Tell us about Anthony Fantano (@theneedledrop).
Anthony Fantano is a music review guy from the Internet and everything you need to know is just that he does that.
That's the thing that he does. That's his job. That's his work.
Anything fun, cool, or interesting about Anthony Fantano (if there is any such qualities in him) can be learned through that content.
Other things about Anthony Fantano remain off the internet because that’s just the way it needs to be for Anthony Fantano to continue the level of output that he has and stay sane.
Anthony Fantano, pretty solid guy overall, maybe? Possibly? In my opinion, but I’m biased because I am Anthony Fantano.
One of the overarching criteria we have seen with your positive music reviews is an artist's sense of identity. Often when artists can express themselves or their characters more honestly + openly, it leads to more unique + engaging projects.
Do you feel that self-identity is one of the most determining factors in your reviews?
It really depends upon how much of the artist is putting that personality or orienting their project around their experience.
How much of music reviewing happens to you on a subconscious level?
I have no idea. I mean, by nature, am I really all that in touch with my subconscious?
You know, I feel like whatever's going on within me subconsciously, I'm not fully aware of because it's subconscious. So I can't really say how much of it is happening on a subconscious level.
I can tell you that music reviewing for me is very much a conscious effort. I would like to say zero, but again, since it is my subconscious I don’t know how much of it is really.
Some of our past interviews have included artists like Fire-Toolz, DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ, Lil Ugly Mane, Ada Rook, and many more from the Bandcamp / RYM underground. In past reviews, you have given these artists highly positive ratings.
What could the mainstream landscape learn from underground artists like these?
I really have no idea.
I mean, I feel like, you know, the mainstream landscape is going about a different artistic mission than all the artists who you listed are. Many of them are either outsider artists or they're just like very much on the verge of being outsider artists.
I think their artistic project is completely, and utterly different. I would throw Backxwash into this collection of artists. Digging into some really, serious, weird, and otherworldly stuff that I think is not even of the mainstream radar.
I guess you could learn some creative notes or pick up some weird ideas from these artists for sure.
Your content often threads the line between nuance and satire with dozens of shit posts & various in-depth music analysis.
How do you attempt to balance these different forms of content?
When it comes to shit posts, it’s really all dependent on how I feel that day, or like, what the vibe is for that afternoon, whether or not there’s a sort of more pressing topic, something that sort of needs to be addressed, or addressed seriously.
I really don’t know if there is a balance.
If there’s a balance to the shit posts or maybe the more disingenuous posts that people can kinda see them coming every single time. I feel like that kinda ruins the magic a little bit because if there’s some type of expectation for shit posting, the gag or the ruse or the trick or whatever doesn’t go over as nicely as it could.
Part of the beauty of trolling is that I feel like there needs to be a bit of a bait and switch, you dupe people a little bit. Just to a degree, maybe not so much they feel embarrassed but, you know, at least a little bit… but, you can’t be going too above and beyond.
You don't seem to review a ton of ambient music, but you do have a couple of videos on ambient artists and positive thoughts.
Can you tell us about your general thoughts + experiences with that genre?
There’s quite a few ambient artists who I do enjoy, I guess it’s not a genre of music that I get a lot of requests for.
I get a lot out of Tim Hecker, his music is often much more detailed and engaging than a lot of ambient music tends to be.
It’s kind of a tough genre to review sometimes especially when it’s trying to operate in the way it’s intended to operate - as put forward by people like Brian Eno when he wrote the ambient manifesto along with the release of Ambient 1. You know it’s essentially background music meant to be there and exist… - that doesn’t make for a very interesting and compelling review because there’s not a whole lot to pull apart, you know what I mean?
Now, again, with that being said, there are exceptions. There are people like Tim Hecker and a host of other artists, in the genre that make stuff that’s more detailed and engaging. There’s a lot of artists who incorporate ambient elements into other genres of music, be it pop, hip hop, or whatever.
Ambient music with me can be a little hit or miss because I do typically like to be engaged in a very direct way when I’m experiencing art and pulling apart.
I think that ambient music obviously has a time, place, appeal, and audience. I’m not claiming to be somebody who is completely without bias or whatever. You know, I have my own opinions and perspectives, slants and biases. I just try to curate around those as best I can.
We loved your Drake album back-and-forth videos with LosPollosTV, and to us, it perfectly highlighted the disconnect between audiences and critics.
What is the most significant differentiating factor between these two subsets of music listeners?
I would say there’s a lot of differing factors, but I mean, one of them is kind of the casual nature with which audiences approach most music - which is fine.
You know, if you’re not listening or consuming it as a job, you don’t need to sort of go into it with your brow furrowed, leaning over, and obsessing over every detail.
I feel like that’s the critic’s job.
The critic’s job is to relay to the listener, viewer, or whoever, and make a call, make an assessment, address flaws that pop up with something like that.
I think it should be the critic’s job to be a bit more thorough and give the audience pause in terms of thinking about what they are listening to, why they’re listening to it, why does or doesn’t it appeal to them.
I think’s that’s the biggest factor.
What are some of the most exciting new music movements occurring in the United States right now?
You know, all these songs popping off on TikTok, rage music that sort of seems to be popular right now. A lot of underground rappers popping off at the moment are doing cool stuff.
You know I think that’s kind of the beauty of the internet right now at the moment, there aren’t as many super big trends or moments that we all need to sort of hop on all of the time.
Like everyone can just do their own thing or have their sort of niche or whatever. And I think that’s great. I think the last big sort of quote unquote movement that we had that was sort of left field in entertainment and music at the moment has been Hyperpop. But that kind of died down.
Maybe something else will crop up, you know, super soon that replaces that or something. Hyperpop, Chill Wave so forth, these things tend to sort of have their movements and their cycles. They wash in and they wash out and it ends up being whatever.
What matters most is whether or not the music is good and if it withstands the test of time.
I think movements can be interesting, but can also at times be a little overrated in terms of resulting in a lot of mid because a lot of genres, movements, or eras orbit around a series of aesthetics or vibes. You know, you do have some greats, some pioneers, some amazing artists who kind of define the genre - but then you have a a lot of records that aren’t as essential.
Personally, I like to take things in more of a broader sense and try to get insight into the best stuff rising to the top of whatever vibes or sounds are happening right now.
You've done several great interviews on the channel, to name a few of our favourites, Laura Les, Joey Badass, JPEGMAFIA, etc.
Who would you like to interview on the channel who you haven't already?
I would really like to interview James Murphy at some point.
What’s next for Anthony Fantano?
Probably more streaming, more short form content in the next year, maybe trying to build out a podcast studio, something like that, and of course more reviews + everything that everyone has gotten up until this point. Just being super consistent with it all per usual.
Those are the plans.