SLAM DUNK 2012 PREVIEW: MC Lars

Despite what many people may think, rap isn’t all about bragging about yo’ money, yo’ bitches, yo’ cars, yo’ house and yo’ bling; some rap artists actually create fun and innovative songs with a lot of clever witticisms about almost anything. MC Lars is one rapper which fits in such a bracket, who has delivered upon the world songs about Guitar Hero, the emo genre, Edgar Allen Poe literature and a lot more. With the release of his first ‘Greatest Hits’ album on the way and a set at this year’s Slam Dunk Festival too, we spoke with the man about his release, his festival set and what we can expect from him this year:

DP!: How are you guys looking forward to playing this year’s Slam Dunk Festival?
MC Lars: Slam Dunk last year was incredible! I’ve toured with many different bands in the punk and pop-punk genres in the past over the years, including Piebald, Bowling For Soup, Simple Plan, Zebrahead and Failsafe. This festival gives rock fans the opportunity to see DIY acts like me they have heard of but maybe have never seen. I love the eclectic nature of the festival and being able to bring the punk rock energy in a unique way.

DP!: This year has began catering towards more of a heavier audience with the line-up, do you think that’s going to affect the vibe of the festival?
MC Lars: Heavy bands are always fun to perform alongside of; the Vans Warped Tour had a lot of hardcore bands and we brought just as much verve and energy. Punk and hip-hop come from the same stripped down, energetic place – if you have something to say and can say it with passion, it doesn’t matter how you go about expressing yourself. This year, Failsafe will be rocking as my backup band with a special guest appearance from Greg of Zebrahead. It’s going to be awesome!

DP!: You’re releasing your ‘Greatest Hits’ album just a day after Slam Dunk Festival is over. Do you feel releasing a best of compilation is a great milestone in yours and indeed any musician or bands career?
MC Lars: In the past few years, I’ve independently released a ton albums and EPs. Horris Records are proud to put out this ‘Greatest Hits’ album because, for the first time, fans can hear all of their favourite songs on one album and on vinyl. We did a survey to find out which tracks they wanted, so it’s the 16 most popular songs with fans, not necessarily the ones that got radio and video play.

DP!: In keeping with the conversation of your ‘Greatest Hits’ album, are there any tracks on the release that you feel are greater than others?
MC Lars: ‘Mr. Raven’ and ‘Ahab’ are two of my favourites because it’s fun to write pop songs about 19th century literature, which I studied at Stanford and Oxford. This year I’ve been working with the University of Southern California to teach high school students about authors like Edgar Allan Poe through rap. I lectured at TEDx this year about hip-hop education, and the students performed their version of Poe’s ‘Masque Of The Red Death’. I love writing literature rap, and my ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ EP (coming out June 19th) is seven songs focusing on this too.

DP!: There’s an awful lot of different bands on this year’s line-up. Why should people come and catch your set?
MC Lars: If people are looking for something fun and different, they should come and watch us play. The setlist will have some special guests, including a rapping puppet raven. Come kick it!

DP!: Will you be letting yourself go at the after party once all the bands have finished up?
MC Lars: Yes. I will be gaining weight, losing my hair and not staying up on current fashions. Joke, yes, I will be having fun dancing to the DJ’s selections. I hope he plays some Failsafe, they’re my favourite UK band! Holler.

DP!: What do you have planned after Slam Dunk is over?
MC Lars: Mid-tour I’m flying to Carnegie Hall to debut a song and video from the ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ EP (‘Flow Like Poe’), then I return to the rest of the tour with Wheatus (all dates are here). The ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ EP comes out and then I’ll be touring on the East Coast in the US in August. I’m headed to Russia, Australia and New Zealand in the fall. We are filming a kids’ hip-hop show pilot that focuses on using rap to educate students. I’m putting out my ‘Herman Melville’ EP and ‘The Library’ later on this year too – two projects with raps about literature. Stay tuned! It’s going to be an awesome and busy year.

SET TIME: 7:45-8:45 (North – Leeds) / 7:45-8:45 (South – Hatfield) – Sinstar Bar
RIYL: MC Chris / K.Flay / Optimus Rhyme
LISTEN TO: iGeneration / Signing Emo (below) / Mr. Raven