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Grieves and Budo

22 Sep

Despite the mourning in his name and the sly, dark poetry of his lyrics, which go straight for the gut and the heart, sometimes by way of the bottle, Grieves is a funny guy. The man born Benjamin Laub may be “batshit crazy”, as he claims, but also genuinely funny in conversation, especially when backed up by his longtime friend and producing partner Budo. The duo have been working together since 2008, when the Seattle-based duo released 88 Keys & Counting, through the 2010 Rhymesayers release The Confessions of Mr. Modest and to this years’ proper Rhymesayer full-length debut, Together/Apart. The duo arrive at the Varsity Theater on Friday, backed by “comedy rapper” and Grieves’ housemate The MC Type (told you he was funny guy) as well as Stophouse’s own Prof, who, with his recent King Gampo release, shows he knows a thing or two about the snapping the line between goofy and smart himself.

C15: It’s your first headlining tour in a couple years, what do you want out of this tour?

G: I want to set the foundation for us to continue to do headlining tours and to reach the people that send us things on facebook, or send us e-mails and visit our website. ‘Cause we announced this tour and people were like, “Why aren’t you coming to Blah blah blah?” Well, you know, we haven’t had the chance to go to Blah blah blah yet, but if I continue to do this and continue to have good numbers and support, I’m going to be able to go anywhere. That’s awesome for us to be able to reach these people and to be able to cater to those people who want to see us.

C15: Do you personally respond to people telling them why you’re not going to Blah blah blah?

G: I used to, I mean, I do personally respond to people, but I can’t personally tell everybody why I’m not coming to wherever they are because I’d be on the internet all day and a lot of people just don’t get it half the time, they’re just like, “Well that’s bullshit, just tell somebody that you need to come here!”

B: And then depending on how much booze in me, you might not get a good response!

G: For some reason, you’ll announce that you’re coming to Minneapolis and 30 seconds later you’ll get a post saying, “Come to South Africa!” And you’re like, “Well, were not coming to South Africa, but we’re coming to Minneapolis.” Then somebody will be like, “Why aren’t you coming to Minneapolis” And you’re like, “Motherfucker, we are coming to Minneapolis, were not going to South Africa.” Then two weeks later, they say, “Why aren’t you coming to Minneapolis?” And we played Minneapolis two nights ago. So it gets a little ridiculous.

C15: You two have been working together since 2008’s 88 Keys & Counting. Aside from keeping eachother off the internet, what are you doing to keep eachother sane?

G: Absolutely nothing, I’m batshit crazy. I don’t know where you got the idea that I might be sane.

B: [Laughs]

C15: Then regardless of whether or not you’re crazy or sane, what do you do to make eachother better artists?

G: Whoa, that’s a good question. Lie to eachother?

B: Yeah, that was great. I loved that song.

G: I think by pushing eachother out of, not out of eachothers’ comfort zone per se, but tiptoeing in other waters every once in a while. Because I fall into routine, when I’m making beats and I’m making songs, because it’s that craft and it sounds that way. But Budo will come in and will be like, “Yeah, maybe you know, there should be a 32-bar instrumental breakdown with guitars and triangles.” And I so I think he helps me step out of the box when it comes to my formula and I think I help him step in to the box when it comes to his formula and that kind of process always helps us come up with new stuff because one of us is always telling someone else about what could happen with the beat and I think that’s good for the creative process.

B: Yeah, to have that space where we have really different approaches to making music but there is a mutual respect as to where we’re coming from and that really allows us to push eachother. I know here I need help and I know where to push Grieves and vice versa. It’s a cool fit.

G: I mean, Budo’s the one to blame about me singing, pretty much. He’s the one that got me out that gangsta shit…

B: Yeah! I took you out the street!

G: And into the, “Oooh-ooo-oh!”

B: I saved you from a life of crime.

G: And now I’m a healthy, sexy man.

C15: I had thought that maybe the singing was the latest Slug getting to you. What kind of support and direction do you get being on Rhymesayers Entertainment?

G: They’ve been really open to what we want. When we inked our contract with them for the record, we sent them all the songs we’d been working on prior to our deal and when it came time to make the record, they just helped us set up our studio time and just said, “Go for it.” They really let us run with it.

B: Which is a little bit terrifying, because when we turned the album in, I don’t think either one of us had any idea what to expect in terms of a reaction. And we had sort of lost perspective, too, because it was very hands off, a very hands off approach from them. So when Saadiq called us, when Bird called us and said, “You’ve got a good record,” I was little bit surprised because we had been so close to it for so long that I just lost perspective.

C15: You needed someone outside to tell you it was good.

G: Yeah, and as an artist, it feels good to turn some stuff in to your label and have them say, “Yeah, that’s great. Good. Good job.”

B: And I know it’s not a lazy thing, because I know that if I sent Saadiq a shitty song, he’d be like, “Yeah, no.”

G: And he’d probably say it exactly like that.

C15: Along with cutting Together/Apart for Rhymesayers, the Warped Tour must have been your other big experience recently, what was that like?

G: Alright, so this is how you can prepare for Warped Tour: Put a bunch of clothes on, put on your favorite clothes, dye your hair any weird color, get a T-shirt that has a really offensive saying on it, like “I fuck fat chicks” but it’s going to be a purple shirt with neon green writing on it and then get a boombox, plug it into a guitar amp, play some really loud screamo music, all of this happens while you’re in a sauna. You’re going to be in a sauna, turn it up hot, throw some water on the rocks and then run in place the whole time until you pass out and that is what Warped Tour is.

B: You just did an amazing job of summing that up.

G: Yeah, I fuck shit up.

B: Put that on a T-shirt!

C15: “Grieves: I fuck shit up.”

G: Why is that not a thing? “Put that on a T-shirt!”

B: “Put that on your T-shirt and wear it!”

G: Can that be the title of this interview? “Put that on your T-shirt and wear it!”

C15: I’ll work it in there. If you just had one song to introduce yourselves with, which song would it be?

B: I got it. Remember that Christmas Grinch song we did a few Christmases ago called “Motherfucker”? I think we should do that one.

G: That was awesome. We did this song called “Motherfucker” and it’s just me from the perspective of the Grinch and it’s pretty badass, it’s over this very Christmas-y beat that Budo made and it’s just me cussing and talking about how I’m going to assassinate Santa Claus. No, to answer your question seriously, so people don’t go hear me cussing for three and a half minutes…

B: They can come to a show if they want that, tell them to come to a live show if they three straight minutes of Greives cussing.

G: I would tell them to listen to “Gwenevieve” off 88 Keys & Counting, because that is the first song that Budo and I ever made together, so if you want to go for an introduction, that’s the song that started our working relationship together. So you can hear that song and every song past that is an advancement in our relationship. So you can just [Valley Girl voice] like, follow us, down the road and stuff. Sentimental.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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