APRIL 20, 2018

http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalTTimes.jpghe artist known in certain circles as ANIMAL TEEF is something of a first in the eyes of our publication. Blame it on our lack of knowledge when it comes to the world of hip hop - as we are a rock publication - but the Oglala Lakota rapper may very well be the genre's first real vagabond. Since 2013, we have seen his solo career take off from the fields of the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation with the single AIN'T NOBODY'S BIDNESS and the LP PINK TRASH. The man's brand of socially conscious hip hop came with a jagged edge and not a word or beat went to waste, even on the 14-song collection THE SHAKE BAG or the EP SAY LA VIE. In an a genre of music that is all about representing a certain locale, TEEF is a vagabond who has taken his music North by Northwest to such cities at Seattle and Eugene. For the past couple of years he has contributed rhymes to this and that project, but now he is one half of a new project called LONESOME GEORGE. The other half is comprised of beat maker and producer ENDOR and their message of Indigenous pride and decolonization can be heard loud and clear on their new album BURT BACHAPACK- a play on the name of a legendary songwriter and a hat tip to what TEEF refers to as "back pack" rapper. Us "dad rockers" learn something new every day! ROCKWIRED had the chance to speak with ANIMAL TEEF and ENDOR of LONESOME GEORGE regarding their new album. Here is how the interview went.

LONESOME GEORGE is quite a surprise coming from you TEEF. You always seemed to be such an individual and now you've got this new project. Over the years we've followed you from being a rapper based on the Oglala Reservation in South Dakota to Washington State to now being based in Oregon and who knows where next.
TEEF: Our next move is to move down to Albuquerque and open up a microbrewery.

Please don't start with me about that microbrew shit. They're everywhere down here in Albuquerque. Hell, there's one less than a block from me.
TEEF: Damn! We were thinking of opening one on the same block.

Well, you're a little too late for that.
TEEF: Yeah, but they aren't going to have BRIAN'S SIGNATURE SOUR ALE. How about that?

(Laughs) I guess they won't.
TEEF: Hey! I'm doing this for you.


Anyway, you guys have had this album BURT BACHAPACK out now for a few months and now that people have had that chance to take it in, what have been some of the reactions that you guys have been able to gauge?
TEEF: Surprise is a common reaction. It goes there. Everyone is surprised. What has surprised me is the overwhelming positive response. We expected a large number of people to hate it.

ENDOR: Most of the people who listen to it seem to have praise. I'm not going to say that has been unpleasant but it has been unexpected.

TEEF: Yeah, we didn't plan for that.

ENDOR:  It just has a lot of ouch-y places for people so it was kind of nice to see that. By and large it was almost like people were willing to hear indictments about themselves as opposed to not.

TEEF: Even if they feel bad when they hear it, as long as it makes them feel anything we've fucking won. Not everything makes you feel anymore. It's easy to just consume shit and never think about it again. This is one of those things that will get stuck in your teeth so to speak.  

Bring me back to the beginning of LONESOME GEORGE. How did this whole thing get off the ground?
ENDOR: What started it was meeting TEEF through mutual friends that I've worked on music with. There was a group project coming up that I was going to have a track on and work on. TEEF had a track on it as well. Everyone was like, "...you should talk to this guy. We're going to be working working with him and we think you two will get along". Just through the course of talking and working on one song it spawned into a project over time. Just through a lot of conversation sharing ideas and talking back and forth. Eventually it was like "Oh shit! This is kind of a recurring theme!" It just made sense for us to work on something and that something ended up being BURT BACHAPACK.

TEEF: Yeah, LONESOME GEORGE just sort of happened. It's the first artistic working relationship where from the ground up the whole entire thing is a shockingly, fuckingly, fucking pure and ego-less process. When we try it, whatever it is, whether it's my vocals or something with the beats, if we try it and and it doesn't work it's fucking gone and we let go of it. We take a long time to drop stuff but we actually move incredibly fast.  A single song will go through a lot of permutations. It's just an incredibly high-functioning working relationship. It just works. We also responded very quickly over the Indigenous liberation brand of thinking and found out that in more ways than musically, we're about the same kind of stuff. I guess we decided to apply that power to some good as we see it.


And since I'm talking to you for the first time ENDOR, what was your music experience before forming LONESOME GEORGE?
ENDOR: I've been making and releasing music in some capacity on my own for about eleven years now. For along time, I mostly made ambient, drone, "high brow" music even though often times it had low brow titles that referred to things like STARCRAFT and MAGICAL GATHERINGS. That's just a frame of reference.

TEEF: Tough guy music.

ENDOR: Yeah the kind of shit you would punch a bag to. Then, there was a time when I would make a beat tape-a-month kind of thing. That was the the year that I would put something out every month. My music career has involved a lot of production just for the sake of making music and then a lot of post-production work. I've worked with a lot of people across the United States. I get sent a lot of random tracks to make the sound okay.

TEEF: Yeah, it's why I no longer sound like I've recorded my vocals by standing outside of the house and yelling into the window. That's the main reason.

