With the Invasion of the Mic Snatchers release by nerdcore supergroup Sinister Six now set for an October 25th release date, I couldn't help myself but ask the Scrub Club front man of the group, Madhatter, if he'd be interested in doing an interview. Low and behold, he was interested, and here on Legendary Hip Hop we have the definitive Sin Six and Midwest Nerdfest interview with the man behind the madness.
If you're yearning for more afterwards, Madhatter is going to be on The Takeover Sunday night talking with none other than fellow Sin Six member Zealous1, so don't miss it. Check out 247takeover.com for more information!
Why the name "Sinister Six"?
If anyone out there is a Marvel Comics fan, then they will get the reference immediately. However, for the rest of you, I'll explain it. Basically, back in the day, Spider-Man pissed off a lot of bad guys. After getting their asses handed to them by Spidey like every other day, six of them decided to ban together. Each one thought they were more than capable of defeating Spider-Man by themselves, but they figured all six of them together would be impossible to defeat.
That's my reasoning behind the name, because all of us are dope emcees, but this six together? Shit, you better start packing and find the first Greyhound bus out of state, because we come hard like Voltron or Tommy's Dragon Zord, know what I mean? We connect, we combine, we shoot lasers out of our shoulders and shit and we leave no competition alive.
How'd you come up with the Sin Six lineup? There are a lot of fantastic artists and I would assume they're all pretty busy with other work as well. What did their vocal styles contribute to the overall sound of the album?
Oh lawd. Sin Six has been though many different lineups, just like the Marvel Sinister Six, really. When I first came up with this concept, it was 2003 or so, and I had gathered together a group of newcomers and Hip Hop elders here in my city of Wichita. However, that fell through due to a few lazy people in the group... I decided to bring back the project when I realized how incredibly supportive the Nerdcore family is. That being said, here's how it all went down:
Benjamin Bear was down right away when I offered a spot. He was someone who I really respected and is my favorite underground musician at the moment. He's so versatile, so original, and so talented in many ways. He ended up providing the "wiry, crazy" vocal sets for the album, almost like the Zack de la Rocha of rap, but at other times, he's what I call the Hip Hop Hippy. His shit's out of this world. I don't mean to pick favorites or anything, but I also think his presence on Invasion Of The Mic Snatchers is just KILLER. Dude comes out swinging with some of the craziest, rudest flows you've ever heard. And he's different on every single track. You aren't going to believe it.
Chester was ready to finally start recording after a few years of writing dope rhymes and having no outlet to pour them from. Originally, his spot was taken by former Scrub Club member Big Stephen, but business just didn't work out. When Steve was out of the picture, Chester jumped in and just set the mic on fire. It's his first time recording ANY music, let alone Hip Hop on this level, and I'm very proud of him. My favorite verse on the whole album is his in "Deeper." Gives me shivers, the visuals that kid puts into my head. His vocal style is mostly monotone and snappy, it's truly an original style I've never heard before. It sneaks up and commands attention to his deep lines and twisted metaphors.
Loki? I love that cat. But first, I have to tell you... There was originally a female member of the Six - Shelshocker. However, throughout the process of this album taking place, she suddenly had to be a full-time mother, part-time worker, and an excellent wife at the same time. That's my girl and I love her to death. It was also the first time she'd ever recorded or written anything, and I thought she did great. Due to time and difficulties, she stepped aside and let MC_Loki take her place. He stepped in and I swear to Gog (Yes, Gog) that he had all but one of his verses recorded within the first week. Let's just say he was eager, hah. He's just got about a year under his belt on music work, but he's 157% dedicated and is a great collaborator, friend, and business partner. I'd tell you about his vocal styles, but honestly, this dude switches it up in almost every song. That's another great quality he has, always growing, always leveling up.
