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Archive | July, 2009

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Non-Profit Hip Hop? Just Ask Scrub Club Leader MadHatter

Posted on 31 July 2009 by Tim

MadHatter leads Scrub Club Records, a non-profit hip hop label bringing you talented artists like Kabuto the Python, Dr. Awkward, Benjamin Bear and The Ranger. Both businessman and rapper, MadHatter rhymes with the Sinister Six, a collective which includes the world renowned rapper YTCracker. As a group, the Sinister Six dropped their first album Invasion of the Mic Snatchers in 2008.

MadHatter can be found at RhymeTorrents.org moderating Battles and Beefs or performing at events like Nerdapalooza.

His gruff voice, energetic, thoughtful rhymes, and positive personality have made him a favorite of many. Enjoy the interview, check out the music and leave a comment!

How long have you been rapping and how did the name MadHatter come about?

I’ve been rapping since 2001, back when my only music was our first project, the Shadow Puppets. I had been a percussionist and vocalist before then, but that’s when I hunkered down with my partner at the time to see if we could take a stab at recording. We ended up using a $6 microphone with a sock over it for a pop filter, and I mixed raw wav files using sound recorder. I kid you not. I upgraded to GoldWave eventually, but this was all extreme learning experience. I would say my skill set and musicality have really grown over the last five years into something people can take seriously.

MadHatter-Art As far as the name MadHatter, that’s kind of a long story. To sum it up, I used to go by the name of Jester online wayyyy back in the beginnings of the internet and Telnet (probably when there was just a few people with that name online worldwide, haha). On some classic bulletin board systems back in the day, I ran across a guy named /\/\ad}{atter and his buddy Ice Man, the first who was in the well-known hacker group “Cult of the Dead Cow.”

He eventually followed me to the Wichita State University board where the two taught me a few tips and tricks and really grew my knowledge, mostly about phone systems and wardialing, but also nifty things I could do with IP numbers, of course. Eventually, that }{atter got to a point where he wanted to retire from the group and concentrate on college, drinking, and girls, and offered to pass on his name to me if I wanted.

I happily accepted since he had taught me so much in a sensei-type way, plus I had been borderline obsessed with the Alice In Wonderland universe since an early age. It just made sense, and since about 1993 or 1994, that’s what I’ve been going by. Carrying on his oldschool legacy while bringing my own flavor, all mixed together in a tight little Lewis Carroll package.

What musical projects are you working on right now?

Oh lord, far too much, haha. First coming would be Deafinition’s first album Resurrection, as in the resurrection of hip hop. And this dude is true about it, too. I just need to record a couple of featured verses on there as well as one from Kabuto The Python and that project will be complete. AMAZING lyrics and flow from this guy. After that, we have a slew of projects that could be coming out at any time.

Benjamin Bear’s Robochomp, an audio adventure to be completely mastered on cassette format. We have The Ranger’s new album, our artist from Australia, that I will be mixing and mastering track by track. Dr. Awkward is heavy into his next release, which I will also be finishing up the audio on and dropping a guest verse. MadHatter - Blast Zone

Myself, I will be working on the Life of John Henry CD with superstar producer Pelicaine Einhander, which will be a steampunk-themed Hip Hop album that will blow people away, with instrumentals and themes all taking place before the year of 1890. Also, I’m doing a crazy side project called Word of Mouth, which will be me covering entire songs using just my vocals (beats, instruments, voice, everything). Noncents Volume IV will drop any time now, featuring unreleased tracks from all of our artists as well as brand new material. We just signed Superpowerless from the UK, and that guy basically makes a new album every week, hahaha. He will bring new chiptune flavor to the label. Everyone is working on some great projects, and this year will be absolutely insane.

Besides our regular music, we do have a competition that will start next month to decide the next new artist on Scrub Club Records. It’s called Versus Mode, and I hope it brings the best out of all the contestants and helps them level up regardless if they win the competition or not. Plus the grand finale will pit the top two artists against eachother in a battle-of-the-bands type concert! More details on that will drop August 1st on our website.

Download Scrub Club Music Here

Do you have any live performances coming up?

