Detail from Epic Records Artists
When Death Grips signed to Epic Records earlier this year it was a baffling moment. One of the most talented yet least commercial bands I’ve heard in a long time connecting with a label headed by L.A. Reid? Yeah, Ozzy Osbourne is apparently still on the roster and, yeah, he bit the head off a bird or some such back in the day but that story even bores Ozzy.
Blinded by Pitchfork? Seduced by an act with a mature, consistent aesthetic? High on some new designer drug? Those who know aren’t talking but even then lots of people saw it was a bad fit.
When Death Grips’ sole release on Epic, “The Money Store,” came out in April, I expressed my surprise at the match in a nonetheless hopeful post looking at some examples of their video projects from a marketing perspective.
At the time I assumed they were just one of those acts that slipped through the cracks into the system every now and then. I also assumed that Death Grips was acting in good faith. Eventually insiders will talk but, for now, most people writing about it are outsiders left with questions.
It’s Got a Good Beat You Can Dance to It!
One of the clearest signs of a bad fit to me was “The Gif Me More Party – with Death Grips” for MTV. It’s a pool party with people dancing to “I’ve Seen Footage” from The Money Store. The scene is a little trashed but mostly about nice looking kids having fun in the sun. No dead bodies in the pool. Nothing to disrupt the happy suburban scenario.
Is this what Epic Records hoped? My response at the time, “not a good look for Death Grips fans.”
It’s a Publicity Stunt! Uh…..Not?
At first Epic seemed to be using Death Grips to explore new territory as indicated by the BitTorrent release that preceded the official release of The Money Store.
After that I guess things weren’t going so well from Epic’s perspective and, as many artists on major labels have experienced, they started playing release date games. In response, Death Grips leaked what was said to be planned as their second Epic release, “NO LOVE DEEP WEB.”
While certain elements, such as the dramatic image of a penis on their website (still there at the moment) and the brief disappearance of that website, seemed a bit harsh not to be real, some felt the whole thing was a marketing stunt.
Even after last week’s posting of an email exchange between their manager and their label on their Facebook page, here and here, speculation continued as to whether this was real or whether, though nobody I