MC: My name is mc chris. I am a rapper, maybe, I don't know. I rap and travel the country and do rap shows for children who are rap deprived. We've been doing it since January and we're almost done so we're kinda exhausted. Today we're in Baton rouge so we're psyched about that cause everyone here is pretty awesome. They already bought us pizza.
LP: SO YOU GREW UP IN THE 70s & 80s. HOW IMPORTANT WAS TV WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
MC: TV was really important when I was little, MTV especially but I watched everything. I loved Saturday Night Live, I loved Bugs Bunny, I loved The Muppet Show. The 80s was a great time to be a kid, it just seems there was a lot of great stuff. Now everything is Japanese and robotic whereas back in the day it was all stuffed animals that could talk and wore crazy t-shirts that spoke. It's a huge influence, I love TV, I definitely was raised by a TV. Cable, cable was the big deal, movie channels were even a bigger deal.
LP: WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU GROWING UP AS A KID?
MC: For me, I had asthma so I was bad at sports which made it difficult for me to make friends because sports defined pretty much everything where I grew up. I got used to being by myself, I drew a lot, I played GI Joe's a lot. I got picked on all the time and my brother, I had three older brother, I was the baby and I got picked on by them and I got picked on at school. The mailman would throw magazines at me, that's not true. At the same time, I had a lot of love, a lot of toys, all sorts of stuff to make up for not being the most popular kid in the world.
LP: WHAT WERE YOUR COLLEGE YEARS LIKE?
MC: College was tougher. In high school I kinda became a little bit of a pimp and then I went to college and then I was back to being like a street soldier. I didn't like art school very much, I though everyone was really stupid, I thought the teachers were even more stupid than the students, nobody knew what they were talking about. I dropped out and transferred to New York University and studied screen writing. In New York, I became friends with some people that got me into pop punk, they became my best friends and mc chris kinda came out of hanging out with musicians and them wanting to make like a different kinda music besides punk cause they would record all the time. If they wanted to experiment, if they wanted to make a rap song, I would be the rapper. I was the one person that listened to rap and knew all the songs and rapped other songs but never wrote my own stuff. That's kinda where I came from.
LP: SO THE SCREENWRITING, DID YOU GRADUATE FROM NYU?
MC: I did, I graduated from them and got a BFA in screenwriting which is pretty stupid to do, very expensive. School is very expensive. If you're going to school, make sure you're learning a technical skill. Screenwriting you know, I have written some TV episodes and some television and stuff so it did pay off and I still wanna make movies some day. NYU is really just about being in New York and feeling the energy of Washington Square and the villages.
LP: WE SHOULD FIND OUT A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR EVOLUTION IN HIGH SCHOOL TO YOUR PIMP STATUS.
MC: I got the leads in all the plays and won awards when I drew. I dated all the time. Dating seemed to be like the big thing for me in high school. I was always just chasing girls that were like one year younger than me but that's what I mean by pimp. I still didn't have respect from the popular people but by the time you're a senior, you don't give a crap. I made friends with all the stoners and the freaks even though I didn't touch anything. I didn't drink or smoke until I got to New York. I was so frightened by Manhattan, I just immediately started drinking and smoking.
LP: SO WHERE DO YOU GET THESE IDEAS FOR YOUR SONGS?
MC: Sometimes it's from my fans, like what their into. Sometimes it's just about what I'm into. Sometimes it's me commenting on hip hop and just pretending to be a rapper but just trying to take, make their lyrics seem kinda ludicrous by doing more extreme, surreal lyrics. It's a hodgepodge of all different kind of things. I look at rap as a complete free form where you can portray any character or assume any stance or be anything you want. It's always been about escaping reality and playing characters and being alter egos and stuff like that.
LP: TALK ABOUT THE WHOLE "NERDCORE" THING?
MC: The "Nerdcore" thing is just kinda like that's who listened to my music and Adult Swim has a very nerdy following and kind of like cynical intelligent males who feel unappreciated get into my music.
LP: THERE'S LIKE A WHOLE UNDERGROUND FOLLOWING?
MC: There's a lot of them. They created the internet so their very powerful. I'm like making friends with the robots before the big Matrix war or the Terminator years, whichever one you wanna pick.
LP: EXPLAIN THE PROCESS OF CREATING A SONG.
MC: I write songs, I would come home from work and I'd write songs, rapping over the radio or something off of my computer, just doing things repeatedly, again and again and again and writing it and going back and forth. Then I get a beat from him and I would pick which lyrics would go with which beats. Then I would fly, we had a three day weekend and I'd have Monday off from work, fly up to New York, record vocals. I'd tell him how the song would be arranged and then we'd record my vocals and then he'd kinda work with it for a couple of months trying to perfect it. That's pretty much the process.
LP: WHAT'S IT LIKE TO SEE YOUR FANS FACE TO FACE?
