#MUSICMONDAY: KOOL A.D.
Originally known as one-third of the now defunct rap group Das Racist, Victor Vazquez (known professionally as Kool A.D.) has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Rapper, novelist, punk rocker --Victor is a creative wunderkind. Almost maniacally prolific, in 2016 alone, Victor dropped 10 musical projects and his debut novel, OK (which is accompanied by a 100-track soundtrack ). At times playfully elusive, at others frustratingly vague, Victor speaks of his accomplishments with a laid back nonchalance, like the class clown who knows he’s the smartest person in the room. Read our conversation below, in which we talk about OK, astrology, and how his wife won his heart by biting him on the arm.
Anna Dorn: At my count, you dropped 10 musical projects, including two 100-track mixtapes, and a novel in 2016. What made 2016 so prolific for you? Where do you get your creative energy?
Victor Vazquez: Well, one of the 100 song joints was mostly old stuff and there was a fair amount of older joints sprinkled across the other albums too. I think I just wanted to clear the pallet and put everything out there so I could get to a new space personally. But yea, I been staying out in Baja, fammed up, by the beach, real low key, mellow, nothing much else going on, just dipping up to LA for lil things here and there, but mostly just posted up so I just got all my lil projects done finally.
AD: I recently read a book called Story Genius in which the author, Lisa Cron, describes “the first pinprick,” or the instant idea that grabbed the author and compelled him or her to write a novel. What was this for OK.
VV: My publisher Spencer published a little thing of mine called Joke Book, like a book of aphorisms and axioms, and he was like "If u send me a novel, I'll publish it." So I was like "OK." I just freestyled the whole thing, sat down and wrote whatever came into my head. It was hella "experimental." My wife didn't like it so I was like "OK" and wrote it again from scratch. By that point I had already dropped the soundtrack, so I basically listened to the soundtrack and took something from each song and used that to structure the thing but this time I kinda stuck with one group of characters and stuck to a single storyline a little more, made it a little more readable. That whole process was hella quick, like two months. I still like the first one too, just did another edit on it, will prob drop that at some point. Not sure what the "pinprick" was, I think all my stuff is like a continuation of one thing so maybe the pinprick was like years and years ago haha.
AD: What is your favorite sentence in OK?
VV: “Joy is neither a right nor a privilege, but an organic eventuality."
AD: What is your favorite lyric you've written this year?
VV: "Like Curtis I May Field questions" Hahaha naw I have no idea it's all bars I can't pick one. That song Like Curtis go hard tho. Also Papyrus and Fatwa are all bars.
AD: A few years ago, you told Mother Jones that you try to think of all your work, be it music, visual art, or writing "as part of a continuous idea—I guess because it is all one continuous idea, in that all human life is one continuous idea." This reminded me of the artist Jason Rhoades, who considered his work to be definitively open-ended: “If you know my work, you know that it is unfinished." Does this resonate with you?
AD: If all your art is a continuation of itself, what are the overarching themes?
AD: Who is your hero of fiction?
AD: Describe your creative process.
AD: You are married to Saba Moeel, who I read you met at age 15. How did you two meet? What drew you to her?
VV: We met at like an after school program haha. She bit me on the arm one time, it was the most legendary flirtation to a young player such as myself.
AD: You had a child last year, and subsequently became a parenting blogger for Vice. How has being a parent impacted your life and art?
VV: I found myself posted up at the crib hella more (literally), got me more domestic, terrestrial, u kno, earthly, got more focused on just doing the work. Real deep perspectives, got me thinking about the world more thru a lens of like family histories and whatnot, u also start to see everybody as somebody's child, it was some compassion and empathy I think I was lacking, she came thru to teach me.
AD: You write horoscopes for Paper, which announces you as an "expert astrological navigator." What are your sun, rising, and moon signs? How does your chart manifest itself in your personality?
VV: Scorpio, Cancer rising, Aries moon. That means I'm a sav but I'm sensitive.
AD: I'm a huge Das Racist fan (you surely don't remember this, but I smoked blunts with you all backstage after your show SF Independent during the Sit Down, Man tour). Will Das Racist ever get back together? Do you stay in touch with Heems?
VV: Oh word? My bad, I was toe up and it was hella people there. But naw, there will never be a Das Racist reunion, sorry.
AD: You met Heems at Wesleyan University. What did you study there? Did you enjoy it?
VV: I studied English. I had some static with some faculty and administration and some students there too but on the whole I guess I dug it.
AD: Where did you get the name Kool A.D.?
VV: I don't know, just popped into my head one day.
AD: You've made music with artists ranging from Toro Y Moi to Killer Mike to Chairlift. Is there anyone else you're dying to collaborate with?
AD: What does an average day look like for you?
VV: Chillin, bussin joogs, hittin lix u kno, traptraptraptraptrap, ya tu sabe.
AD: You’ve achieved success as a visual artist, musician, and writer – are there any other creative mediums you plan to tackle?
VV: I'm talking with some folks about a TV show. I want to do a movie at some point. Maybe a video game too.
AD: What annoys you?
AD: What’s on the agenda for Kool A.D. in 2017?
VV: More heat.
Follow Kool A.D. on twitter
Interview and Article by Anna Dorn
Photo courtesy of [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rXE8KiQqAk[\]