Setting: 3AM, 6 train from Spring Street to 86th Street. Probably the fourth time I’ve run into Alden a.k.a. Karim Fonda from Team Facelift on the subway in the middle of a weeknight.
Me: What are you working on now?
Alden: Right now we got an album coming out on Duck Down Records. (((At this point a guy standing near us waiting for the subway chimes in that he’s heard of Duck Down and we talk to him for a minute.))) We got Junior Sanchez who’s sort of a legendary New York House guy to executive produce it and I’m also working on a project with a chick named Tigga Galore on some voguing music.
Me: What do you mean by ‘voguing’?
Alden: It’s basically like ballroom music for super gay queens to pose and dance to. I was looking for an inroad to get involved in that scene ’cause it seemed really cool and I finally came across this girl who had the same kind of vision and we made a couple of tracks and it looks like she’s going to get a little single deal off of it.
Me: Where is that scene in New York?
Alden: Have you ever been down to West 4th Street, in that area, the homo thug community?
Me: Where I used to get fake IDs?
Alden: Exactly, but you know how now there’s some wild thugged-out looking dudes that are super fem, that’s kind of where it’s going on.Â Even though they seem kind of cuddly, they also don’t seem like the types of people you could walk up and say (high voice) ‘Hey, what kind of cultural events do you have going on involving, you know, like, weird gay subcultures?’
So I had to kind of force my way in. I actually went to see Tigga Galore’s performance at this place Mr. Black on 30th Street last Saturday which was insane. I got there early and the opening act was this Amazonian-like drag queen in a garbage bag and she was lip syncing this song I had never heard and there was somebody off stage dangling a big bag of fake coke and then a dildo in front of her and then suddenly this white fairytale of a man, like a little twink of a boy, came out in a diaper and got on his back and she changed his diaper and there was Nutella smeared all over his ass crack and she ate the Nutella out of his ass and I was like how come I don’t know where this is going on every night? It was really inspiring. And then Tigga Galore played after that.
Me: What about Team Facelift?
Alden: We’ve been doing some weird interview segments for the E network. It’s for a show called The Daily 10 which is celebrity gossip so I sort of have to be briefed.
Me: So you’re like a pop-culture pundit or something?
Alden: You know, I feel like it’s more Fat Jew than me because I don’t even know who some of these people are. He did the red carpet for the Grammy Awards and was running up on all of these people that I had never heard of and I was so amazed that he knew who they were.
Me: What have you been doing uptown?
Alden: Just puttering around, really.
Me: You got any favorite spots up here?
Alden: I can’t really afford anything. Me and my dad split packs of Rogers cigarettes which can sometimes be found at the smoke shop on 84th and Lex. That’s pretty much my only destination uptown.
Me: I don’t even know what Rogers cigarettes are.
Alden: They’re special. You have to be really broke to know what a Roger is.
Me: When are you going to record your album for Duck Down?
Alden: They’re shooting for us to release it in September or October, sort of a back to school special thing. Junior Sanchez, the executive producer, just gave us an assignment, he said, ‘I want 20 songs written’ which is pretty exciting because we never have been forced to work like that. We have 8 to 10 songs already but he wants 20 to work with as a beginning palette. It’s cool to have like an assignment like that.
Me: So, is it going in a more House direction?
Alden: I think so.Â [Duck Down] is a rap label and we do make rap music so we’re trying to balance it out but it’s definitely a priority right now to get music that you can play in clubs. I think there’s less of a market for people wanting to go out and spend money to be rapped at. I think people wanna party a little bit more. So we’re trying to make music that sets that mood.
Me: Any new music videos?
Alden: We have a funny video that’s up. Duck Down is so rap and we’re such soft fun-boys from uptown that I think they felt like they needed to see if we could hack it so we had a meeting with them right after we signed and we told them what we were working on and they were totally down and then the next day our manager calls and says Duck Down’s organized a rap cipher at Union Square at 5 o’clock in the afternoon and they want you to… rap. With all of the artists on Duck Down. And they’re Brooklyn guys, grown-ass, thugged-out men that I’ve been sort of rapping along with since I was 12 years old. And we show up at Union Square and there’s a 30 person cipher and that’s totally not our style, to rap in public- that sort of gives me second hand embarrassment, especially when it’s white people doing it but we were forced into this situation- there was no way we could say no. So we showed up and this cipher grew exponentially ’cause it was a beautiful day at Union Square and tourists and high school kids and photographers started showing up and we were basically thrust into the center of this circle of 60 people.
Me: What did you do?
Alden: We just rapped.Â We went into rapper mode.
Me: Were you wearing pink underwear or anything?
Alden: No,no,no,no, we definitely toned down the glam.
Me: You guys are like glam rap.
Alden: Yeah, like glam rap, it’s like fun boy rap. We kind of had to tone that shit down. Fat Jew wasn’t even there. It was definitely my ‘Eight Mile – my mom’s spaghetti on my shirt’ moment.
Me: So that went well?
Alden: It did go well. I think we passed our first initiation test into the world of being a rapper.