Well, this Thursday (July 30th), I’ll be battling 7 other emcees and rap groups for grocery money for my family, haha. The event is called Move The Crowd and is hosted by the very busy businessman Cash Hollistah here in Salina, KS. The crowd is about 250-300 people, it will be a blast.

Official Scrub Club shows coming up? I’m not sure there is one quite planned, although we are definitely interested in playing Nerdapalooza 2010 and might possibly be going to MAGFest coming up as well in Virginia. Our artists Kasparov and Kabuto The Python are included on a west coast tour called the FTW Tour, but details are few so far. Definitely hit that up, though. Dr. Awkward is also openly looking to book shows out west. I’m planning a few things that might go down in the next couple months that involve live shows, but that’s under wraps for now. All I can say is keep watching the site, Facebook, and Twitter!

What sparked the idea for Scrub Club Records and its not-for-profit theme?

One of the first things I can remember sparking this idea was back in 2001 when everything started out. I was really just concerned with spreading our music as far as possible and my partner was concerned with making it into a career. We had several arguments about money including him getting mad when I burnt a couple copies for my cousins instead of charging them $10 apiece, or when we got custom hockey jerseys made up for $35 that I was willing to give the hardcore fans for the cost just so they could rep some really awesome gear and spread our name, and he wanted to charge our fans $75 to $100 to make good profit off of them. Shit like that just really got to me.

Then, later on when I was starting my solo stuff, I was charging $5 for cds. After realizing a lot of our fan base was made up of individuals just like me, I knew that no one had the money to pay for music, especially when they could just find it online. Our fans were just as poor as I was… I know I certainly didn’t pay for music, except for the few scant live shows I went to and how I really wanted to support a deserving artist. With that and how I viewed the imminent collapse of the music industry, I knew it had to be done (to go not-for-profit).

During a Scrub Club meeting, every member in attendance agreed it was a great idea, and we made it so, no longer charging a single cent for any of our music. We were close to non-profit before, now it was complete. I think that was back in 2005 or 2006. Now I realize how great and smart that move was, our music spread like an old uneducated person’s imagery of the swine flu or a conservative republican tween’s view of terrorism. We were suddenly everywhere.

You guys have some pretty sic graphics on your site. Who are the design geniuses behind Scrub Club?

Scrub Club Puppette I don’t know about genius, but i do all of the graphics and coding work for the site and lots of our various projects and print products. One thing I can say is that everything I do is very oldschool. I only use Photoshop and have never been trained in it, and I also code websites with old, old, old-ass HTML skills. I never learned flash or anything advanced. So what you see is a totally untrained nerd trying to make something oldschool but different. As for the site, I prefer fast load times for Scrubs still using dialup, and images that are fresh-looking for people who want eye candy.

Any chance that Midwest Nerdfest will get a rez?

There are talks. A few people who might possibly be interesting in being sugardaddies for the fest have approached me, and a few other people have given me their thoughts, advisory style. What I’m leaning to is possibly throwing a mini version of the event to test the waters first. Stay tuned!

What’s your take on nerdcore as a genre? Do you consider yourself or Scrub Club to be nerdcore artists or more generally hip hop artists?

I love Nerdcore and support it full-heartedly. It’s one of a million sub genres created by youth, but who are we to say whether it’s “real” or not? Alive or dead? It exists, and both the excitement and the quality are growing at an alarming rate. This isn’t just a fad, we will always have comics, games, and technology and there will always be Hip Hop. So don’t look for Nerdcore to dissipate any time soon. Scrub Club Chick

As for Scrub Club, we started in 2001 as a pure Hip Hop-style outfit. A mutated version of Hip Hop, but that’s what we’ve always been. And since the very beginning, we’ve had references to video games, comic characters, superhero-style themes, dorky movies and tv shows, cartoons, etc. Then along came the birth of the genre of Nerdcore and we were picked up by that tidal wave. We set out to make good, real music with no real genre to stick to, and then Nerdcore picked us up as kindred. Still, not all of our music will particularly fit in with the Nerdcore-only tribes, like Deafinition’s pure and gritty Hip Hop coming up, or my upcoming Victorian Era album.

