Doseone: Interview
“These are my people, and our music is our purpose.”

Working at a music venue has placed me in a position to meet boatloads of musicians. A large chunk of my job consists of being the artist's errand boy and attending to their pre-show needs. Some aren't very social and lay low, while some are very matter-of-fact and concerned about taking the stage -- a few are assholes.

Then, every once in awhile, there are artists who wildly stick out due to their charismatic friendliness and accessibility. With the infectious, energetic glee of a kid in a candy shop, Doseone is a prime example. He's made such a lasting impression on me that he immediately popped into mind when I jogged through my memory banks for an ideal interviewee. Of course, Doseone was all too eager to oblige, even if it meant responding to my questions, rather poetically, via BlackBerry from Japan. With only minimal edits, here Doseone talks about his music, collaborations, his battle with Eminem, the car accident, the music industry, and Patrick The Starfish from SpongeBob.

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The latest Subtle album is the third in a triology. What is the trilogy about?

The present…

It is about the climate and color of “interest” in the modern day…

It is American myth…

The prose and hope coated body of my and thesubtle experience, in the realms of making it… and meaning it…

It is a working class code of ARMs…

For all those in mid-cope and still hopeful…

It's also about the future… what will become of apathy's high horse in todays palm, where will it all head when the reins are barely held… how will our children ride in the face of No bees and ever so slowly more severe plight heights…

And it is meant for the past… the three records are deeply and naturally self-referential, from sampling previous work… to recurring melodies… to rewording perpetual motifs… and so on… it is meant to last as interesting in the filtered water of the next 20 years…

What is the story behind "Hour Hero Yes"?

He is both hero and fool.

His skull and face above it, striped shut by the lasting effects of honesty on the dead man… he is poet ardent…

He is a triumph of life over death…

In the form of pushed pen remnants… and sing bones sung…

He began as man… mostly weak, hardly strong… a new white, is the colloquial chronicle of his becoming… all of it taking place in a one bed room apartment in Oakland… it is the slow and burst lengthy nervous breakdown/coming to clear… of yes… a resigning of himself from himself… he lets go… and finds the weight of his words… and wild behind his eyes…

At the end of the record… he opens his door… and takes a walk in a cemetery, of all places…

And for hero for fool begins with the tip of his quest… no longer undecided on the direction and dire in his dive… he began to eat at the world… and walk its straights… and so for hero for fool… unravels… as his quest for a most honorable death… or something a step beyond it… and so yes quests… each song detailing a day terror or hallucination like moment in sun…

And at the end of his intuitive and actual obstacle course, yes finds death… ready to pet him… and he it… already having left the best of his hope and flesh-hints behind in his body of work… yes dove… through death and what's left… and he dove into another keep…

Much to the chagrin of yes, his new freedom is in fact nothing of the sort… rather than breaking for an open window, it seems yes has bolted toward a box the size of all our lives… and what begins to unfold before and around him, is enough to close the sky forever, or open up the chest all men undead permanently…

And the rest is meant to be read by the interested, or the lazy at gun point… I ain't no tutor… I'm a writer… and the manner in which I wrote these records is one that lends itself to interpretation and/or folklore… while our work may get criticized for being complex or obtuse… such crit is also entirely incorrect… this is not a product of big words and difficult ideas…

It is rather a people's work… it is universal… it simply has a shell… a reflective shell around it, that is as thick as one's own's disinterest…

Is there a reason you are involved in so many different projects/bands?

Is there a reason I should not be…

These are my people… and our music is our purpose…

And for myself… they have always led me to its next evolution, or dilemma… Jeff and I are self-taught in our song-making… so peers and their influence, have been not only what we make our music from but also how we learn to make it… un-learn it rather…

And in a more umbrella-esque sense, we follow our relationships and motifs toward the next music… group… we approach…

We do not follow career paths, or manager's magical plans…

Off into such serious decisions and long lasting endeavors…

And for me, each group is completely unique and oddly trajectoried to the tune of who comprises it… so the edition of a human changes things quite a bit… and it is a certain cement chested feeling one gets when you realize that what your doing is “its own” enough to warrant getting its own “name”… it is a feeling I hope I never loose in life, it is probably the closest to having kids I will ever get… all that horizon under your care…

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"Rap culture is my baby, the stork that brought me to loving music, and these rich people with greed for mouths have really whored it out."

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You've got oodles of charisma while performing. How do you keep the mojo going night after night?

Well, hour hero yes… is a literal… reference to the potency of that hour of life I get… it's my favorite thing on earth to be, completely in the moment… and accountable for all those words and dialect dioramas… .

