Enter the mad mad world of Anklepants.
There's not much you need to know about Anklepants - he's from Australia but lives in Berlin. Has one of the most talked-about sets in Boiler Room history (watch below), and wears a penis on his face when plays live. So as you can imagine, he's a fucking interesting dude to talk to:
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions dude!
All good mannnn, you seem heaps nicé.
How’s the past couple of Australian shows been?
Yes so far every thing has been very very busy many new facés and crowds really getting nicé rite before my eyes, a great response in Sydney at Chinese Laundry, a sold out (or close to), completely rammed Revolver upstairs in Melbourne for Thick As Thieves, and then a second Melbourne show for Power Station the following weekend. Paul and everyone at Soapbox have done an amazing job getting the convicts up to speed and nice ready for my return to the motherland, gathering more momentum with every show … <3
Being an Australian who’s Berlin-based, what’s it like coming back down here – for shows and just in general – compared to Germany?
The shows have been so busy so far it’s been an absolute pleasure, it’s also good to see the crowds know my music, singing the lyrics and getting really nice when certain tracks are played… All the promoters I have worked with so far have been very friendly and easy to work with so it makes the whole process very easy for my facé.
Compared to Germany or Europe, I guess the real answer to this question lies in the difference in regulations, licensing and where “entertainment” and/or “art” or whatever one would like to call these practices lies as a prominent or important part of culture.
I think these practices in Australia are usually deemed as a hobby or a way to relax from “the real world”. In my eyes Australia in its short history as an English colony (i.e. business venture) really does not value these practices and has seemed for the better part, to not respect them as some kind of documentation of Australian culture. As Europe due to its population for many 1000s of years, painters painted to document important events and facés, figures, while mathematicians theorized tunings and music systems among other things, although this was obviously happening in the UK and around the world, convicts were taken to Australia to work, farm and plunder its resources, some more shiny than others, for That Queen Mother, and not to mention get the ball rolling on the extinction of much of the continent's flora, fauna and indigenous population.
To me Australia has seemed to skip the part of artistic practices where painting was used because there were no cameras and song to tell stories. There is no respect for these people as a mirror for the place or time in Australia. Of course there are examples of all of these things within early records of the settlement, but to me it wasn’t around long enough to be properly etched into the culture as in the rest of the world, kind of forgotten and not fought or spoken about enough.
It’s like Australia within the settlement went straight from gold rush to war propaganda, which continues and now if music or art doesn’t mock, invert, parody, sound or sound like advertising, then it does not register as something that should be taken into consideration on any level.
Australia has gone straight to the business end of “Art” for the most part in my eyes, if it can’t make as much money as the pokies for the bar, well let’s move in the pokies, and if its not solidly marketed and or on TV or Facebook or closely resemble something found on either of those avenues, then who or what is it, and how could my brain be programmed to like it, and how could THAT be chosen as my favorite? Yuk yuk yuki get it away from me… Of course this happens in Europe and other parts of the world, but Australian convicts are workers, and really should not stray from this train of thought.
When you think of Anklepants + Germany it seems like an obvious pairing, but is it still a pretty mixed bag in terms of crowd response?
So far I would have to say the crowd is way more lively in Australia, based on the shows I have been playing the last few months. I don’t play in Germany so much these days, but I’d have to say European crowds I think are much more calm, still dancing and at times quite crazy, but yes… for the most part I guess it’s an older crowd in Europe that might be looking for something else in what I do. I figure they try and take in the whole facélike package... But yes it always varies from place to place.
And there’s a penis on your face, which can obviously be a confronting experience for some. While there’s no right or wrong way to react to it, how important is crowd response for you personally – do you feed off good energy when it happens, or enjoy the challenge of a crowd who may not be receptive to what’s happening?
Crowds 99.9% of the time are receptive of what’s happening, but yes, of course if the crowd is very lively and interactive then I’m much more likely to be nicer in return, it's all about reciprocation, if I touch them I’d like it if they would touch me back, and/or touch each other at the same time.
It seems like a pretty intricate device – reacting in time with music and so forth – how much time goes into prepping sets and how difficult is playing in a mask such as this?
Every show is different, I usually prep for a day before each gig, selecting tracks, testing the electronics, making adjustments to the software, charging batteries, and adding new and different functions to the microphone, partially to keep things a bit fresh from my end… Yes the mask is quite intricate and so is the software and all control systems, there is a lot going on there…
Playing in the mask is very hot, it’s like having a material that does not breathe, it is hard to hear, and the motors that drive the facé are right behind my ears... These are very loud also... By the end of a show in the mask is completely wet, and I’m seeing stars constantly... It’s not that nice but I’m very used to it.
It was born from your career in film/TV work with animatronics, do you still work in that area, or is it something you’d like to get back to at some stage?
Yes, the idea of a creature was from the film work, but the music existed long before that. I still work in film and I’m sure I will for many, many years to come, if not on feature films, but my own film projects.
And it was also born from a fairly crazy-sounding porno, do you have any plans to return to the world of pig characters and zero-gravity sex scenes?
Yes, I’m sure this film will be made in the next five or so years.
What do you do outside of Anklepants?
Of late, not much other than. I like to be outside of cities as much as possible.
For people who know nothing about you besides you wear a mask with a penis on it – what can they expect musically (and otherwise) from one of your shows?
Music, fun and facé, I’m not a salesman.
Following these last couple of Australian shows, where to for the rest of the year for Anklepants?
All my live dates can be followed HERE, currently locked in is an extensive UK tour in December, also Medeira festival in Portugal but there are pending shows in Russia, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Scotland, followed by an extensive USA tour with over 30 pending dates... And then most likely returning to Australia in March/April... Facé.