So we’re not a Nerdcore-only label, and none of our artists began making music just because of Nerdcore. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love and support that scene. A vast majority of our music fits their appetites and they’re the closest family we’ve got! Scrubs, nerds, geeks, and all other underdogs are welcome in the Club!

MadHatter, thanks for your time!

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Jeff Johnson on His New Book Tattoo Machine

Posted on 29 July 2009 by Tim

“Rich and horrifying” is how Portland, Oregon based tattoo artist Jeff Johnson describes his first experience tattooing a customer. Jeff is an interesting guy and a natural storyteller. He is co-owner of the Sea Tramp Tattoo Co. and has been a tattoo artist for over 18 years. Although we weren’t able to see during his speaking event at Powell’s Books, Jeff is not only an artist but a customer and he cracked a few jokes at his own expense about how wimpy he is when getting a tattoo.

TIME magazine says, “…the Portland-based inkman shares some of the weirdest, wackiest and most disgusting details of his profession, from cleaning up after chudders (look it up) to the time he tattooed a serial killer (he thinks).

Jeff Johnson author of Tattoo Machine

Jeff’s Book: Tattoo Machine

Jeff introduced his book talking about the day he received his brand new tattoo machine and the excitement which he could barely contain as he opened the package and laid everything out in the kitchen. He goes on to point out an interesting tradition where the artist tattoos their inner right thigh. Apparently, it’s a great place to hide that first (read: amateurish) tattoo. Then, in order to test out the equipment, Jeff called up one of his buddies and invited him over the check out the new equipment. After a few drinks, his friend Miguel ended up leaving with his first tatt – the Star Trek logo.

In the book, there is much more about Jeff on the road to becoming a tattoo artist. But, another funny story Jeff shared from his book was about his foray into tattooed portraits. He grabbed some magazines and sketched up some samples for customers to see. Although no one decided to buy any of the portraits Jeff had posted, one guy asked if there were any tattoos he could get for free. Seizing on the moment, Jeff offered to do a portrait. The satisfied customer was soon sporting a portrait of Bill Murray, from the movie Ghostbusters. Soon after, another guy comes in looking for the same portrait. Jeff later found out that these two were prison inmates on a weekend pass.

Before opening up for questions, Jeff read a part from his book about a tattoo gone wrong. One lady came in, a few days before her wedding to get her husbands name tattooed on her shoulder. No one knew that the woman incorrectly wrote down her husbands last name which was fairly long and of Greek origin. After the session was complete, the woman was beaming with loving pride at the tattoo. At least until her mother-in-law saw it and mentioned that the spelling was wrong. Jeffs description of this tragedy was hilarious. One of many chuckle-friendly stories you’ll find in Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink.

From Random House:

In Tattoo Machine, Johnson lifts the curtain on an art form that has undergone rebirth and illuminates a world where art, drama, and commerce come together in highly entertaining theater. A tattoo shop is no longer a den of social outcasts and degenerates–it’s a workshop where committed and schooled artists who paint on living canvases develop close bonds and bitter rivalries, where tattoo legends and innovators are equally revered, and where the potential for disaster lurks in every corner.

The book signing went really well. The audience at the event was a diverse group – young, old, tattooed, and the curious alike. Everyone enjoyed the friendly, conversational atmosphere and Jeff’s humorous style.

Around the Web:

Jeff Johnson Author of Tattoo Machine

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Love Changes Things by Ju-Taun

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Tim

You probably first heard of Ju-Taun when they blazed past thousands of contestants to become the #2 group on MTV’s Top Pop Group. But this group of 4 young men from New Jersey is not new to the music scene. Their latest album Love Changes Things follows two EPs , It’s Been A Long Time and Say It, and one LP titled How Bad U Want It. In fact, Ju-Taun had the #6 Hottest Chart Topper on Amazon for their album How Bad U Want It. In addition to their massive exposure on MTV, Ju-Taun has performed live with Chris Brown, Tyrese, 112, Jagged Edge, and Ashanti.

From talent show to television, this group is making some serious moves. They have been described as, “exuberant, richly orchestrated, fusion of vintage soul and contemporary R&B/Pop” and after listening to the album I think you’ll agree.

