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: Iím Aesop rock, Iím feeling okay. I recently relocated to San Francisco. Iím 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 thereís a change, I like to discover new things. Iím not too scared to follow new things. Iím tired of doing the same things; Iím 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 tugboatís 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 donít separate myself. I just kind of tend to go where I am at the moment. I draw whatís directly around me. I donít make the happiest songs in the world. More like a warpy sound evil carnival type of happy. It just kind of all comes when Iím making the music. If I hear a beat that just sort of clicks then itís based on whatever Iím 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: Itís grown, which is dope. I mean, during the float time I wasnít really doing tours, didnít get to go on tour till Labor Days, then I could find that I had more fans since Labor Days. I donít 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 ďBent LifeĒ you say, ďThis is for that cat at my shows that always has prophetic opinions but canít remember where his drink is.Ē 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 donít feel like going into detail, you can take them in. I definitely have done my share of overanalyzing music. Itís not frustrating. Itís weird being that guy thatís asked about their meaning. You go out of your way to pick the best words to describe it. Itís 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 itís asked, itís not annoying, Iíve just done it for a long time. Thatís the lyric, I donít 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 canít see myself doing it. Thereís nothing I donít love about making the music. I love making the songs. I donít see that going away ever; Iím 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 thereís a point when Iím like, ďGoddamn! Thatís a lot of shit, I need to take a break.Ē 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 itís for the best; Iím in no way quitting. Iím going to keep doing solo records. I want to get involved in as many weird things as possible. Whatís tired is another solo album. I want a project thatís 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 90ís. 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 - thatís 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 wasnít 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 isnít 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 Iím 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 donít like to set myself up to contradict myself. Itís human nature to think one way and then a couple years later be like, well, thatís 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 Ďem, 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 Iím annoyed that hip hop is portrayed in the media, but I donít really care, thereís always crap always good stuff. If shit is annoying, then make better shit. Nothing really annoys me. If Iím watching something thatís annoying, I just donít watch it. Iím not going to take a stand against 50 Cent or something.
MVRemix: Tell me about this tour youíre on, the Def Jux visits Toronto tour. Why Toronto? What material are you going to be performing? Is there a chance youíll perform anything from Appleseed or Music for Earthworms?
Aesop Rock: For Canadian music week, they were sort of like, ďHey, come to Toronto.Ē
MVRemix: Will we ever see any more material along the lines of Daylight?
Aesop Rock: Iím undecided, I canít release that type ofÖ Everyone just has one of those songs theyíre doomed to sing for the rest of their lives, Ií donít feel like feel like fighting it.
MVRemix: Tell me about a cool dream youíve had recently or ever, one that really stuck with you the next day.
Aesop Rock: Itís 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 Iím 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 donít know, I guess Iíll find out. I didnít get the memo.
MVRemix: Any last thoughts?
Aesop Rock: I just donít really want to put my laundry away.