Freak Rap: Music, Anarchy, and a Q & A With Art Vandelay MC Ricky Pharoe"/>
Art Vandelay is the product of local rapper Ricky Pharoe and producer Mack Formway, with occasional back up vocals/Jesus impersonations by manager Alton Roundtree. Their new album Face Tattoo was released today on their own imprint, Unimpressive Records. The follow up to last year's stellar They've Got My Number Down At The Post Office, Face Tattoo is more of the same: high fidelity, guitar-driven beats; and wandering lyricism from Pharoe's media-warped notepad. It's free for download/stream on their Bandcamp page. Also, a new video for their track "Of A Face Tattoo" is here.
I recently threw a few questions at the album's anti-hero, Pharoe, over the email, and just got the answers--and probably a couple of computer viruses--back. Enjoy:
Your lyrics are usually pretty left-of-center. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Mostly straight from the heart of the beast. Nothing compares to real life. I've been exposed to every kind of media for my entire life, I've learned a lot from other artists, writers, actors, but my day to day interactions with people is the ultimate source. I have a love/hate relationship with people. I think they're disgusting, but also pretty interesting and sometimes awesome. Somehow I've known a ton of super weirdos in my life. I mean some fucking weirdos. So yeah, they're definitely my biggest inspiration, as a writer at least.You seem (rightly) discontent with the state of the nation/world on several levels. What would your ideal world look like?
I think my ideal world would have no government, no explicit laws and no currency. I don't think you need prisons and bureaucracy to regulate what most people find morally unacceptable, and I don't think you need money to keep communities of people functioning. I'll spare you the explicit details, but I can argue that the majority of people would lead much happier lives without these entities. Culture evolves much faster than human beings do and somewhat independently. Working 40 hours a week in front of a computer or even at a construction site is not what our bodies are designed for. This is why most people hate their jobs and/or lives.
If The Man offered you a large sum of money to sign to His record label, how would you respond?
I'd sign in a heartbeat, granted that I liked the music I was making at some fundamental level... Or probably even if I didn't. Any form of work that isn't illegal is under the authority of "The Man." Why not get paid well to work and do something you enjoy? I'm not mad at anyone on a major label no matter how horrible their music is. Even making shitty rap songs is better than being a custodian or whatever else. And really most all of my favorite MCs were on a major label at some point.
How do you protect yourself from the invisible thought-reading beams that are constantly sent down from CIA satellites?
I actually have an impenetrable adamantium lined helmet that I'd be willing to sell you for $750.
How can normal people help make the world a "better place"?
Probably suicide would be the simplest method, but I consider myself normal and I don't plan on killing myself because then I don't benefit from a more spacious world. Really though, the first thing that comes to mind is just being nice to the people you interact with. People are assholes to each other, usually for no reason at all. When someone cuts you off in traffic, most people think "Nice, you fucking moron! Learn how to drive!" or something along that lines. But when we cut someone off, we're not a moron, we know how to drive, it was just an accident or it was absolutely necessary. I think this stems back to most people hating their jobs and/or lives. If you don't hate life you're probably nicer to people. And I guess if you hate life, you should consider suicide.
What do you hope people take from Art Vandelay music?
As long as they don't take us too serious I'm good. Whether they just love Mack Formway's production (and I don't know anyone who doesn't)... or they get some life changing epiphany from hearing it. Maybe they listen to it on mushrooms and decide they hate their controlling parents so they run away to follow their dream of becoming a professional wrestler. Hopefully something positive. SW