Love Changes Things

Love Changes Things is a surprisingly good release with a solid balance of upbeat tracks and slower songs. Ju-Taun manages to carve a solid place for themselves in R&B. Not only capturing the attention of younger fans but also appealing to older audiences.

The guys sound very comfortable on the mic and they are great at getting the emotion of the song across to the listener. The choruses are catchy and the production is top notch. The quality is self-evident but it’s the actual content of the lyrics that really hooks the listener.

Favorite Tracks:

  • Is It Love
  • Get @ Me
  • It’s Alright
  • Change Your Mind

Too Slow For Tim:

  • Let Me In
  • Yes



Ju-Taun has really crafted a solid LP. Each track carries you along the emotionally bumpy road that is Love. The outcome is a touching album that is bound to make a cozy home for itself on your favorite playlist.

I’ll certainly be keeping up with Ju-Taun as their career progresses. It’s been a joy to review the album, +1 Fan right here!

My name is Tim and I believe…Love Changes Things.

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WiseBread Author Will Chen Shares Practical Personal Finance Tips

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Tim

WiseBread is a community blog focused on personal finances including saving money, living frugal, and career advice. Their mission is to help you enjoy a fun and rewarding life in a financially responsible way. In fact, if you incorporate some of their money saving tips you might not even notice that you’re on a budget. Yeah, they’re that good.

The WiseBread Philosophy:

Too many financial experts focus on the negative aspects of money management. They freely throw around words like “sacrifice” and “responsibility” like there was a fire sale at the Boring Store.

The answer to financial independence isn’t a ramen-eating, vacation-skipping, fun-depriving life. Far from it. In fact, we love to indulge in life’s pleasures whenever we can—just as long as they fit into our budget.

We know the best way to stick to a budget, especially in tough economic times, is to create a lifestyle that is as much fun as it is practical. Are you ready to live large within your means, no matter how small that may be?

I was fortunate enough to be able to chat with Will Chen, one of the writers on WiseBread and a California attorney that focuses on consumer rights and corporate corruption. I’m confident you will find Will’s tips as helpful and practical as I did. When you’re finished reading, let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Enjoy!

For someone looking to improve their finances, what 3 things can they do today?

  • Question old assumptions. Brainstorm about actions that will make the biggest impact on your finances. Take out a piece of paper, sit down in a quiet corner, turn off your inner critic, and brainstorm away. Some common ideas include moving next to work (so you can sell your car), getting a second job, using home equity loan to pay off high interest credit card debt, etc.
  • Simplify your finances. Cancel accounts you’re not using, pay all your bills online, and get rid of ongoing expenses that you don’t need.
  • Join a support group. We are easily influenced by our peers. If your friends are eating out all the time and driving new cars, you are likely to do the same. Start hanging out with savvy, frugal-minded folks who take personal finance seriously. The Wise Bread forum is a great place to start!

What 3-5 posts do you consider essential reading for getting their finances under control?

What was the best part about putting together (or contributing to) 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget?

We had lots of great guest contributors, including Sharon from Frugal Duchess, SVB from the Digerati Life, Leo from Zenhabits, Trent from The Simple Dollar, and JD from Get Rich Slowly. It was a pleasure working with them and learning from their invaluable writing experience.

How have readers been reacting to the book? Any funny, unique or interesting stories?

We weren’t prepared for the torrent of great media attention for our first personal finance book. As a result we’re constantly surprised when people ask us to sign books or give an interview (like right now, for example). When Linsey Knerl (one of the co-authors) held a book signing in her hometown, she received lots of congratulations from old high school friends. That must be a lot of fun — to be able to go back to your hometown and let your old friends know you’re a published author!

Where did you learn your financial skills?

Everything I need to know I learned from my fellow Wise Bread authors! They are a really diverse group. Among our ranks are financial consultants, homemakers, journalists, career counselors, professors, and even professional hobos! Each of them brings an unique perspective to personal finance that I find useful and entertaining.

Who do you currently look to for financial tips and inspiration?

From our Wise Bread readers and the top 100 personal finance blogs.

While it’s not much, I remember learning how to balance a check book and budget a vacation in 5th or 6th grade but I’ve heard schools don’t really teach that anymore. What role do you think schools should play in teaching responsible financial management?

