SCAD Radio’s Abby Loden chatted with MC Frontalot, a big name on the nerdcore rap scene.
How would you describe the nerdcore style?
MC Frontalot- Nerdcore is very much like all of the rest of hip-hop, which we’re all so familiar with at this point, except there’s much less pressure on you to be cool. You don’t have to be cool at all, you could be a huge dork and it would still be okay that you’re rapping.
Well, we’re all in art school, so I think we’re all a bunch of weirdos over here, too. I was looking into your music videos, and they have a lot of interesting themes. Do you have one that stands out as your favorite?
There’s one for “Stoop Sale” off of my 5th album. It was directed by Max Isaacson and it’s all puppets. I don’t know whether it’s really the best. It seems like [it is] when I watch it, or whether I’m just attached to the long week spent in that freezing Brooklyn warehouse building a ⅓ scale neighborhood out of plywood and paint.
You were at SXSW (South by Southwest) this past March. How was that for you?
It was a really good year. It’s my 12th one in a row I think? It was all so overwhelming at first, but now I love it there. I didn’t think when I was little that Texas would be one of the places I liked going to every year, but I really do look forward to visiting Austin.
Your popularity skyrocketed once the webcomic Penny Arcade dropped your name. Would you consider this your ‘big break’, and what did that moment feel like?
It was 2000 or 2001 when Penny Arcade linked up one of my songs, “Yellow Lasers”. That was definitely a big explosion from having a couple downloads for each track to having thousands of people curious about it. It’s so funny to think of some link on a blog being a big break, but it kinda was. I’d say a larger thing was after that when Negin Farsad made a documentary feature about my band’s first tour, and that was on Netflix for a few years… She named it after the first album, it’s called Nerdcore Rising.
My next question is actually about that! You were featured in that film, I believe Weird Al Yankovic was in that as well?
Weird Al’s in there, [director Negin Farsad] got a lot of interesting people for the movie… I love the movie. I think it’s a great introduction to nerdcore, and more selfishly, it’s a fantastic advertisement for my band… I feel like I’m better at rapping now, it’s a little embarrassing to watch all the song parts of the documentary, but it’s still a funny and heartwarming time.
Your new album seems to deal with a lot of issues and opinions on technology. What is your opinion on the current technological state of our environment?
It’s called Net Split, or the Fathomless Heartbreak of Online Itself and it’s a breakup record about Internet. I’m a grumpy old man and I used to love Internet, and I still love Internet, of course, but I’m also terrified and horrified every time I go online. It’s just this cesspool of misery and hatred. But what are you gonna do? Humanity has got some conflicts to work out and now we have this gigantic new playground where everyone can hurt each other’s feelings anonymously… I think there’s hope, hope for the future. There has to be. If there’s none, then why log on at all?
MC Frontalot will be performing at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta, GA on Monday, May 13th.