A Chat with Akira the Don

Meaningwave Maestro

Akira the Don is a musician and DJ who created Meaningwave, a mix of spoken word and music that aims to help listeners achieve potential in this lifetime. In this same time he has been experimenting with 'zone occupation' and hyper-productivity, as such he has produced an incredible stream of albums and streams over the last five years despite some serious challenges.

Below I've transcribed, and sometimes heavily paraphrased, the first portion of our discussion. This is only a small slice of the interview which I encourage everyone to watch in full here or just scroll down.

Can you give a quick explanation in your words of what is Meaningwave?

Meaningwave is a lot of things to a lot of people. It's music. It's more than music. It's a psycho-technology, is another way of thinking about it. A way of integrating information using the most powerful delivery mechanism we know about, which is music

You said you started recording and mixing these kinds of things as early as seven. Was this a thing you just did, or did the mixing of music and spoken word come from anywhere else?

No. It's hard to say because I don't remember anything before the age of seven for some reason. At seven, lots of things happened when I was seven. The one thing that happened when I was seven is that we had these big tape recorders at school and I used to record things on them and make sort of little songs on them. The first thing I ever did, or the the first one I remember, involved recording a bit of a news broadcast about a war breaking out in Eastern Europe and chopping that up in some shape or form. There was always music around. My dad took care to educate me on music. He would sit me down and take me up into the attic with his boxes of vinyls and say 'ok right this is motown' and play me motown stuff or 'this is punk' and play me punk seven inches. So I had a great music education and from dot was just eager to do it in anyway I could.

So in a lot of ways it was the exposure to the technology that triggered that creativity in you?

Yeah because we didn't have musical instruments in the house or around, but there were tape recorders. So I would use the tape recorders and copy one thing from one side to another side and then back again. I'd pull the tape out and I would cut the tape up and stick it back together with a tiny little bit of cello-tape and things like that. So the first things I did were with tapes, and at some point we got a computer and it had a program on it that would allow you to sample something like twenty seconds or something. I sampled a drum loop from a Beastie Boys song and a guitar loop from a Suede song, from *We Are the Pigs*. So I made a song with that. It would have been around the same time people were doing stuff with MPCs, but I didn't even know what a MPC was. These early samplers had limitations of how much audio you could use. I remember doing that and I would play things over the top of it, like radio interviews and such and I would have a song. When I started making my own rap music, one thing in rap music is that you'll have a skit. A lot of bands I liked, particularly rappers, had these skits which would be little mini plays or samples from an interview in some way that was going to set up the track. When I started making my own mix tapes I would extend those skit sections to be the whole song. I was like I kind of like this, what if this was over the whole song.