Schools should take very active role. Every high school student should be required to take the following courses:

  • Introduction to Statistics and Accounting Principles: provides a foundation for the following courses.
  • Personal Finance: covers budgeting, credit card use, mortgages, investments, and savings (teach them the magic of compound interest early).
  • Career Building: covers how to write a resume and cover letters, finding mentors, doing mock interviews, and volunteering for local charities to build experience.
  • Financial Policy: covers how the Federal Reserve works, the various regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing our economy, various economic theories, important political financial issues like healthcare and the trade deficit.

Will, thank you for taking to the time to chat with me!

WiseBread Around The Web:

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Governor (and Doctor) Howard Dean Discusses Health Care Reform and President Obama’s Plan

Posted on 24 July 2009 by Tim

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up Powell’s Books Calendar of Events earlier this month to see that Governor Howard Dean would be coming to speak about his new book. Gov. Dean’s book is titled, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform: How We Can Achieve Affordable Medical Care for Every American and Make Our Jobs Safer. That’s a monster of a title but don’t worry it’s a quick read at only 160 pages.

As you may or may not know, Gov. Dean served as the Governor of Vermont and after running for president in 2004, he became the Democratic National Committee Chairman. Howard Dean led the 50-State Strategy which helped Democrats pick-up seats in the House and Senate, even in traditionally conservative states. Now, the Democrats lead the country as the majority party.

Full-Length 2-Part Video Below! Watch and Leave A Comment.

The book describes Gov. Dean’s experience as a physician and his critiques of the healthcare industry, specifically the for-profit health insurance industry. He is very precise in his critiques and draws great comparisons to other countries and even demonstrates the efficiency of Medicare to show how much money can be saved. His argument is that we should at least offer every American the chance to utilize the same quality care and service that people over 65 years of age enjoy when they use Medicare.

Howard Dean’s Speech

Gov Howard Dean Talking About Healthcare
Dean was going to begin by signing books but since some people had taken their lunch break to attend he switched gears and launched into a clear and passionate speech about the problems we face and how we can fix them. Just moments into his speech, a heckler starts harassing him about single-payer healthcare. The heckler was roundly shushed by the audience and Gov. Dean asked him to please respect other people’s time and when it comes to Q&A he will be called on to speak. However, the guy wanted to be a pain and he was eventually asked to leave by Powell’s employees. Another heckler attempted the same thing shortly after and was again shushed by the crowd and asked to leave by employees. After that it went without a problem and was very informative.

Gov. Dean Answering Question About Big Pharmaceuticals Points to take away:

  • We offer efficient, government run healthcare already for veterans and the eldery. We should expand this to everyone.
  • Medicare only costs 4% of every dollar to administer. The best private insurance can do is 20%. Huge savings potential.
  • Primary care physicians in the British healthcare system typically make more money than primary care physicians in America.
  • Prevent health problems instead of overpaying for expensive treatment in the case of preventable diseases.
  • President Obama’s plan will offer a huge benefit to small business by relieving them of the expense of providing health care. With a public option.
  • American businesses will become more competitive with foreign companies who enjoy lower employment costs due to their own governments’ universal healthcare plans. (Example, Toyota from Japan is gobbling up market share due to low costs. Please note: This is my example and not one Gov. Dean pointed out.)

Gov. Howard Dean’s Speech Part 1:

Gov. Howard Dean’s Speech Part 2:

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New Book: Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

Posted on 22 July 2009 by Tim

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Chris Hedges debuted his new book Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle at Powell’s Books on Tuesday, July 21. The book is essentially about the devolution of our society from a literate, critical thinking mass that can separate reality from illusion into a society focused on spectacle and shallow entertainment to the detriment of our society and the world as a whole.

Chris Hedges Receives a Standing Ovation from Oregonians

Michael Jackson

In his talk at Powell’s Books, Mr. Hedges started out by talking about Michael Jackson and the spectacle of his death. Hedges said that Michael had his childhood stolen from him and was “surrounded by vultures” who preyed on his insecurities. Michael turned himself from a masculine African-American man into an androgynous, effeminate individual whose “chalk white skin” became a “Caucasian death mask”.

