Tales From the DJ Booth: Monoxide of Twiztid (Interview)



My favorite genres of music are hip hop, punk rock and industrial. Ideally, the act incoporates stage shows and personas, while sitting just a little outside of the mainstream's reach, but still possessing a significant amount of legitimate talent (Kool Keith, GWAR, Skinny Puppy, Ween, etc). This is why I have been into Detroit-based hip hop duo Twiztid for the better part of two decades. With the Gathering of the Juggalos coming up, and more and more outsiders infiltrating the last organic youth subculture for purposes of smug commentary and mockery, I've decided to interview one half (Monoxide) of what is one of the biggest names in the genre (Twiztid), without mentioning face paint, Tila Tequilla or former labelmates, ICP. Taking some time between shows promoting the duo's new record label, Majik Ninja Entertainment, and the new artists on the roster (ROC, Lex the Hex Master, and Blaze Ya Dead Homie), Monoxide gave Exotic an exclusive interview that clocked in at about twenty minutes. Enjoy.

You're talking to a guy from Exotic Magazine, which is a tittie bar magazine out here in Portland. You guys familiar with the area?

Yes, yes indeed, I've frequented that area many times, I've spent a lot of money on.. um, ladies of the evening, so I feel like I'm a part of that Portland scene.

So you understand that we don't just have two clubs, there's like a thousand of 'em here. They're like Starbucks.

Yes, I've probably been thrown out of 741 of them.

I got one question but it's a two-parter. What's your favorite part about Oregon? The second part is that you can't mention weed.

You know what I love about it? That there's a weirdness there and it's embraced. It's not like they're getting this bad rap. They're like "We love our weirdness, we love that we're a little bit different than the rest of the country." And I can really relate to that. So when I go there, I feel like I'm at home.

Hell yeah, if you guys are walking down the street in contacts and make up and no one knows anything about your scene, they're just like "oh, that cat's got blue hair," and they keep walking.

Right, it's just like "holy shit, I like that guy's shoes."

Adrenaline PR

I've been listening to your music for years, and you guys got the dark stuff, but it seems like every album you got one or two straight up XXX tracks. You guys seem like you know there's a DJ out there that's playing your music in the strip club, is that intentional?

It's something that we enjoy doing, just to give you a break from the monotony of constantly slaughtering. But yeah, we're a couple of... I'm a sex addict, self-proclaimed.

Have you thought about getting a professional diagnosis?

I did, he told me I was out of my mind and just really horny, and he gave me a bunch of condoms. But I don't believe him... who is he? He's a goddamn doctor, what does he know?

Right? We get new diseases every day.

There's actually a pool at my doctor's office that I'm gonna come in with something that they've never seen before, and they hope they can name it after me.

So you'd have a Lou Gehrig's disease, but it would be like a Monoxide STD or some shit?

Right, right. Fingers crossed.

What can you tell a regular hip-hop artist about incorporating a live band?

A good thing is that you're not controlled. When you're just doing the rap stuff, you go off that instant replay, and whatever that replay puts out, that's what you have to stick to. Where, with a band, you have a little more leeway, you can pretty much do anything you want. The bad thing is getting used to the tempo now. Cause it's not a machine back there, you know what I mean? And there's human bodies, so you're a little more attentive to that, with a live band. So we're still getting that, just that tempo... it's the biggest difference I know.

So when you're live it's more organic.

Yes, more organic and like I said, if you have a machine, it's keeping that tempo, so a machine never falls off. There's no human error there. You know what I mean?

Yeah.

You're putting the trust into three other people that have never done this before like that, so it's a little nerve racking but it's an organic step for Twiztid.

What's the fan reaction to the live band been like?

They love it. They understand, like I said, if we would have came out with like a country thing, they'd be surprised. It's part of a rock and roll vibe, and we've had mosh pits for twenty years without a band, so it just adds to the atmosphere in our eyes.

You give your fans a whole new version of some shit they've never heard, but they know the lyrics to all of it.

Yes. It changes the dynamic a hundred percent.

So your album, Mutant (remaster), I remember hearing that a while ago, and I'm not gonna say I didn't like it, but I didn't know what I was listening to, like, okay this is a new idea, but with the remaster, it seems like 2016 finally caught up with where you were trying to go. It just sounds a lot more cohesive if that makes sense.

Yes, one hundred percent, and that's exactly what we did, we turned it into the record that we wanted it to be. That's what it was meant to be. But there was nobody that could put that into music. Nobody could match what we were looking for, so I guess you could say it was a little ahead of its time. We had to wait for technology to catch up to that. When people heard it, they were blown away by it. They were like "so that's what you were talking about." It wasn't just the Mutant record, it was a brand new record.

