Silver Rocket

Jared Paul: I'm mostly looking forward to meeting other independent artists, radicals, and anti-capitalists

Aran 7. 6. 2016

Loňskou desku Jareda Paula "Get My Ghost" jsem objevil díky hostovačce Ceschiho a díky tomu, že vyšla na Soleho labelu Black Box Tapes. ZAMILOVAL JSEM SE DO TOHO HNED. Naprosto srozumitelnej rap bez intelektuálních vytáček, tvrdá a rovná produkce, velký odhodlání z každýho rýmu... Objednal jsem si CD a když dorazilo, dlouho jsem ho vůbec nevyndal z přehrávače. Říkal jsem si: "Sakra, tenhle chlápek by tady měl hrát, to je náš člověk." Díky vám se to nakonec povedlo a Jared Paul v červnu odehraje koncert buď ve vašem městě, nebo hodně blízko. Běžte se na něj podívat - mám tušení, že živě to bude ještě lepší. Tohle je rozhovor, kterej jsme udělali po e-mailu...

Activism, spoken word, rap - what came first for you and how do they influence each other?

When I first heard Public Enemy in Seventh grade, it changed my life. I didn't get politically active right away, but P.E.'s music inspired and educated me: it opened my mind to revolutionary ideas, and led me to seek out as much Golden Era 90's underground Hip Hop as I could get my hands on: De La Soul, KRS ONE, Ice Cube, Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Fugees, Jeru, Nas, etc. I grew up below the poverty line in a semiurban, working class neighborhood and a lot of shit being addressed by these artists spoke to my friends and I. During my freshman year of college, a good friend took me to my first ever poetry reading and it blew my mind. There were poems about love, social justice, life, racism, survival, comedy, everything. I didn't know kids my age did anything like that! At that first reading, University of Rhode Island Students for Social Change put on an animal rights/antifactory farming demonstration and educated me on how fucked up the majority of the world's food economy was. After that, I got radicalized for real. My friends and I were always writing, performing, researching, organizing, and protesting from then on, and I've been vegan ever since.


If I understand correctly, you played in a punk band before releasing "Get My Ghost". How did a singer from a punk band come to release a rap album?

I started writing rap lyrics and performing a cappella Hip Hop first. That was my access point. I recorded a couple songs ("Jesus In A Bowl of Germs, etc.") that people liked way back in 2003 but I didn't know my bars or understand how to rap live. Sage Francis took me on tour as a spoken word / a cappella Hip Hop act in 2004 and 2005, but I wanted rap! So, in 2006 I formed a band to try and figure out how to write better songs and rock a crowd with music. We did local shows as "Jared Paul & The Dead Sober Band," mostly it was me rapping (poorly) to aggressive guitar. My bandmate, Alan Hague ("Ask The Dead" / "Worst Days") became my business partner and we changed the name of the band to Prayers for Atheists (PFA). Alan is a great musician who can play almost any instrument — we both love punk and he's an amazing vocalist. We started making punk songs for fun and doing aggressive guitardriven Hip Hop songs too. We recorded a bunch of tracks in 2008 and Strange Famous Records put out our self titled EP in 2009. We did 200 shows across the U.S. from 2009 to 2012 and won Album of the Year in our local music polls (Motif Magazine) for our second album. When PFA broke up, I took a little time off to adjust and then started working on Get My Ghost. Thankfully, I was able to partner up with Tommy Fox (of Aquifer). Tommy is another one of those dudes who can do it all: rap, produce, play instruments, etc. His beats are some of my favorite anywhere, and I'm still in love to this day with the soundscape he created for the project. I'm also excited for Tommy's new production and rapping on the upcoming Aquifer release which should be out in the next year!


There are some interesting guests on the record - P.O.S., Guante, and Ceschi to name a couple. Did you meet them through music or activism?

Guante and Ceschi's verses on No Quits Till are some one of my favorite parts of the album! Guante's album "You Better Weaponize" is one of the best political rap albums I've ever heard. I met him years ago a social justice event in Minneapolis. I've been a huge fan of Ceschi's ever since I heard "The One Man Band Broke Up," and was an even bigger fan after I saw his live show! I met P.O.S. while I was on the A Healthy Distrust tour in 2005 and his work blew me away. We didn't list him as an official guest on the tracklist for "5 or 5000" because his feature is actually him reciting part of a Henry Rollins passage from Get In The Van. Alan Hague put me on that book while we were on tour with PFA. I couldn't find the actual Rollins sample anywhere online and I didn't know if we'd get sued for using it so I figured it was best to just get a friend to record a live reading of the passage. I originally asked Bob Dead from the legendary Providence thrash/metal/animal rights band Drop Dead but he wasn't able to do it. I thought to myself, who do I know who loves punk and Hip Hop, and who is radical as fuck, and could really pull this off? I hit up P.O.S. and thankfully he was down! To me, P.O.S. is one the best emcees to ever pick up a mic: concepts, issues, lyrics, flow, politics. I think he could / should be as big as Kendrick or J. Cole. I love all his records, and Dessa's work, and all of DoomTree too.

How did you meet Sole and how much has he influenced you?