The point was certainly not to mock Michael Jackson but to illustrate America’s disturbing obsession with the rise and fall of celebrities. Hedges goes on to describe the odd spectacle of Michael Jackson’s funeral which was turned into an entertaining media event complete with singing children, performing artists and even a plug for KFC chicken courtesy of Magic Johnson.

Politics and Brand Obama

In his critique of politics, Chris Hedges discusses the vast sums of money required to run for Congress. He also points out that economics trumps politics as demonstrated by the unregulated bail out of the financial sector. Although Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and others get special attention, Hedges zooms in on Bill Clinton for some precision strikes against his welfare policy and NAFTA. Both of which, as Hedges describes, are major contributing factors to the economic problems our nation faces.

Chris Hedges Speaking at Powell's Books on July 21st.

Regarding Barack Obama, Hedges refers to his campaign as Brand Obama since he was portrayed as something new and fresh, willing to change the old ways. However, Brand Obama has been unwilling to consider the “prosecution of the Bush Administration” and has not repealed many of the spying programs nor has he “reinstated habeus corpus”.

The Economy

Hedges points us in the direction of Henry David Thoreau to learn more about living a simple life so we can achieve a real sense of happiness rather than chasing the latest trends and celebrities to escape our existence. Following that, he delves into the shift in our economy from production to consumption.

A great point Chris makes is that life is not just about “tangible success but of resurrection of integrity”.

After about an hour of speaking, with occasional bursts of applause, Chris Hedges took questions for about 30 minutes or so. It was a very stimulating presentation and discussion. I’m glad I was able to make it out to see him speak. A big thanks to Powell’s Books!

Chris Hedges Around The Web:

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Dark Horse Comics Will Develop Mass Effect Comic Series

Posted on 21 July 2009 by Tim

Electronic Arts (EA) and Dark Horse Comics announced they will be developing a comic series based on the popular game Mass Effect.

BioWare™, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. and Dark Horse Comics today announced a new comic book series based on Mass Effect™, the blockbuster sci-fi action videogame that IGN.com rated the #1 Xbox 360™ game of all time. In Mass Effect: Redemption, the story takes readers through the treacherous events leading up to Mass Effect 2 which opens with galactic hero Commander Shepard having mysteriously gone missing and left to fight for survival. What unfolds next will expose readers to new locations, aliens and extended storyline in the Mass Effect universe. Mass Effect: Redemption
is scheduled to launch in January 6, 2010.

When Mass Effect was originally released last November on the Xbox 360, it unveiled a vast, beautiful galaxy populated by diverse, fascinating alien races. Players stepped onto this stage as Commander Shepard, a hero at the vanguard of humanity’s ascension in the arena of galactic politics, and thus began an epic story bolstered by engaging characters and rich, branching dialogue.” – Gamespot (Rated Mass Effect: 9.0 out of 10)

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Schaffer the Darklord Talks Manslaughterer Plus Nerdapalooza

Posted on 20 July 2009 by Tim

Schaffer the Darklord and his trusty Black Box companion have rocked stages from Florida to Oregon with a unique blend of smart, nerdy raps and clever humor. This New York City-based rapper and comedian has released two other LPs, Meet My Maker (2004) and Mark of the Beast (2007). The Darklord is here to discuss his whirlwind weekend at Nerdapalooza, the nation’s premiere nerdcore hip hop event and his upcoming album Manslaughterer.

Exclusive: The Darklord's Scary Puppet T-Shirt Design You recently performed at Nerdapalooza, how did that go? Any funny stories to share?

Nerdapalooza was downright epic this year. Even more so than last year, which is quite a statement considering how utterly rife with awesome last year’s installment was. I rocked an absurd eight performances over three days this year. I headlined the kickoff party. I did guest verses with Epic-1, MC Lars and MC Frontalot on Saturday. I did guest verses with MC Loki, Dual Core and The Grammar Club on Sunday. My proper set was Sunday night. That’s a lot of rapping for an easily winded monkey like me!

