This spring, Austin producer Bird Peterson will release his latest album, Plume. Produced and mixed by Peterson himself, the effort was mastered by Jesse Keeler of Death from Above 1979 and MSTRKRFT, and features guests like Keeper and Rush Midnight, among others. On the LP’s first single, “Sugarface”, Minneapolis rapper Astronautalis takes the mic to tell a tale about how hip-hop intersected with MDMA.
“My older brother grew up in the early years of the Baltimore rave scene and later went on to be a hip-hop DJ at the seminal Florida rave club Simon’s back in the ’90s,” Astronautalis explains to CoS. “So, through him, I was really familiar with both of those worlds.” Not only was Simon’s the first place the budding rapper got to perform in front of an audience, but it was where he first witnessed what he calls the absurdity of people rolling on ecstasy.
It wasn’t so long after that the drug started to appear in songs from rappers like 8 Ball & MJG and Trick Daddy. Hearing men “who worked so hard to cultivate this image of toughness” talking about rolling didn’t line up with Astronautalis’s perception of the world. “X was suburban nerd shit, that shit was all around me,” he raps on “Sugarface”, “And the idea that those thugs were gettin’ all dosed up/ Smokin’ on coke blunts/ Fucking mind blowing!”
During the song’s five minutes, Astronautalis takes you through the history of MDMA and rap from his firsthand experience. It all comes over a wash of molasses-thick synths courtesy of Bird on what he calls “possibly my favorite track I’ve done.” “I had a completely different track in mind when we agreed to work together,” Peterson says, “but I showed him the original version of this one and he wrote ONE HELL of a song for it. When he starts singing, part of me was like, ‘Man, fuck the drums, I want him to just sing on some big synth walls. It’s too deep to keep dancing to.'”
Check out the track below.
Ahead of Plume’s release, “Sugarface” will be available April 14th as part of a digital package featuring remixes by Paul Oja, Subp Yao, Shackles, and a suprise special guest. Bird Peterson and Astronautalis will next join forces when the former acts as DJ for the latter’s show at South by Southwest. Astronautalis will also be out on tour this April and May with Canadian rapper Buck 65. Find his full schedule below.
Astronautalis 2015 Tour Dates:
03/18 – Austin, TX @ The Blackheart (SXSW)
04/23 – Denver, CO @ The Bluebird *
04/25 – Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit *
04/27 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse *
04/28 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
04/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy *
04/30 – Oakland, CA @ The New Parish *
05/01 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater *
05/02 -Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *
05/21 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
05/22 – Dresden, DE @ Groove Station
05/24 – Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby
05/25 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Kleine Zaal
05/27 – London, UK @ 100 Club
05/28 – Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store
05/29 – Paris, FR @ Espace B
06/09 – Bezirk-Landstrasse, AT @ Arena Wien
* w/ Buck 65