Sole has been one of the biggest influences in my life. I met him years ago in my home city of Providence. A friend had given me Deep Puddle Dynamics A Taste of Rain and Sole´s Bottle Of Humans record when I first got into "backpacker" / independent Hip Hop, and I was an instant fan. I think Selling Live Water and Live From Rome are indy classics. We became friends, and later, when he stepped into the streets and became a fully realized, revolutionary organizer my love and respect for him only grew. He's influenced me greatly as a writer, and in terms of activism and political analysis. I'velistened to he and DJ Pain 1´s new album Nihilismo from beginning to end like twenty times over the last couple months. It's one of the best political rap albums I've ever heard, and I think it achieves the full potential of Sole 2.0. It was a big honor that Black Box Tapes was down to put out my record, and to be included with SkyRider, Man Mantis, Paperbark, White Noise, etc.


Can you let us know more about your confrontation with the law, the trial and all that stuff?

I've been arrested at bunch of different actions over the years. The one most people know about was at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN. The U.S. tries to pass itself off as some great democracy where the government defends free speech and the rights of the citizens. But it's a bunch of bullshit. You're free to protest and say whatever you like as long you don't disrupt anything that threatens their profit or power. Unlawful mass arrests happen at every Democratic and Republican National Convention. I got caught up in one of those and was locked up in Ramsey County Jail for four days, along with hundreds of other people. With the help of good friends and supporters from Strange Famous Records, we hired a lawyer and beat the case. We lost the civil suit but appealed all the way to the Supreme Court!

Another case of mine had a better result though. After I beat charges for a separate arrest (mass detention while walking in a peace vigil!) at the Republican National Convention in 2004, I joined a class action lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). It took ten years, but in 2014 we won the largest protestrelated class action suit in U.S. history and set precedent in federal court against "Group Probable Cause," which was the classified (secret!) legal justification used by the NYPD's internal intelligence agency to justify arresting hundreds of people at a time. That case was called Schiller v. City of New York.

Can you describe the difference in dynamics between a spoken word and a rap show?

When doing a spoken word set, I can stop and go whenever I want performancewise. It's a completely different type of communication with the audience. It's more like live theater. Hip Hop shows have the full force of crowd, music, and movement all rolled into one. The music adds a whole different energy and vibe. And as a performer, it's totally separate from a spoken word set because you can't just pause whenever you want to stress a line, or catch a breath, you have to stay with whatever the beat or the band is doing. It's like being strapped to locomotive. I love both styles. I feel like I'm able to cover more topics and make a deeper emotional connection with the crowd during the spoken word set, but with music, the potential for sheer revolutionary energy is higher. The music set is a totally different experience, and it's a lot more fun.


I have fallen in love with the lyrics to "5 or 5000". Can you comment a bit on that song?

The way that I was brought up in Hip Hop, in punk rock, and in spoken word, by my mentors and teachers, is that you've got to play your guts every night no matter how many people are there because those are the people who took time out of their damn lives to come and hear you play. Because life is short and you don't have time to come wack or halfassed. There's a million other bands out there that people could be going to see, a million other things they could be doing with their time. You might only ever get that one chance to show'em whatcha got. In my opinion, if you respect your craft, and you truly respect your audience, you play as hard as you can whether there's 5 or 5000 people in the crowd.


This will be the farthest "east" you have been on your travels, is that right? What are you looking forward to the most?

It is! I've always wanted to see Prague. I'm mostly looking forward to meeting other independent artists, radicals, and anticapitalists. I wanna hear political analysis and alternate accounts of fighting back against systems of oppression and imperialism, directly eastern European folks. I wanna check out the radical music scenes and just have fun and laugh and learn. I wanna see what's good with Eastern European vegan food! I wanna dance my ass off at Fusion Fest! I also wanna just get the fuck out of the U.S. for a while and mix it up with folks born outside of The Matrix (the United Snakes).


I know you are vegan chef. Could you share a favourite recipe of yours?

I love tempeh! I love to cut a tempeh block into a burger shape and then grill it in coconut oil with onions. Then, I put it on vegan glutenfree bread, with wilted spinach and Chao or Daiya (mild cheddar block) vegan cheese, and grill the whole sandwich! The vegan cheese melts and fuses the spinach and onions to the tempeh burger. Serve with ketchup and mustard, salt n' vinegar chips, and a pickle. I MADE THAT SHIT LAST NIGHT!


Jun 16 – České Budějovice (CZ) w/Tomáš Palucha, Kovadlina
Jun 17 – Tábor (CZ) w/Kolona, Decibelles
Jun 18 – Plzeň (CZ) w/Kolona
Jun 19 – Prachatice (CZ) w/Kolona
Jun 21 – Praha (CZ) w/Tim Remis
Jun 22 – Kolín (CZ)
Jun 23 – Pardubice (CZ) w/Kolona
Jun 24 – Vernéřovice, Soulkostel (CZ) w/Kolona, Tim Remis, Kazuke, Mermomoc
Jun 25 – Rožnov p/R. (CZ) w/Kolona, Kovadlina, Crossfuckinfirehurricane
Jun 26 – Olomouc (CZ) w/Kolona
Jun 28 – Brno (CZ)
Jun 29 – Budapest (HU)
Jun 30 – Bratislava (SK) w/Modré hory
Jul 1 – Jihlava (CZ) w/Kolona
Jul 2 – Děčín (CZ) w/Kolona
Jul 3 – Lärz (DE) – Fusion Festival