These are the transcripts of an interview with Aesop Rock. While doing his laundry in San Francisco, Alex Goldberg shared a few words.
MVRemix: Introduce yourself. How are you feeling these days? What have you been up to lately?
Aesop Rock: I'm Aesop rock, I'm feeling okay. I recently relocated to San Francisco. I'm working on music. I got married and my wife had to move, it was easier to relocate.
MVRemix: Do you miss New York?
Aesop Rock: I do miss New York. You always kind of do that thing in your head where you can go and make an album somewhere weird, I always thought it would be Africa, but San Francisco will have to do [laughs].
MVRemix: There is a noticeable change in your music starting from Bazooka Tooth. A definite break from Labor Days or Float, what do you think caused this change for you?
Aesop Rock: I would say that there was a change in everything. There was an equal change, I hope there's a change, I like to discover new things. I'm not too scared to follow new things. I'm tired of doing the same things; I'm intrigued by new things. I think actually the people who make the same album over and over, are kind of holding back tendencies to do new things.
MVRemix: What is a tugboat complex?
Aesop Rock: My made up term for feeling that you are carrying a lot of shit on your back. The tugboat's job is to bring a lot of shit around, a lot of shit on your shoulders.
MVRemix: When you write a song, what emotion helps you make the best song? Anger, sadness, happiness, etc. or do you separate yourself from your emotions when you write?
I don't separate myself. I just kind of tend to go where I am at the moment. I draw what's directly around me. I don't make the happiest songs in the world. More like a warpy sound evil carnival type of happy. It just kind of all comes when I'm making the music. If I hear a beat that just sort of clicks then it's based on whatever I'm feeling at the time. I kind of want everything to evolve and change.
MVRemix: Do you find a significant change in your fan base since Float?
Aesop Rock: It's grown, which is dope. I mean, during the float time I wasn't really doing tours, didn't get to go on tour till Labor Days, then I could find that I had more fans since Labor Days. I don't really go to shows that much anymore. Only if I could get divo concert tickets. The audience that is actively buying tickets are relatively young. I definitely hear that though, the fans are younger than me.
MVRemix: In the song "Bent Life" you say, "This is for that cat at my shows that always has prophetic opinions but can't remember where his drink is." Do you get annoyed when people try to over analyze your music?
A lot of times when people ask me specific things, I kind of don't feel like going into detail, you can take them in. I definitely have done my share of overanalyzing music. It's not frustrating. It's weird being that guy that's asked about their meaning. You go out of your way to pick the best words to describe it. It's just a fucked up situation, there are no better way to describe it then the words in the song. I guess I could write out cliff notes. I write what has intense meaning to me, when it's asked, it's not annoying, I've just done it for a long time. That's the lyric, I don't want to go at it right now.
MVRemix: Do you feel tired by the whole thing? Are you done with it all, or do you feel like you have more years to come, more music to write? Is the whole thing getting to you?
Aesop Rock: At certain levels it gets to me. On other levels, I can't see myself doing it. There's nothing I don't love about making the music. I love making the songs. I don't see that going away ever; I'm not disappearing this year. Certain aspects get to me, going back to basics in my head, trying to put something together that reflects that. I had one release per year, and there's a point when I'm like, "Goddamn! That's a lot of shit, I need to take a break." You kind of trick yourself into writing rap songs, wake up and write rap songs, like, things in my life this year has changed so much. Changed my life, but what can I write about now. I think it's for the best; I'm in no way quitting. I'm going to keep doing solo records. I want to get involved in as many weird things as possible. What's tired is another solo album. I want a project that's not just an Aesop EP that represents you for the year.
MVRemix: How did you begin? How did you get on Mush Records? Why did you switch to Def Jux? How did you meet Blockhead, and how did you get from doing open mics to making a record?
Aesop Rock: It began with me rapping on a 4 track in the early 90's. In 94, I went to collage, met blockhead, we were friends. He stopped going to college, I was in Boston and I would go chill in New York and do a show or work on music in shitty bars. Make a couple songs for years. Eventually, any time I had money I tried to record; eventually I made a couple CDs, app. Musfoear. Mush found out about me, I was really timid about paper work and signing deals, I just wanted whatever worked. Mush was small; 3 pages long contract. I was just doing it for the sake of having my first album out. It was later that year that El was starting Def Jux, and I was friends with Can ox, and El knew I needed a home for my next album, he knew I had good shit.
MVRemix: What adjective would you say describes yourself the best these days? Would you say the same adjective described you in 99 or 2000?
Aesop Rock: Busy. Trying to find new sounds - that's not really an adjective.
MVRemix: What was it like growing up in Long Island? What is one of your earliest memories?
Aesop Rock: It was pretty funny, it was suburban. Where I was, was a half hour from Queens, I was skate boarding a lot, trying to learn how to rap, getting into trouble. I wasn't too young, I was tricycle age, I have a scar on my age. I fell off my tricycle, and smashed my head open and got forty stitches. So, basically I was dropped on my head as a child.
MVRemix: If you were to write a manifesto, what would the first line be to describe your platform?
Aesop Rock: Too preachy, I try to stay away from it. This isn't really a manifesto; this is me giving my opinions on a bunch of shit. A manifesto is a bit too intense. You see a lot of people in their interviews, who are so finite and definitive, and I'm like how old are you, like 21, you have to be aware that your view of things and taste of music is all going to change no matter what you think. I don't like to set myself up to contradict myself. It's human nature to think one way and then a couple years later be like, well, that's not how I feel. Two years later when you change your mind.
MVRemix: Religious imagery seems to be a reoccurring theme in your music. Are you religious?
Aesop Rock: No, not at all, I was raised relatively religious. Pretty catholic family,
MVRemix: How bout God?
Aesop Rock: How bout 'em, big question mark leaning towards no, I like to put the question mark just in case
MVRemix: What do you think the most irritating thing is about hip hop, about the music and about the scene?
Aesop Rock: I think I found a new approach where I fully distance myself from things I used to be in. I could easily say I'm annoyed that hip hop is portrayed in the media, but I don't really care, there's always crap always good stuff. If shit is annoying, then make better shit. Nothing really annoys me. If I'm watching something that's annoying, I just don't watch it. I'm not going to take a stand against 50 Cent or something.
MVRemix: Tell me about this tour you're on, the Def Jux visits Toronto tour. Why Toronto? What material are you going to be performing? Is there a chance you'll perform anything from Appleseed or Music for Earthworms?
Aesop Rock: For Canadian music week, they were sort of like, "Hey, come to Toronto."
MVRemix: Will we ever see any more material along the lines of Daylight?
Aesop Rock: I'm undecided, I can't release that type of... Everyone just has one of those songs they're doomed to sing for the rest of their lives, I' don't feel like feel like fighting it.
MVRemix: Tell me about a cool dream you've had recently or ever, one that really stuck with you the next day.
Aesop Rock: It's kind of rare, but when it does happen, I do the whole thing at 8 o clock when I try to remember it. I think I'm at an age when I stop remembering them.
MVRemix: What would you do if you found out that there would be judgment day tomorrow? What would the next 24 hours be like? In other words, where you gonna be when the sun falls?
Aesop Rock: I probably go scoop up my wife from work, and hang out, and grab whoever is close to me, and chill, and not deny what was going to happen. Maggot brain, early Funkadelic, something that would go well with missiles in the sky.
MVRemix: Are you ready for the revolution?
Aesop Rock: I don't know, I guess I'll find out. I didn't get the memo.
MVRemix: Any last thoughts?
Aesop Rock: I just don't really want to put my laundry away.