Esh the Monolith
It’s half an album written exclusively between the hours of 8pm and 2am. It’s about being frustrated with dedicating most of your time to a day job that you ultimately have no passion for. It is also about busting out of said job as soon as the sun goes down, getting intoxicated, acting like an asshole, pissing people off, punching someone in the nuts for treating you like you won’t amount to anything, and stumbling home to sleep it off. It’s got my pals Romen Rok, Fran-P, and Ceschi rappin’ and/or singin’ on it.
Arcitype and I have been close friends for about a decade but we had never made any music together until this EP. I’m not sure why. I think it was just never the right time in either of our development as artists or humans. We started off saying we were just going to make one song and put it out, but we caught a stride and decided to make a cohesive project. I think we established a good chemistry on this record and I’m proud of what we did.
I heard you guys are doing a follow up LP, how’s that coming along?
We just started, so it will be a while, but I can tell you that I really love working with that dude. So far it has been the most collaborative experience I’ve had. We are messing with beats and working out song concepts together. I feel like it’s the best way to work and I hope it shows once we have a finished product.
Are you riding the wolf-rapper wave or are you actually really a werewolf?
I am a real werewolf who rides a tsunami-sized wave of wolf-rappers, on a surfboard made from dinosaur bone and determination. The surfboard also shoots flares and bleeds real blood, so sharks are constantly following me.
“Werewolves Anonymous” is actually about being a scumbag drunk. The song opens with a man who has no idea where he is or what he did last night. He is naked in bed with a girl he has never seen. He sneaks out immediately and starts to put together the pieces from the night before in his head. He remembers being at a particularly dark dive-y bar where the bartender told him he’d had enough, and threatened to cut him off. He tells the bartender to fuck off, orders one last drink, and blacks out. Drunken shenanigans ensue. He’s not a bad dude he just lets the sauce get the best of him sometimes.
Do people ever confuse you for Jason Schwartzman?
Yeah, sometimes. One year I dressed as homeboy from Rushmore for Halloween. My costume was on point. Everybody was getting in my face all night and being like “OH SHIT!!! YOU LOOK JUST LIKE THAT DUDE FROM THAT MOVIE!!!” The thing is, I was tripping on a hefty bag of really good mushrooms that I had eaten earlier that evening, so it became one of the more surreal experiences I’ve ever had. People were approaching me all night bugging out and talking my ear off, but I couldn’t respond verbally. I would just nod and smile while I thought to myself, “am I pissing in my pants right now?” I didn’t piss in my pants tho.
You had the Invisible EP you did with producer Dox pressed to vinyl, what’s that?
Pressing the Invisible 10? was cool. It’s the only permanent format in music. Vinyl will never really go away. It’s expensive and not the most accessible format, but that 10? will travel from crate to crate for years until it is too battered to play. Even if it just ends up in the dollar bin. It’s not always the easiest sell at a merch table, but people from all over will actively seek it out. Vinyl is really mostly for collectors, super fans, and, in rare cases, real audiophiles. I’ve always collected records so it was special for me to press the 10?. That being said, I will probably only press something like that again if a label with some money pays for it.
Tell us a tour story with Dox.
One time we went to a Furry orgy in Tennessee and Effile Towered a girl dressed as a Koala. That story is completely untrue except for the parts that are completely true, which is all of it, or maybe not.
You rocked the basement at my record release show, why’s everyone think rap sucks live?
Because the majority of rap sucks live. Rap is different than any other live performance. For the most part it’s just you up there. No instrument to hide behind, no band members to play off of. But watching someone pace around on a 10 square foot stage while rambling is inherently boring as fuck. You could be the best rapper ever, and it would still be boring as fuck. What sets apart a regular rapper from an actual entertainer is their ability to engage their audience. I’m not even talking about the standard call and response; I’m talking about truly engaging. If you are too intimidated to lock eyes with someone in the crowd, you suck live. If you have nothing to say in-between songs besides rehearsed boilerplate, you suck live. If you need a live band backing you to compensate for a lack of stage presence, you suck live. If you need to be up there with 12 other people, you suck live. If you need to bribe a crowd with free merch, you suck live. It’s easy…just don’t be boring. Step your charisma up, b. Give the people a reason to want to watch you. Anyone who has ever seen me live knows that 9 out of 10 times I will entertain the shit out of a crowd. And if you get that one dud, just know that I am going to get intoxicated and take my pants off.
