FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. Will the songs you've been releasing recently via Patreon ever be available publicly, i.e. via Spotify, iTunes or anywhere else? I don't want to miss anything.
A. Great question, thank you for asking and for your support. Most of the songs I'm releasing via Patreon will never be available anywhere else. Though there is still a small chance that a few of the new tracks may mutate to eventually be re-recorded, edited, tweaked or re-mastered for future compilations, signing up to support me through Patreon is the only way to make sure you won't ever miss any of my new releases. I promise to keep pushing myself through this platform, so thank you so much again for your support!
Q. Can I use one of your songs on my podcast / YouTube channel / Twitch stream etc.?
A. Yes, yes and yes. Anyone out there has blanket permission to use any of my music for any projects, as long as it's not being monetized. If you are monetizing it, hit me up and we can work something out. Thanks!
Q. Will you please come play my venue / wedding / school / convention?
A. If there's a sound system and a mic, yes, I'd love to come and rock it! If you have a serious offer and a venue ready, please email my manager Eva and we'll make it happen! I also school workshops, so let me know.
Q. I am getting engaged / it's my girlfriend's birthday / my son just graduated from middle school / something else amazing happened to someone important to me. Would you please record him or her a congratulatory message?
A. For sure! Happy to record congratulatory videos for all of your celebratory needs, I'll even freestyle or rap for you! All I ask is that you support my Patreon at any level you feel comfortable, and I'll send you whatever you need (it keeps me able to do this, thanks for understanding).
Q. Is the upcoming show in (insert any town's name here) all ages?
A. I wish every show could be all ages, but I do sometimes get booked to play bars and clubs that aren't, which makes this question a difficult one. If the age restriction information listed on the venue's sites is unclear, the venues will be able to answer this question better than I can. (Don't know how to get in touch with them? A quick Google search will always reveal the best phone number to call for more information.)
Q. Have you seen this hilarious Poe meme?
A. Probably! But please send it anyway, on the off chance that I haven't.
Q. I think I might want to rap one day! Any tips?
A. For specific tips on how I believe rap works as a poetic form, my TEDx presentation offers a cursory overview, while Paul Edwards's How to Rap series offers some deeper insight.
Good writing takes time; your first few rhymes might not be Eminem-status, but that don't be discouraged! I tell young rappers who ask me this to write for at least two hours a day, be fearless in revision, listen to as much rap as they can, focus on telling their own story. Learning to produce your own beats can help create a unique sound as well and give you a more original result. Good luck and have fun!
Q. Do you ever do features / collabs?
A. I definitely do. If you think I might be feeling your project and would like to commission me for a guest verse, please email me an mp3 of the track in question with your verses and hook already recorded, explaining a bit about what you are looking for me from my verse, and how you hear it fitting within the grander vision of your composition. If you'd like me to record something for the hook, please let me know what you need, giving me some examples of the type of chorus you are looking for. I will get back to you as soon as I can and we can negotiate rates. Thanks!
Q. Can my band open for you on your next tour?
A. I'm all for giving up-and-coming artists a place to showcase their art, but I have so many friends I want to tour with these days that it's unlikely I will be able to take everyone who asks on the road. That being said, if you do happen have a draw in your city and want to open for me locally, please get in contact with the venue where I'm playing (I always list this info on my tour page), and ask for the promoter's contact info. You can reach out to the promoter and see if they need a "local" (i.e. opener from the town with a built-in fanbase), and the promoter will get in touch with my management and me. If it looks like you are doing something interesting and you can promise a certain amount of ticket pre-sales, there's a chance we can add you to the show.
Then, if you kill it and my fans like you, we could end up doing more shows together down the road, you never know. Thank you for your professionalism. I get a lot of requests of this nature, going through the promoter is your best bet.
