The Uncluded: We cry a little, shake our asses a little -- it's nice
Folk rock singer/songwriter Kimya Dawson and rapper/producer Aesop Rock have crafted numerous musical works and have fused their musical strength to form the Uncluded. The duo recently released their debut, Hokey Fright on Rhymesayers. They will be taking over The Cedar Cultural Center Stage with Hamell on Trial on Sunday, June 30.
Gimme Noise spoke with the dynamic duo after their show in Houston to find out how their obsession with words and common understanding of loss brought the Uncluded together.
Gimme Noise: What inspired the name the Uncluded?
Aesop Rock: There's a gentlemen named Michael Bernard Loggins who wrote his own dictionary, Imaginationally. One of his words was unclude. We thought it sound right for feeling a bit like an outsider so we adopted it.
Aesop, you were a fan of Kimya prior to the Uncluded, so what is it like to be working with her now?
AR: It's totally awesome, literally a dream come true. I have been a fan for many years. She was one of the people I listened to on tours a lot and kind of inspired my writing. It's been awesome to get to know her a bit, get to work together, and be good friends.
Both of you have made appearances on each other's records including Skelethon and Thunder Thighs, what brought about making an album together?
Kimya Dawson: I think we did those songs together and realized we work well together and it was easy. We had similar things we needed to get out. We just started making songs and kept going.
What were those similar things you both needed to get out?
AR: At the time, there were some morbid things that brought us together. We had both known people that had recently passed away to cancer. There was a couple of things along those lines that we both started talking about that made me realize we fit and that there were a few songs that needed to come out at some point. There were a few songs that I wouldn't have been able to write as solo songs. We just pulled that stuff out of each other in conversation and tried to translate it to music. I would say that was a starting point, which is a bit of a morbid starting place of feelings lost.
Songs such as "Organs" on Hokey Fright deal with those morbid places you speak of but are mixed in with a lighthearted playfulness. How does that approach of the morbid and playful work in creating these songs?
KD: I don't feel like its even super intentional. I think it's a combination of dealing with hard stuff and being fun, playful people.
AR: I think it's a certain amount of going through experiences in life. I think Kimya talks a lot about how you are never really flooded with just one emotion at a time. There always seems to be a couple of things you juggle around in your head at the same time. It seems a little more realistic to have laughter tied to the bad times and a little bit of questionableness about the good times. It seems more of a realistic scenario that I have come across in life.
How has working together influenced you both as musical artists?
AR: I'm going to quit music completely. It was the worst experience of my entire life.
KD: What did you say?
AR: [laughs] Nah, its been totally awesome. [both laugh] It's totally weird. There are so many things that are new for me with this whole thing like having a band on stage next to me and being in a band is new to me. It's awesome sharing the lead vocals with someone else. I did one other time with a group I'm in but never in this capacity. I think the way Kimya writes songs which has this very cut to the chase approach for me. When I listen to it she goes right in and I think a lot of what I do is drenched in metaphor to the point where the story gets lost to a degree. I think that hearing how Kimya would attack the subject, I try my best to do my version of that on a lot of the songs we do together where I would just cut to the chase instead of getting all wordy and cryptic.
KD: It's funny for me. When I started writing songs, I was more cryptic with my early solo stuff and Moldy Peaches' stuff. I was straightforward sometimes but I would feel more like weaving around my words and I think working with Aesop has gotten me back to doing some of that and really loving that style of writing. I tend to write stream of consciousness and I don't edit. So to work with somebody who is such a meticulous song-crafter, who focuses on every syllable and every single beat makes me think a lot about how I want to put stuff together and maybe trying to do things that I haven't really worked before, which is great. The shows have have felt so good. We're all so cool with each other. Its been incredible fun and super intense at the same time because some of the songs are really, really intense. We cry a little, shake our asses a little -- it's nice.