Technically, it is a complex potpourri … of pot, beer, bottled water, a good meal, and just enough laughter… I can't fast rap or really hear the audience if I get drunk… and let it be known, it is a soft science… the make up of what you need to feel light on stage is always varying… and to truly let go and find the moment night after night is a very whimsical thing… sometimes I can tell I am in the pocket from song one… sometimes I turn around on song four and realize I have been in the pocket for two songs and not noticed yet…

Other times, when the sound is too doo-doo… I just miss the pocket by a hair all night, and leave the stage frustrated…

Bottom line is I really am compelled to not waste my time on stage, naturally somehow. I don't see this sense of duty in many other arenas in my life, yet on stage, I realize how different it is from all other hour's in my life… it is the finest hour I know… and luckily there is something in my behavioral disarray that allows me to take that hour perfectly seriously and still always enjoy the gravity of such a situation the whole while…

You have some animated movements on stage. Are those choreographed, or is that just how you naturally get your groove on?

I start a song bald in the body language department. I maybe have one or two pantomimes I always saw coming… but I let the rest develop as I fill out the size of the songs live… improv if you will… till it assembles its own choreography… so much like the way I compile the lyrics slowly… all the gestures and jazzhands come naturally… and sort of collect themselves…

Are there any stories behind the outfits or various props that you incorporate on stage?

Shit… they are the story; each prop has its own place in subtle lyrics, mythology, and my greater scheme of motif madness…

Whitey is our champion… he survived the car crash, and then an entire chest-smashing in Cleveland…

He is the smashed in bust of a once living and lesser yes…

He is our statue of Stalin…

He is the striped skull and bashed in bust on the three-quarter-length Corinthian column… who centers our stage show…

The props also serve the purpose of “homeing” up the night club arena we are so certainly thrust into… so if we have to play our art out in bars, the least we can do for ourselves and the appreciators we have is make the place feel a little more like an ideal environment…

Nothing a little house paint , pen pains, and canvas can't fix…

Lyrically, I've heard you described as a combination of rapid-fire cuteness and abstractly eclectic. How do you come up with this stuff in your songs?

Unfortunately, not a lot of folks in this day and age read prose…

So I get a lot of dismissive or “cute” closed captioning of my writings… really the spine along which I write is that of the “personal truth”… I believe no politics on earth preceded those of the “personal” realm… it is where all the worlds advice and suggestion goes wrong in men and women… it is also the final frontier of human evolution, the wilds of certain individual's widened minds, in the fire of certain circumstances, out leaping the minds of all men come before them… such are the baby steps that build all we know… leaping from light bulb to atom bomb…

So I collect personal truths, and fragments of phrase from people walls & other writings… I can always tell when I am supposed to steal something, and then, when I feel the tow of writing coming for me, I collect these fragments and connect the flesh half-left between them…

And each poem piece knows if its Subtle, Themselves, 13&God, or something else entirely…

So, what I have learned in a decade of “proseislanding” is that time is key; I no longer rush the poethead… nor anticipate it anxiously -- such behaviors actually tend to scare it away…

And then time rears its head again, in the editing arena… to return to my poems in different head spaces with the same clarity comb, has become both key and king to my process, allowing me to really dig into the wingspan of meaning it…

Who are some of your musical influences?

Biggest ones are those closest to me…

They diffuse in true influence the further away you get, yet there are many people who influence my music… sometimes I even “hate-motiff” and champion making a song out of the mocking of another work of art I am appalled at… more peacefully put, it can be explained as an ironic influence… anyway, in list form:

And once it hits this point in the record collection, it kind of goes on and on in one way or another… I do not love all music, but I sure do love some of it an awful lot…

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"I ain't no tutor. I'm a writer, and the manner in which I wrote these records is one that lends itself to interpretation and/or folklore."

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Which contemporary musicians get you off these days?

The above gangsters… and I always am adding folks to the list…

Like… Ghengis Tron… Tunde Adebimpe… Fennesz… Phil Elverum…

big Joanna Newsom… Liars… Thee More Shallows…

What would be your desert island albums?

Neon golden, critical beatdown,the dreaming,thisheat deceit, f.s.a. further,music has the right to children,masta ase slaughtahouse, saafir box car sessions, and timdog penecilin on wax, and do or die

What is your opinion on downloading music?

