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Name: Adam Bernard
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A.O.T.W. – Propaganda Anonymous
Monday, June 11, 2007

Born on Long Island to two Irish immigrants, Propaganda Anonymous’ story isn’t your typical Hip-Hop tale. Heavily influenced by the Beastie Boys and the Fat Boys, Propaganda would begin going to live shows, including everything from raves to Drum and Bass events, during his high school years. It was during those thump heavy nights that Propaganda would begin to hone his style. He remembers “I learned some things about MCing from watching TC Islam rock shows.” It was a move away from New York, however, that really drew Propaganda to Hip-Hop. Though NYC is considered the Mecca of the culture, Propaganda saw an amazing scene in, of all places, Hawaii, when he moved there in 2001. “Most parties would represent all the elements of Hip-Hop,” he explains, “to this day the best breakers that I've seen are from Hawaii.” Now back in New York, Propaganda is a member of the Brooklyn based Mindspray crew and has recently released his solo debut. Today I’m sitting down with him as part of my Artist Of The Week (A.O.T.W.) series to discuss his work, the meaning behind his name, and what kind of propaganda he’s looking to spread.

Adam Bernard: You have a very interesting name. Why did you choose to call yourself Propaganda Anonymous?
Propaganda Anonymous: The definition of Propaganda is "information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc." When it comes to the written word some things that appeal to me are irony and satire, so one take on the MC moniker is through that lens. By calling myself Propaganda I think that some people do a double take and want to ask questions. That's what I like and I’d like to see people asking more questions about everything. Another approach to the handle is basically a statement that since World War II the world has been engulfed with more and more types of propaganda, from every corner. An interesting thing about propaganda is that it’s one of those things that a group of people might accuse another group of using, yet they will strongly defend their right to say that they don't use propaganda themselves. Propaganda is a form of communication that doesn't seem very liberating. Those who use it seek to strongly control the outcome of their techniques. They don't seem to leave a lot of room open for the unknown within their formula. These techniques, couple with breakthroughs that scientists are making about how the brain works, are used to control people's desires, etc. The same information about brain research can potentially help more and more people live better lives. Unfortunately, today there are more assholes around who are trying to make money from underestimating the intelligence of the American people than people who will take the same info and seek to help others gain more understanding of how their mind's work. Propaganda has increased even more with the use of the internet. Today one can log on to a site and receive a whole bunch of information that has not been tested and essentially they are ingesting Propaganda sent forth from an Anonymous source. So that Propaganda is Anonymous. I'm seeking to bring some awareness to this whole situation by choosing this name. Plus, I'm going to start a 12 Step program for those that have been brainwashed. Ha ha!

Adam Bernard: When it comes to the information that you're spreading, what are some of the subjects that are most important to you and how do you look to get them across to the listener?
Propaganda Anonymous: For your mind I got the whole Propaganda Anonymous concept, so even when you're not listening to my music you can chomp on some of those thoughts that will pop up in your brain when you put those two words next to each other. I also love looking at how people communicate with each other. What does it all mean? Ya know. I think that communication has bred some of the most amazing accomplishments in human history. It's necessary, it shows that we are not alone in this world, and through communicating we are connected to others. So, for whatever reasons, there are those that have fucked with or slanted the realms of good communication with facades and hidden agendas. These people spread misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. These are the people who I've declared war on. Those that seek to keep people faking communication and fronting like commercials are real exchanges between humans. On some straight music jawny I'm basically working to make myself the best MC I can be, which means learning how to properly rock a crowd, keep their attention and focus on the show at hand. I also seek to be as honest as possible in my music. I want my headphone bangers to stick with you, and my hyphy shit to be super hype.

Adam Bernard: You recently released a solo EP. How does your solo work differ from your work with the Mindspray crew?
Propaganda Anonymous: My solo shit is different because I can get more development going in my songs. With Mindspray I get, at most, 16 bars to get a cool message across, and the lyrics needing to be cohesive with the rest of the band. It's like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Good stuff gets done with the right amount of patience.

Adam Bernard: What are the rewards of doing something solo vs. the rewards of doing something in a group atmosphere?
Propaganda Anonymous: The biggest reward I’ve found in doing my solo stuff vs. the collective approach is basically having more room for self-expression. I have many ideas of my own that I don't need anyone else around me to get across. That's the cool thing with Mindspray. We can all stand alone as solo MCs, so when we come together, shit is dope. With my solo stuff I just have more mobility. So long as I have a car, gas money, and a CD of my beats I can go to Atlanta, Cali, Oregon, wherever, and do my thing, see old friends and keep it moving. Of course my live show isn't as involved as Mindspray's. One reason why I keep working with Mindspray is that it's just so fucking interesting. We are an organized group of individuals. Then we have our extended fam, we're all Mindspray. Sometimes I like just watching, how all our personalities interact.

Adam Bernard: Finally, what do you feel separates you most from the litany of other MCs out there?
Propaganda Anonymous: What separates me from a good amount of other MCs that I've heard is that I have gotten to a point where I feel like I've found my voice and flow. That has taken some work. I feel that in order to get to your own inner voice into words that others understand you have to work through your influences. So rapping wise, I feel like I've worked through my influences. You might hear some of them from time to time when I rhyme, but when I spit, you'll also hear Propanon, my own voice, point blank. I think that's the real mission if you want to be a writer, or artist in any form, find your voice first and stay focused on real expression of self, then people will listen. It takes work and time and endurance to let a voice find life. The more work you do, the greater weight your words will have.

For more Propaganda Anonymous check out myspace.com/propagandaanonymous and mindsprayhiphop.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:49 AM  
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