P.O.S. talks touring, tattoos and Minneapolis (interview)


At the forefront of the second wave of Minneapolis indie rap, P.O.S. a.k.a Stef Alexander is an artist to be reckoned with these days, having just returned to Minneapolis after wrapping up the longest tour of his life promoting Never Better. Call most rappers an "artist" and you'll raise more than a few cynical eyebrows, but from the jump as the leader of the Doomtree pack to his work with hardcore band Building Better Bombs, that's simply the way Stef and his music come across. 

Stef took a few minutes to catch us up a few days prior to his homecoming show at First Avenue this weekend -- the second of its kind in two years. You know you're on the right path when each homecoming show outdoes the next tenfold -- and that's our stone cold prediction for Saturday. Get there early. 

Gimme Noise: You've been gone for many months promoting your latest album Never Better. What was the most memorable part of the tour? 

The most memorable part was probably going to London and Helsinki. There were 15 people at the Helsinki show and like eight of those 15 people knew every word to every song. The sun never went down because we were there at the beginning of the summer. The show ended at like 1 a.m. and you go outside and it looks like it's 11 in the afternoon. So you go to a club or something afterward because the sun is still up and it feels like you should still be awake, and you finally go to bed at 4 or 5 in the morning and the sun is still just --- out. It was crazy. 

GN: Is there any part of your recent few years of success that means more to you than the other stuff? 

I like that everybody keeps calling it success. I played Coachella last year and I didn't want to do it because they wanted to add me three days before the show. So I wasn't in any of the printed materials, no one knew I was going to be there. I still had a pretty massive crowd, though. That was the thing that was so exciting to me - that with three days notice at Coachella of all places, I could still draw a crowd. It just felt really good and I can't wait to to do it for real.

GN: You have the word 'optimist' tattooed across your fists. How did that tattoo come about, and do you really see yourself as an optimist? 

I do see myself as an optimist - I always have. Of course it's depressing when there's negative things going on the world and negative things going on in my lyrics, but the overall feel and overarching theme to both my life and the music is pulling out of it and making it work. The tattoo came about because my roommate, Jon Grider, who is a known stencil artist around -- well, actually the world these days -- said he thought "optimist" was the toughest thing you could get tattooed on your knuckles. I totally agreed. He picked the word, I picked the typeface. And then we both went out and got 'em.

GN: Let's talk about Minneapolis. Ae you still living here, and do you see your homebase changing up anytime soon? What did you miss most about the city when you were on tour? 

I am definitely still living in Minneapolis, and I don't know if I will ever just straight-up move. As small as the city can be sometimes, I just love it here. Aside from my son, what I missed about the city is that you see faces that you recognize and people that you want to hug all the time. 

GNOK, so what were you glad to leave behind? -- 

Oh, you know. Seeing the people that you wanna hug all the time. 

GN: Ain't that the truth. Lastly, what's coming up for you in the future, music-wise? 

Doomtree is putting together a new False Hopes record and I've just been working on more songs to see what I want to do with them.


With the Plain Ole Bill, Slapping Purses, Prof and St Paul Slim, Moonstoone, All ages. $10/$12, 6 p.m., First Avenue, 701 N 1st Ave., Minneapolis; 612.338.8388