Q. I make beats. Will you please rap over them?
Half of my songs are self-produced and the other half are collaborative. Sometimes, I get beats that I then add to, "35 Laurel Drive" and "the Ballad of Hans Moleman" came about this way. If you are doing something interesting musically that you think I'd like, please email me two of your best beats available, noting their tempos. Please make sure you have stems available for these as well. Once the song is done and if we are both happy, we can work out the business stuff (which will usually be a percentage of the publishing).
If you'd like to hire me to rap on your mixtape, this is also a possibility, though I approach these types of collaborations differently. Please hit me up and we can talk rates.
Q. I want to perform a cover of (insert song name here) for my high school talent show. Can you please send me an .mp3 of the instrumental?
A. Honored that you would want to pay tribute to my music! Thanks! A few of my instrumental are on YouTube or my SoundCloud, and there are ways to rip them, but I won't be able to send specific mp3s, sorry! (However, please note that Patreon subscribers at the $5-a-song level get every instrumental, so those are available too.)
Because many of my songs contain samples however, it could be an awesome learning experience for you to find the original tracks I first sampled and build your own beats from scratch. Also, for those of you who play guitar or bass, you can find a bunch of the tabs here to use to help record your own versions. Good luck!
Q. Can you send me an .mp3 of the acapella for (insert song name here)? I had an idea for this crazy remix.
A. Awesome, thanks for asking! As I said before, if you support me on Patreon at the $5-per-song level, you will be granted access to the instrumental of every new song I ever release through that platform, as well as the acapella. Alternatively, if you search for "MC Lars acapella" on YouTube, you'll find acapellas of some of my older songs which I give you full legal approval to rip and remix.
If neither of these solutions is helpful, I unfortunately don't have time to dig through my old hard drives to find and bounce specific acapellas of songs in question. Sorry! However, if you wanted to do a rap "cover" of the song in question by rapping it yourself and using the new vocal for such a remix, that actually sounds amazing! #problemsolvers
Q. What's up with your kids' TV show?
A. It's been in development since 2009 and it looks like it will finally be finding the light of day in the form of a one-man off-Broadway show, that we will film and then pitch to the networks. I can't say much more, but please join the email list for updates.
Q. I'm getting married next year! Will you come hang out at the wedding? Not to perform or rap or anything, just to meet my friends?
A. I wish I could! I'm on the road and in these studio so much that I even miss my friends' weddings sometimes, so unfortunately, I'll have to pass, but thank you for the invite!
Q. I want to be a full-time musician like you one day. Any tips?
A. I get emails like this a lot, and I'll admit that I sent my fair share to artists I looked up to in the 90s and early 00s, so it's a beautiful full-circle thing to be asked to speak on.
I came up at a time when everything was changing dramatically in the music industry, so my advice is specific to someone starting when I did (i.e. when I was 15 in 1998). I established loyal online following in the early years of social media, and have since found an audience in the "nerd rap scene", a group of people who are both loyal and very generous. Also, being asked to open for bigger artists over the years and do things like Warped Tour has helped as well.
My advice would be to work to find your own niche where you can similarily keep creating and connecting with loyal fans. If you can find 1,000 people who will buy any album you put out, that is enough to survive and have a satisfying career. Make sure that your material continues to be strong, that your live show is special and authentic, that your online videos are well-produced, and that you are always good to your fans. If you are talented, unique, consistent, kind and are willing to work your butt off for 10+ years, doors will open (look at K.Flay's career - she did all of these things!). Trust me, I promise it will be worth the effort.
Q. What is Horris Records? I make music too, would you consider signing me?
A. Horris Records started out as an imprint through Nettwerk, my former management company. They had a distribution deal through Fontana, and both companies had helped me release and promote my first EP and my first official full-length, the Graduate.
After leaving Nettwerk in 2008, I retained rights to both of these projects. I did an album with YTCracker and an EP with K.Flay, as well as few other solo projects, and it became clear to me that the Horris back catalog was growing and people in the hardcore scene were recognizing the name. In 2011, I signed Weerd Science (Josh Eppard from Coheed & Cambria), releasing his sophomore rap album Sick Kids, a dark record about recovering form heroin addiction. The album got great press, but I realized putting out other people's music was hard. Eppard and I are still friends, and when he's not drumming in Coheed, he continues to release his own rap albums independently.
