Aesop Rock Speaks On Hail Mary Mallon- An Interview

May 31, 2011 by Chris Grosso

Hail Mary Mallon is the new Hip Hop super group which features critically acclaimed mc’s/producers Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic, along with DJ Big Wiz. Their debut album “Are You Gonna Eat That” drops June 7th thanks to the good folks at Rhymesayers Entertainment. I was lucky to receive an advance copy and can tell you in good faith that the album is nothing short of amazing. In fact, I find it to be a necessary album for today’s Hip Hop. Aesop Rock was kind enough to take some time out of his insane schedule to answer some questions I had for him via email about this new project. Enjoy! 5/31/11


Aesop Rock On Hail Mary Mallon

TIS:  So you guys have collaborated and toured quite a bit over the past and it seems that something like Hail Mary Mallon was somewhat inevitable. Can you tell me the story behind your decision to start HMM?

HMM: I guess it’s an idea we had been kicking around for a while, and finally it just seemed like the right time to make it happen. We were all pretty used to the dynamic just from doing so much traveling together, so forming the group seemed pretty natural. Once we recorded the first couple songs we kinda put everything else down for a bit and decided to see this through.

TIS: Who came up with the idea to name it after “Typhoid Mary”? Any story behind that?

HMM:  I’m gonna guess that was a Rob idea.  I think we were kicking around the general Typhoid Mary concept for awhile and eventually the Hail Mary Mallon name came out. We just enjoyed her story and thought it offered a cool foundation for some songs. Once we started incorporating her name and storyline into the verses a bit, it kinda helped weave the songs together as we made them.  It all just kinda feel into place and starting taking shape with very little effort.

TIS: The album is definitely a bit of a departure from both of your solo stuff. It actually reminds me of Cannibal Ox at times, which is a very good thing. Can you tell me about the influences you guys drew from in creating Are You Gonna Eat That?

HMM:  I think we just wanted to have fun with the group dynamic, so you end up thinking of great rap groups of the past that have used the group dynamic well, EPMD, Run DMC, Beasties, Camp Lo, etc.  I think just playing off each other as much as we did really helps a record like that move along.  It adds a bit of fun to even the more sinister songs, the pass offs and chants and stuff.  It can turn a dark story into a sing-a-long.

TIS: HMM recently toured with Kimya Dawson, which is a rather cool eclectic mix. How was that experience and how did the crowds react to your material?

HMM:  We did and we are returning to the road next week with her.  The crowds were fantastic.  It really was something we all wanted to make happen because we are all mutual fans and friends.  I knew the mix would be weird for some people, but I also knew that if people like what I do, they on some level gotta see why I like her.  It’s not all that different when you boil it down.

TIS: Lyrically, Are You Gonna Eat that showcase’s how well you both play off of one another while still discussing socially relevant and yet manages to include some fun tracks including Mailbox Baseball & Breakdance Beach to name a couple. Can you tell me what you hope to get across on HMM and what you hope people will take away from it?

HMM:  I dont know that there is any message we need or want people to take away from it. It’s not really a piece of social commentary in that way. Hopefully it has some songs you can escape with and enjoy, or maybe you can connect to something that’s written on there.  Maybe you’ll be like “oh snap what he said, I relate to that! In a weird way that makes me enjoy this a lot!”.  Something like that.

 Visit Hail Mary Mallon Online Here!

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Chris Grosso is a writer, public speaker, mental health youth group facilitator, and author with Simon & Schuster. He also writes for Revolver Magazine, Fangoria, and has spoken at a bunch of fancy-schmancy festivals and conferences (as well as even more events that were significantly less than fancy-schmancy). Chris's podcast, The Indie Spiritualist, is hosted on Ram Dass's Be Here Now Network.
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