To celebrate tomorrow's SXSW kick-off, we talked with Seattle-based (though Florida-born and Texas-educated) alt rapper Astronautalis -- who'll be gracing the stage at Easy Tiger next Thursday -- about teenage lesbians, Dr. Mario, and astronauts punching hippies:
What's the best Sir Mix-a-lot song? People can try to pretend it's not "I like big butts and I cannot lie" but that's it. C'mon, there's no question. No one has written a better song about butts. Nobody.
You've been called a rapping Beck, but would you rather be compared to Beck Hansen or Glenn Beck? We talking money? [Laughing] Glenn Beck all day, son...I'm trying to buy a castle. But if we're talking artistic credibility...man, I'm still gonna go with Glenn Beck. No one likes Beck's new records anyway. [Pause] AND there goes my chance of touring with him.
Coolest show you've been to in Seattle? I just saw Kimya Dawson for the first time. She basically writes kind of cutesy, kind of terribly played folk songs, but it's so goddamn endearing. Everybody hugged at the end of the night, it was like vegan church.
Better music scene: Seattle or Austin? I'm going with Texas on this forever, and ever and ever...Seattle's music scene is awesome, but I think they'd be the first to tell you they take themselves too seriously. Texas has just as many good musicians, and they're so much better at pounding whiskey shots and breaking bottles over their heads. With the exception of the Murder City Devils, obviously.
Best way to mess with Texas? Be from Oklahoma. That state is a constant source of ire and annoyance in Texas.
Most memorable tour experience? The very first show with Teagan & Sara in London, I dove off the stage onto the security barrier and 2,000 screaming teenage lesbians recoiled in terror. You really haven't lived until you make 2,000 teenage lesbians recoil in terror.
If you were a Nintendo character, who would you be? I'd like to say the guy in the red bandanna, from Contra, but that'd just be total bulls**t...I'm not that guy. I'd probably say Dr. Mario -- I've come to the sad realization that I'm a fat Italian w/ a medical degree.
What's the deal with your name? I thought it was cool when I was was a 15 year-old battle rapper. I was driving in my mom's minivan on my learners permit, I liked the word Astronaut and the word Nautilus so I combined them both in my brilliant teenage brain and now I'm stuck with it.
What's your favorite fruit? I f**ks with blackberries.
Even after dropping a record called Pomegranate? I did not write that as an ode to the fruit. That fruit's kind of annoying actually -- it's all tiny little seeds and you barely get anything from it.
Who's the coolest Astronaut? Was it Neil Armstrong...that punched that dude on YouTube? There's a video of some guy coming up to him saying they faked the moon landing, and Neil Armstrong decks him; he's like 70 and he decks some 25 year-old punk-ass hippie. Whatever astronaut punched some people, that's the one I like.