MC: It's good. It's good to meet the people that listen to our music, that know the words, that support us. At the beginning I was worried it was just all because people liked the cartoons and just wanted to touch a piece of that or meet somebody that was involved with that and shake their hand. Over the year, I've seen, we've got our own little thing going on, it's not the biggest thing in the world but it doesn't have to be. If it all ended tomorrow I'd be really happy with how this year went. Meeting everybody, they've just been really cool and really sweet and everyone feels seems like they've connected to the music. It's like sending out a message in a bottle and having somebody find it and completely understand it and then be like, I totally understand where you're coming from. It makes me personally as an artist feel like I'm not such a weirdo or I'm not so strange. It's a good feeling.
LP: HAVE YOU SIGNED ANY BOOKS OR ASS CHEEKS?
MC: Yeah, more boobs than ass cheeks. The boobs is a regular thing. Sometimes it's really nasty. Your sharpie gets caught in a stretch mark and it's like a needle hitting a record grove. Sometimes the boobs are fake and that's really weird but sometimes when it's nice, when the skin is smooth and there aren't a lot of imperfections and the marker just slides right over, it's like ice skating. It's just amazing. The butts not so much.
LP: WHAT IS THE CRAZIEST THING THAT HAS HAPPEND TO YOU WHILE ON TOUR?
MC: So many crazy things have happened this year. The fact that people know who we are is crazy, we got on TV, we got in Time Magazine, I went to Skywalker Ranch. Just a couple weeks ago, Hillary Duff said I'm gonna be the big thing next year on TRL. It's weird, things from all different directions are happening and I don't know where it's all gonna go but I just kinda look at it like I'm getting a lot of good omens and a lot of good vibes about everything. People ask what's the craziest thing that happens on tour, what's the tour tradition. Tour is very boring. We get lost a lot and that's exciting for a second and then we get back on track and then it gets boring again.
LP: HAVE YOU CONSIDERED A COUPLE OF CITY STOPS WITH HILLARY DUFF?
MC: I don't think our audiences would mix but I'd definitely do a song with her in a heartbeat.
LP: WHAT'S GOING ON WITH YOU AND ADULT SWIM?
MC: I'm just friends with them. They encourage me to go out and be on my own. They were
very cool about it. I don't know if I have a job waiting for me, I don't know if I really need one.
I'm in the movie that comes out next sprint, the Aqua Teen movie and I'm in that, last cut.
I've been doing this, pretty much concentrating on this, so I haven't been in the
office and if you're in the office, you're in every cartoon, you're fingerprints are
on everything. I'm not there anymore so now I just kinda miss it. I keep in contact
with everybody and I visit them when I come to Atlanta. Times change, things end.
LP: WOULD YOU CARE TO GIVE A LITTLE BACKGROUND ABOUT HOW YOU GOT
INVOLVED WITH THAT?
MC: I just got discovered in a bar. The guy that discovered me, he said come to down to Atlanta and I was like I don't wanna do that. His friend was making a cartoon in Manhattan called Sealab. I became a voice and a writer and artist on that from day one. The interview process took a while but once I got in there, I hung on tight for a really long time. When they moved down to Atlanta, I came with them. Then I switched over to Aqua Teen, then to Brak, then I became an Associate Producer and made commercials. At the end, it was a lot fun. I got to make 30 second little things and I was kinda more in charge then usual. It was greater to be creative. I realized I wanna be pretty autonomous so now I get to totally do that. Now, I'm totally in charge.
LP: WOULD YOU GIVE UP THE ROAD TO GO WORK FOR LUCAS?
MC: Yeah, sure, in a heartbeat. If he's got a Star Wars TV show coming up, if he needs some help, I'm here. I got to meet him, I'm friends with his daughter now. I look at Star Wars in a totally different way. It makes me feel like, I started just writing a song in Jersey, nobody knew who the hell I was. 4 or 5 years later, I get to go where they make the movies and it just made me feel like this whole thing that's happened has just been really amazing. It just shows me that, as lame as it sounds, anything is possible. It gets me excited to keep going.
LP: WELL YOU CUT YOUR TEETH ON STAR WARS AND YOU END UP AT THE SKYWALKER RANCH.
MC: It's like the perfect circle. It's the circle of life. I got a jacket, I scored a jacket. I went to the gift shop at Skywalker Ranch and I knew I would never be back there so I took a mug and a pen and hat and couple of postcards. I got to sleep there overnight. You best believe I stole the stationary.
LP: WHERE YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 OR 10 YEARS?
MC: I probably won't be doing this. I'll probably have a cartoon or a movie or a play or a book. I'd be happy painting. I don't know what I'm gonna do. I hope I just have enough money to make choices. That's kinda my goal is to make enough money that I can decide what I wanna do. I can do all sorts of stuff but no one knows that except for me so I'm excited to let everyone see what I can do.
With his high pitched voice and geeky gangster attitude, Chris Ward also known as mc chris (void of punctuation and capitalization) has been touring the US and performing to his fans who are rapping the words to his songs right along with him. His other creative talents can be seen on several shows appearing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, such as Sealab 2021, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Brak Show. Before playing the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge, LA for the third time in his 150 show tour around the US, I had the pleasure of chilling out with him to get his take on life on the road and the background that created this unique talent.
2/27/2006 - interview by Kate