I don’t know if I have any particularly funny stories from the festival, but I do have some fun stories. For example, during Lars’s set, I had the opportunity to perform “Do the Bruce Campbell” from the “Digital Gangster LP” with all of the rappers involved (Lars, YTCracker, ZeaLouS1) onstage for the first time ever. So much fun! On Sunday, I got to perform Dual Core’s Twitter-style track “The Magnificent Seven” with Int80, Remy, Lars, YTCracker, Frontalot and Beefy onstage. Another splendid memory from a weekend of nerdy magic.

I don’t know if this qualifies as “fun” or “funny,” but I was present when Loki got a little too “battle-y” while freestyling drunk and dissed Cupcake, paving the way for ZeaLouS1 to deliver the most brutal freestyle beatdown I’ve ever witnessed. I believe I may have even likened it to the “verbal equivalent of prison rape.” (It was a relief to see them make nice afterward, albeit with young Loki having learned a very valuable lesson.)

Now there are just too many cut-scenes flashing in my damaged memory to list them all. Rolling around Orlando with Kourtney, Gigahertz and Fatty Goodness. Goofing with Ham-Star and BBear at the EPP house after-party/video shoot. Mister B’s Sailor Moon costume. Chilling with Jaylyn in the green room. Uncle Monsterface’s “Toxic” cover. Seeing everybody from EMPulse and Dork Party back in April. Breakfast with Sangriaa. Crossing paths with a smiley Hex every few minutes. Bugging Nina, Melissa and Aaron at the merch table and door ever couple hours. Razzing Chozo about his sleep deprivation. Counting Kabutos. Damn. There’s just way too much to remember. I gotta admit, though…becoming friends with Beefy kind of made the festival for me. Love that guy.

Nerdapalooza sounds like a blast. With a whoppin’ 8 performances did you have any time to do anything else?

Barely. Between my performances and my frequent trips back to my room to change into/out of my suit, I managed to catch many amazing performances from some of my favorite acts like the Grammar Club, ZeaLous1, Emergency Pizza Party, mCRT, Devo Spice, Krondor Krew, My Parent’s Favorite Music and Uncle Monsterface…just to name a few. Also, I did very little sleeping, but a considerable amount of drinking.

Will you be coming to PAX or any of the big events on the west side?

No plans as of yet. I don’t want to sound like I’m just waiting by the internet for PAX to invite me to perform, but um…I am kind of just waiting by the internet for PAX to invite me to perform.

Schaffer the Darklord Your third album, Manslaughterer, is coming out soon. What’s the story behind the album and the title?

“Manslaughterer” drops August 2009. (Fingers crossed!) The record is a collection of 17 songs I’ve written since my last record (“Mark of the Beast”) came out in November 2007. This record is darker, more rock-n-roll-flavored and features higher production values both in terms of beats and vocal recordings.

Since the last record, I’ve built a vocal isolation booth in my apartment. This has made recording much more convenient and also allowed me to deliver higher energy vocal performances. I think that as much as I’m known for having a ridiculously high-energy stage show, I’m also known for having pretty lackluster vocal delivery on the recordings. This has been due to me being self-conscious when working with other engineers and concerned about disturbing my neighbors when recording at home. This record has some vocal performances with real fire behind them…still a far cry from the live show…but closer. As far as the title is concerned, I just think it’s funny.

In showbiz, the term “killing” means “to deliver an exceptional stage performance.” I think I do just that from time to time. However, I don’t get onstage with the intention of “delivering an exceptional stage performance.” If I did and I killed, I would be a “murderer.” I just get onstage and do what I do the only way I know how to do it. If I do it and I kill, it’s an unintended result. Hence, “Manslaughterer.” I’m a killer…but on accident.

Manslaughterer evokes all sorts of great imagery, which I’m sure will be reflected in your music. What will the cover art look like and who’s the artist?

The front cover is be designed by me, and the rest of the layout is being crafted by my friend Carlylia Muller. (She also designed my newest t-shirts with the scary 2-color puppet design.) I’m trying to keep the image under wraps for now, but I will tell you this: A portion of the artwork from “Mark of the Beast” will fit together with a portion of the artwork from “Manslaughterer” to create an image. In other words, fans will be able to physically lay the cover of MOTB on top on the cover of the new record in such a way that will create something that, in my opinion, is pretty cool. Also, the last album was predominately orange, and the new one is predominately red and yellow. These decisions were not made by chance.