And is that largely what you think ENDOR brings to the project?
TEEF: He makes the thing sound clean and polished every time. It's a team effort. I consult him about lyrics and he consults me about beats and that kind of thing. You're  right, I had become a solo operator - a beat stealing internet fucking pirate - and now I'm doing something that's harder and takes a lot more work. But in the end, it's more fulfilling because we've done something like BURT BACHAPACK which is no RAPTURE.

And ENDOR, what is it that you feel TEEF brings to the proceedings that makes this thing work?
ENDOR: The biggest and most important thing is the fact that he actually understands music. I've worked with other rappers and vocalists and they just don't understand music as a whole. Beyond that, there is that deep self-reflection that takes place and that ability to have that inner criticism that asks "Is this really working?" You don't find that a lot in other creative partnerships. A lot of times when I work with other people, there is the mutual desire to have an end product and it creates this kind of mania where you go "I have to create something...It needs to be finished...It needs to be something." When that happens you just start piling ideas on and adding more things on top of more things and you don't step back and ask if this is something you want to listen to or not.

TEEF: I've said it before and I'll say it again. It's that self appraisal that we do collectively. This guy ENDOR will tell you better than anyone that I hate on me more than anyone else. I give myself hella shit. I assume people think I'm this asshole who gets in there and does it and goes "Yeah, I'm dope so it's dope and fuck you!" but the revision process for me is crazy. I'll fret over small details. You know what? I've just had an epiphany just now! It's trust. That's the thing. We completely trust each other musically. I would never think that ENDOR was doing anything to sell me short or to make me less cool for some ego driven purpose. That would never fucking happen and I would never turn down a cool part of a beat just so you could hear me better. It's trust. We both have the best interest for the final product.


In all of the tags for your music, the term "decolonization rap" comes up. Explain to someone not in the know what you mean by that term.
TEEF: Well, as indigenous people, we're often told that prior to European contact, there was no civilization and there was no society or no ongoing cycle of life or culture or history or tradition. So we counter that by saying that Western civilization is neither. That is basically the ethos of it. I believe that the whole notion of "contact" is an insidious one and it's always been disastrous for indigenous people  over and over again. I counter it with a question. What is civilization? Who is civilized? Now Western science is striving for the same kind of sustainability that Indigenous people have maintained for thousands of years. What they're striving for is savagery - the ideas of a heathen primitive people. That's now the shit.

ENDOR: To go further with that, there is something happening in Central Mexico that is personally important to me. There was the form of farming called Chinampas which translates into "floating garden". It involves using fish and aquatic life to fertilize and fix nitrogen levels and oxygen levels in water and soil so you can grow food. There has only been one city since 1514 that has kept this up and the government is now going "Oh maybe this does work! Maybe we should bring this back and solve these issues!" After all of these centuries of working against this way of thinking, it's great to see it being embraced again.

TEEF: And BRIAN, you're a person who is aware of the dehumanization and devaluation of people of which indigenous people are subject. But we're tired of that. The more you learn about the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere, the more incredible we are. We're amazing and astounding and beautiful and strong. We're incredible people. I refuse to subscribe to the notion that we are a conquered people when we're still  resisting the colonial influence. I'm tired of the devaluation. I wanted to make something that feels aggressively happy to be indigenous.

And from BURT BACHAPACK, what songs off of it have you the most excited to get someone to hear and why?
TEEF: The middle section of the song JOHN DUNBAR is one of my favorite pieces of music I've ever recorded because of the efficiency of the lyrics . It's a very personal part of that song for me. I get the chance to recall this and that in a  very flowery, poetic way but the sheer impact of those short phrases and the sheer impact of the beats. It is my favorite passage of music that I've ever recorded.Glad I did it. It makes me happy every time I hear it. I knew shouldn't give up hope but I don't think KEVIN COSTNER is showing up to Standing Rock.

And with the release of BURT BACHAPACK behind you, what's next for LONESOME GEORGE musically?
TEEF: Up until you called, we've been working on new stuff and it doesn't sound anything like BURT BACHAPACK. We're not even sure what it's going to be called. I'm not even going to tell you what it sounds like, but it's going to be radically different from BURT BACHAPACK on purpose 'cause we're dicks like that.


http://www.rockwired.com/CapitalB.jpgrian Lush is a music industry professional and entrepreneur. In 2005 he launched the online music site Rockwired.com to help promote new music artists in conjunction with the weekly radio show Rockwired Live which aired on KTSTFM.COM from 2005 - 2009. In 2010 He launched the daily podcast series Rockwired Radio Profiles which features exclusive interviews and music. He has also developed and produced the online radio shows Jazzed and Blue - Profiles in Blues and Jazz, Aboriginal Sounds - A Celebration of American Indian and First Nations Music, The Rockwired Rock N Roll Mixtape Show and The Rockwired Artist of the Month Showcase. In 2012, Brian Lush and his company Rockwired Media LLC launched the monthly digital online publication Rockwired Magazine. The magazine attracts over 75,000 readers a month and shows no signs of stopping. Rockwired Magazine also bares the distinction of being the first American Indian-owned rock magazine. Brian Lush is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe. Brian Lush's background in music journalism, radio and podcast hosting, podcast production, web design, publicity, advertising sales, social media and online marketing, strategic editorial planning and branding have all made Rockwired a name that is trusted and respected throughout the independent music industry.

CONTACT BRiAN LUSH AT: djlush@rockwired.com