MC Lars and Mega Ran Interview
Nerdcore: A sub-genre of hip-hop music that is characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of the general interest of nerds. MC Lars and Mega Ran joined together to create the Nerdcore Tour. A quick sprint of tour dates, but nonetheless covering the majority of the country. Lars and Mega Ran played at the Bluebird and we got to talk to them after the show.
You started releasing songs on Patreon recently, can you talk a bit about that?
Lars: I learned about Patreon from my friend Mega Ran because he’s working with K-Murdock. I’m doing two songs a month. All about everything from video games, to wrestling, to life in the 21st century. We’ve released two songs so far and have 128 supporters for the project. It’s pretty tight. And now that covers all recording expenses. And it’s really joyful dude.
What was the fan reaction for The Zombie Dinosaur LP?
Lars: Oh shoot! I think it had a really good reaction and it took a while to come out… I just learned that if you put your heart into what you do you feel better. And it’s really cool to be on tour with Mega Ran this year. His new album’s good too.
Mega Ran: It’s alright. It’s no Zombie Dinosaur LP.
And you recently put a new album out as well.
Mega Ran: I did! The album is called Random, it came out in September and it’s still going strong. It’s really my favorite work, I think I’ve finally pieced together what I’ve been trying to do as Mega Ran. Between nerdcore, between hip-hop, between chiptune I feel like it’s a good combination of everything I was trying to do. Normally I would separate those by concept and by album. But it was time to put it all into one album. So you get a lot of different feelings and emotions. And that’s why I think it’s my best work.
Lars: Are there any famous video game composers that collaborated on your record?
Mega Ran: Maybe… You know there is one named Michiru Yamane who did the music for Castlevania who played piano in the intro (“Same As It Ever Was”). And she’s super cool. I met her in Japan and she said her favorite rapper was MC Lars.
Lars: No! Did she?
Mega Ran: No she didn’t. She said Kanye West. But if she would have heard you, she would have said MC Lars.
You two are releasing an EP together?
Mega Ran: EP or LP. It’s in the works. We can’t talk about too much because it’s top secret and we may have to kill you.
Lars: You’ll be the first to hear.
Or I’ll be the first to die?
Mega Ran: (Laughing) Yeah, you’ll be the first to die. But no, we’re working on it. It’s Lit-Hop 101. It’s probably going to be a full length. We wanted it to be something small, but then we’re like, “You know what? This is something cool. So let’s make it something big and give it the effort it deserves.” And I’m really excited about it.
You made “Me & Mouse” as well which was on Indie Rocket Science
Lars: And an album called Language Arts Vol. 2.
Mega Ran: We did a remix for that. So, yes. It came out really well by DJ DN3 who did the beat for that.
Lars: I also wanted to say that it’s been really fun being on this tour because I’ve known Mega Ran for about seven years. It’s our first time we ever toured officially together, just us.
Mega Ran: Yeah, it was a long time coming. And all my fans were like, “Hey, why don’t you tour with Lars?” And it finally worked out.
Lars: Also, I want to give a shout out to Colorado State Radio! For having our back and thank you for always being interested and for doing this.
What’s your favorite old video game and your favorite new video game?
Lars: Favorite old is Super Mario Bros. 3. Favorite new one is Mario Kart for the WiiU.
Mega Ran: Mario 3 is one of my favorites but since you picked it I’m going to go with… Old school? Gosh, I love Mario 3, but the game that I play a lot, Mega Man 2, I would say. New school I really love the Uncharted games. I’m really excited about Uncharted 4 for PS4 coming, I think, this Spring.
If you were playing Mario Kart, what character is your go-to?
Lars: Link, son! I paid for the extra characters.
Mega Ran: Toad is my guy. I always liked Toad, he’s tough and can take a bumping and keep going. He’s strong. So Toad is always my character. Cause that was me, I take a lickin’ and keep tickin’.
Lars: But the thing is, with Luigi it’s like he never gets the spot. He finally gets the castle and what’s wrong with it?
Mega Ran: It’s the wrong castle?
Lars: It’s haunted! That’s your bit!
