Flourescent Black: Talking With Anti-Pop Consortium

by | Oct 19, 2009 | MUSIC

Anti-Pop Consortium has been together since 1997 when Beans, M.Sayyid, High Priest, and producer Earl Blaize met at a poetry slam in New York. Known for their left field adventurousness, stream of consciousness lyrics and musical references to contemporary composition methods, they are not your typical hip hop group.

Anti-Pop Consortium has been together since 1997 when Beans, M.Sayyid, High Priest, and producer Earl Blaize met at a poetry slam in New York. Known for their left field adventurousness, stream of consciousness lyrics and musical references to contemporary composition methods, they are not your typical hip hop group. They took the hip hop world by surprise when they released their 2000 debut Tragic Epilogue, and became the genre’s premiere boundary pushers with Shopping Carts Crashing, also in 2000. Their 3rd and last release Arrhythmia (2002) before a five year hiatus to pursue personal projects both pushed the envelope and made heads nod. They reunited in 2007 to work on their new album, which finally saw release last month.

I was able to talk with members Beans, M. Sayyid and High Priest by phone. They were happy to talk about the new album, tour and music in general.

Christian Hendrickson: Have you been to Richmond Before?

M. Sayyid: Shouts to my cousin sheltie and my aunt Tam! Midlothian Turnpike stand up!

Ah, you have relatives in Richmond?

M. Sayyid: Yeah, man I stayed in Richmond a lot and Va Beach too. We haven’t toured in Richmond yet.

You’ve had a seven year hiatus?

M. Sayyid: Seven? It’s been five. We’ve been touring and working for two. Five and a half months.

Were you doing some pre touring to get back in the grind?

M. Sayyid: We never left the grind big homie; we were just prepping the waters with new APC material. What we were doing with the two years is after we got back together we were touring heavy, mainly overseas. We’ve been back and forth to Europe for the past two years in-between working on the album.

I see on your Myspace tour schedule that you’ll be touring Europe a lot.

M. Sayyid: We’re gonna be here heavy.heavy, heavy. Were going back and forth…

Beans: Will be hitting the west coast and then going back to Europe again…

M. Sayyid: Yeah, will be going back and forth…

So was it an easy transition after you all separated for five years to do solo projects, like Airborn Audio which High Priest and Sayyid put out, which is one of my favorite albums?

M. Sayyid: That’s what’s up. Appreciate that.

Was it an easy transition to get back working together?

Sayyid: Yeah, it was. It wasn’t hard at all man. It’s what we do.

High Priest: We stayed in contact over those times, Sayyid and I obviously had a working relationship during the transition of APC. We all kept awareness and Beans made sure to keep an awareness in hollering support as well so we all stayed interconnected in getting back to that next phase.

I was listening to the Ninja Tune podcast interview and you guys mentioned some of the influences on your band like Sonic Youth’s ‘Ciccone Youth” album…

M. Sayyid: I love that album! Daydream Nation…..

Could you mention any other groups in that vein people might be surprised influenced you?

Beans: I mean our fan base isn’t surprised honestly because they can hear the influences from every direction. You know all four of us bring something individual to the table but we can go around and talk about some bands if you like.

M. Sayyid: I like Prefuse 73. I like Magma, Can, Brainticket,Neu, you know, I like a lot of the Krautrock stuff. I like Pierre Henry, Stockhausen from like Musique concrète stuff. You know I run the gambit. I like Jazz, big Sun Ra fan.

I wanted to have that mentioned because it seems like a lot of heads think that all you’re supposed to listen too and be influenced by is hip hop.

M. Sayyid: It’s like this…

Beans: That’s what we grew up in.

M. Sayyid: I mean if it wasn’t for Kraftwerk, and Bambaataa wasn’t open to that then we wouldn’t have Planet Rock. That’s what I always thought hip hop was supposed to be. I mean one of the things blessed about living in New York is that we were exposed early to all various forms of music based on the New York radio and having the outlet for so much different college radio at the time which was the 80’s. Its like a sponge from the Cure, P.I.L., you know Depeche Mode the Smiths then you switch over to Fat Boys, Run D.M.C. then you come up a little earlier too De La Soul, Q-Tip, Quest all that. It’s the big mash up of music and culture here so were open minded cats and always have been. We always embraced all kinds of genres.


So when you were out touring before your album came out were people feeling what you were doing?

M. Sayyid: Yeah because we never played any old music, the majority of the set list for the new shows we only play like two songs and they want older songs as an encore. The majority of the tracks are new material and it’s only about a 45 minute show. So we were received pretty favorably.

I’m glad to hear that because it does seem like heads are getting tired of hearing the same old repetitive beats and major label releases.

M. Sayyid: Right. Formulaic.

It does seem like more people are turning to underground hip hop and groups that are melding different styles together…

M. Sayyid: What do you consider underground hip hop?

Everything from your group to MF Doom, Brother Ali, local artists. Releases on Rhymesayers, Anticon labels like that.

M. Sayyid: Nice. Nice man. Cool, because underground hip hop out here can sometimes be like Raekwon or stuff that’s not on the radio but it still used to be more pop you know what I mean. That’s why I was asking you what you considered underground hip hop.


M. Sayyid: Out here we call underground hip hop “backpack hip hop” not “underground hip hop”.

Your new album came out the 29th of September. It was sent to radio stations a couple weeks before. How has it done so far across the country?

Beans: So far the response has been pretty favorable, you know.

M. Sayyid: Nothing but love.

Beans: It’s been pretty like, open arms in terms of reception.

M. Sayyid: Definitely. We’re getting a lot of love and it’s due to the fans and people like yourself man, who we would be nowhere without. So we really appreciate that.

Anti-Pop Consortium “Volcano” from Okayplayer on Vimeo.

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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