Anthony Naples Brings Techno Down to Earth – VICE

Collage by VICE Staff | Photos courtesy of Anthony Naples 

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It’s an unusually warm, clear day in early November, and most of Ridgewood’s young residents are outside trying to eke out the afternoon’s last few rays of sunshine. I’m walking to the store to buy oranges to bake a cake. Passing through Grover Cleveland Park, weaving through running children and the usual dogs I see trotting around the neighborhood, I spot Anthony Naples and Jenny Slattery sitting on a bench. The couple run the record label Incienso together—they’ve put out records by DJ Python, Call Super, and Beta Librae over the years—and they’re figureheads of the New York City dance community that’s made the Queens club Nowadays its home base in recent years. 

When I see Naples and Slattery in the park, they’re eating a late lunch and sipping green juice. I start to get a bit nervous. I should be preparing for the interview Naples and I have scheduled for tomorrow, not thinking about cake recipes. But Naples and Slattery look so peaceful sitting on that bench, drenched in golden hour light, that my mind eases up a bit. I’ve known Slattery for a few years, solely in the context of running into her on dancefloors, and she’s always been a warm presence. I’ve heard that Naples is just as nice. It’s a few days after the New York City marathon, which I’d heard Naples ran, so I stopped to say hello and ask how it went. He says that it went well but demurs a bit, making a little joke about how that shouldn’t be the focus of our actual interview the next day. Why not, I wonder? Is he a self-serious artist who doesn’t want to delve into his personal life? Or is he just shy? 

Even when Naples talks about the process of making music, he decenters himself. When we do meet up the next day, he explains how he tried to turn the experience of playing alone into something that felt uncannily communal. “I like all sorts of music and I play all of these instruments, and at the time I was trying to think of it like I was recording somebody else. It was a fun goal to make it sound like a group of people were playing or being sampled,” he says. He thinks he didn’t quite achieve that. “Every time you make something, you try to hit the goal. Usually you don’t hit it, so you do it again and again. That’s how I feel about the record. It was mostly good, but the next one’s gonna hit it,” he says. “But it won’t.” He likens it to a dangling carrot that’s always out of reach.

Naples picked up his guitar a few months before the pandemic started and jammed for months on end during the daytime, slowly building up the downtempo eddies that make up Chameleon. He slowly crafted together the songs during the solo sessions in his studio that took up …….


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