Wow…

I think it is a means to an end… and unfortunately it is an utter end…

It is not that I don't trust the human being; it is simply that I will not lie to the wind in my chest… it tells me things in the brut impulse and push/pull of emotional only… and for some time it has been screaming at the things I see…

I think the notion of global-sharing and freedom of music through stealing is so far from truly thought out…

Rather the way things seem to me is like a large sea of teenagers, taking a thing or two here or there… until there is nothing left… and genuine trouble ensues…

And I don't mean the literal teen… I mean all of us, myself included…

Truly we know better… no good has ever gone free and returned… take bread water and spirituality… they become staples… they become grey bits of the most rudimentary and necessary machinery in struggledom… they are ultimately/eventually taken, not appreciated…

Yet music is not such… it is a culminate form of self-expression… and it is a motherfucker… it defeats age/race difference, and widens the sense of self in the free standing mind to no end…

Yet here we all are, acting like taking music free forever will lead anywhere but to shitty music and dry wells…

I liken it to the slow-stupid man is still climbing out of with regard to global warming… it's an impossible feat, and we have well set it into motion…

And all this rides fast on the back of Lars of Metallica yelling like a child about loosing the abundance he has become so greedy for… 10 years ago…

And so the world took its scapegoat and ran… Lars and all the major labels, were somehow finally exposed as the blood suckers they have always been… so Napster and the new “share” principle hit the mainstream like wildfire…

And here we are… we have a sense of entitlement in the fans, who have been ripped off for a stack of decades…

And then we have folks like us… who are honest blue-collar dreamers… and we get crushed in the calamity… I don't know if the world does not know this, but some of us indie acts worked really hard to get a 50/50 split… and the 50% labels get usually goes to promoting our art… so in all this confusion, we the noble and nice to you in headphones are also being flayed of our flesh…

In all, I see it as a push of our fine art into the climate and realm of prostitution in the man kind's eyes… It cheapens our efforts and message… and justifies stealing from all in the name of the few…

In some ways, I am both shocked and appalled that man can consistently miss the mark on value judgments and clearly perceiving the sliding grey scale of all things truly important…

So in the name of full iPods… we all will resign to the un-choice… of doe-doe-ing… bumble bee-ing… polar bearing us Mclass dreamers in the leap of our wingspan…

It is cannibalism of the hopeless… it is age old and inordinately human in its accord…

That being said… yeah downloading is awesome… I… me… me… I… me… me I we deserve it all… for less…

Mark my words, the bursting of the download dyke… will leave behind only the slow bones of regret and “wishing we never had”…

What possessed a bunch of art school kids to start a hip-hop collective?

To be honest this is probably the single largest misconception of anticon.…

Only Yoni and Nosdam went to art school… and they both dropped out… I actually got a marketing degree…

I was a rapper who was poetically inclined, and each of us has always been a careful human concoction of serious potential and possible downfall… together we are without doubt stronger, and more importantly not alone in this adventure…

We were-are folks meant to make art… not people who pursued it properly or as students half-blind… we are savant and proud of it… we are in many ways to modern art what rap music was to modern music so many years ago, jarring untrained and naturals at it… taking it somewhere it's already going… but has not necessarily been before…

Do you think white rappers have overcome the lack of cred they once had, or is Vanilla Ice forever going to be that giant stigma around white guy's necks?

No ain't no strings on me, rapping is a trick of tongue and power of heart… nothing else… you could be high yellow with lavender stripes and a maroon forehead… doesn't mean shit to the no place of rap heaven… much like one knows when something is “wak”… one should know something is “right”… but the world doesn't always reverse that rule of thumb as easily as one would hope…

That being said…

This is my turf… wiping words around meaning and rifleing it through mics… I'll explain down or battle up anyone who chooses to put ignorance where their understanding of that would otherwise go…

Besides, territorial or race-based rights to anything that is about expressing the individual, is not only nonsense its toxic… that's how concentration camps eventually become a good idea to the thin-witted; it's the slow accrue of territorial behaviors and birthright concepts that seem to keep the grown ape down , in matters of self-expression across generations…

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"I think the notion of global-sharing and freedom of music through stealing is so far from truly thought out."

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Tell me about the freestyle battle you had with Eminem at Scribble Jam?

Eh, a sort of low impact meeting of not wholly dissimilar artists…

We both clinked beers and spoke on the politics of organized battleing and the propensity of people to kick writtens in mid-battle… we then battled each other, which was fuckery induced; neither of us should have battled one another -- the scribble judges were just trying to save Rhymefest and Juice's faces, since they were famous, and Eminem and I were only hungry… and better than them… it made things uncomfortably political… so our actual battle was non-viscous and kind of bullshit…

Then I went home, and popped in his tape, and much to my chagrin, all his freestyles were written… I never called him… the rest is pop record-breaking history…

At some point, I have a deep and resounding feeling we will have the same number of drastic and entire appreciators… his will have come from being Michael Jackson and then diffusing, and mine will have come from protecting the holy grail of “meaning it”… and slowly growing…

This equity may take decades to unravel, but I think it is somehow the only reason for our otherwise random path crossing…

I've heard you rant against materialistic corporate rappers. Have you ever gotten any invites to do appearances on gangsta rap albums? Do you have any lyrics tucked away about bling and hos you'd like to share with us?

