Dazed's ultimate guide to US creativity
As part of our States of Independence summer takeover, 50 American indie icons have volunteered to take the Dazed Pop Quiz; a quick-fire Q&A about what they love and loathe about life in the USA. Check back here every day for more from the series.
Danger Mouse – aka. Brian Burton – is the closest thing the music industry has to a cinematic auteur. The music he produces spans good old fashioned rock+ roll (The Black Keys, U2, Broken Bells), tripped up hip-hop (Danger Doom, Gorillaz) and the weird, epoch-defining amalgamation of styles of his work with Cee-Lo in Gnarls Barkley. The ease with which he straddles several musical worlds at once is probably best described by the colour evoked on his first, notable release: 2004's The Grey Album, combining samples from the Beatles' White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album. Mash-up doesn't even cover it – Danger Mouse has always been, and will continue to be, light years ahead of Girl Talk et al. Born in White Plains, New York and musically bred in Athens, Georgia, we spoke to the USA's go-to genre-buster about shopping malls, strip clubs and why “the world doesn't root for America anymore.”
Which living American do you most admire and why?
Danger Mouse: At the moment, Howard Stern, because of his work ethic and search for what makes him who he is.
Which living American do you most despise and why?
Danger Mouse: I don't despise anyone at the moment.
Whose face should be on the $100 bill?
Danger Mouse: Mickey Mouse.
What is your favourite quote about America?
Danger Mouse: “This feeling of embarrassment, this shyness, this bashfulness, if you take that out of the people, then these people will do whatever they want to do. And that is the very definition of America, a people who have no shame, and therefore they do, whatever, they want, to do.” – A Tribe Called Quest – "Phony Rappers"
What three words define the States today?
Danger Mouse: Too politically correct.
Who gave you your first break? Do you still talk?
Danger Mouse: Probably Cee-Lo, he was the first major artist who would work with me. Yes, we do keep in touch.
When and where are you happiest?
Danger Mouse: In college at UGA in Athens, GA.
What food reminds you of home?
Danger Mouse: BBQ.
What's the best road trip you've ever been on?
Danger Mouse: LA to Key West to NYC. Road trips are one of my favourite things about the USA.
Where did you first fall in love?
Danger Mouse: Athens, GA.
What would make you leave America forever?
Danger Mouse: Probably a woman.
What noise reminds your of the States?
Danger Mouse: Car horns.
What's your favourite American building?
Danger Mouse: Griffith Park Observatory.
Ultimate American film?
Danger Mouse: Back To The Future.
Most underrated US tourist attraction?
Danger Mouse: Any Frank Lloyd Wright house.
What is your ultimate American guilty pleasure?
Danger Mouse: Shopping malls.
What law would you change or invent?
Danger Mouse: I went to a strip club while on tour and they didn't serve alcohol, I'd change that law. That or public education reform.
Where in the States would you ride out the apocalypse?
Danger Mouse: Again, Athens, GA.
If you could change one thing about the US, what would it be?
Danger Mouse: Its growing sense of patriotism. Boasting about how great you are doesn't make people want to help, it's more the opposite. It really does matter that the world doesn't root for America anymore.
Which fictional American do you most identify with?
Danger Mouse: Ignatius Reilly.
If you could vote for Obama again, would you?
Danger Mouse: Yes.
If you lost it all tomorrow, what would you do the day after?
Danger Mouse: Try to get my job back at Wuxtry Records in Athens, GA.
Ultimate American album?
Danger Mouse: Prince – Purple Rain
What will America look like in 2050?
Danger Mouse: Hot.
Does the American dream still exist?
Danger Mouse: Yes.
Follow Claire Healy on Twitter here @clairehly