Interview w/ Spero – Emcee “Northern State”

SM: Where is Northern State going?

CS: Dude, i wish i knew.. i hope we are going towards a place of productivity, creativity, responsibility, fun and to a place where we can support ourselves doing what we love without having to continually go into debt. if one could get a nice salad at this place, that would be great too.

SM: Where is Northern State leaving from?

CS: Generally, we are leaving from the Groove Bros’ apt (the three guys in our band!) where we load the gear into the van..that is usually the designated meeting spot…for real though, i think we are leaving from a place of a lot of hard work and sacrifices and dedication which have hopefully laid the groundwork for the trip we are about to go on..i hope we are leaving a place of struggle, confusion, doubts, fears, and uncertainty behind, but i have a feeling we will only be leaving some of those things, and probably never for too long…i just hope that more fun, more love, more peace will be joining us to take the edge off a little…(altho
booze can also help with this)

SM: As artists who engage in the process of speaking aloud more often than most people, and for a living, where is your relationship to language right now?

CS: Good question. i think, especially after having just finished making our album, my relationship to language right now has to do more with trying to be quiet more than anything I am savoring any hour in the day i have where i can just shut the fuck up. And i am trying to write a little bit more right now just for no real reason, except to do it-like not for an album, just because..i am also kind of fascinated right now with language’s power to transform, like how certain language can transform a nice Italian girl from Long Island into a ferocious MC…that’s crazy!

SM: Who comes to Northern State Shows?

CS: You’d really be amazed..we are constantly intrigued by who comes to Northern State shows..they are equally male and female..many are under 30…plenty are not…some are 40 year old divorced dads, we have an awesome gay and lesbian following, some are dudes with mullets (and not in an ironic way) who wanna sell our merch for us – ..lawyers, intellectuals, frat boys – there is really not that much rhyme or reason to it that we have been able to discern – i think people like us who want to believe that they can live the life they are dreaming of…. and the further from home we travel, i think the more interesting it all becomes…

SM: What’s to be done with all these sucka MC’s?

CS: I often wonder this myself…so many sucka MCs, so little time to tell them all where to go..i think the only answer is possibly like a battle of the bands-type scenario, where you put NS and these suckas in a room and let us each do a 20 minute set and see who gets the crowd going…I allege 9 times outta 10 it’s NS (the 10th time the room is fulled with
mostly the other guy’s crew..tough crowd) or maybe a dance-off, cuz we have got some moves that will blow your mind…

SM: What’s the thing most likely to captivate Northern State’s attention?

CS: tends to be any sort of bathroom humor or off-color joke that we can repeat on tour incessantly and which just might get funnier every time it’s said. our drummer mike once saw written on a bathroom wall in the UK “for the largest, gayest bumhole around THEN…call
4401” (whatever the no. was) needless to say, we found that VERY captivating.

SM: What’s it like to be a human being traveling from place to place being the center of attention for whole crowds of other human beings?

CS: Performing is weird, sometimes it feels totally natural, like, DUH, what else r we gonna do? and sometimes it can feel, to me, a little what the hell am i doing up here, this is really ridiculous…when we started NS I was already trying to do music professionally, but I was interested completely in the recording end-I went to audio engineering school and was trying to slowly piece together a home studio-so for me, the performing was the hardest
part, the other girls almost hadda drag me out there kicking and screaming at first, so i think i struggle with it the most-i think Sprout and Hesta Prynn are a little more comfortable on stage and always have been, but I think I’ve grown enormously in that regard and improved immensely and now I generally just feel like a pretty hard-core muthafucka when we perform-but I think that is the armor I put on so as not to feel like a jackass..i’ve learned there is a very fine line between the two.

SM: Freestyle or pen and paper?

CS: Both, but mostly pen and paper – we all came from a background of keeping journals, writing poems, stories and songs and a lot of that is pen and paper stuff..but let’s face it, one can often come up with the best line on the walk to subway or drunk at a party..i think the key is to try and always always write down anything good u come upon in a freestyle situation so u dont forget it..if i had a nickel for every dope line ive thought of without a pen around and an hour later I can’t remember it.. that makes me nuts…(let’s face it, my short-term
memory is not that great)

SM: If Northern State was a big city street, what would be on the corner where it intersects with the rest of the world?

CS: Hopefully a bathroom because we all need to pee like every 10 minutes…welcome to a band with a lot of girls in it..

SM: Write for me please, a haiku.

Northern State, my god
three crazy girls spitting rhymes
don’t front, you love it!

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Interview w/Kim Addonizio - Poet