By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Musical genre bending is not the only cross-pollination Spiegel’s involved in. He also uses his commercial scoring business, Squeak E. Clean Productions, which produces music for the likes of Nike, Adidas and Motorola, to expose the masses to his music and fund his creative habit. “I like to feed all the records I do through that business,” he explains. Spiegel paid for nearly the entire N.A.S.A. project himself through this highly successful business. Far from being a sensitive artist worried about the implications of “selling out,” he takes a more pragmatic approach, doing whatever he can to bring his music to the greatest number of listeners.
“[Commercials] are really great because it’s a way to get the record exposure,” he says. “If someone hears your music in a commercial during the Super Bowl, that’s the most ears you could possibly have. Way more than radio, way more than iTunes, way more than MySpace. Millions and millions of people are hearing your music and you’re making way more money on it than you would selling it on a record. I’m sure more people will be doing it like this in the future. It’s the best avenue for licensing you can possibly imagine.”
In fact, several video-game deals await N.A.S.A., and they have plans to pursue film options as well. So far, their music is set to appear in “DJ Hero,” the DJ’s answer to the hugely popular “Guitar Hero” video game, “Skate 2,” a new Tony Hawk video game that’s in the works, and “Fight Night.” Spiegel’s manager is tightlipped about what film deals are on the table, but says, “We’re trying to be judicious about where the music gets placed.”
Spiegel has also been busy working on a documentary film that chronicles the making of The Spirit of Apollo, as well as videos for each of the album tracks. Collaborators on the visual side of things include another who’s-who list of contemporary artists and animators: Shepard Fairey (who created the now hugely famous Obama “Hope” posters), Sage Vaughn, Mark Gonzalez, Barry McGee, the Date Farmers, Splunny, and even big brother Spike Jonze. At a recent N.A.S.A. record-release party in Hollywood, will.i.am, Fatlip and members of the Wu-Tang Clan were dancing on the tables.
With this ultrahip cast of associates, Spiegel may find himself fielding accusations of trying to cash in on the contents of his Rolodex. But the amicable DJ doesn’t mind. “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” he says. “I know that we made our dream record because it was fun and exactly what we wanted to do straight from our hearts.”
N.A.S.A. | The Spirit of Apollo | Anti/Spectrophonic