Mega Ran: That was my bit! Don’t steal my bit. I’ll kill you
Lars: (Singing) Lars don’t steal my bit! Lars don’t steal my bit!
You sometimes have a live drummer, Jon Thatcher Longley…
Lars: Shout out to Jon! We couldn’t bring him this tour because we didn’t get a van. But he’s great! You saw him on Warped, right?
Yeah! Have either of you had or considered having a personal DJ?
Lars: Oh, this dude. Tell him about Murdock!
Mega Ran: I do. I do a lot of tours with a guy named K-Murdock who acts as a DJ for me. I used to do a lot of stuff with DJ DN3, a lot of the time. I love the DJ. I do. I think that, as a hip-hop student, I feel like the DJ’s a central piece to the hip-hop puzzle that gets kind of overlooked. But, to me honestly, to have a DJ warrants a certain skill level. ‘Cause I look at guys like DJ Abilities or at guys like DJ Scratch or DJ Jazzy Jeff. Guys who can not only do tricks, but they can control the crowd. They can play solo, live sets by themselves. They can open the show, like, “Hey you’re the DJ. Give us 15 minutes to get these people so excited.”
Lars: Mr Dibbs! He’s great.
Mega Ran: Dibbs is great too. From Cincinnati, which we’re going to soon… He likes to party till his nose gets bloody. But anyway, guys like that are just super good at controlling crowds. So if I was to bring a DJ it has to be a guy who can do that. Who can hold their own where Mega Ran or Lars are not on stage but can still keep the people’s attention.
What’s your perspective of Kanye and his personality?
Mega Ran: I think he’s misunderstood and he’s kind of a tortured soul. I feel like he doesn’t have enough people around him to listen to him. So therefore, he goes into the public because he knows everything he says and does is news. And if the people around him said, “You know that’s kind of silly, you shouldn’t say that.” You know, people he really trusted, like his mother or things like that. People that are strong around him. If he had that, things would be different. We joke about it but it’s not funny. I feel like we say, “He’s funny, he said that thing.” But I really think he needs help, just as a former teacher… As a teacher I see the signs of a person that needs help. When you look at Kanye he’s just a guy that needs to be listened to. Just someone to sit down and be like, “I want to hear your ideas…” I wish he had more people listening to him or more people saying, “Hey man, sit down get off Twitter and let’s talk about this.” He’s a tortured soul man, and I want to see him continue to innovate and be awesome because he’s one of my biggest inspirations. I modeled my first album, The Call, loosely after his album, Late Registration. I thought what he did on that musically was awesome.
Lars: The thing about his new record I feel like it’s kind of disjointed. But shout out to KanYeezy.
How do you think technology influences the younger generation’s outlook on literature?
Lars: I don’t think they have the patience to sit down with a book like Moby Dick. But they’re so informed about Moby Dick’s place in pop culture that if you do a rap song about it people are like, “Whoa, this is tight.” But I don’t know man. Honestly, some of the things I read in college I would read Sparknotes or Wikipedia versions of to help understand it. So I think technology can help you understand books but I don’t think it’s good to read classic literature on a tablet. That’s just my opinion, a lot of people would disagree. I think that they’re smarter but I don’t think they have the patience for it.
How do you think punk rock has evolved into today’s music?
Lars: I think punk is about doing things your own way and doing things within your own team. This tour is an example of that because we have an indie booking agent and we’re just rolling in the car, just us. And all these venues are putting us on even though it’s a smaller tour but they’re helping us build the scene. The ethos of punk rock is really more about the attitude than the aesthetic. I think that things like Warped Tour can still be punk rock in that it’s mainly indie bands. But now everything is owned by corporations and you have to pay Facebook to promote stuff. So it’s a weird issue but I think it’s about the spirit of it. I think that there’s a new sound. Like even Kanye will have some weird noisey stuff on his record. So the aesthetic of it has crossed over. Green Day, I feel like that band is still pretty punk rock even though they’re huge. It’s just that it’s not 1977 anymore. People like to keep punk within a time period, I think the ethos of that is what makes it fungible. That’s why I call is post-punk laptop rap because it’s like the spirit of punk rock but post-punk because it’s not necessarily guitars and drums.