These days, I'm not currently looking for new artists to sign, and anything Horris might theoretically be able to do for you or your brand you can definitely do on your own with this new thing called the internet (have you heard of it). As Jello Biafra once said in the liner notes to No More Cocoons: "Anyone could have made this album. Now go do your own."
Q. What programs do you use to make your beats?
A. These days, I use Logic Pro X, GarageBand, Ableton Live 9 Intro and Reason on my MacBook Pro, and GarageBand (again), Chordbot and ReBirth on my iPad Pro. I program and play synth and bass lines with my Akai MPK25 and record my vocals with a Shure KSM32 single diaphragm microphone via a Resident Audio T2 Thunderbolt audio interface. I am also familiar with ProTools, but don't use it as part of my current DAW. (Many mixing engineers I hire do use ProTools.)
Q. Where can I get your releases on vinyl?
A. I eventually plan on re-releasing the Graduate, Robot Kills, Lars Attacks! and the Zombie Dinosaur LP on vinyl, so stay tuned. A Greatest Hits gatefold double-disc anthology came out in 2012, but it is currently out of print. It sometimes shows up on eBay, so keep looking, you might get lucky!
Q. Where can I find your original 27th Street comic book? Bukowski in Love?
A. Both are out of print and I no longer have copies in stock, sorry! 27th Street goes for an absurd amount of money on Amazon, and Bukowski is even harder to find. I might reprint them each one day, but probably won't.
Q. I heard you used to be in a punk band in high school? What was it called and where can I find their music?
A. Amphoteric was a hardcore band I started with my friend Tim Thompson. When I left in 2001, the band changed members and had a few releases, but none of the original recordings have ever been released. The chord progression for "Green Machine" became "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock", and Thompson later directed the "This Gigantic Robot Kills" music video.
Q. If I ordered a CD / shirt / hat / etc. from your webstore, would you personally sign it for me?
A. Thanks for your support! My merchandise is warehoused and shipped from a fulfillment center in Phoenix and I currently live in New York, so that makes it hard to personalize items ordered! However, if you want to bring anything you've bought online to an upcoming show, I would be happy to sign it and even draw you something special. If you are looking for signed items, but don't care if they are personalized or not, I do have a few limited-edition autographed posters still available.
Q. Finally, what are your real thoughts on nerdcore?
A. People aware of this sub-genre often consider MC Frontalot, mc chris and Mega Ran to be its three of its original architects, and I lumped into it sometimes as well. I met chris in 2005 and Frontalot in 2006 and admired both of their music and work ethic. We all became friends and I toured with both chris and Front often for years. I met Mega Ran in 2008 and since then have done over 150 shows with him!
Fans would sometimes tell me, "I don't like rap, but I like you guys," which seemed problematic for a few reasons. The first generation of (usually white) nerdcore rappers created frequent, comedic comparisons between (a) the experience of people of color in late 20th / early 21st America who expressed their struggles through rap and (b) the experience of awkward high schoolers once teased for their love of D&D who now use hip-hop as therapy. These two cultural realities reflect unrelated hegemonic power structures; re-appopriating this hip-hop trope for comedic reasons seemed inappropriate to me, and was something no one in nerdcore really wanted to discuss.
So, I spoke out. I wrote a blog about the sub-genre's limitations in 2009 and in 2010 argued that white appropriate of black culture without acknowledging its social roots is a form of racism. This led to an angry backlash by the nerdcore community, which I addressed at length on Jensen Karp's Get Up on This podcast. For further reading, check out Jason Tanz's Other People's Property, an interesting book of essays which offers a well-researched chapter on the history of the nerdcore and its relationship to the broader culture of hip-hop.