Nada Mucho Interview – MC Chris
Q & A with Chris Ward
By Matt Ashworth, Adam Lawrence & Jason Fisher
We first became aware of MC Chris one Sunday night while watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Underneath the credits at the end of a Sealab 2021 episode were these lyrics: “My backpack’s got jets / I’m Boba the Fett / I bounty hunt for Jabba Hutt/ To finance my Vette.”We were pretty sure this is what Sam Philips felt like when he heard Elvis for the first time.
In the few years since, MC Chris has become our idol – an Internet based musician gettin’ by the best he can with some of the best rhymes in the biz, while doing voice work and production for Cartoon Network. Recently, we took advantage of this e-mail thing and “rapped” with our favorite MC.
Nada Mucho: S’up, Boba Phat?
MC Chris: Not a heck of a lot. My throat’s sore ‘cuz I spent yesterday vomiting – too much dancin’/drinkin’/runnin’/rollercoasterin’. I really tested my body’s limits over the weekend.
NM: Your new album, Eating’s Not Cheating, was recently released. Describe it in 17 words or more.
MCC: It’s mainly about the Internet, I think. A response to how fans reacted to Knowing is Half the Hassle, how in real life I had kinda fell in love on the Internet and I knew a ton of others had too, so I thought it’d be an album everyone would get. And I think girls dug this one more than guys; there were a lot of love songs. We also wanted to focus on the music and now we look back at that compared to stuff we can do now, and it’s like we’re taking huge leaps from album to album. Although some people say I’ve yet to top “Fett’s Vette,”which is turning into my Superman curse.
NM: In our experience, it usually takes people a little while to fully understand the MC Chris genius. Do you think people file you away as a novelty act too quickly, or is it just that the snaps come too quick for people to catch on the first listen?
MCC: I am a novelty act, what I rhyme about, what I sound like, where I work; they’re attention-getting gimmicks. I’d like to think that I’m occasionally impressive at rapping too, even to the most reluctant admirer. Sometimes I think it’s all annoying… “Is this Eminem? Is this a girl? Is this a kid?” But I try my damndest to put some meaning into the songs and have them be more than just playground hooks.
NM: Tell us about all the peeps on the MC Chris team, starting with your DJ.
MCC: John’s awesome. He is Jet Pack Industries, packing every envelope, getting anything and everything to make us sound better. He’s really hustling his ass off, getting us the cheapest deals, hooking things up like web space with fans and he makes all the music on top of everything. He’s really what makes the whole MC Chris thing exist. He brought it into being, and I doubt it would have gotten this far without him. I think he’s the next Pharrell. There are a bunch of others who help, like Webjohn, John Gemberling, Curtis Gwinn and Teriyaki Boy, but I think John’s the one who deserves the most credit.
NM: File sharing. It’s obviously been a good promotional tool for you, but you also mentioned you’ve barely broke even on the last album. Do you think it’s helped or hindered your bottom line?
MCC: Yes and no. It’s starting to hurt us now. When I shut the boards down, the fans started up new boards right away. The most hardcore posters all had a hearty laugh because they hadn’t purchased any of my merchandise. So in that way it’s really weird and ironic that my new fans have chosen to support me financially and the older ones have chosen not to (although I’m sure there are numerous exceptions).
In the beginning the album was free and what I do for a living was still very unknown, so getting out there with free downloads put us in many a CD player. We got lot of attention that way.
Now we’re doing really well and our sales rock thanks to all kinds of different elements. If you’re a fan of mine I’d like to think you’d buy a t-shirt or a CD just to say thanks for all the downloads, knowing it’s not going into a mansion or a yacht but a one bedroom and an “’89 Honda. I still have yet to make over $30,000 in a year. If it weren’t for MC cash, I’d be struggling big time.
NM: What’s kept you from releasing Life’s a Bitch and I’m Her Pimp? If it’s the excessive sampling, could you sum up your experience of dealing with the major record labels? Extra points awarded for attention to rhyme and meter.
MCC: We made it thinking no one would ever hear it, hence the samples. We haven’t dealt with any labels except Woah Oh Records out of Queens and DC Flag out of Manhattan. Woah will be putting us in stores this fall. Right now we’re just pals with DC. They have a huge launch with Good Charlotte’s new album, as well as manage their first two acts, Hazing Street and Lola Ray (both amazing). We keep in steady contact, strategically planning our attack, which will be a multimedia mind fuck.
NM: Tell the fans what MC Chris merchandise is available for purchase. Can we find MC Chris stuff in shops, or is it available only on your website? Any plans to put anything out on vinyl?
MCC: We’ve got some black t’s, bumper stickers and the CD’s. Merchandise with the first album logo is coming out in three forms this fall, just in time for school! Black shirt, black hoodie, and finally, black panties. I wanna kick my fan mail jpg’s up a notch too. As for vinyl, Woah Oh may have experience with that, I’m not sure. Maybe we’ll release the first three albums on vinyl with them.
