Recently, mc chris took time from his busy touring schedule with The Age of Rockets (check out his tour dates on mcchris.com) to do a twenty-question interview for You Sound Like A Robot. Be sure to see him on tour this year and purchase a copy of his latest album, mc chris is dead. Links to purchase the album can be found in the entry below.
You are touring with The Age of Rockets, a band fronted by Andrew Futral. How did you come to meet Futral and what made you decide to use him for composing the music on the majority of the tracks on mc chris is dead?
mc: Without getting too much into it, I just knew he could save me and give me a good record. We knew each other through parties at the Souse House in Jersey City around the year 2000. His band Attention Deficit was on the same label as Dirt Bike Annie. They covered a DBA song and that’s how things kinda got started.
You’ll be touring with Warped Tour for the entire tour later this year, how did you get onto the tour?
mc: Two managers ago, I think it happened over cocktails. I was on it for ten days last summer, kicked ass, and impressed the head of the whole tour so they invited me back for the whole run this year.
For a while you avoided conventions, though lately a few have popped up on your tour schedule. How do you feel about them? Would you consider returning to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA? Do you have any favorite conventions?
mc: Conventions are only fun for me on Sundays when the crowds are thinner and the prices cheaper. The conventions I’m doing in the future are paying booku bucks. I decided that it had to be worth it for me to fly in and do all this stuff, meaning I needed to get treated awesome and have many perks. Not because i deserve it, but because a con is hell unless you’re a VIP. As for PAX, I’m still doing it for free. But someone said they thought I was too cool for PAX, so I just wanted to be sure to give them a great show and tell them how much I love them. As for Dragon*Con, never say never. I’m booked this year so I can’t do it, but you never know what the future holds.
Which type of show do you enjoy playing the most: conventions, festivals, or single shows?
mc: Single shows.
What do you miss most while on tour? What about while you’re not touring?
mc: I miss my home and my friends, my video games. While I’m not touring I miss the people I meet and the crappy hotels, the bric-a-brac in tourist traps and gas stations. I miss the funny things nerds do to show their appreciation like homemade fan shirts and gifts, etc.. I miss their enthusiasm. When you’re making the record you kinda wish you could perform it every night to see what works and what doesn’t. I miss the audience.
How much input do you have on the music portion of your songs? Which generally comes first to you, a beat in your head or the lyrics?
mc: There’s a variety of ways it happens, but I basically micro-manage Andrew and am there for the whole time we make music. I never did that with John, everything was created separately and it just wasn’t as good. Now I have more control and can get things the way I like them. So I’m very much a part of the music getting made, I just have no musical ability. That’s where Andrew comes in.
What are some of the main reasons for such a drastic change in your musical stylings from earlier works, such as knowing is half the hassle and eating’s not cheating, up to mc chris is dead? How did you come to prefer the almost house sounds of Futral to the hip-hop beats of DJ John Fewell?
mc: Well I wouldn’t describe John’s beats as hip-hop. What really moves me is what the theme is, what I want to do differently from the last record. The next record will be flooded with metal and real drums and all kinds of new sounds. It’ll be like badass [right-click, save as] the album, but way more screwed and chopped. It’s kinda like saying, why do you wear a different shirt everyday? (which I don’t)
Who are The Snobots?
mc: It’s Andrew and me. Apple Tummy coming soon!
Your latest albums seem to be more theme-oriented than your previous works. For example, in dungeon master of ceremonies the character of mc chris died which was followed by mc chris is dead where you have returned as a zombie only to later be sent to Hell. How many more albums to you plan to continue along these lines with?
mc:Until the redneck apocalypse in album seven when things shut down.
For years you have strived to impress your core fans, namely those who spend hours at a time hitting the refresh button on your official message board. How much of an impression do these fans usually have on the direction your music takes?
mc: If I can make them happy then my job is done. That’s why I was really pleased with mc chris is dead because the message board liked it so much. Some people say that I am playing to my MySpace crowd, who are hypnotized zombies and will mindlessly do whatever I say. Not the case. I play to the boards. If they like, everyone else will. And that’s been the case.
