Interview: P.O.S. of Doomtree

Photo: Jeff Luger

The multitalented Doomtree hip-hop collective has become an almost inescapable presence in its hometown music scene of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but its first real national exposure came via the fiery second album by founding MC Stefon Alexander, a.k.a. P.O.S. Co-produced by the Doomtree collective along with Slug and Siddiq of Rhymesayers, Audition bristles with energy and wit, taking inspiration from hardcore punk-rock as much as rap. P.O.S. winds up a two-month tour this week with a homecoming stand at Minneapolis’ First Avenue March 26 with Doomtree compatriots Turbo Nemesis, Mac Lethal, and Sims.

The A.V. Club: Your pathway to becoming a rapper is kind of out of the ordinary, since you grew up as a part of the punk scene in suburban Hopkins, Minnesota.

P.O.S.: Well, I never lived in Hopkins, but I went to Hopkins High School. For a long time, during early junior high, it seemed like I was the only punk. And later there was a bunch of other punks, but I was definitely the only black punk. We had bands and our bands were great. And then members of the band went to college, so we started rapping.

AVC: The walls that used to divide different genres of music, especially rock and hip-hop, seem to be evaporating.

POS: Minneapolis makes it really easy. It’s just a great, all-inclusive music scene. I can’t think of any other place in the country where Atmosphere and Dillinger Four can play a show together and nobody will blink an eye. Everybody will be like “Oh yeah, that makes sense.” And then the same show happens in Chicago and there’s fights every 15 minutes. Nobody gets it. But in Minneapolis, that kind of shit’s just really standard. It didn’t take any deep breathing to figure out what I was going to do—it just was what was going to happen, you know?

Originally published March 21, 2006 on Read the complete article.

Interview: Billy Bragg

Billy BraggFor nearly 30 years, Englishman Billy Bragg has kept the faith as one of the most outspokenly political songwriters of his time. From anthems like “There Is Power In A Union,” which Bragg wrote in support of striking mine workers in Thatcher-era Britain, to bringing forgotten Woody Guthrie lyrics to life in his collaboration with Wilco on the two Mermaid Avenue discs, Bragg has made a career of mixing leftist humanist sentiments with punk energy, memorable melodies, and emotionally vulnerable love songs. He’s just released Billy Bragg Volume 1, a nine-CD box set comprising his 1983 debut, Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy, 1984′s Brewing Up With Billy Bragg, 1986′s Talking With The Taxman About Poetry, and the 1990 EP The Internationale, along with other rarities of the era, including video of live performances behind the Iron Curtain. Bragg plays Austin, Texas’ SXSW Festival March 17 before heading out on a tour of the eastern U.S. through the end of the month. The A.V. Club tracked Bragg down at his home in Dorset, England, to chat about pop and politics.

Originally published on March 21, 2006. Read the complete article.

Interview: Ray Harryhausen

Ray HarryhausenStop-motion animation has been around since the silent-movie days, but no one has put a personal stamp on the technique like Ray Harryhausen. In 16 movies from 1949′s Mighty Joe Young to 1981′s Clash Of The Titans, Harryhausen gave life to an entire zoo’s worth of fearsome monsters, including the giant octopus which destroys the Golden Gate Bridge in It Came From Beneath The Sea, the carnivorous dinosaurs of One Million Years B.C. and The Valley Of Gwangi, and, from his most memorable film, Jason And The Argonauts, the colossal guardian Talos and the homicidal, sword-wielding skeletons. It’s rare for a special-effects artist to be the real driving force behind a movie, but Harryhausen’s contributions often dominated the shaping of his films. He achieved this while working mostly alone and under the pressures of low-budget filmmaking—Titans‘ $16 million budget was more than the total cost of his previous collaborations with producer Charles Schneer, his partner for the bulk of his career. Just before embarking for America, where he’ll be touring through early May, Harryhausen talked with The A.V. Club about his life and his new book The Art Of Ray Harryhausen, which looks back at his career from his high-school days building mammoths out of his mother’s discarded fur coat to his latest work as a bronze sculptor.

Originally published on March 21, 2006. Read the complete article.

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