Breaking: N.A.S.A.

February 11, 2009 4:46 PM ET

Who: N.A.S.A., a collaboration between DJs Sam Spiegel and DJ Zegon, who convinced some of music's biggest names to drop into their Los Angeles studio in an alley inhabited by crackheads and contribute to their five-years-in-the-making debut album Spirit of Apollo.

Sounds Like: It depends on the song, really. Beats range from Afro-pop to jungle to rock to reggae from verse to verse, thanks to the eclectic roster of guests. On "Money," Public Enemy's Chuck D, Seu Jorge and the Talking Heads' David Byrne pitch in. Kanye West, Santigold and Lykke Li all contribute to "Gifted," while the amazing pair of Tom Waits and Kool Keith join forces on "Spacious Thoughts." Other guests include M.I.A., Ghostface Killah, Karen O, George Clinton and countless more awesome artists. "This record is about bringing the craziest combination of people together," says Spiegel. "It's about people from totally different worlds, just like Zegon and I come from different worlds."

Vital Stats:

• Spiegel is the brother of one Adam Spiegel, better known to fans of music videos and Being John Malkovich as director Spike Jonze. As a teen growing up in Manhattan in the early Nineties, Sam would spin Tribe Called Quest records at high school parties, while Spike cued him into alt-rock gurus like the Pixies. "I was always getting a lot of musical advice from my brother," Spiegel says.

• "When we started five years ago, we wrote up this dream list of people on a dry-erase board," says Spiegel. "We ended up getting 80 percent of them and were like, 'I can't believe we're filling this dry-erase board up!' " N.A.S.A. also managed to get a verse from Ol' Dirty Bastard on "Strange Enough," while Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O makes a cameo as the track's hook girl (Spiegel worked on the YYYs' last album, Show Your Bones).

• Next up for N.A.S.A.'s Spiegel: working with Philadelphia MC Spank Rock, composing the soundtrack to David O. Russell's Nailed and, covertly, producing that much-anticipated Karen O solo record, with whom he collaborated with on the single "Hello Tomorrow." "Whenever I talk about it she wants to kill me," Spiegel jokes, adding that it will come out sometime in the near future. "She put a hit out on me once. And I begged her to take it off."

Hear It Now: The Spirit of Apollo and its galaxy of stars explode music stores and digital services on February 17th. In the meantime, check out our Breaking video, featuring the nutty trailer for N.A.S.A.'s Spirit of Apollo.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

More Song Stories entries »