The new record will feature cameos from:

  • MC Frontalot
  • MC Lars
  • Shael Riley
  • Coolzey
  • Liisa2Eyes
  • Jane Silence
  • Removal
  • Kabuto the Python

Kabuto the Python, interesting. I’m sure that’s going to be a vicious track, how did you two start working together?

A common friend introduced us electronically, and we immediately started scheming on this song. Have you heard his track “The Face-Kicking Song?” If not, stop reading and start listening post-haste! I love his gritty delivery and violent content, and those two traits are perfect for our collaboration on this record. Our song is…well, let’s just say it’s very…bloody. That’s as much of a spoiler as I am willing to leak at this time. Schaffer The Darklord

Did Portland, Oregon producer Dave Famous craft most of your instrumentals like your first two albums?

Actually, no. Dave Famous made loops for four of the 17 tracks. Coolzey wrote loops for three of the songs. DJ Snyder produced two of them. Three beats were written by my wife (and Dave Famous’s sister!) Dr. Schaffer. One beat is by Canadian instrumental rockers Removal. One is from Chad Schneider. One is from Stephen Doerhoff of Witch’s Hat. The rest were written from scratch by me, and ALL of them were edited and arranged by me. The producer with which I’m working to mix and master the material is Latin Grammy-nominated engineer James Cruz. He’s enhanced these instrumentals further with additional keyboard and guitar tracks.

Should we expect an epic, national tour for the album? I know I’d like to see you swing by Portland again.

This fall I hope to embark on some ambitious touring. Portlanders can expect to see my sweaty, pointing frame rocking some stages in the area.

Schaffer, thanks for talking with me!

STD Skit and Performance of The Bender:

Schaffer the Darklord Around the Web:

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Nerdcore’s Beefy Is In Short Supply

Posted on 18 July 2009 by Tim

Keith A. Moore, Beefy, or Beef Thompson, whatever you want to call him this man can flow. Beefy barged onto the nerdcore rap scene in 2005 with two EPs – The Whitesican EP and nerd. Beefy hasn’t kept fans waiting long in between albums. Tube Technology hit the net in 2006, and 2007 saw the release of two albums – The Adventures of Beef Thompson: Private Dick and Bremelanotide (with The Grammar Club). Rolling Doubles dropped in ’08 and most recently fans were treated to The Adventures of Beef Thompson: IN SPACE. Whew!

Beefy even had the opportunity to perform in Amsterdam in early 2009 with MC Frontalot, MC Lars, YTCracker and MC Router. Before Beefy headed off to Nerdapalooza, I was able to ask him a few questions about his album and The Grammar Club. Here’s what I came away with…

Beefy-At-Nerdcore-Rising-PAX08 You have a new album you’re working on called Shining, is that right? What can Beefy fans expect to hear? Any collabs?

I’m working on two solo projects right now. With Sprinkles which will have guests like Shael Riley, Dual Core and some people I’ve never worked with before. The second album is being produced by The OneUps’ Mustin and was at one point going to be called Shiny but at the moment we don’t have a name for it. It will however feature MC Lars.

How are things going on the new Grammar Club album? When is that due out?

Grammar Club tracks take a long time to complete due to the nature of our creative setup. We do have a lot of demos right now for the next album and some complete tracks we plan on previewing at the upcoming Nerdapalooza event. Shael is also working on a solo album with his band the Double Ice Backfire, so while we’re always working on The Grammar Club our solo work is our main focus for the time being.

Presumably you’ll be heading to PAX 2009, any chance you’ll be performing?

We’re trying to work out plans for a Pre-PAX show, but besides that I won’t be performing at the actual PAX event. That kind of thing is reserved for the kinds of artists that are on a whole other level than my own.

If you were meeting someone who had never heard of Beefy, what would you tell them?

I tell em that I make hip-hop music for nerds about things like Street Fighter and comic books that is wildly relatable and fun. I would also tell them that I love hugs and that my music is like an ear hug.

Beefy Around The Web:

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