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INTERROCKATIONS: DAS RACIST


 

Recently, a group of 826CHI students attended the Pitchfork workshop where they learned about music journalism from Pitchfork.com contributor Pat Sisson. They then got to put their skills to the test at the annual Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park by interviewing many of the bands.


Every Monday for the rest of the summer, we will be updating the 826CHI writing gallery with their pieces. So, in the coming months look for interviews with James Blake, Neko Case, Das Racist, Fleet Foxes, OFF!, G-Side, Cold Cave, No Age, Juliana Barwick, Zola Jesus, Kurt Vile, HEALTH, DJ Chrissy Murderbot, Battles, Shabazz Palaces, Woods, Sun Airway,  Battles, The Dismemberment Plan and DJ Shadow.


Here is an excerpt of 7th graders 826CHI students Cherokee and Amelia in conversation with Heems, Kool A.D. and Dapwell aka Das Racist

Das Racist: Be easy on us. We’re tired. I see you got the ice cold mean mug ready.

Well, this question goes right to your songs. What do you like better Pizza Hut
or Taco Bell?

This is an age-old debate we’ve had in the band.  I’ll like Taco Bell.
I’ll go with Taco Bell as well.
We go with Taco Bell because, although they are both nutritionally very bad, Taco Bell probably has more fiber in the beans.
Yeah, and more vegetarian options-- more fiber and more vegetarian options.
Don’t do drugs.

How did you come up with your band’s name?

We stole it from a TV show named Wonder Showzen. It’s for kids.
It’s kind of a kid’s show, yeah.

Have you ever been to a combination Taco Bell and Pizza Hut?

Never.
I’ve been to one.

Are you serious!? You’ve never been to one?

No.

Dude, I’ve been to one.

That’s crazy, yo. You’ve got one up on us.
I’ve been to like two or three. I like them. I like the options.

Why did you come up with that song [Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell]?

We came up with the song because we were bored. What do you have that pen for?

I don’t know.

They just told you should do it if you’re a reporter. You should be noting the little characteristics… how we might look… maybe the surroundings. What’s the name of the thing you guys are in?

826

826 Valencia in San Francisco?

No, Chicago.

I used to work there actually. I was helping set up the ones in the other cities, back when I cared about human beings.

Do you guys like sushi?

Yeah, I like sushi.

What is your favorite food?

Sushi.
Yeah, sushi.

So, why do you guys make random, awesome videos about chicken and meat [Chicken and Meat]?

Why? We get bored.
People with the ideas ask us to be in them and we rarely say no.

I watched your videos like 10 times each this morning.

Oh yeah, do you feel dumber now?

No, they’re awesome! What did you do with that knife in the music video? How
did you not get hurt?

We stood like 23 feet apart.
Yeah, we stood like 1 or 2 feet apart, so we generally had enough room.

How do you think you are going to do on your performance today?

I think it will be okay. I don’t think it will be very good. I don’t think it will be very
bad. I think it will be all right.
Yeah, I would say either okay or all right, as well.

What are you going to play?

Probably "Who’s that Brooown!" and "You Oughta Know" and "Lucky Star" by Madonna.

What’s your favorite vegetable?

I’m going to go with Jack Fruit. Is Jack Fruit a vegetable? It has fruit in the name, but

it might be a vegetable, right?

Does it have a seed?

Yeah.

Then, it’s a vegetable.

So, why’s it called Jack Fruit?

If it has a seed in the center, it’s a fruit.

Okay, so it’s a fruit then.
But Jack Fruit feels so vegetabley to me. It doesn’t feel like a fruit.

So what’s your favorite vegetable?

I don’t know, cause tomato’s a fruit. I don’t think I have a favorite vegetable off the
top of my head. How about cauliflower? I will go with that for now, even though I
don’t think that’s right.
I like okra.
I like avocado too, but that has a pit, so what’s that.
It’s a fruit because peaches have pits too. Fruits have pits and seeds. So what’s a
coconut? People call it a fruit, but it’s not.

It’s like a giant seed.

It’s a nut. Seeds and nuts are in a similar family, right?

Is there any style of music that you just don’t like at all?

Ah, rap…
Jazz, I hate jazz.
I don’t really listen to country music, but Lady Antebellum I definitely have on
repeat.

What’s your favorite fast food restaurant?

I’ll do Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Yeah, I would go a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Dollar Ten Chinese!
Yeah, we like cheap Chinese food. Expensive Chinese food is pretty good too.

Can you guys rap well? Like free styling?

Yeah, we can rap very well.
I can rap just okay.

Who inspires you?

You guys, you know. We do it for you guys and other kids like you.

Yeah, I watched your videos like 10 times today!

