Casper from the movie “Kids,” minus the rape and HIV part. I always admired Casper’s carefree attitude, preference for malt liquor, blunts, nitrous oxide and sex. I moved to New York City at 19 and my life was very similar to his at the time. That lifestyle is what has shaped me into who I am today.
3. The greatest album, ever?
Wow, that is a good question. Albums are always changing their meanings to me so the greatest album ever today will probably change soon. I’d base my greatest album not on the strength of musicianship or influence on music in general, but more on how it influenced my life. Any album that marks a particular time in my life would end up towards the top of my list. Albums like DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing,’ Beck’s “Mellow Gold,” Pavement’s “Wowee Zowee,” and Beastie Boys “Check Your Head,” are probably some of my favorite albums of all time.
4. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Taking improv comedy classes at Uprights Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles. It’s something I never thought I’d do or enjoy. I’m a producer _ in other words, an “editor.” I make music by sitting in the studio for hours on end, recording, re-recording, experimenting, cutting, pasting, etc. until I’ve edited a product into something I like and feel my fans will like.
The thought of standing up on stage and completely improvising a 30-minute show in front of a live audience while trying to make them laugh literally made me nauseous but, because of that, it was something I felt I should try. The goal of the course was to be able to ask an audience member for one word and base a whole show off of that word. The final class would be at the UCB theatre in front of a live audience. No time for planning, no time for editing.
Being in Los Angeles, I was the only non-actor in the bunch which didn’t do much for my nerves but also took some of the pressure off. Just enough to keep me engaged and able to excel in the eight week course. The “graduation” show ended up going well and I made it through improvising a 30- minute show without throwing up or passing out. It was one of those accomplishments that I’ll always be able to look back on and pull from.
5. You want to be remembered for …?
The easy answer would be for my music. But I guess the more complicated answer would be for any inspiration that comes from my music. I guess it would be different for each person who was affected by any of my songs.
I was recently giving an interview when the writer thanked me for giving him something to live for. That’s a very powerful and rewarding statement that will stay with me for a long time. It reassured me that maybe I am creating something that could last longer than my life and continue on to affect peoples lives in a positive manner.