Change The Record’s Mark recently got the chance to interview post-punk-laptop-rap artist MC Lars. They chatted about his new album This Gigantic Robot Kills, the environment, his hip-hop background, why he likes the UK so much as well as many other things.
Hey Lars, thanks a lot for doing this, first of all, just as a starter question, Your new album, This Gigantic Robot Kills, is out on February 24th, but which is your favourite robot of all time?
My favorite robot of all time is Bender from Futurama. He is sassy and talented and he saves the day in the first Futurama movie!!!
How would you describe your style of music to those here in the UK that don’t know you as of yet?
Bloodhound Gang meets Public Enemy meets KRS-One meets the Dead Kennedys.
At the start of your career, it was just you and your laptop. How was this for you and how did it affect your popularity at shows?
Being a solo artist with a computer made it easier to tour and added some “novelty” appeal to my act. Now that I have my full band we are able to rock harder.
Tell us about your influences and why you decided to make the music you have.
I’ve always been a fan of the political DIY ethic of punk rock, as well as the parody of “Weird Al” Yankovic, and the social commentary of hip-hop. All of these things influenced my approach.
How have you been received in the hip-hop crowd for being an ‘alternative’ rapper and furthermore, has it been more difficult to break down that barrier?
People in the “nerdcore” scene really feel what I’m doing, and have labeled me as one of the primary people in the genre. In the “mainstream” hip-hop world, I’ve toured with Yung Joc and opened for Juelz Santana and T-Pain, which has been fun, but isn’t exactly my niche. Their fans have seemed to like me however.
Download This Song off your previous album The Graduate is based on the issue of illegal music downloading, why did you feel the need to write a song on this subject?
Record companies need to be aware of the fact that fans download music and this reinforces the brand of the artist, so when they come through on tour, everything changes. I wanted to address the new media economics revolution.
We were sent a copy of This Gigantic Robot Kills and it’s such a brilliant album from start to finish, I can’t stop listening to it, personally. It touches upon many different subjects such as the environment, hipster girls, guitar hero, and huge robots that kill amongst other subjects but which is the track that means the most to you?
Thanks man! My favorite song is “Hey There Ophelia” because I’ve always been a fan of Therapy? and Shakespeare. They are both awesome UK exports!!!
People that know what you are about should know that Weird Al is a bit of a hero to you. How did it feel getting him to play accordion on the track True Player For Real on the new record?
“Weird Al” is my buddy, we email a lot and talk on the phone, and when he arranged the accordion part for the new record, I was ecstatic. He’s a big influence and a great supporter and he’s been staying strong through the years!
It’s Not Easy (Being Green) is about global warming, how far do you think that this is a real issue that needs addressing, and do you think people aren’t taking it seriously?
Global warming is the most important issue the world is facing right now. That song is about how some people think they’re “being green” but don’t necessarily accomplish their goals… such as writing “Don’t Pollute” on signs on the freeway etc.
You recently announced via a MySpace blog that you will be doing a two week headline UK tour with Failsafe to promote This Gigantic Robot Kills. I have been wanting to see you headline for years, so please tell me there’s a Nottingham date or somewhere remotely close to Nottingham on the tour.
Hopefully!!! Let us know if you have a promoter friend who will put us on.
You went on international study here as part of your English major attending Corpus Christi College University in Oxford, how did you find living in the UK for that period of time?
I loved my time at Oxford. The students were friendly, the city is beautiful, and I met lots of goods friends (including the people at Truck Records who got me my start). I’m always coming back to the UK because of that time!!
Most American artists seem to like coming to the UK a lot, are you the same? Having spent a long time in the UK, is there anything we have over here that you wish you had at home, and vice versa?
I love the culture and the music and the fun of being in the UK, and how everyone is so nice and supportive. I love how hip-hop has evolved more electronically in your country.
Are you surprised at how much attention you have received over the past few years here in the UK?
UK audiences are more open-minded and excited than American audiences, but yes, it has been surprising to have such a fan base there.
The sound of your tracks vary a lot, from old school hip-hop to to stuff that crosses very much into the rock genre and this works really well. Is it your intention to be different from most things out there and stand out from the crowd?
My approach is to make every song different and merge all of my influences into my “post-punk laptop rap”. I try to merge punk and hip-hop in a really new way.
You have used a wide range of samples in your tracks, two of which being Brand New and Iggy Pop. If money was no object and you could sample any artist or band, who would it be and why have you chose them?
Nirvana’s “Smells LIke Teen Spirit” because it is such an anthem!!!!
If you had a gigantic robot that could do anything but kill, you can only use it once but whatever you do is permanent, what would you do and why?
I would build a robot to destroy racism and fix global warming!!
Why should people listen to This Gigantic Robot Kills?
Because I put my heart and soul into it for three years and it has guest appearances by anyone and everyone in the punk/nerdcore/hip-hop community.
Change the record, what should we be listening to in 2009?
THIS GIGANTIC ROBOT KILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for doing this interview Lars, can’t wait to see you on your UK tour in April. Keep it real!
Thanks a lot to MC Lars for taking the time out to do this interview. Check out This Gigantic Robot Kills when it comes out on the 24th of February because it is absolutely sublime!
Also check him out when he comes to the UK this April!