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Arts and Entertainment | Maine Life | Friday, July 30th, 2010, 6:34 pm

Spose teams with Maine filmmakers on new music videos

Robbie Kanner | Courtesy photo
Spose performing at the 2010 Old Port Festival

Emerging Maine hip-hop artist Spose has several new music videos in the works and is calling on Maine talent to get the job done.

The rapper from Wells is working with music documentarians [dog] and [pony] to produce two new videos slated for release this fall in support of his forthcoming album, “The Audacity,” on Universal Republic Records.

The local boy wants to spread the love for Maine, but could it be a potentially risky bet for a musician on the clock for his next career move? Spose (also known as Ryan Peters to those around him) said representing Maine in his music is important to him, from verse and rhyme to behind the video camera.

But he also wants help shaking loose the image of a one-hit in waiting who’s big with the tween set. Basically, he needs to go beyond “Awesome.”

“I think representing Maine is very important in my music,” he told the Signal via e-mail. “But moreso I’d like to show people that we have the talent in Maine to pull off national viral campaigns and promote artists as good as you could in NY or LA.”

Together they’ll work on two tracks, one titled “The Cask of Amontillado,” yes, based on the story from Edgar Allen Poe (“one of my favorite American stories ever,” Spose says), and another track titled “Happy Medium.” Shooting is expected to start soon and take place in Maine (where else but Wells?).

Spose’s first music video to his chart burning single “I’m Awesome,” debuted this spring and was directed by Lucas Heyne.

This time around he wanted to take a different approach and got the OK from the label to produce videos for the tracks of his choosing with the people of his choosing. The catch: It was out of his own pocket.

“Economically, since I still live in Maine, it just made sense to go with somebody local,” he said. “Really though, I just liked the camera work I had seen in Dog and Pony’s videos.”

The collaboration comes at a time when both the rapper and the filmmakers are trying to take the next step.

After a year of growth and being celebrated by the Portland Phoenix as the best local filmmakers for 2010, Nick Poulin and Krister Rollins, the men behind [dog] and [pony], are looking to expand their work. In focusing an eye on Maine’s musicians, they’ve already worked with the likes of Brenda, Kino Proby, Moses Atwood, Brown Bird, Jacob Augustine, Jesse Pilgrim, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Samuel James, Dead End Armory and the list goes on.

They’ve formed a record label that recently signed Jared Fairfield, Water Camp Party (a project from Wes Hartley), Good Kids Sprouting Horns and Jakob Battick & Friends. They’re also broadening their scope to work on feature-length projects. They plan to begin work on a new film with Jacob Augustine and are heading up to New Sweden to shoot the Arootsakoostik music festival.

“We’re pretty excited about working with Spose,” Poulin said. “It’s a relationship we’d like to see flourish and keep going.”

Working with Spose came as a surprise, but a welcome one, the pair said. [dog] and [pony] listed Spose’s mixtape, “We Smoked it All,” as one of the top 10 albums of 2009. Poulin said they connected over Facebook and the planning took off from there.

Poulin and Rollins said they like that Spose came to them with specific ideas for the videos, in particular the “cask” video, which will echo the Poe story, supplanting rappers for noblemen, they said.

“It’s something genuine and that attracted us,” Poulin said.

Poulin said their conversations with Spose over the videos have him convinced the rapper is trying to carve out a path for longevity in the music business.

As far as introductions go, “I’m Awesome” set the stage for Spose as a fun-loving, self-deprecating lyricist from the Great White North. With the new videos, (in “cask” he’s hoping for shock, while “Happy Medium” will be more “artsy,” he said), he wants to broaden the picture.

“I’m Awesome was one song in my repertoire I didn’t think I’d be judged on,” he said. “I’m fighting an uphill battle with credibility.”

There’s an anxiousness to see what’s next from, as Vibe called it, “The Next Great White Rapper,” and Spose said he’s eager for his moment in the spotlight.

Justin Ellis is the editor of The Signal.

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