I'm a fan of industrial, stuff like Skinny Puppy and KMFDM, and a lot of your stuff has a vibe of some industrial shit. Do you guys have a direct influence from any of that Nine Inch Nails crowd, or is that something you just fell into liking?

That was just a part of our sound, it just so happens. It's funny that you say that. Nine Inch Nails, we're fans of, but it wasn't until later on in our career that we found out about all this stuff. It was like "Whoa, oh my god," but I do love that industrial sound, that grimy, "something unjust is happening and we don't know what it is" sound... I love that. That is Twiztid.

I can spin your guys' shit at the goth night. They like you guys, and that "Natural Born Killaz shit from Ice Cube, but they won't put up with anything else hip hop.

That's awesome.

You guys came through fifteen years ago probably, and you were absent because some, uh, interactions made it so Blaze (the rapper) had to go up on stage for you. Everyone was rumor'ing about what happened in Portland with you, ranging from weed, to weed, to something involving weed. I can't really expect you to recall, but do you remember having to take any detours in Portland that would have caused Blaze to have to take your spot?

Yeah (laughs), we tried to buy weed from the wrong person and I ended up in a holding cell for about twenty four hours. At the end of the day it was all just a "misunderstanding."

And now you can go to Oregon and buy like an ounce at the store.

Right, and that's all it is, is just learning. You have a certain amount of freedom out here that you can get caught up in if you're not careful. And you start to believe that you can do whatever the fuck you want to do, and you can't (laughs).

I saw the tour bus for the Kottonmouth Kings come through with a weed leaf on one of them, and three days later they're bitching about getting pulled over.

Right. That's why we don't ride around with our buses wrapped, because we know that not everyone likes us, especially the authorities, and the last thing you wanna do is have your face plastered on a bus and let the world know, "Here they are, in here!"

Yeah, a bus with "Twiztid's Brand New 420 Tour" spray painted on it, that ain't gonna work, especially if you go to Canada.

Adrenaline PR

Right! No fuckin' way.

So regarding the strip clubs up here, Detroit and pretty much anywhere east of Denver has a totally different vibe. What have you noticed, aside from the weirdness you mentioned earlier, about tittie bars in Portland?

You see more chicks at the Portland ones. It seems like strippers really like me. I always feel that way, and then I wake up with no money and there's no one to contact and I'm missing my watch (laughs).

Welcome to the game, son.

Goddamnit. Angel Reign, I am looking for you! Yes, it was actually "R E I G N" like she was the queen.. angel's rain. Bring down hellfire on her and her loved ones. If she still has my fossil watch, I will lose it, I will be ecstatic!

So with the record label you've started, you guys have been under good influences for years, but what is something you learned that you had to learn on your own?

That nobody... NOBODY knows you, like you. Nobody knows your thing like you know your thing. For somebody that maybe signs to a record label maybe looking for direction and they go against maybe what their gut feeling is telling them, but the record label is telling them something else, and they feel that (since) they've been in the game, they follow them, but (their) gut is always right. Your first instinct, whatever that tells you, is usually right.

Basically, your advice is "Don't take my fuckin' advice."

Right. Trust yourself. It ain't rocket science, it's a lot of common sense. It really is. But that gets lost in egos, and pride, and all this bullshit. And we seem to stray away from that, you know what I mean? Common sense is first. Common respect, common decency... these things go a long way. It's not about coming into a venue and taking a shit in the dressing room. You can do that, but what's gonna happen is that the promoter's gonna get on the phone and tell all these other promoters, "Hey this guy's been taking shits in the dressing room," and you're not gonna get booked anywhere. So don't be a fucking idiot. If you really wanna do this, act like you got some common sense, or else I promise you it will catch up with you.

As a DJ, my job is to introduce people to new music, so if I'm playing some shit everyone knows, I may decide to throw some Twiztid in there, it works with some crowds, not so much with others. What type of fans do you look out into your fanbase and see growing?

Fuckin' suburban white girls.

Appletinis in the house?

Yes. Dude, holy shit. Like in the last five years, it's fucking crazy. If you wanna try and go to get laid at a fuckin' show, come to a Twiztid show. There's mad ladies.

So you might have to buy some lemon drops, but you're gonna get laid, right?

Right, man it is fucking insane. It's like a boy band over here anymore, I don't know what to tell you.

Synchronized dance moves coming any time soon?

No! That's what people don't understand. We look like the goddamned demons of hell, but we look out in the crowd and we're like "Oh my god, I'd bang her, her, her... Where the fuck are we?" It's just crazy now.

