Meet The Musicians

Carnage is the fastest freestyle rapper in Minneapolis. His debut CD with the S.W.E.E.P.S. is Foreign Genetics (Melophobic).

How the hip-hop scene has changed: Everybody's little brother's little brother's grandma's sister wants to rap now. I remember when we were coming up, I saw people get beat up if they weren't tight. Now somebody can get up there and do three songs and be wack and people will listen to them.

The funny thing about freestyling: I don't remember the lyrics, but I remember the moments. Eyedea remembers the lyrics. He and I bounce off each other real well. I could be saying, "I'm quick with the flow/sick is the bro/ripping the mic/guaranteed to be stripping your dike down/when I flip it with the hype sound," and he'll come in and say, "I might clown." When I do my own solo sets, I don't even freestyle. It's not something I like to do by myself anymore.

Favorite albums of 2003: Jay-Z, Semi.Official, and Brother Ali. With Semi.Official, Abilities does a lot of scratching. It's just a really hard album, a gritty album. If you're driving, you might catch yourself squinting to the music, like, grrrr, this is hard! Brother Ali takes you for an emotional ride with every song, and I like that, because each song you can almost associate with a feeling.

 

Mark Mallman brought his frenetic piano rock to America this year, putting 16,000 miles on his tour van. His latest CD is Live from First Avenue (Susstones).

What you learn on the road: All it takes to be a national act is to play nationwide.

Most memorable moments: In Tennessee, a one-armed man named Zeke helped me load my equipment into the van. We played in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Halloween inside of a metal building that looked like the prom scene in Back to the Future. It was called Dr. Love's Club and it was run by a man in a Hugh Hefner robe. He kept it on the whole time and had a gold tooth. One night in Decatur, Georgia, I played between two Christian bands and "Who's Gonna Save You Now?" took on a totally different meaning. It was weird, though, because my music is more Catholic than Christian.

Antproduced the first hip-hop CD in Minnesota, 1996's Comparison by rapper Musab (then known as Beyond). This year he produced Atmosphere's Seven's Travels and Brother Ali's Shadows on the Sun (both on Rhymesayers Entertainment). For a full interview, log on to http://complicatedfun.com.

Why a producer never reveals his samples: It's an old sacred rule that's constantly being broke. It's like Wolfgang Puck--he don't tell everybody his secrets. I'm the fucking chef. I'm not telling you shit. This is my restaurant!

Why nobody knows who Ant is: I haven't done interviews, mostly because I'm uncomfortable. I spent my 20s in the basement. I hit 31, and I'm like, let me see if I'm missing something.

On the stereo in 2003: This week I'm on a Time kick. I got a new Cadillac, right? The Time sounds good in there. So do early S.O.S. records, Zapp. Those records are consistently good to me. Maybe it's a childhood thing. And it is so far from what I do. But no Minnesota group fucks with the Time.

 

CiaranDaly is the sardonic voice of garage-pop dynamos the Idle Hands. Their debut CD is Dig? (self-released).

Most memorable moment: Opening for Jet the day Get Born dropped. All the record exec slime balls showed up and decided to "treat" us all to Rick's [Cabaret, a Minneapolis strip club]. So we sucked down all the $15 drinks they foolishly bought us, told stories, and watched 40-year-old married guys get lap dances (nothing against the girls, they're pros, too). In the limo it was: "You kids want to hear some Jane's Addiction?"

"Nah, man, play T.Rex."

First taste of fame: After our City Pages article ran, a guy came up to me at [Pizza] Lucé and said, "Hey, rock star, want to give me an autograph?" So I said I had a sharpie, and if he wanted, I'd sign his cock. "Um, it's not that big," was his reply.

 

Haley Bonar found a wider audience for her unique folk-pop this year while touring with Low. Her debut CD is The Size of Planets (Chairkickers' Union).

Most memorable moment: I got to see 30 states that I had never been to. Sometimes I can't believe it's real, being on the road. You're just singing your songs and doing the same shit you've been doing for five years, and all of a sudden people are listening to you. It's just kind of a strange experience.

Why Duluth? I moved there because I wanted to get away from Rapid City. It's not too big. The worst traffic in Duluth is, like, 10 minutes. I like seeing people I know walking downtown.

Favorite albums of 2003: The new Paul Westerberg CD, Come Feel Me Tremble. It's inspiring as hell because he did it all himself. And the OutKast album makes touring a lot better.

 
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