I wish, on the new themselves material, I am definitely taking this stance to a new level, getting the Rambo knife of honesty sharp as can be… I write the anti-bling; I deeply resent the “hair-metaling” of rap… rap culture is my baby, the stork that brought me to loving music, and these rich people with greed for mouths have really whored it out… homogenized its avenue and individuals, by making only money jewelery and violence sell… this has gradually repressed the once “every direction at once” nature of rap and rap groups, the '90s set the stage for anything being possible… from P.E.… to UMCs… to N.W.A. These were all options and viable interpretations of rap… however time has narrowed the options down toonly the latter… sell angry&sell out or sell nothing…

The many minds milling about in all the malls across America are essentially sold into imagination slavery to this, hollow rap, and the desperate record company's behind them… it's like a big old bear trap set for children; makes me wanna serve justice…

You seem to be out on tour more than your average human. What's life like on the road? Do you get time to appreciate the places you go, or is it a grueling haul from one venue to another that all becomes a blur?

Yes and no… the best is when you have a favorite restaurant or store in a certain city, you wait for your moment with it… like the date/almond smoothie we get in Toronto… or Powel's in Portland…

We also have people we love to death, who cross our paths as often as we'd cross theirs…

And every once in a while, we get a genuine “being there” experience, and we get to go to a local bar, good restaurant, maybe even get an off-day to record shop or smoke pot in a park and fall in love with the city's beautiful women from the faculty of transience, and being destined to return to the rental car…

Would you mind talking about the van accident you were in back in 2005?

Yes and no…

Maybe I will do so in a tangential fashion…

One of my worst fears is that the gravity and reality of our accident and fight back from it… will grow old on this universe… more unfelt pressures to hit the scar tissue…

We crashed, on black ice in Omaha… we were good, sober, sleeping , and following our dream…

In a matter of moments, we were in the pure fire of jeopardy… and the simplicity of our lives, which we had taken for granted up till then, was all but gone…

Dax was not moving… and while I tried to stop trucks on the frozen highway and call cops… I knew that something had been broken deeply… we all knew… the rest could be expressed as a lot of suffering and trial… tribulation and bad news…

Or you could see it how we do… the epic of Dax and his strength… it is his resilience and personality that now dwarf the caliber and context of our art… all our fancy bpm spined art work, pales in comparison to the nature of Dax's strength and recovery…

None of us ever thought that the pursuit of our dream world and dream earnings would cost so highly… that there was more to take from us… who honestly give for a living… it did not taint the world for me… it proved it's edge was actual…

And the moral of the story is… the constitution of the human being is far tougher than that of flesh… in fact while it may be flesh that binds us to the day… it is the weakest bone in our bodies… there is a certain something Dax has come to derive his constancy and perseverance from… and I have a feeling it is both ancient and endangered in the scheme of men thriving and expiring…

Fortunatly Dax is a living example of this powerful pit in men …

Tell me about NOTGarfield?

Well after the robbery, I was crushed, entirely… and I was drinking at 10 AM in the van, and crying at a moment's notice; then one night something snapped -- not only did I see the rest of the 20,000 words behind the new Subtle record… but laughter came back to me with a vengeance.

So on the electrical box of a beautiful bed and breakfast in Holland, I drew a four-foot garfield that said “suck my black cock”… and I laughed till I cried. Not only did I trace Garfield as a child, but something had indeed snapped and I realized how important laughing must become (always was) for me, in order to keep on meaning it and making things in the face of adversity… I needed to turn up the laugh track…

The rest is homespun ingenuity and the gradual fleshing out of inside joke into lol material… between me and Jel… best friends is our middle name…

You really should check out our new shit,… Conan&Friend's… I must say I have never got so neck-deep in making funny stuff funnier…

We have a mutual female acquaintance. She begged me not to mention to you her obsession with the boy band Hanson. Is there some arch nemesis feud thing going on between you and Hanson (and if there isn't, can I start the rumor that there is)?

Yes please… I would serve the shit out of them… and the guy who does Patrick The Starfish's voice on SpongeBob… and Gwen Stefani's hired Japanese hype girls… and the white girl inside M.I.A.… and the white girl inside Bright Eyes…

Honestly, I will challenge the countenance and composition of anyone on earth who dares check swing at the plate of permanence and all honesty…

  

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