Saying that Antipop Consortium is like any other hip hop group is not only a grossly uninformed generalization, it’s objectively wrong. Each member brings a different background and paradigm of influences to the collective making possible their signature blend of unorthodox lyrics and experimental production. APC formed in 1997 and released three albums before breaking up in 2002. The members of APC went on to explore solo careers, but in 2007,
Beans, High Priest, M. Sayyid and Earl Blaize reformed the group. On October 13, Antipop Consortium will release Fluorescent Black, their first album since their reformation. As with any art form, it is essential to be able to draw inspiration from any source, and Antipop Consortium’s M. Sayyid has been known to do just that. SLUG recently spoke with Sayyid about Antipop, art and the new album.
SLUG: On the new album, in the song “Get Lite,” I noticed a line that mentioned being banned in D.C., which I assume is a reference to the Bad Brains song of the same name.
M. Sayyid: Absolutely.
SLUG: So, you’re into punk rock too, then?
Sayyid: Oh, hell yeah man, always have been. D.C. hardcore, New York hardcore.
SLUG: How were you involved in those hardcore scenes?
Sayyid: When they were poppin’, I was a teenager and I was going to C.B.G.B.’s, I mean, I’m deep into the D.C. hardcore scene. All those early 90s hardcore bands.
SLUG: What was it about punk rock and hardcore that attracted you to those scenes?
Sayyid: It was kinda the free thought, the expression in the music. The kinda non-sequitur approaches to the vocals. Phenomenal song writing and chords.
SLUG: How did that influence the music that Antipop Consortium creates?
Sayyid: It’s definitely an influence. Our background and everything, it’s different in terms of specific genres, but it’s all about that kind of experimentation. Same kind of mentality that was behind a lot of the punk and a lot of electro stuff. It is that APC kind of mentality.
SLUG: You guys have toured with Bright Eyes, The Faint and Radiohead. Do you identify more closely with non hip hop acts?
Sayyid: Oh, it doesn’t really matter. We just toured with Public Enemy and Kool Keith also. So, it’s like, I’m down with whoever’s down. I think the fans react to the stuff that we do a little bit differently than they do to traditional rap, know what I mean? So, yeah, they’re open, they’re down.
SLUG: Speaking of which, you guys just returned from Europe. How did the fans respond to the new material?
Sayyid: Everyone’s loving it. Like, we haven’t performed any old material ever since we got back together, pretty much. We played a couple songs from the past, but that’s about it. So all our shows have been all new stuff. Everyone reacts to it real well. I mean, we get nothin’ but love, love. Starting on the right foot with the fans by not doing old shit and talkin’ about your album coming out. It’s like, this is exactly where we’re at, we’re doing new shit and they rhyme with us.
SLUG: What happened that brought you guys back together?
Sayyid: We were just giving it a shot man. We said yo, let’s give it a shot and see if we can make an album and make some heat. It’s no problem making heat. It was just like, can we give it a shot, can we deal with each other? So, we finished the album man and it’s definitely a great look.
SLUG: How has the creation process changed since you guys reformed?
Sayyid: Oh, it’s changed hugely. The amount of time has changed everything. I think the level of confidence individually is much more there. We’ve been through a lot, man. Like, under the radar, but we’ve been through a lot. So, if and when the story’s told, that’s the main story, really—it’s just resilience in anything you do.
SLUG: When did you guys start working on Fluorescent Black?
Sayyid: End of 2007. It took longer than I wanted it to take, but it is what it is when you’re working with other people. It took a little longer, but nonetheless, everything straightened out and we were good to go.
SLUG: We talked a little bit about you being into punk rock and hardcore, but what else were you doing before Antipop?
Sayyid: I was in art school. I was working a lot, just various jobs. Like, in corporate graphic design. I still do graphic design. I do all the digital flyers for Antipop. I do flash programming. If you guys ever need any flash people, holler at me. Gotta get on the digital flyer campaign, man! Digital flyers are the future, man!
SLUG: Antipop’s goal was once to disturb the equilibrium. What did you mean by that?
Sayyid: It was at a time when we were making a statement based on our name and coming out as newer artists. I don’t think it holds as much water now on the disturbance shit. I think Antipop’s main goal now is to continue to push the envelope and to step outside the box. Keep steppin’ outside the box.
Even though Sayyid may not think APC is disturbing the equilibrium like they once were, Fluorescent Black is proof that they’re still pushing the boundaries of hip hop. Somehow, Antipop Consortium have managed to put out whole albums of material that can’t be mistaken as being created by anybody else. It’s hard to find something that genuinely sounds like it hasn’t been done before, especially in hip hop. APC’s music may not appeal to most people and may not be some hip hop purists’ thing, but for those who can handle a little more exploration in their music, APC is still disturbing the equilibrium.