It's a beautiful morning in San Francisco and upon finishing the communal dishes Dose (24-year-old Adam Drucker) and his cLOUDDEAD cohorts are preparing for another day of hip hop subversion. Yet with a solid DIY aesthetic and an avant musical approach, this is one hip hop crew that owes rather more to God Speed You Black Emperor than to the Wu-Tang Clan.

San Francisco may be the home of underground hip hop, but the likes of DJ Shadow's Solesides crew seem positively conservative compared to the grouping known, aptly enough, as Anticon.

Anticon is a group of hip hop heads from all over the States who, frustrated with the limitations they constantly encountered, formed their own networks via internet and telephone and ultimately via home recordings.

"We just kept running up against the same old gangster shit, and everyone having to rap in a phoney New York accent," laughs Dose.

Instead cLOUDDEAD - originally the Cincinatti chapter of Anticon - draw on everything from Boards Of Canada to Calexico to My Bloody Valentine for their musical inspiration. They're currently working with UK post-rockers Hood.

"When Anticon started, because we were spread around everywhere just sharing this energy, we were worried we were all going to hate each other," says Dose. "Instead it was like meeting ten different versions of yourself."

Since the key Anticon release 'Deep Puddle' the congregation has produced hundreds of records in their distinctly DIY style. Now they're all living in the Bay Area - a testament to their commitment both to their musical ethic and their friendships.

"We always wanted to smell like a movement. nosdam and why? were the last additions. I was kind of waiting for them to come," he laughs.

Consequently cLOUDDEAD are now house-mates (the other two are arguing about parking tickets while Dose washes up). And while Dose and why? (Jonathan Wolf, 21) are the rappers, albeit with the strangest delivery you'll ever hear in hip hop (why? has got that flow Joe thing going on," says Dose), nosdam (real name Dave Madson, 24) is, says Dose, "the aesthetic maestro. He's got this lens. He's got a good eye".

But why San Francisco?

"Well, even though there's a lot of fake vegans and faux lesbians, I just look outside my window and, y'know, every day is like spring."

And with that he's back to his musical, and literal, spring cleaning.


Mush Records