Akira The Don is a rapper, producer and cartoonist (amongst other things) currently residing in London, England.
His debut LP, when We We Were Young was relased on Something In Construction Records in 2006. He's since released twenty five (and counting) mixtapes via his webiste, akirathedon.com, including May's acclaimed The Omega Sanction, the precursor to his second album, The Life Equation, co-produced by Stephen Hague and due for release this Summer.
Akira is one of very few artists to have bypassed traditional channels and built a direct relationship with a worldwide audience. His innovative and hugely popular blog/website www.akirathedon.com is a breeding ground for ideas and inspiration, as well as a direct link between Akira and his reader/listeners.
His production work includes two top fourty hits for Lethal Bizzle (Babylon's Burning The Ghetto and Police On My Back) along with Big Narstie's forthcoming debut LP, and he has produced remixes for Gonzales, The Crimea, Air France, Marvin The Martian, The Voluntary Butler Scheme and many others. He’s performed live collaborations with Neon Neon, Lethal Bizzle, and Gonzales, toured the UK with his ever-evolving band The Women and staged a zombie-themed Life Equation-completion party/gig called Dawn Of The Don.
After years of misadventure and hedonism, Akira The Don began to focus his energies on creating perfect pop songs.
The resulting debut album, When We Were Young, was released in the UK on Something In Construction Records in late 2006 to raptuorous praise, but only after a bizarre series of events (touring the East Coast with a Billy Idol backing track and a plastic sword one moment, being chased by bears while escaping from a Masonic lodge in Woodstock the next) saw him being signed by US giants Interscope and jetting between studios in New York and LA to record the thing.
In the next few years there were shows in the UK & Ireland with his band, The Women (featuring Boo Radleys songwriter Martin Carr on keyboards) and collaborations with artists in London where Akira put his production and song-writing skills to use to nurture emerging talents like Bashy, Envy, Narstie and Marvin the Martian.
Akira made his name as a producer on Lethal Bizzle’s 2nd album, contributing 3 tracks, 2 of them going on to be top 40 singles, notably ‘Babylon’s Burning The Ghetto’; the Ruts-sampling slice of inspired pop introduced Bizzle to the NME / Download Festival crowds and spawned a punk/hip hop crossover in Bizzle’s later collaboration with Gallows.
Ever-eager to stretch his talents, Akira turned his hand to remixing for the likes of The Cribs, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, Air France and Gonzales.
As well as a selection of unique and often extraordinary one-off gigs/parties, The Don also performed live collaborations with Bizzle, Gonzales, Neon Neon and Andrew WK, amongst others.
Meanwhile Akira has pioneered a series of online mixtapes: sometimes free downloads of themed genre-defying mash-ups and remixes, sometimes coherent and polished albums in their own right – self-produced and manufactured with accompanying T-shirts and (recently) footwear.
Notable releases include Stunners International 130, 2007, pioneering the electro-rap crossover that would come to dominate the airwaves in 2010, and Thieving, 2008 – ostensibly a sample-themed mixtape, but really an album in its own right; the record was a huge success: self-released and unmarketed, it overshadowed his Interscope-funded debut in creative scope, radio play and sales alike.
In 2009 Akira found his creative partner in seminal pop producer Stephen Hague (Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Robbie Williams) and spent the next year hopping on trains to the South Coast, crafting a massive pop album the likes of which has probably never before been contemplated on a budget of… well, nothing.
Everyone involved, from Hague himself to the many musicians recruited along the way, has worked on album #2, The Life Equation, because they believe it’s awesome (and that it’s going to be huge). Past collaborators have been eager to get involved too; Gruff Rhys (Neon Neon, SFA) recorded vocals (with his brand new daughter tied snugly to his chest) for two tracks (‘Broke’, ‘I Am Not Dead (Yeah!)’): Mancunian maestro Envy duets on the heartbreaking ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ and Chilly Gonzales came out of rap retirement to spit on his remix of one of the forthcoming singles. Watch this space.
Not content with leaving his fans to twiddle their thumbs, though, Akira knocked out another few mixtapes in 2009, including the (un)official album precursor, the yang to The Life Equation’s yin, The Omega Sanction.
When The Omega Sanction dropped in summer 2009, with its iconic Jack Kirby-inspired artwork, pushing Akira’s musical boundaries into never-before-charted realms of (sort of) alternative computer game soundtracks, romantic balladeering and all-out prog rock, BBC Radio’s Adam Walton was so impressed he opened his show that week with no introduction, just the first 15-minutes played back uninterrupted. Later that Akira was anointed “The King of the Mixtape” by XFM’s The Remixes’ Eddy Temple-Morris after he broke the world record for most songs mixed into 10 minutes (220).
He upped his own ante in 2010, releasing a swarm of excellent mixtapes, incluing one recorded in 24 hours with the whole process broadcast live via 3 webcams, and the insanely successful ATD23: The Street Fighter Mixtape, hailed by giant gaming site Kotaku as “The Best Gaming Mixtape You’ll Ever Hear”. That project also spawned the song Be Brave, which topped the Hype Machine charts in June.
Now, after three years of soul-searching, axe-grinding, hard graft and a furious rate of productivity, akirathedon.com 5.0, AKA The Best Artist’s Website In The World, and album #2, The Life Equation, are finally ready. Having spent years building up his web presence and gaining a network of reader-listeners worldwide, maintaining a direct relationship with fans through his blog way before it was the done thing, Akira is now ready to step up and claim his rightful position in the pantheon of pop.