Are there any guest appearances that you had planned for mc chris is dead that fell through?
mc: Ed Helms and Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio, but it’s probably serendipitous. I was gonna have Helms be on “hoodie ninja” and be my partner in crime, but I think he got too big to do the little things.
What is the inspiration behind the song “pizza butt”?
mc: All of the huge fat people I see on tour and at amusement parks. And I had a friend that told me she worked out to my music. Made me wanna make a song like Kanye West’s “The New Work Out Plan” song. Last fall, “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” was huge and I like trying to imitate whatever is the big hit. That’s when satire is best, like Colbert where you can’t tell if it’s real or not.
Why are you releasing different versions of mc chris is dead on CD and online downloading sites such as iTunes and Amazon mp3? Are there any other formats in the works?
mc: Vinyl and probably a complete digital version. I’d also like to get Snocap on the page, but we’ll see. Why did I do it? To steer sales this way and that… and it worked. My business model isn’t random. It’s thought out and so far every thing’s been going as planned. Mwah ah ah…
Though your previous albums are all out of print and you willingly offer them up for internet piracy, you would like for people to buy mc chris is dead. Why is that? How have sales and pre-orders been so far?
mc: Duh, so I can support myself. The old stuff is done because that part of my life is done. And my fans are collectors, it’s more fun this way, to hunt things down. Sales on mc chris is dead were killer, we broke all previous records and we’re still kicking ass. I don’t want to live off the past or rest on my laurels and I’m not about filling John’s pockets for the rest of his days while he sits on his keister.
After the release of dungeon master of ceremonies, your former employer Adult Swim aired a commercial promoting the album with the line “even though he hates us now.” Was there any animosity with your “departure,” or was this just a joke typical of Adult Swim stylings?
mc: I assume that means because I left. But I have never hated Adult Swim. It’s like hating your mom or where you came from. They made me who I am and I’m always gonna be in debt to them. And I’m still getting paid by them for the new show, so I’m still a part of things.
You have two upcoming shows in the works for Adult Swim: Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge and the more mysterious Battle Hi. Is there anything that you can tell us about either of the two shows?
mc: Well Battle Hi isn’t on anything yet, so let’s not jinx it’s chances, yes? Cheyenne stars Neko Case, MF Doom, T-Pain and me and I play a gummi bear named Gummi. And from what I understand, I’m red. Battle Hi is basically the mc chris cartoon which is basically about a runaway and his adventures in a land of music.
John Gemberling and you seem to go back quite a while, how did the two of you become friends?
mc: I think we were talking about Star Wars at McManus and it just grew from there. I remember playing him songs from life’s a bitch and i’m her pimp and I just thought he was the only funny person there so I gravitated toward him.
How is it living in New York City compared to that of Atlanta or Illinois?
mc: It smells like pee. No one gives a crap about you in NYC. So it’s kinda where I go to be invisible. I still haven’t made it there, although I’m not doing horrible either. I can kinda set up a show anytime and my comic book store treats me nice.
Murray Walter Goff, your baby nephew to whom mc chris is dead is dedicated to, was recently diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. As someone who has lost a friend to the disease, I understand your worry. To help further the technological advances to fight the disease you started a fan-based fund, how can people add money and how successful has it been so far?
mc: Give your money to my Murray fund and it will go to the right place. Links on my MySpace page. We’re making hundreds a day. I’m a positive thinker so I’m gonna do everything I can in my lifetime to kick this disease right in the bawls!
Overall, are you satisfied with your level of success right now?
mc: Of course. I’m very lucky for things to be going as well as they have been, especially without any financial support from a label. It’s way more gratifying and validating to get stuff done on your own. There is always room for expansion, but all in due time. I still have long term goals you guys don’t know anything about so hopefully there will be many chapters to this story.