We at the Daily Slice love our punk rock, there is no secret about that. But many of us also have a solid love for old school games, literature and hip-hop. So we didn’t see any choice but to go have a talk with Californian post-punk laptop rapper MC Lars during the Huddersfield leg of his UK Tour with Suburban Legends.
So before all the rap, you were a literature student at Stanford. What were your original career ambitions?
I wanted to be a psychologist, I was minoring in psychology. So I was going to do that and I was gonna maybe get my masters and be a professor somewhere. But the rap found me so I chased it. I rode that ride. It’s been good.
How did your parents take the career change?
Well I did take my senior year off but they just wanted to make sure I finished. Stanford had a program where you could leave for a year or however long you want and then come back and finish. So that was cool. They were supportive, my dad actually tour managed my first UK tour. Its kinda cool.
Where did your interest in hip-hop come from?
I love the honesty of it and I love the energy of it. I didn’t really understand it until college when I started discovering old school rap and things like that. I liked that it was very accessible and I liked how I realised how diverse it was. Like growing up I only had a major label lens on it then I realised there was so much cool independent stuff. Like hundreds and thousands of great artists and records. Also realising that I could do it. I had a punk band and I’d do my rap project opening for my punk band and that got more attention so it was like “Oh there is something to this”.
Do you think your roots in Punk Rock helped your rap career?
I think it taught me how to book shows and deal with that side of it. Because so many rappers don’t know how to do a live show or book one. So I used to trade shows with different bands, bring bands to my school and campus and that helped me get my skills up
So what made you start collaborating with punk bands?
I felt that they were the only people I could tour with and hang out with, no one else really wanted to listen to what I was doing. So all those artists like Bowling For Soup and Simple Plan, The Matches and the Aquabats… [noticing my Aquabats hoodie] nice sweatshirt. [Then the Matches T-Shirt] Woahhh are you serious? Thats cool…. Yeah they were the only ones who would play with me, it wasn’t like Snoop Dogg was blowing up my cellphone. I get more respect now though, I worked with KRS One on the last record and this new album, I did a song with Kool Keith who is one of my favourite rappers. So I feel very blessed that I have been able to do this so long and that people take me seriously now. To a degree.
As it was recently Record Store Day, what is your view on the event being such an advocate of downloading.
I think it’s cool, it’s good to keep record stores open. I have a lot of friends who work at record stores and yeah keep it alive. This album I am going to do physical distribution to, its expensive but its nice to have the physical product, as much as I am all about downloading. It is nice to have the Art. If you love an artist, the best place to buy a CD is at the merchandise table because then they can keep going.
So you are happy to see Vinyl make such a strong return?
Yeah, we did a vinyl and it all sold out, very fast. And we are gonna do this next one on vinyl. So I am happy it made a return and I am happy I have been able to put stuff out on vinyl
As you studied at both Stanford and Oxford, do you have a preference between US or UK literature?
That’s a very good question. They are both so different. I mean one of the things is that at Oxford people didn’t seem to take American literature that seriously, just because it’s so traditional. But they are both important. I think the biggest distinction is that there is a sense of optimism and this like teenage adolescence in like Poe and all the 19th century romantics that you don’t see in England and that reflects the history. What I love is how literature reflects human history, so our countries are very different but they go together well. It’s like America is England’s cool younger cousin that keeps it progressive, but England is the cool uncle who keeps us creative and makes sure we have good morals.
Do you think it’s important styles are taught overseas? Like Poe in the UK and Shakespeare over in the UK?
I think so, I think Poe and Shakespeare are both miraculous because they both really believe in the power of the spoken word. Poe wrote his stuff to be read aloud because he believe in the power of rhyme and Shakespeare, he wrote his plays. They weren’t just texts you know? Shakespeare is so boring on the page. I mean it’s interesting but it really comes alive in a theatre. Which is cool.
Getting into the very important questions now… Are you still an Insane Clown Posse Fan?
Woahhhhh, errm, I don’t think they have done anything that great recently [laughs]. But I still love them, and they were a big influence on me. The Great Milenko album and Riddle Box are great records. Though their fans kind of turn everyone off. Their friends Twiztid commented on my new video on youtube, which was kind of cool. How about you?
I will give them Juggalo Homies, but that’s it. I have to admit that one is catchy.
Yeah that was a single here wasn’t it? They don’t tour here much. Or ever do they?
I personally can’t recall any occasion they have been here.
I think they have been here three times. They have been here when Milenko came out. What it is, it’s the culture. It’s that midwestern trailer culture. That world and they were a voice for that and they have had some good songs. But it’s kind of ridiculous now. They are like our generations Grateful Dead.
Finally, What is your favourite kind of pizza?
Oooooooohhhhhhh…. Anchovy. How about you?
Chicken and ham
Chicken and ham is great
Yeah that does sound pretty good.