Internet hip-hop sensation Adam WarRock (AKA: Eugene Ahn) is a longtime ally of GeekDad, and our blog recently gave back in the form of sponsorship. His current tour – he’s on the road throughout September with fellow members of the rap clique NO FRIENDS – was funded both by special releases from the artists themselves and a little scratch from like-minded businesses and communities such as GeekDad and Rutgers University’s Geek Week.
Before last weekend’s departure, Adam took some time to chat with me about the tour itself, his current television obsession and his plans for the remainder of 2012.
Z.: You’re about to kick off the NO FRIENDS Tour 2012 starting in the Midwest and moving down the East Coast. What was the impetus of this tour? What made you want to take to the road with Jesse Dangerously, Mikal kHill and Tribe One?
Adam WarRock: Me and kHill had planned to do a tour together a while ago, and it just kinda grew from there in inviting Jesse and Niles. Plus, we all have such a good time with each other when we’re at festivals or other concerts, that we figured we might as well ruin that by being stuck with each other for 2 straight weeks.
Z.: That’ll do it! Are there any other specific hazards unique to taking a two-week road trip with this motley crew of underground hip-hoppers?
WarRock: Having now toured and traveled with a variety of people, I’d say the only real drawback is not ever having time to yourself. I don’t mind the cramped spaces, I don’t mind the long, winding conversations in the car. But sometimes, you just get to a point where you want to be by yourself and there’s really nowhere you can go other than wander around the streets outside of a venue for an hour or two. That, and y’know, bathrooms.
Z.: You mentioned to me early in the planning process that you were handling most of the tour logistics, and that, surprisingly, you kind of enjoyed it. What is it about tour scheduling that appeals to you?
WarRock: There’s most definitely a part of me that is still completely blown away that people want to book me at all. So I think that plays a big part in it, like “whoa, you mean you’ll let me do this?! And PAY ME?!” That never really gets old.
But you can ask anyone, Tribe One especially, how organized a person I am. I just enjoy the side of the business that makes the trains run on time. It is weirdly soothing to me, if that sounds absolutely crazy. I like making a nice spreadsheet.
Z.: Rather than rely on a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to help finance the tour, you actually elected to go old school – you solicited for direct sponsorship. What can you tell us about the sponsors of NO FRIENDS 2012?
WarRock: It’s a motley crew of sponsors for a motley crew of rappers. I initially got approached by Fat Kid Revolution, who was interested in sponsoring a Chicago show. So the idea of just targeting web properties or businesses that were heavily regionalized and getting them to sponsor individual shows made sense. People were kind enough to buy into my selling of the snake oil, and a tour came together. Sponsorship is the only reason Jesse is coming with us, we had to first save him from the Great White North, which involved a rescue mission with dog sleds and flamethrowers and killing Yetis.
But seriously I highly recommend people give massive love to the sponsors listed on the tour page, as they support indie and nerd culture and back up their talk with their wallet. We couldn’t have done it without them.
Z.: You and the guys also released the FUN RAZOR collection to help alleviate the financial strain, a project wherein you rapped over each other’s beats. What was the fan response to that one?
WarRock: Confusion? Or maybe excitement and a bit of confusion. It’s kind of jarring to hear Jesse rapping on the “Battle (Finale)” beat or hearing me rap on ThoughtCriminals‘ “Our Time.” Y’know? It felt weirdly wrong, like I was breaking the rules or stealing from a friend. But we’re all really proud of the album, we kinda couldn’t believe how good it came out as a standalone product. Like even if you didn’t know our original songs, it would be a great album sampler of all our styles.
Z.: In addition to your various musical projects, you and a friend recently started a fan podcast centered on Disney’s new animated series Gravity Falls. How do you explain your fascination with this show?
WarRock: Hahhaa. God. I mean, okay. Look, me and Chris, we had a weird summer full of a lot of weird personal drama. And it just happened to come at a time when Chris was telling me I needed to watch this show called Gravity Falls. I had no idea what it was, what it was about, what it was like. But I trust Chris, so I watched it. And for some reason, the show just made me insanely happy. It made both of us happy, and every time we hung out, we started ranting about how much we loved the show. We were doing it on Twitter and Facebook, to the point where our friends were yelling at us to shut up. So we decided to start a podcast. That’s what you do when no one else around you wants to hear what you’re talking about, right? You make a podcast and find people who do want to hear what you’re talking about.
Z.: Okay, back to the NO FRIENDS tour; what can fans expect your set list to look like? Will you be sticking primarily with material from your most recent full-length, You Dare Call That Thing Human?!?
WarRock: Oh, Z. You act like I actually know what my set list is most nights before I go on stage. I will say that I am planning on putting more songs from Human?!? in the set, and probably going to do a lot of weirder, deeper cuts from the TrackLog. I like the more pensive, or the weirder and not necessarily nerdy songs, like “Insincere” or “Derby.” I don’t know if those names mean anything to anyone, but I’m sure I’ll just switch up my set every night to a certain degree.
Z.: You’ll wrap this tour up in mid-September, Eugene, so what are your plans for rest of the year?
WarRock: I have like two mixtapes that are on the backburner, and then I’m going to just start the next album in earnest. I’ve lined up some incredible producers and guest spots, and I have a lot of plans to roll it out. But I have to write it first.
Other than that, who knows. Stuff seems to come up when I have nothing to do.