That's the thing, the guys girls gotta worry about are the hipster emo dudes, they're the ones you always hear about when some chick gets groped at a party. So maybe girls are starting to learn that you guys are safer than Mumford's Kids or whatever the fuck.

Right, a hundred percent. We understand our music isn't for everybody. We do get that. But we still act like we got some goddamn sense when it comes to stuff like that. You don't put your hands on a fuckin' woman, you know what I mean? That's some shit we don't play. We've gotten into many, many altercations over shit like that, cause we just don't fuck around with that. Women feel safe at our shows, and that's crazy, they feel like they have a safeness to them. They know nothing's gonna happen to them there.

So Twiztid's a safe space, we can put that in print?

Twiztid is a safe space for females.

A lot of my favorite rappers, who I won't name, I see them switching their shit up, making a dubstep remix, autotuned, they've got Lil Wayne on a track... That's cool, but I've seen you guys fuck with mainstream cats and stay Twiztid.

Because we're talking about killing people! That's the process, we don't compromise our integrity for anybody or anything. We've turned down some humongous features because we just can't fit them into our world, right now. At this point. It could happen down the line, but at this point in time, we can't. If Lil Wayne came to me and he was like, "Hey man, I wanna do a fuckin' song about killing people, and just losing my shit and wilin' out," we'd be interested. If it was just about fucking bitches, and doin' lean, we're gonna pass on it. That's the integrity that we never deviate from. So even the features on our record, they're relevant to our genre, and to what makes Twiztid Twiztid. So there's nothing phony.

So if we see Independent's Day part two, you're not gonna have a Miley Cyrus remix on there with Macklemore. You guys are still gonna be talking about killing people, even if you got J Cole on there.

One hundred percent. And everyone keeps saying this to me, I swear to god the J Cole feature is gonna happen one day, because that's the name that just keeps subconsciously coming up, and that's like my favorite rapper at the time.

That's weird, that just fell out of my mouth. First name that I could think of.

Crazy dude, crazy. It's all about presenting things in the right way. We don't use features than to try to do anything more than show people we can rock with everybody. This is not the black hole that it once was for them There is god given talent here, there's a movement here, and I believe it still gets the rap that it got from fifteen years ago. Like, come on. Times have changed, people change, everything's different now.

You guys have been around for like twenty years now. At some point, your expiration date doesn't matter any more, and you've proven your stay. I think Twiztid's gotten to that point.

You're right, exactly. That's what is scary to mainstream America, is that they can't go to the radio and take our songs off, or take our shows off of TV, or videos, cause we've never had that.

I don't think your number one priority is to cut a new hit single or get T Pain on the track, you guys are doing you. That's the vibe I get.

You're exactly right. That's been the thinking, but we just never thought it would go this far. Once we figured out that this is bigger than me and Jamie (Madrox, the other half of Twiztid), there's no way for it to end. This is it. If it's accepted, it's accepted, and it will be accepted because of us being us, not us being who they want us to be.

Awesome, well I got one more question, and thanks a shitload for doing this, by the way.

No problem.

In Portland, we have all these artistic, hipster scene kids, and they're doing this shit where they're moving to Detroit to supposedly set up art studios because the rent is so cheap. Could you give any advice to any well-off, super white kids moving to Detroit, to rent a two hundred dollar apartment, strictly for their art. How well do you see this working out for Portland exports?

Uh, good luck? That shit is not gonna work. One hundred percent. Number one, it's not a livable place. You don't go into the city of Detroit to live, you go there to survive. That's it. And if you're not a survivalist in the up-most form, then you will be gone within ninety days. Either your life is over, or they will have made it so that you will just fuckin' move. It doesn't work like that. You're not gonna dictate anything to that city. You will not. They will let you know what the fuck time it is, immediately.

You guys moved the fuck out of there, right?

Man, I was born and raised (in Detroit), I was there for twenty seven years, and Detroit has a way of letting folks know when it's time to go.

Thanks for talking to me, so that stripper's name was Angel Reign?

Yes! That fucking whore (laughs).

I'll put this in print. She stole a watch?

She stole my money, and my fossil watch.

We'll get a campaign going to find your watch, winner gets free tickets to your show or some shit?

Absolutely.

I saw your April Fool's Prank on Faygoluvers.net, fuck you for doing that.

(laughs)

Yeah, so I know you guys like to keep a lid on some things. Is there anything you wanna shout out to the fans reading this?

I'll just tell you this. Expect nothing, it will be alright.

Cool, thanks a bunch for doing this interview man.

Thank you so much brother, anytime.

An audio version of this interview will be on line shortly, I'm busy cleaning it up, as well as the rest of this website - Ray

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