You have a lot of fun in your music videos, what’s the most fun you’ve had while making a music video?
“Soap Scum” and “Bonafide Napoleon Complex” were both very fun shoots. Working with Adam and Tian of SBP productions was a good time. There were a lot of hilarious reactions to me running around Newbury St in Boston covered in mud and rhyming. For those who don’t know, Newbury St is where uptight douche bags go to purchase $700 jeans. The bathroom scene was pretty fun too. We got wasted in a shitty Motel 6 that smelled like crack pipe. Lucy Danger was a good sport for letting us pour fake champagne on her tits.
We made the entire Napoleon video up as we went along. The funniest part about that shoot was going to the Rocky steps and seeing some dude, without a hint of irony, dressed as Rocky running up and down the steps and punching the air. I can’t begin to tell you how serious homeboy was. I was geeking out watch him. He was the greasiest of guidos and oozing with misguided machismo.
I like how the “Bored Games” video turned out, but getting pelted with tomatoes for half a day sucked. It was nice working with Nick Heller of Ricky Shabazz and the Boom Bap Boys. That kid is a rare talent.
You have a lot of fun in your promo videos, what’s the most fun you’ve had while making a promo video?
Riding my bike wearing a beer helmet and holding a roman candle was one of my finer moments. Always wear a lid, kiddos. We didn’t have any tomatoes for that one so we used a lemon.
How do you feel about the indie rap scene right now?
There’s a lot of great Hip Hop being made on both an indie and major level. The Dark Time Sunshine album that Fake Four put out last year is stellar. Zavala and Onry have a crazy chemistry. I’ve been listening to the newest Homeboy Sandman, which doesn’t disappoint. That dude slays. My homies Moe Pope and Rain just put out a great album called Let The Right Ones In that you should check out. Anyway, my point is there is a lot of stuff out there that is worth sifting through massive amounts of shit to get to.
I have mixed feelings about all the Nostalgia Wave rappers out now. Labels seem to have a hard on for 19 year-olds dipped in fashions of yesteryear. There are some undeniably talented emcees coming out of that craze, but the whole 20-year cycle trendiness is strange to me.
I try as best I can to not get caught up in a “scene.” I just try to do what comes naturally and represent myself to the best of my abilities. Despite any frustrations, indie rap is fun a fuck, and if it isn’t then you are doing it wrong. I get to express myself creatively while making music with my best friends and traveling around the country meeting like-minded people and pouring my heart out on stage. There is nothing better than that.
Tell us about your compilation Loop-Minded Individuals.
Loop-Minded Individuals is going to be a full-length album co-produced by Intrikit and myself. It features about 15 different emcees that have contributed either verses or full songs. Me and Intrikit only have one verse each. It’s been a side project forever, but it is actually close to competition and will come out in 2013 unless a comet hits the earth. There are just a couple more loose ends to tie up. There is some pretty great stuff on there and I can’t wait for it to be done. A lot of things that are out of my control have slowed the process, but I’m not trying to make excuses. There are verses or songs from Me and Intrikit, Moe Pope and Roc Doogie, XL and Big Juan of the Kreators, Seez Mics of Educated Consumers, Grey Sky Appeal and F.Virtue, Dee Bee from DIM, Romen Rok, Andrew Milica and Fran-P. I’m probably forgetting someone.
What’s it like to be a rapper that also produces?
I started making beats before I ever wrote raps, so I have no idea what it’s like to be a rapper that doesn’t produce. I think every rapper should have some knowledge of production on some level. It just makes you well rounded and gives you more control and understanding of the final product. I love making beats but, aside from the Loop-Minded project, it has taken a backseat to rhyming. It would be cool to be one of those artists who put out exclusively self-produced albums, but if you have obligations in your life besides making and releasing music, it’s just not realistic. At least for me. Maybe I just suck at managing my time.
I heard you’re building a birdhouse, how’s that coming along?
The hardest part is hanging the peanut butter pine-cone bird feeder…I am not building a birdhouse, but I did accidentally murder a 40-year-old parrot once. True story.