Yeah, you don’t like us that much though.

What are your hobbies other than music?

I like watching movies.

What are your favorite books?

If I had a gun to my head, which you should never do, I would say Invisible Man by
Ralph Ellison, but only if I had the gun.

So you guys don’t like reading?

No, he likes reading a lot. He can’t pick one, but if he had to he said he would pick
that one.
I like reading okay. I wouldn’t say I like it that well.
I’d say you declined in the last month, but you used to like it.

Are you excited for the festival?

Yeah, we’re excited.

But you don’t think you are going to do that well?

Yeah, we’re so excited that we can’t do well.
We are so excited, we’re not sure we can do the best we can ever do, but we think
we will do okay.

Why aren’t you going to play Combination Taco Bell and Pizza Hut?

Maybe we will do it now. Are you going to be hanging out over there?

I wish. We’re leaving before you play. The workshop ends.

Well, if you aren’t going to be there we’re not going to do it.

INTERROCKATIONS: BATTLES

Recently, a group of 826CHI students attended the Pitchfork workshop where they learned about music journalism from Pitchfork.com contributor Pat Sisson. They then got to put their skills to the test at the annual Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park by interviewing many of the bands.

Every thursday for the rest of the summer, we will be updating the 826CHI writing gallery with their pieces. So, in the coming months look for interviews with James Blake, Neko Case, Das Racist, Fleet Foxes, OFF!, G-Side, Cold Cave, No Age, Juliana Barwick, Zola Jesus, Kurt Vile, HEALTH, DJ Chrissy Murderbot, Battles, Shabazz Palaces, Woods, Sun Airway, The Dismemberment Plan and DJ Shadow.

We're kicking it all off with 7th graders 826CHI students Cherokee and Amelia in conversation with Battles

 

What genre would you describe your music as?

Battles: mmm...2011 rock, modern.

Are you excited for the festival?

Yes, very much so.

Why?

Do you want me to elaborate? Because, It's fun playing to a lot of people, outside, and fun playing outside during the day.

How long have you been practicing?

We didn't have much time to practice for the festival because there have been so many bands. We've played pretty much every day for the festival. We really have been practicing since January.

Do you have a favorite place to play?

Chicago, yeah Chi Town.

Why is your song called Ice Cream?

We though we had a really good summer hit on our hands, and what does everyone enjoy in the summer?

Ice cream.

Exactly.

What's your favorite flavors of ice cream?

That's a good question. I tend to like coffee flavored ice cream. But I also enjoy cookies and cream. Mine is Ben and Jerry Heath Bar Crunch. I'll tell you what I don't like, Mint Chocolate Chip.

Aw, That's the best.

I don't like when you combine mint and chocolate. I chew gum and, if I want that, I'll chew gum and eat a piece of chocolate at the same time. Just don't do it for my ice cream. Avocado I cream is really gross too.

Where do you get avocado ice cream?

We had basil ice cream last night it was delicious.

This is a very odd question: If you had to live under your own fingernails or in your hair, where would you live?

Definitely my hair. If I had to live in my hair or in my fingernails? I would live in my fingernails, because if you never cut your fingernails, they would would just grow and grow and then you would have more space. I use products in my hair and it would just be greasy and gross and you would just always be lost and...How big would you be? Like the size of an ant?

Yeah.

Yeah, you would just get lost. You would be living in this like jungle, a grease jungle. I wouldn't want to live in the fingernails because there's always germs getting stuck in there and gross stuff, ya know? And if you get a mosquito bit and you scratch your skin there's all this dead skin that falls out, and that would be gross because it would be like you were living in a...

Mosquito bite?

Yeah.

Yeah, that would be gross. Ok, where are you guys from?

Where's the band from or where are we from originally?

Originally.

I'm from Pittsburgh originally. I'm from Boston, Massachusetts.

So how did you end up meeting?

Everyone moved to New York at different times,in order to try and find people who wanted to be in a band.

Who inspires you as a musician?

Who inspires me as a musician? Frank Sinatra.

You serious?

I would say...George Michael, Lil' Bow Wow, Justin Bieber.

Do you listen to your own music?

No.

Do you like the Beatles?

No, I don't. Yes, I do.

Why not?

I'm allowed to not like the Beatles.

Do you guys get along well?

Yes.

What do you like better, pie or cake?

Pie definitely. Cake, yeah. Pie has too much fruit in it, cake is chocolate. I'm a pie guy, I like fruit.

Do you have any pets?

I do. I have a puppy named, Valentino.

Aw, cute. How old is your puppy?

band: He's a year old, he just turned a year old.

Which show do you like the best out of all of them? Community, 30 Rock, Office, or Parks and Recreation?