YTCracker, hahhh. I had been tuning in to his shit through various sources (I think I may have found his music on YTMND to begin with, believe it or not) for about 2 years, and I really dug him. Like Dig Dug, I wanted to dig him and blow him up! So I figured I'd offer him a spot before I knew exactly how big he was to the scene. After he gladly accepted and was excited to get to work, I was as humble as possible. We're all grateful to have him as a part of Sin Six, and damn does he tear shit up. He's like that, he's always either ripping the mic to shreds or he's making you laugh.
He's the smooth one of our bunch, the ladykiller if you will... Well... if you don't count out our killer Splatterhouse teddybear ZeaLous1, that is. Here's the epitome of the big ol' dude that girls love nowadays, but he's also just about as rough as it comes on the mic. Like Loki and Chester's entrance to the group, this spot was originally taken by former Kare Bear Mafia member MC Donalds. However, as his group fell apart and he dealt with moving and drama of his own, he opened up the position and I went on the hunt. Zealous was an obvious shoe-in, and I killed myself for not thinking of him in the beginnings of these plans. He also accepted with excitement and laid down some monstrous, complex rhymes. He's our My Pet Monster, giant-sized.
As for me, well, I elected me. Haha. I suppose I'm the "tank" of the group. I lay down hard hitting punches and keep a good base for every track to build from while the other 5 groups come up behind the bewildered enemies and destory them with their flows. I'd like to think I really came with a lot of variety in my styles for this one. One moment I'm rapping, the next I'm singing, the next I'm screaming like a pitbull bit the tip of my penis and wouldn't let go for about 7 whole minutes.
What was the recording process like? How did it all come together, since you guys are scattered all over the map? I know people are interested in knowing how it works to have a rap group that never gets to work together in person.
It was a nightmare, haha. I hope people realize just how hard it was for me to get this album out quickly under all the problems, sacrifices, and scheduling that came crashing down around all of us. Here's some elements that slowed the projects down:
- Three Sin Six members got married (but not to eachother, eww)
- Three member switches
- I learned two new mastering techniques and had to go back to make everything sound better both times
- Me and former Sin Six member Shelshocker had a Daughter come into our life
- Family problems for most members
- Four job or hourly schedule changes
- A few friends of members became sick, one even was close to death for a bit
- Severe rootkit virus attack on my computer about two months back (Still working on that)
- Member communication slowing and sometimes halting for a month at a time
- Six of the busiest motherfuckers in life, I swear, haha Etc. etc. ...
So if anyone was wondering before, now you know what we faced in making this album. The process was simple enough - I made beats and posted them to the members through a special website that only we could see, with directions and track mappings so everyone could know where they came in on a track and what the subject was. From there, the members sent their raw vocals to me, I fixed them up and mixed them down. This process is MADDENING with six different people, haha. Luckily, Chester (and at one time Shel and Stephen) lived locally and we could record on my equipment. As for Bear, Loki, Zeal, and YT, that shit was just difficult to equal out in the final mix. But I was up for the challenge. The final product is fantastic. (I hope?)
Considering that you put one together, what do you see for the future of Nerdcore Supergroups?
I'd like to think we're the Wu Tang of Nerdcore now, haha. That's the spirit of our project, really. As for other groups, I hope it wakes more people up to collaborations, no matter how out-of-reach the goal may seem. It's possible, we're living proof, that the internet has become an awesome tool for musicians. Thousands of miles difference, yet we still put out dope product together. Network, people! Don't compete, combine! Join forces! CAPTTAINNN PLANNETTT!
Would you like to see more groups come together, or do you prefer individual artists? I'm a fan of individual artists releasing posse tracks and coming together for group projects myself, so I know I would like to see an expanse in group-work.
Group work is great only if the heart is really into it. I think all six of us have a great bond with eachother in respect... In other words, I didn't just put this project together so that six people can just lay out some fresh lines and not give a fuck about the actual album or the mission of the disc. We were all deeply mentally involved in the image, and I think THAT is what makes groups great. Otherwise, it's just a lame showcase of individual projects that ends up in a dead end. I enjoy both individuals and groups though, on seperate fronts. Groups are just harder to accomplish, so I admire the skill of the project more, you know?
