[Editor's Note: The Metermaids Archive Pack giveaway is over, all of the extras listed have been sent out to new homes. Thanks for all who purchased!]
So, I don’t know if anyone will give a shit to receive any of these items included with their pre-sale. For some reason it was important to me to get them out into the world now, with the release of We Brought Knives. We Brought Knives feels like the culmination of something; Sentence, M. Stine and I have now been working together for seven years. In terms of the individual talents we bring to the table, and the combined aesthetic we have been working so hard to find all this time, this record is as good as it gets.
We’ve made a bunch of records that I’m really proud of. Each of them has hinted at a greater potential. I think we’ve finally hit on that potential this time around. If people aren’t feeling this one, I feel comfortable walking away knowing that we actually did the best we could. In emailing with Sage around the time we submitted the record to SFR, I said that we had finally made the effort to record a defining statement. We took our time, set the bar high internally, and then didn’t stop tweaking until we all felt like we had nailed it.
I think any effort like that will make a man reflective.
When we were thinking about pre-sales I decided that I wanted to give away as much of my personal stuff as we could. This record is everything, right? So if I could have afforded to give away every piece of personal memorabillia associated with the past seven years I would have. Unfortunately I still do need to have a couple of shirts that I can wear on the weekends. So, all that said, here is a rundown of the items that you might receive with your pre-order. Just some context in case you’re wondering why the hell there is a dirty hat included with your order.
1. New Jersey and California
My first foray into actually doing this hip hop shit was with one of my best friends, Joel. We formed a group in 2000 that we called MyDogBear. We self-released an album, got to play a bunch of actually dope shows, and generally smoked a lot of weed and had a lot of fun with each other. It was awesome. Eventually Joel decided to move to San Francisco, which put an end to MyDogBear. He now lives next door to me in Brooklyn, which is the best thing ever. But I digress.
Without my rap partner, the only dude I ever wanted to make hip hop with, I felt understandably lost. I wasn’t particularly confident in my rapping abilities at the time (or now), but I did fancy myself a pretty good producer. So I made a ton of beats. I knew of Sage Francis’s open-door policy regarding beats, and had had contact with him through Joel and I’s other best friend MC Squared, so I FLOODED SAGE WITH BEATS FOR MONTHS. Seriously. It’s embarassing to think about now. I probably sent him like 50 beats over a two year period.
New Jersey and California is made up ENTIRELY of beats that Sage didn’t want. My friend Adam opened a studio in his West Village apartment in the fall of 2002 (all of these years could be completely wrong, I have no idea), and he graciously let me record everything with him. After no one wanted my beats, I just decided fuck it. I’ll rap to them myself.
Even though it was self-produced (save for one song, produced by Joel’s brother Brant) and had no other rappers on it, I chose the name Metermaids for the project. It is officially the first release bearing that name. My friend Tommy came on as a DJ, and we were off to the races.
There’s some decent stuff on there. The song “Love Song”, which was written for my now wife and baby mama, is obviously particularly meaningful in our household.
The reason why I wanted to include a bunch of copies of this record in the pre-sale is the record is not digitally available anywhere. So, unless I personally sold it to you at a show years ago, there is no chance you’ve heard it. In this day and age, isn’t that a weird thought?
2. Personal Flyer Collection
There are six flyers that I have saved for personal reasons, over the course of the last seven years. I don’t even think we’ve printed a flyer in the last four years. Ha. Here is their significance:
Lucky Cat Flyer: I saved this one because before this show we were interviewed for a show on Brookly Public Access Television. They recorded the performance as well. The show itself was dope – but it was Metermaids first appearance on television. More of a big deal in theory, of course. I’m sure that ALMOST ten people watched the show.
Style Factory Flyer: I saved this flyer because the show was dedicated to our homey Leftist who passed away tragically a month or so previously. The show was packed the fuck out and amazing, and made all the better because everyone was there to celebrate this wonderful kid. I didn’t know him as well as some, but his absence in our little scene was palpable afterwards. Special people are special people. I still think about him regularly.
CBGB Flyer: This is included because CBGB’s is no longer around, and we were fortunate enough to play a show there before it all ended. I actually think it closed down pretty soon afterwards. It was us and a bunch of metal bands. Ha. Perfect. That’s one of those personal “tick this off the bucket list” shows. I don’t even know how I came away with the flyer, but it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.
The Bagel Flyer: We were accepted through a Sonic Bids submission (jesus, remember Sonic Bids???) to play North by Northeast in like 2005 or 2006. Sentence and I played NXNE together as Metermaids the next year too. This one was special, though, because we were SO PROUD OF OURSELVES for being selected. Then, on top of that, once we were in Toronto, one of the local papers had given us a write-up as one of the “groups to see”. We were over the moon. We printed up like 500 of these suckers and spent the night before running around Toronto getting drunk and passing them out. The show was at an ACTUAL BAGEL SHOP, but it was packed out and amazing. One of my favorite music memories.