NM: Is the Macadamia really your favorite nut? Over cashews or smoked almonds even?
MCC: I must confess, it is actually cashews.
NM: You’ve said that you’d like to tour. What’s holding you back? You can totally crash at our place.
MCC: I don’t have any money saved and no show rehearsed. If we take care of those things, we got ourselves a tour. I get an e-mail everyday asking me to come here or there and it breaks my heart. I wanna do it all, but right now all I can do is make another good album really fast, sell it and use that bank to fund a tour. I may just have to do a little crashing.
NM: Briefly define what it means to have “Geek Pride” to our readers. Does it have anything to do with what recently froze up the message boards on your website?
MCC: It’s more than geek pride. It’s about any kind of pride you can have in who you are. All you have to offer on this earth, what sets you apart from others, is yourself. Maintain that shit, and don’t let anyone fuck with it.
As for the site, I turned it off after it got out of hand. The boards were like a castle and it was under siege, and those attacking truly have nothing better to do than spend all day and night hitting it with spam and multiple ID’s. The fact that the person behind it was the highest poster makes the whole thing somewhat frightening. Fans want a great deal from me and I give them as much as I can but sometimes it’s never enough. I get hounded with emails by people who are outraged that I’m not their best friend. That’s when I get scared.
Another thing that’s ironic about all this is that I’m still a secret. I’m having all these big star issues without even being slightly famous. I think because I rhyme about geek stuff, the Internet has kinda given me a special place in their hearts. Conduct on the Internet is unfortunately often times not driven by love.
NM: Everyone who contributes to NadaMucho.com is a huge geek. We’ve discussed and written about this fact, both in self-deprecating and reverent/proud tones, throughout our lives, and I think there are more of us out there. Has the geek’s day in the sun finally arrived?
MCC: It’s on the way out. Lord Of The Rings helped as did Harry Potter, but once Star Wars and Potter finish out their tales, the jocks are gonna take over again. So to all you geeks, hit that shit now, you’ve got a two to three year window of opportunity to get your geek freak on. I will provide the background music. Ready, all hands in, fight!
NM: Does it scare you that you might be this social group’s Bob Dylan? Have you ever been slapped with the “New Dylan” tag before? Probably not.
MCC: Actually, yes, a fan said that in an email, and I thought it was too nice. Dylan was obviously a better musician and poet than me, but I get what it means. The geeks don’t have someone saying geeks are cool. Often times, geeks are geeks. If they decide to follow me in that way, I think it might create too much pressure on me, because I don’t know as much about sci-fi, the Internet or RPGs as I let on. So it’s truly not a worthy title. I prefer the Weird Al Yankovic of hip hop.
NM: I bet this is totally the best interview you’ve done so far. I hate pants. Describe your least favorite pair of pants.
MCC: They have an ink stain on them and the zipper always goes down and then gets stuck in the crotch and you just spend the whole day fiddling with it. That sounded gross.
NM: Regale us with the tale of how you came to know the Adult Swim brood.
MCC: I tell this one too much. After a night in the UCB ticket booth, I met up with a coworker, her friend from Georgia and some other dude. I had no cash so I bet the guys that I could drink a pint of beer in under five seconds, did that about 12 times, became funny, next thing I know I’m getting Dave Willis’ business card. Then Adam Reed’s. Unwilling to move to Atlanta, I worked with Adam at Sealab. Then they said they were coming down here to the ATL, and I said, I know this is where I’m headed. So down I went with all my stuff in a U-Haul packed so quickly thanks to a punk group called The Proms. After a year with Sealab I switched over to Brak and Aqua Teen Hunger Force and now I make commercials for all the shows, as well as the voice stuff.
NM: Have you ever considered taking advantage of your talented colleagues at Adult Swim to put together an MC Chris music video?
MCC: Patience is a virtue.
NM: Who’s this Hallie Bulleit gal you’ve got singing on some of your songs? Are either of her bands – The Unlovables and The Hissyfits – worth checking out?
MCC: Yeah, check it all out. The Unloveables and The Ergs are on Woah Oh Records and they are currently on tour I think. Look ’em up, I wouldn’t be surprised if we all toured together at some point.
NM: What are your three favorite albums to hump to?
MCC: Reggie’s really great dry humping music. As is anything old, like Billie Holiday. Outkast is good. Daft Punk. Air.
NM: Have you heard about this war thing everyone’s talkin’ about?
MCC: Yeah, vote Kerry, what else can you say? I’m just as sad as I was on 9/11 and have been the whole time. And now GW’s pissing on all those pointless graves and for what? Does anyone know why? I’m gonna go watch CNN and eat ice cream. Thanks for bumming me out.
NM: How about your favorite war movies?
MCC: Paths of Glory, War Games, Team America