"I want to be someone who people recognize and want to come to see, but stayed true to their art and message through their whole career. I want to be able to tour the world and play sold out shows. I'd love to have some mainstream exposure to subversively bring my ideas into the popular eye, as long as I don't have to compromise what I'm doing for the sake of popularity. I want to work with more artists that I admire and be known for having one of the most fun live touring shows that has ever hit the road. I'd like to die having put out one of the most original greatest hits albums in the history of the popular music. That would be awesome." - MC Lars
It isn't easy being a Post Punk Laptop rapper. You're forced to lead a genre that doesn't exist, navigate around cookie cutter superstars, push yourself to make music unlike anything else on earth and spend every penny of your own money to get it all done. You meet kids at every tour date who love what you do, yet turn on MTV and see homogenized puppets that regurgitate their genres and make piles of dough in the process. You push the boundaries of DIY and give major labels the middle finger. You hope (and know) that this will be all worth it some day.
MC Lars is a member of what he dubs the "iGeneration," a group born and raised in the time of the Ninja Turtles, cassette tapes and new wave music, who now live in the age of Desperate Housewives, Sidekicks and screamo bands. These are the kids who have grown up using the Internet as a part of their every day life. They can conveniently carry 5,000 songs in their pocket, but are faced with the glooming fact that the world's oil supply and Social Security will both run out in their lifetime. MC Lars is the hero of this new generation, addressing their thoughts and every day struggles in his music.
Lars has spent the past two years building this group of fans, performing around the world with nothing but his laptop and lyrics. His indie EP has sold over 10,000 copies to a dedicated group of misfits, allowing him to pulse the mainstream through unexpected outlets like Rolling Stone and MTV News. All of this has led him to the decision to steer his own ship and to release the album on his own label (Horris Records) rather than fall into the major label glut. He sees little need for the traditional label trappings and would rather storm his own trail through the Internet, even encouraging file-sharing as a means of promoting his music. "I think I've shown that you don't need to have mainstream exposure to get a dedicated fan base, especially when you have things like MySpace and LimeWire as creative ways of marketing yourself," he says.
The Graduate is an album chock full of wildly different subject matter, from playful and goofy to socially conscious and critical. The album opens with "Download This Song," featuring guest vocals by Jaret Reddick of Bowling For Soup; the song serves as complete manifesto on the future of music industry. "21 Concepts" is a track featuring 21 different song ideas Lars rejected for the album, including an ill-fated jam about a fetus running for governor. He gives listeners a literature lesson on "Ahab," retelling Herman Melville's class Moby Dick in under four minutes (to a Supergrass sample, no less). Lars collaborates with The Matches on a song about mallrat-infested Hot Topic and another with notorious rapper Ill Bill (Non Phixion) on "The Dialogue," a marriage that will surprise many. "The Roommate From Hell" teams him up with pal mc chris, cast as Lars' college roommate who is also, coincidentally, Satan.
The Graduate is a collection of songs that may very well be the time capsule for this generation. In a hundred years, iPods, MySpace and Hot Topic may be nothing more than a distant memory, but one listen to MC Lars' music will bring people back to the iGeneration. The title may be a nod to Lars' recent graduation from Stanford University, but the album also serves as a musical graduation, allowing Lars to move from sampling his favorite artists on his laptop to being able to collaborate with them in the studio. He adds, "I also like to hook up with older women like Dustin Hoffman does."