Shangri-La Flyer: In the fall of 2007 the new Metermaids (meaning Sentence had joined the crew) booked a three week tour that we deemed the “Team Rad” tour, after the greatest movie ever made. Most DIY tours, especially as virtual unknowns, are fucking nightmares. The shitty shows FAR outweigh the good ones. There was something special about this tour though. Every show was dope. We finished up with a ridiculous show at the Viper Room in LA and Sentence and I drove home to Brooklyn in three days. That drive home was a physical and emotional endurance test, but man was that tour fun. MC Squared joined us for the West Coast. This flyer is for the first show on that tour, with our homeys the Misinformants, in Detroit. Good memories.
Arlene’s Grocery Flyer: We’ve played Arlene’s Grocery like 1,000 times. Not joking. Love that place. I saved this flyer because it was one of the first “showcase” shows that Sentence and I ever did. Notice the early time – gotta make sure you get those industry peeps right after work. It’s meaningful to me now because fuck a showcase. Tip to rising artists – if what you’re doing is dope, the industry people will come to you. Never feel like you have to set up events to impress them.
3. Pirate’s Hat
This hat held me down for the bulk of our “we really want to be famous” phase. What a workhorse. You can see the sweatstains on it yo. I wore it during excruciating industry-style interviews like this. Man, I can barely watch that. And no, the crowd at the Fabolous show didn’t boo us. They just let us know, emphatically, that they only wanted us to do ONE more song. Not two. Hahahahaha. Sentence and I were really into the black and yellow color combo back then. So the Pirates hat seemed perfect. Lotta mileage out of that one. Glad that it will live on in someone else’s household. Because it no longer fits my GIANT HEAD.
4. North by Northeast Market Table Laminant
Again, some of my favorite memories are from the festival up in Toronto. I don’t know if it’s become hella commercialized in recent years, but the two years we played it were beautiful. Just great bands playing great shows. During the day they set up a music market in a square in the city where you could sell merch and meet people and bands, and it was awesome. This item means so much to me because that second year we played the festival it was a full family affair. Me and my wife, Sentence and his wife, M. Stine and his wife, Tommy, and our manager Matt (who is one of my best friends) were all up there together. I’m getting nostalgic right now. I want to call everyone. Ha.
5. King Stampede Hat
So, we had a friend who worked with King Stampede back in the day. As such, we were given a shit ton of free KS gear. It still makes up the majority of my wardrobe. What a sad realization that is. Anyway. This hat has logged more miles on the road than any clothing item I have. I think two full tours. So many shows. You can see the evidence right on the hat. It’s documented, too – check out this video from the “Traveling Circuits” tour – there he is, holding me down in Ft. Wayne Indiana. Again, happy to think that he might find a life elsewhere, now that he no longer fits my enormous head.
6. King Stampede “Stampede” Shirt
Another workhorse item of clothing from a tour-heavy period. Not much to say. I wore it for some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life.
6. Traveling Circuits Tour Poster – Humboldt
Like I mentioned before, most DIY tours are a nightmare. This tour was a nightmare. We were on the road with our good friends Bisc1 (now Bisco Smith), Domer, and DJ Halo for about a month. The whole idea was to tour to get to SXSW where us and Bisco had showcases. But it was hastily put together, and most of the shows were wack. Bisco and his crew almost died in a car accident in Washington state, we started in-fighting soon thereafter, and it just wasn’t worth anyone’s time. The reason I saved this poster is because Bisco is one of the illest designers ever, and put together such dope collateral for the tour. The Humboldt show was terrible, but the venue printed up these posters at least. So I swiped one. ALSO – the show happened in 2008, and this poster stayed in my car (that we toured in) until last week. I’m not joking. Six or so years in my car.
7. Transformers Shirt
Remember that showcase flyer from before at Arlene’s? We were so set on impressing people that our manager actually took me out to buy new clothes for it. I have always been a bit of a fashion liability. Ha. This shirt was one of those purchases. More representative than anything else, in terms of this collection. But for what it’s worth, it has the least wear / tear/ Sean sweat on it than any of the other items!
8. Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Artist Pass
We were able to play the BHHF in its fifth year, which was one of the awesomest experiences of my entire life. It was a rainy, disgusting day, but that actually worked to all the artists’ advantage – the organizers set up a tent which forced all the attendees to be centralized for the performances. Must have been a couple thousand people in front of us. Easily the largest crowd we had ever rocked for at the time. The feeling of walking out on that stage… maaaaaaaaaaaan. I thought I was going to fly and puke at the same time. We killed, though. And got to meet Raven who is still one of my favs I’ve met doing this shit. Another amazing memory that I hadn’t fully thought about in a long time until I typed this up. So, whoever get this – please take care of it!
9. King Stampede “NY” Shirt
One of my favorite shirts I’ve ever owned. This is the toughest thing to give away, considering I still was wearing it regularly. It was given to me the morning of the “Turn the Lights Out” video shoot. Obviously I decided to rock it in the video. Little known fact about that video: I am not in it that much. You wanna know why? I blacked out drunk on the pavement outside where we were shooting! One of the least proud moments of my entire life. Love that shirt though.
10. MY “Metermaids” Bandana
This is an artifact from the happier recent years of Metermaids. Sentence designed these dope bandanas, which we’ve never been able to keep in stock. This one was MINE, though. And I wore it during my favorite show we’ve ever played – with Sage Francis at the Independent in San Francisco. I wore it the next night too, in San Diego. Man that little tour was so good. So whoever gets this, you are holding onto my link to the happiest hip hop period of my life.