Is there a future for Sinister Six? After this album, can we anticipate a follow-up? I know I'm already excited enough for this release, and I'd like to get excited for another potential release as well. haha
Shit, I know a good amount of us are cool with more music, but the difficulty of getting things together was rediculous, haha. I think you can at least expect a track or two to pop up now and then. As for an entire album? I guess you humans will just have to come out of your Vaults in 200 years and see if we're still on the surface. In the immediate future, though... if all cards are played right... The Sin Six brethren will be performing together LIVE at Midwest Nerdfest! Stay tuned to that!
If there are guest rappers on the album, how did you pick them?
TyT and The Ranger appear on the album doing lines. Doing lines... sniffing... lines... off of Kate Beckinsale's ass. No... wait. Sorry, I'll pass the lame cocaine humor and hot chick talk and get back to the interview. They're DROPPING lines of rhymes on a few tracks. TyT takes the intro on "Tear It Up" to get the listener ready for the verbal assault. The Ranger appears in the song "Herald," and at this time, I haven't even heard it yet. But it will be done by this weekend. I picked TyT because his style is just so hype and it fit perfectly for that nutty, hyphy (if you will) track. As for Ranger, his skills also impress me, so I asked that asshole if he wanted to do it and he said yes. The rest is history. Haha. Just fucking with ya, Ranger.
Who are your influences as an artist, and how did they help shape your style of rapping that you put out now?
As an artist, I would have to say Mike Patton and Tech N9ne are at the top of my list. Mike Patton doesn't even rap (mostly), he's just the God of all music and the muse of all noise creation. If you're unaware of him, better Wiki that shit immediately and download his 70+ projects. You wanna talk about a hard, dedicated worker in music, he's your guy, and my ultimate inspiration to make music the way I myself want to, and then if anyone else likes it, then that's all plus. As for Tech, he started from nothing... a drummer just like myself on the down-and-out, but he rose up higher and higher, got himself a major undergound label going, and does giant shows and works with giant people. He's also got giant talent, ANDRE the Giant talent. His ability to switch up his cadence just like we did on the snares growing up led me to experiment with my delivery, and I keep learning new tricks off of my own trials. So yeah, those two get me going when it's time to sit down and get to work.
For our readers, what is Scrub Club Records and what does it hope to do?
To put it simply, I started Scrub Club as a way for independent musicians to help eachother out, and to gather up all the stray underdogs (music or not) so we could be a family. That's the real simple version. The complex version, you can read all about on our site. But basically, we hope to reach out and teach people to live their own lives, stay positive but cynical and realistic, and also to prepare them for the upcoming collapse of the music industry... With things like Wal Mart choking prices from the major labels to idiots trying to pass the Orphan Music plan... the collapse will happen soon. We also believe in free trade of music and in return are completely not-for-profit. Head to our official site at www.scrubclubrecords.com to read all about my collapse theory and Scrub Club's mission statement.
Also for our readers, what is Midwest Nerdfest all about?
Ah! Excellent. I was hoping we'd talk about this. It's a 3-day festival that incorporates all objects that make us nerds: Role playing, video games, books, Nerdcore emcees and gaming cover bands, horror, anime, costumes, Alice In Wonderland, art, caffeine, meeting new people into the stuff we're into, movies, game shows, the list goes on and on. I started it for three reasons:
- To showcase Nerdcore / video game cover band talent and bring it for the first time to the true Midwest
- To get similar people together to build new friendships, collaborations, and business partners
- To host an event that mixes this all together instead of big events that just focus on one nerdy theme or event
It's non-profit, it's all funded by sponsors, and it's all about entertainment. It's gonna be a BLAST that weekend in March. Head to www.mwnerdfest.com for more on all of that!
I'm looking at the current roster for Midwest Nerdfest. How did you go about choosing artists to perform? It seems to be being kept pretty much under wraps right now, so I'm waiting for more artists to pop up before I can get excited for any act over somebody else (but I will say that I can't wait to see Scrub Club's frontline live!).
