What does the title 'Planet High School' refer to?
It's about growing up, or not growing up, rather. It's about how I kinda grew up too fast and was miserable all my life until I was maybe 24, and now I don't have to grow up ever. Not like, some Peter Pan s--- or anything, just that I can wear t-shirts for the rest of my life if I want and I'm still stoked on eating cookies for breakfast if I want.
The press release for this album has a pretty bleak statement about the present day circumstance of young Americans in relation to the album's concept. Can you elaborate on that a bit?
I didn't intend for that to sound so bleak. But it's true that young people have less and less to look forward to. The future used to be, at least ostensibly, wide open and full of possibilities, but with a never-ending war that we don't understand, and the status of the economy, it's kinda s---ty right now.
How does your music fit with that worldview?
I would like to show people that you don't need much to be happy, and that the traditional "straight and narrow" path no longer leads to security and fulfillment, it leads to debt and worry. From my personal experience, once I really set all that aside and just worked on what I wanted to work on, that's how I became happy. Everyone's got their cart before the horse. It's not about working your whole life so someday you can have hobbies and relax, it's about doing what you want all the way through.
Tell us a bit about the visual show you're putting together for live performances. It sounds really interesting.
I've got a good friend of mine from Minnesota, Papa Matt Visionquest, coming along with me this year for a lot of shows. It's gonna be live, interactive visuals. The crowd can go into a booth and be projected onto the screen behind me and Matt's gonna mess with the visuals. It's gonna be glitchy and colorful and fun. Instead of it just being flat colors or heady laser s---, it's gonna be full-on animated bits that I drew myself and lasers and horror movies and video games. My intent is to try and stream as many of my live shows as possible so everyone can see, and also record the visuals and sync them with the performance and post those online.
How do you decide on artists to remix: You've done really great, broad-ranging stuff, from Snap to Smokey Robinson.
That's always a tough call. Man, I'd be so damn popular if I remixed a bunch of Lil Wayne or Drake or any of that pop s---. I like beats or rap instrumentals, [but] I can't listen to too much modern s---, 'cause the patterns are so formulaic and it's all just 808s. It's not interesting or dynamic music, I'd rather just remix something I do know and like. I don't consider how people are gonna think about it really, or worry about whether or not a song is gonna chart on Hype Machine or whatever. That's just not something that should be in your head when you're writing music. I'm just paying homage to songs and artists I've always liked. I'd much rather get an e-mail from Smokey Robinson saying he liked my rendition, than get tweeted at by some ubiquitous rap celeb.