30 Rock. Yeah I like 30 Rock.

What is the favorite song you've written?

Out of like all of our songs? It changes everyday. Yeah, It's like having 12 children and asking me what my favorite child is. I thought you guys were going to ask us if we like that show on Nickelodeon where they throw all the slime.

Oh, that show?

Or, "You Can't Do That On Television."

I don't like that show. I don't even have cable.

Or, "Kids Say the Darnedest Things".

Who's your favorite pop artist? Like, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga...

I'd say, umm...does Jay-Z count? Jay-Z and Kanye West.

Ok.

Eminem.

So you like hip-hop?

Yeah, sure.

If you could have a pet monkey, would you?

Yeah. Yeah, why not. Although, I wouldn't want it to be an orangutan, they're arms are like...yeah like not an ape. Like a little spider-monkey that runs around and eats peanuts.

How do you guys think you'll do on your performance?

You know what else monkey do? They'll jump up on your shoulder and pick out all the stuff in your hair. Which is another reason why you would want to live in my hair because I woud have the monkey clean it out for me.

They like the monkey questions.

And then the monkey cleans my room, you know. What was your other question? Oh, How do you think we'll do on our performance today? Oh, it's gonna be awesome. We're gonna win. We're gonna win the whole festival. There's a huge trophy that they give out to the best band. You guys gonna come watch us play?

Yeah.

Sweet. It'll be really fun, you'll like it.

Yeah I like your music, I saw it this morning.

Cool, cool.

How many instruments can you play?

Three.

Which ones?

Piano, drums, and tympani.

Alright.

I play guitar and bass.

Not bad, awesome. I think I'm running out of questions. When did you form your band? Like, what year?

2002.

That's the year my brother was born.

I wanna say, 1999.

That's the year I was born.

No way!

How did you come up with your name?

Well our music was crazy, like we should call ourselves Battles because it sounds like we're battling each other.

This is an interesting question: why are we meeting in the cafe? I like the cafe, but why?

Why are we meeting here? Because this was our press people's idea.

Oh.

If it were up to me, we would be in the zoo right now. That's a good place for an interview. Or a mattress store, so we could lay down while we do the interview.

If you could have anything removed like a mosquito bite on you, what would it be?

I'd remove this tooth. You know why? Because it's good you have braces, because your parents are doing this right thing getting your teeth straighten and you're going to be very pretty with straight teeth when you get older. This tooth right here, when I eat tomatoes or stuff with seeds, a seed gets stuck in between these teeth and I try to push it out with my tongue, and it just gets wedged and its really, really hard to get it out.

How do you get it out?

You just gotta like, grab some floss. I never carry floss on me so I just sit around all day trying to get it out. That tooth is annoying. You could like like an index card and rip a little piece off and get it that way. I did that yesterday. And if I had this tooth taken out I'd have this space that i could spit between my lower teeth at people and they wouldn't even know i did it because they'd think I was smiling at them. I wouldn't do that.

Did you ever do a late night show?

We did Jimmy Fallon.

I love Jimmy Fallon, are you serious?

Yeah, we just did it. Check it, google it. We play a song called, "Futura", yeah it's really good. Just youtube it.

Maybe I saw it. What date? Like, this year?

July 14th? Yeah like a couple weeks ago.

I'll have to check then. I love Jimmy Fallon. Did you meet him?

Yeah, very nice.

What's the inspiration for your song, "Ice Cream"?

...Ice cream. Just making a song that was fun that people could dance to.

{end}
 

Question Mark

Written as Part of 826CHI’s After-School Tutoring and Writing Program

By Phillip Ramey, Grade 6

A poem
is it true
or false
a trick question
like do stairs
go up or down
why can’t I answer
a poem it is
confusing if
Da Vinci can be
an artist
can I be a poemist
but when
you think
this may be
a poem
but I don’t
know if it
is true or false
or both?

Be Careful if You Raise the Tax

From 25 Seconds to Eat the Whole Pie

By Anjel Melendez, Grade 4

 

 

Dear Rahm Emanuel,

My name is Anjel. Be careful if you raise the tax then people will be mad at you like the Egyptians. So keep the tax about $20 a month. That way people will not be angry at you.
If I was mayor I would give cupcakes to the U.S.A. and keep the tax as low as you can. And by the way, I am 10 years old. Also, good luck being mayor.

Sincerely,
Anjel

P.S. Write back.

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where to find us
And the Rest Is Noise

Interviews & Reflections From The Students Of 826CHI’s 2017 Pitchfork Music Writing Intensive

by the 826CHI Teen Press Corps

Read it here >>

On Our Way Home

by Sofiya C., grade 8

Untitled

by Sam W, grade 9

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