Hah! Awesome to hear, man. Our new set is really gonna blow people's minds. Let's just say we're not your typical Hip Hop group on stage. I half chose the musicians and guests for Nerdfest that I truly wanted to see perform and bring out here to Kansas to spread their far-away message that I felt needed to be heard. The other half were people that came to me requesting a chance, or people suggested that needed help in getting their name out.
I won't say anything official, but we've got some really decent talent in the works. Newcomers AND superstars of the nerd world! Oh! And hot chicks, too, damn it!
So it seems like Midwest Nerdfest more than just a show. I'd like to think of it as something of cultural significance. You guys are going to be bringing together a lot of nerdy people in one place!
Indeed, and that's the main focus, a gathering of dorks from all over. It's definately not just a concert. We'll have console gaming, tabletop gaming, arcade games, live game shows with our guests, costume contests, silent auctions, guest panels and autograph signings, an Alice In Wonderland MadHatter's Tea Party, which will be a spot for Spoken Word performances and delicious tea from our homies Zoomdweebies (zoomdweebies.com) and some energy drinks from Bawls. There will be a masquerade ball, movie screenings including a special VIP Breakfast Club showing including a dope breakfast buffer for a limited number of festivalgoers, live podcasts, a freestyle battle, a dance-off, and so much more that I have to keep a secret for now. Shit, I already said too much! This is going to be a very different and innovative convention.
What is the percieved future for the Nerdfest? Do you plan on making it an annual festival?
Yes, absolutely. Depending on how well this first year goes, of course. Any and all profit that is not donated to charity or local businesses will be cached away to save up for bigger guests, events, and prizes. Also, if it all goes peachy, we'll look to expand the size of the venue by about 350%.
The convention center looks fantastic. Uh... it's not a question, just a comment. I'm stoked to see a show there hahaha.
Ha! Hell yeah, man. The stage isn't very high, but it's wide and built hardcore, so crazy bands like Killer Ro-... I mean, uh... I mean, it's built very well and adaptable for large, insane stage shows during the concerts. As for the vendors and events, there's plenty of room for those as well, and you'll never find yourself with nothing to do!
What do you see for the future of your own music?
I'm about to slow it down a bit. After I finish my next major album "John Henry," I'm going to focus on helping out my labelmates release music as a priority over my own projects. But I will keep this label going strong until I'm too weak to click a mouse button. And at that time, I'll be passing it on to someone else. Scrub Club and the No Dough philosophy is important to me not just as a label's mission, but as a way of life for all Scrubs, underdogs, nerds, and freaks of society. We already have a new artist by the name of Deafinition that is gonna warp your brain like FTL travel on his first release. And Chester, who's a fresh guitarist, is also working on a crazy string and beat album that either he or I am singing on... and Benjamin Bear is going to release Nightmare People, more than likely sometime in 2009. Can't wait for that, either. Whew. Plus we have our Spoken Word album almost done... beyond that, we'll be open for collabs after Midwest Nerdfest is all said and done!
Any last words of wisdom? Shout-outs?
"Don't go sticking your dipstick in no dirty oil." That was from my uncle. I fucking hated that guy. But he's dead now anyway. Oh, here's some real advice! Join us here at Scrub Club so we can all take over this shitty excuse for today's rap scene so we can mold it back to the way music was done in the early 1900s. It could only benefit us all, and strike at the hearts of Soulja Boys everywhere.
Greets and cheers, pops and snaps to my Sin Six brethren, my loving wife and beautiful daughter, our fans, friends, and supporters, Kate Beckinsale, the Nerdcore community, Upper Deck Entertainment, Frank and the crew at Zoomdweebies, Marie Navarro at Bawls, The people who are about to bring us Fallout 3, Taco Bueno, OH! And Kate Beckinsale.
That's all for now, but expect some more great interviews in the near future. Thanks to Madhatter for being so cooperative and prompt. For more information about anything from the interview, check out the following:
Scrub Club Records Official Site
Sinister Six Official Site
MidWest Nerdfest Official Site