P.O.S on Anonymous: "Why support hackers? I can't think of any reason not to support hackers"
P.O.S, due at this weekend's Westword Music Showcase, is a founding member of the eclectic and independent Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree. He's been dealing with kidney problems of late, and although he's started dialysis and is back performing, he's still hoping for a transplant. In spite of all this, the rapper (aka Stefon Alexander) recently released his best -- and best-selling -- album to date, We Don't Even Live Here. In advance of his appearance at this weekend's Westword Music Showcase, we spoke with P.O.S about Doomtree, and our conversation meandered from Anonymous to something called "wagging" and more.
Westword: First off, how's your health?
P.O.S: It's still really bad, but I'm doing dialysis, and it works just fine. Some people do that forever, and they're fine. My energy's up, and I'm able to be in the studio. I'm playing some shows here and there. And I feel like I'm doing a good job maintaining at the shows and in my life, so I'm good for now. Hopefully I'll get a transplant by the end of the year.
If my information is correct, Doomtree began with you and Marshall Larada making beats at home. Is that right?
Yeah, that was the plan; it was going to be our production crew.
How did it grow from there?
I mean, it was really natural. I was rapping a lot. I made better friends with Cecil Otter, and he was rapping a lot, and it just made more sense to put out songs. So as a production crew, I think we're going to try to put out an album featuring our production; it just ended up being the rappers we knew were awesome.
And has it surprised you how far it's grown?
Oh, yeah. I don't think anybody really thought about the future of it so much at the time. You think about the future in little, tiny chunks -- like what are we going to do next month? What are we going to do next year? All of a sudden it's like ten years later.
And how did you come up with the name Doomtree? It's such a strange name.
I don't think anybody knows at this point.
What is it like to not only work with some of your oldest friends but to have such great success with them?
I keep on bumping into bands and groups and people a year in, two years in, three years into their band, and hearing about different ridiculous struggles and how difficult it is to deal with each other sometimes, and I wonder -- because we've had a lot of times where it was really difficult. But I think after maybe the sixth-year gap, it just turned on to autopilot, and we got through all the hard stuff.
I think since then it's a blessing. I feel like I trust everybody in the crew, both as an artist and as a person. I trust the notes that they give me. And you know, we all can say shit to each other and have it come off [in a real way]... It's cool. It's a cool thing to have consistent artistic collaborators.
People always say you shouldn't do business with your friends because you might not always be able to be honest with them or take criticism, but you don't see that as a problem?
No, I think that with us, artistically, honesty has never really been a problem. I think we've all, either directly or indirectly, had to have moments of very serious criticism over each other's work. I think it's a matter of just being able to deal with it, you know? I think that a different set of people, and maybe the same set of people under different circumstances, would not have been able to deal with it so well. We all know what we think about each other and we've all been on the road and been in the studio together for so long now that we've kinda found that groove of where we're supposed to be and how we get along the best.