We caught up with MC Lars before his support slot with Zebrahead in Glasgow. Here’s what he had to say about his upcoming album, his songwriting process and his long term future:
DistortedNews: You’re a hip hop performer, but a lot of the time tour with pop punk bands, such as Bowling For Soup and Zebrahead, what’s it like playing in front of different types of crowds?
MC Lars: Punk kids have more energy and they like to jump around and mosh, and its fun when they mosh to our music and the hip hop stuff, but sometimes I don’t think they get all of the references, hip hop fans kinda understand that we reference a lot of old school hip hop, a lot of independent stuff, we copy a lot of different traditions that hip hop people can understand more, so its different , I think hip hop people have more energy with listening but punk kids have more energy dancing. Ha ha!
DN: So, do you do different setlists depending on what type of crowd you’re paying to?
MC Lars: Definitely, like we opened for this rapper Nas, and we did a really really hip hop setlist, but when we went out with Bowling For Soup last October, we had our band Failsafe who are from near Manchester, they definitely played the rock stuff, you know what I mean, we tailor our set so what’s cool about it is we can do total club hip hop and we can do total hardcore minor threat punk, and tonight we have this interesting transition because we have Zebrahead playing half of our set with us doing the punk stuff, so that’s really cool, its a fun melding of cultures.
DN: On your latest album, This Gigantic Robot Kills you’ve got a whole bunch of different topics for songs, you go from Hamlet to suicide.
MC Lars: Ha ha! Yeah
DN: How do you come up with theses songs? What’s your writing process?
MC Lars: well, I use humour, but the trick is to try to be funny without being a joke, so humour is something I use sparingly but I use it to try and get peoples attention, I try to approach song writing, like I studied literature, and I try to approach it like I’m writing an essay, the chorus is the thesis and the verses are the defending statement. And I try to make sure it’s a topic that I’m interested in because I found that if I’m not interested in the topic, people aren’t going to be interested in what I wrote about it.
DN: Like, there’s no passion behind what you’re saying.
MC Lars: Totally, you gotta figure out why you’re writing about something and be passionate about it, and TGRK is a very diverse record because, you know, I spent three years making it and there’s a lot of different things I went through in that time and the Hamlet song (Hey There Ophelia) is probably one of my favourites on there because I’m always a big literature fan.
DN: Like you did with Ahab from The Graduate, which came from Moby Dick.
MC Lars: Yeah man, you know my stuff.
DN: I read online that you’re working on your new album, Lars Attacks, what can you tell us about that?
MC Lars: yeah that’s coming out hopefully early next year on Jaret (Reddick, Bowling For Soup)’s record label crappy records, and it’s a kinda return to the more laptop beats, Robot Kills is more of a live record, like the band stuff is all live, even Where Ya Been Lars has live drums. I wanna go more simple and see how much power I can find with just laptop beats, but still crunchy and dirty. There’s a new song we’ve been doing this tour, the song Lars Attacks, it’s a cool fusion of like punk and electro and hip hop, I’m just trying to make a record that doesn’t sound like anything out there, you know what I mean?
DN: Just trying to be original.
MC Lars: yeah, make it original and see what I can do to make electronic hip hop cool again. Ha ha! Because one of my favourite records of all time is the Dizzee Rascal Boy In The Corner album, I love that album so much because when it came out, there was nothing like that, like the weird sounds, the tones, the choruses, his flow. I feel like that’s the inspiration for my new album. The old Dizzee Rascal Stuff. Ha ha!
DN: Are you working with any big names on the new album, like in the past you’ve worked with a lot of quite famous people such as Jaret from Bowling For Soup and members of other pop punk bands?
MC Lars: Yeah, You know on my new work I’m trying to collaborate with other rappers who are awesome, like I’ve been talking to KRS-One, who’s like an old school guy, he’s a hero of mine, I’m hoping to get him involved and guys like Sage Francis and other underground dudes who have done really well, basically this album I wanna feature not so much my rock friends, but more my rap friends.
DN: You Recently did your tenth anniversary show, do you think you’ll still be doing this in another ten years?
MC Lars: In some way, I mean the goal is, I’m gonna get my PHD and do lectures on hip hop culture and history, that’s my goal, to become one of the first rapper professors to have a tenured job at a university. Ha ha! That’s my goal. So in ten years I’ll probably be done with my PHD, I’ll still be making records, and I’d love to tour in the summer, you know, but I think that with anything, music is awesome but I think if you only do music, your music can suffer, you need to have life experiences outside of it, Do you know what I’m saying?
DN: Yeah, you’ve got to bring everything into it.
MC Lars: Yeah Yeah.
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