Jon caught up with MC Lars prior to his set supporting The Aquabats in London.
MC Lars spoke to Alter The Press about his new album, 'This Gigantic Robot Kills', what he's been up to over the last year, signing with Crappy Records, Gerard Way, working with Simple Plan, Nerdcore, touring with Cartel after parodying their 'Band In A Bubble' stunt; and more.
Alter The Press: This is you’re first time back in the UK since 2008 – “Where Ya Been Lars?”
MC Lars: I did three US tours, finished the record, put out a mixtape; I do podcasts, I moved from LA to San Francisco, dated a girl who I broke up with, did a bunch of comics and now I’m back.
ATP: 'This Gigantic Robot Kills', where did this name originate?
ML: There's a street performer named Wesley Willis who was a schizophrenic 350-pound artist, who wrote a bunch of crazy songs. Before he died, he said, “Lars, I’m going to write a song about you on my new album, ‘This Gigantic Robot Kills’”, then he died. The title was a tribute to his unfinished album.
ATP: The album is packed with guest appearances, from Gabe Saporta (Cobra Starship/Midtown) to Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan). It’s an impressive line-up!
ML: They are all people who are my friends, that I’ve toured with. There are twenty to thirty people on there! The track with Pierre was originally supposed to have Mark Hoppus on there but he was too busy with the +44 record, which they are never releasing. It turned out we wanted Pierre to do it because it fitted his voice better, Mark’s is really low, so, Pierre tracked it in Canada and it was one of the last tracks finished for the album. Sebastian (guitarist of Simple Plan) tracked the vocals also and helped with harmonies.
ATP: What was it like working with your hero, “Weird Al” Yankovic?
ML: He is a really funny guy and really musically talented. It was an honour to work with him and the accordion sounds he played are really cool.
ATP: The opening track of the record, it sounds like you were snubbed by Gerard Way.
ML: He is a very successful person and cool. I like him. Gerard never said, “Ask me if I care!” but his demeanor said that. He is very talented so props to him.
ATP: What is your favorite track to play off the new album?
ML: I’ve been playing guitar on this tour so, '(Lord It’s Hard to be Happy When You’re Not) Using The Metric System' song (Atom and His Package cover). It’s a lot of fun. My favorite track from the album is 'Hey There Ophelia'.
ATP: The album came out on Crappy Records (Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup’s record label). How did this come about?
ML: My label, Horris Records, put the money in for most of the pre-production and demos for the album. I was working on some stuff in the studio where Linus Dotson, who started the label with Jaret, said he was looking for artists. So, we got talking and said they would invest in this record; the next one and they have been really helpful. I love Bowling For Soup because they’ve been really helpful and I only work with them because I trust them and like them. They are really good guys and have helped me make the record sound good. It took three years to come out because I was between management, the industry’s falling apart, they gave me a hand and I’m really happy how it came out. Crappy Records is cool, I support them, and I'm proud to be a part of it.
ATP: You were featured in the ‘Nerdcore Rising’ movie and recently played the first European nerdcore festival in Holland. How was it?
ML: The movie came out well and I really like it. It’s a funny look at a very specific genre. There are a lot of characters that are talented and passionate about hip-hop; and that’s what I love about nerdcore, hip-hop is more universal. Not all nerdcore is good, most is really bad, but the people who do it are very passionate about it.
ATP: Like YT Cracker.
ML: He’s great, like MC Frontalot, Beefy, MC Chris. There are some really good artists in nerdcore.
ATP: Will you ever re-release, “Radio Pet Fencing”?
ML: I won’t release it physically as it's not profitable but we re-mastered it, took out samples, and now its available on iTunes. It’s out of print physically as Truck Records sold out of it, which are now out of business.
ATP: Will there ever be a MC Lars vinyl release? A split with Bowling For Soup would be a great idea!
ML: That would be a really good idea! We were going to do vinyl of the new album but Jaret said no. I’m going to do it myself whether Crappy Records does it or not, because it’s cool. Kids are buying records not CDs. We are selling these really cool robot USB’s that have the album, an EP and a video we did, loaded on there. I am doing a project with Jesse Dangerously and K-Flay that will be released on vinyl.
ATP: You did a podcast parodying Cartel when they went into Dr. Pepper’s ‘Band In A Bubble,’ to record an album. You then went on to do a tour with them across the US. What happened there?
ML: It was a college tour and it was already booked. Cartel’s agent made us take the video off YouTube for the tour but we put it back up afterwards. I like them; they are nice guys but awkward most of the tour. The reason I did the tour was because it was cool to play colleges.
ATP: Did it feel like selling out at all, after you made this video?
ML: Maybe it’s selling out, but it’s not like I asked to tour with them. I wanted to go on this college tour. It’s like when Hot Topic were selling my shirts, was it selling out, I don’t know. It’s funny that I can make fun of these institutions and then be asked to be a part of them. Cartel’s fans were saying, ‘Why are you touring with him? He makes fun of you!’ and my fans said the opposite.
ATP: What was their response to the video?
ML: The first night I said, ‘I’m sorry about the whole internet thing’, and they said it was cool. I was mean. They didn’t think it was funny because everyone ripped on them about the whole 'Band In A Bubble' thing a lot.
ATP: What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
ML: I’m doing a show with Ludacris and Nas, two college shows, then a bunch of club shows in the US. Going to Australia, then a two month US tour, then hopefully coming back here in Autumn with Failsafe.
ATP: Anything you would like to close with?
ML: Kids should create instead of consume. Don’t buy what they sell you and spend more time creating music, instead of promoting it on MySpace. Spend more time writing songs than you do adding friends. That’s the magic formula.
'This Gigantic Robot Kills' is out now on Crappy Records.