The Nicest MC nobody's heard, AWOL One is a human constructed out of pieces of asteroids and tusks. Who put him together is not known, but sometime during the construction process, the architect forgot to complete the 'wake up' component. As a result, AWOL is in a constant state of half doze, a waking consciousness that most people only experience just before falling asleep and while waking up. The moments between consciousness and sleep are moments of clarity during which inhibitions and rationale are subjugated to collective creativity and lucidity. Ideas flow, bizarre and humorous, sometimes frightening desires, but always things that are later squashed by routine thought and rationale. That state seems to be AWOL's constant function mode and as a result he drops some of the strangest, endearing, and entertaining lyrics heard in recent memory. He's rocked tracks with Kool Keith, Abstract Rude, and E.T. and is a full time member of the Shapeshifters. The man, the nap machine, AWOL One.
--Let's start with the name and aliases...
AWOL: I go by AWOL or AWOL One.
--How'd you get that?
AWOL: Just from painting. I made it up for myself, but then it just stuck. And --then I just adapted Awolrus, Awolverine, you know? Just whatever.
--So you started out painting. Do you still get up?
AWOL: I still paint. I just don't paint as much as I used to, but we still get up there and knock some sh*t out. I paint with a lot of different crews.
--What kind of stuff do you paint?
AWOL: I paint most of the wall characters that you probably wouldn't think belong in the scene.
AWOL: Like, a baby with these three cow heads, and they have gas masks on and the baby's glowing, stuff like that. It's just spontaneous, whatever comes out at the time. We just did some stuff with Circus and Bleak, it just said Shapeshifters and I did a mad scientist, just Grandpa Munster kind of thing.
--What's your day job?
AWOL: I do graphics for a magazine called Mean Street. It's all about independent music, whether it's punk rock or hip-hop.
--Are you up on punk and other kinds of music?
AWOL: Yeah, I'm down with a lot of sh*t man.
--Who are you checkin' out?
AWOL: I got this Frank Zappa CD we're burnin' the sh*t out of right now. Suzy Cream Cheese. It's got this song "Return of the Monster Magnet." And that gets us going. A lot of stuff's good. Sonic Youth is pretty dope.
--I've been heavily into death metal lately, the monster voice sounds really good to me.
AWOL: (Laughing) The old stuff?
--Some old, a lot of Napalm Death and Deicide.
AWOL: Oh yeah, dang, that's your inner self. Yeah, I seen Gwar do some sick sh*t.
--You've seen them?
--It's a crazy scene because everyone's covered in blood and smiling.
AWOL: Yeah, and smiling! It's like a Shapeshifters show man, everybody walks out covered in blood, we just kill each other on stage every night, it's the grand finally.
--By what mean? Machetes?
AWOL: Yeah, It's all choreographed and the last person that dies, they lost.
--What does the loser have to do?
AWOL: The loser has to clean up all that sh*t.
--You ever go to the zoo and think, "Man, I really want to eat that hippo."
AWOL: (laughing) Not lately man, nit next time I go I'll remember that.
--You see aliens around there?
AWOL: Here, no. Recently we met these people that live in Arizona by my mom and dad. They live in this sphere and they have a UFO that they say this guy learned how to levitate from. They said that's the whole key, that's why the Air Force can't figure it out--because it's all mind control. Anyway, supposedly this guy lifted this UFO thing like 14 inches off the ground and a year later he died. We went there and we seen it and sh*t and people kept telling us the story.
--What did it look like?
AWOL: It had a little seat in the middle, there are these things that you hold onto but it's not like a steering control, the outside is kinda shiny, and it was probably no bigger than a kitchen table.
--If you were driving that around and you saw some aliens do you would want to eat them?
AWOL: (laughing) Yeah, definitely man, I'm always down for an alien steak.
--How'd you link up with Kool Keith?
AWOL: Mike Nardone and Kut Master Kurt did my whole album, and as you know that's Keith's dog, and just from being at Kurt's, it ended up happening.
--Was that fun? Was it crazy?
AWOL: Oh yeah, definitely, I've seen him on a few occasions; that guy's crazy, I've heard a million stories...
--Any you can impart?
AWOL: I don't know if they're true or not so I don't want to repeat it.
--How many people do you think are doing coke in the White House right now?
AWOL: Probably everybody. People there are over 40...Probably not. But all the pre-30's, yeah, they're on it, they're blowed right now.
--If you could eat a piece of furniture and absorb its traits what would you eat?
AWOL: Probably a TV, so I could absorb all that nutritious energy it gives off; I'd get a couple stories out of it. Everything else in my house is not very edible.
--Were you ever a skateboarder?
AWOL: Yeah, I used to skate. I think every teenager skated at one point.
--What are the names of the albums?
AWOL: Right now, I have an album, it's called Four-Eyed Mortals, it's with me at EST and some other 'Shifters. That one's out. And then I have an album coming out called Speaker Face, and that's also through Celestial. We just mastered that at Capitol so it sounds really clean. The Shapeshifters album on Celestial is called Adopted By Aliens, and then the other Shapeshifters' album is called No Future and that's on Mean Street. Then there's an earlier project that just recently got released called Planet of the Shapes.
--What kind of vegetables do you think are the best weapons?
AWOL: It's gotta be some sort of long distance vegetable, probably the coconut. If a coconut's a vegetable. The runner up on coconut is definitely a rutabaga.
--Do you have to use those often?
AWOL: Whenever people break into my house, I always assault them with some kind of sharp object.
--A sharpened rutabaga?
AWOL: Yeah, at least a sharpened piece of steel, 'cause we got steel laying around the house, big rusty pipes.
--'Cause you do a lot of welding right?
AWOL: Yeah man, I'm a welder. Nah, actually I never welded. My pops used to do spot welding, but I never did it. I worked as a torch. It's was wack, it was during the summer and I had to wear a big old f*ckin' helmet and these gloves, I lasted like four or five months. The sh*t you do when you got bills...
--What do you do for entertainment?
AWOL: I write a lot.
AWOL: I just do a lot of writing. I jot down a lot of whatever, probably nonsense but I juts try to keep it flowin'. I do that a lot, make beats, drink beer... we're Americans, same sh*t every other young fool does.
AWOL: Be on the lookout for Shapeshifters action figures. We got Hasbro on lock. Look for the Mass Men stuff, check out the A-Team and all that. Yeah man, word!