FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q. Will the songs you've been releasing recently via Patreon ever be available publicly? This is to say, will I ever be able to find them on Spotify, iTunes or anywhere else? I don't want to miss anything.
A. Most of the songs I'm releasing via Patreon will never be available anywhere else. While there is still a small chance that a few of the new tracks may eventually be re-recorded, edited, tweaked and re-mastered for future compilations, signing up to support me through Patreon is the best way to make sure you won't ever miss anything I release. I promise to keep pushing myself to create my best work through this new 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 my music for new media projects like these, 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'll come rock it! Whether it be a wedding, a school assembly, a DIY bowling alley venue, a brand new con, or a private birthday party, I'll be there if we can make it work logistically. If you have a serious offer and a venue ready, please email my manager Eva and we'll make it happen! (Oh yeah, I also school workshops. Holler at a scholar.)
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 in bars and clubs that aren't, which makes this difficult. If the age restriction information listed on the venue's sites or the ticket links on my tour page is unclear, it is best to contact the venues directly to avoid confusion. (Don't know how to get in touch with the venues? A quick Google search will always reveal the best phone number to call for more information. Thanks!)
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. To become a great writer, it takes focus, energy and years of hard work to perfect the craft. Your first few rhymes might not be awesome, but don't despair! Creating awesome raps takes time; write for at least two hours a day and be fearless in revision (a good edit can make-or-break a clunky verse). Listen to as much rap as you can, focusing on how to tell your own story. Learning to produce your own beats can help create a unique sound as well and give you a more original result.
For specific tips on how 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 luck and have fun!
Q. Do you ever do features / collabs?
A. I 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 from my verse, and how you hear it fitting within the grander vision of your composition. If you'd like me to record something on the hook, please let me know what, 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 there are so many friends I want to tour with these days that it's unlikely I will be able to take you on the road. That being said, if you do happen have a draw in your hometown and want to open for me locally, please get in contact with the venue where I'm playing (I list this info on my tour page), and ask for the promoter's contact info. If you reach out to him or her regarding your desire to open the show and it turns out they need a local opener, the promoter will then get in touch with my management and me to see what we think about your music. 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 locally.
If you kill it and my fans like you, who knows? We could end up doing more shows together, you never know. Thank you for your professionalism. I get a lot of requests of this nature, so please don't email me directly about it, as I will simply refer you back to this FAQ,
Q. I make beats. Will you please rap over them?
When I'm not doing everything myself, I sometimes hire different producers and engineers to help me mix and master my songs. This team is constantly changing, and some of my favorite collabs have come from producers who hit up me out of the blue and sent me awesome beats-in-progress ("35 Laurel Drive" and "the Ballad of Hans Moleman" came about this way).
If you'd like for me to consider collaborating with you for a future project, please email me two of your best available bats-in-progress, noting their tempos. Please make sure you have stems available for these beats please - there's nothing worse than trying to master an mp3, as I always like to change arrangements and add things when I am collaborating online. Once the song is done, we can work out a backend publishing deal if the song comes out well.
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. Thank you! I look forward to hearing your amazing work.
Q. I want to perform a cover of (insert song name here) for my high school talent show or rap over the instrumental for my YouTube channel. Can you please send me an .mp3 of the instrumental?
A. Honored that you would want to pay tribute to my music! Thanks! Unfortunately, I don't really have time to go digging through external hard drives to find and send instrumentals for situations like this. It's not a frequent request, but frequent enough that I have to have boundaries about what I can and cannot do.
However, because many of my songs contain samples, it could be an awesome learning experience for you to find the original tracks I first sampled and build your own beats from scratch like I did. 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! And thanks for the musical props!
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! If you support me on Patreon at the $5-per-song level, you will be granted access to both the instrumental and acapella of every new song I ever release through that platform. 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 for personal reasons.
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, please be my guest, that actually sounds amazing!
Q. What's up with your kids' TV show?
A. It's been in development since 2009 and this year it looks like it will finally be finding the light of day. I can't say much more, other than that it's going to be amazing. Stay tuned 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 established loyal online following in the early years of social media, and since then I have been lumped into the "nerd rap" scene, for better or worse. These two things granted me a decade plus year career rapping full time and being asked to open for bigger artists over the years has helped as well.
My advice would be to work to find your own niche where you can 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, topical and frequent, and that you are always good to your fans. If you are talented, unique, consistent and are willing to work your butt off for 10+ years, doors will open. 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 helped me release and promote my first EP and my first official full-length the Graduate.
Later, when I left Nettwerk, I retained the rights to Horris, through I released projects with K.Flay and YTCracker and my own solo records. In 2011, I signed Coheed & Cambria's Josh Eppard (Weerd Science), releasing his sophomore rap album Sick Kids. The album received some great press, but we unfortunately never recouped. Eppard and I are still friends of course, and when he's not drumming in Coheed, he continues to release his own rap albums independently.
I learned a few things from this experience: (i) that running a record company was very expensive and very time consuming and (ii) it's a lot more fun to make my own albums than it is to help friends promote and sell theirs.
TL;DR: I'm not currently looking for new artists to sign, but anything Horris might be able to do for you or your brand you can definitely do on your own. In the worlds of Jello Biafra from the No More Cocoons line notes: "Anyone could have made this album. Now go do your own."
Q. What programs do you use to make your beats?
A. Mainly 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 an 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.
Q. Where can I get your releases on vinyl?
A. I eventually plan on re-releasing the Graduate, Robot Kills 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, so if you have a copy of either, congrats! Those two books are still some of my rarest merch items.
Q. Can you get me in touch with K.Flay, Watsky or "Weird Al" Yankovic?
A. Sorry! I'm not a publicist, but my musician friends are indeed all all on Twitter, so feel free to hit them up directly.
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, who later directed the "This Gigantic Robot Kills" music video. Once I left, 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" though - thanks Tim! I probably owe you royalties!
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 I unfortunately I won't be to personalize items ordered, sorry! 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. Thanks again!
Q. Finally, what are your real thoughts on nerdcore?
A. People aware of this sub-genre often consider MC Frontalot, mc chris and me to be its three of its main architects. 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. (Mega Ran is another incredible rapper often label as "nerdcore", but he joined the three of us a few years later.)
Fans would sometimes tell us, "I don't like rap, but I like you guys," which seemed problematic for a few reasons. No one ever wanted to talk about the spurious political and artistic points on which nerdcore traded. The first generation of 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) that of awkward high schoolers once teased for their love of Star Wars and D&D who similarly used hip-hop as therapy. These two perspectives were spawned from very different hegemonic power structures. Re-appopriating this hip-hop trope seemed very inappropriate to me, but it 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. If you check out these aforementioned four links, you'll get a pretty clear overview of my take on this "controversy". For further reading, check out Jason Tanz's Other People's Property, an interesting book of essays about appropriation which offers a well-researched chapter on the history of the nerdcore and its relationship to the broader culture of hip-hop.