P.O.S - Anger Management
With a name that stands for Pissed Off Stef, a punk background and a hometown where it’s minus ten degrees, Stefon Alexander, AKA P.O.S, is surely to be forgiven for his cranky moniker. 3D’s Bizquick spoke to the founding member of the Doomtree collective about his LP Never Better, out now through Shock.
Minnesota, in particular Minneapolis has produced some of music’s greatest talent. Bob Dylan, Prince, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Even Ice Cube settled down there for a while. What do you think it is about Minnesota that contributes to such great talent-
The size of the city to start. It’s not too big and not too small and that offers some flexibility. Also, the city is too far from major record labels to have that major label influence, so the vibe is more about what you want to do rather than just making demos for what someone else might think will work and then just sending the tracks out. But the number one reason is probably that it’s so damn cold. You basically have two choices here: get that winter depression and hang out in a bar most of the year, maybe with a stripper, or not get it and get really productive.
So if you lived in Los Angeles would you get anything done-
If I lived in LA I don’t think I would get anything done, ever… except for lounging around.
Your roots seem to be in punk. Early on what was the appeal of punk rock to you-
Definitely the energy and the craziness. Seeing people who truly didn’t care how loud they were playing and didn’t care if they were thought of as cool. People that were rocking out, doing what they wanted and not posturing. And the appeal of that was a huge draw for me.
Your music has become more diverse and intricate now, incorporating rap and plenty of beats from other genres. What do you think is responsible for such diversification-
Trying to avoid being bored. To me there is nothing worse than boring material. I wanted to make songs that stayed energetic and stayed challenging and not sweat what people were going to think about them. I do my best not to be influenced by other people’s opinions. I try not to read reviews and put any weight on what the critics say. And I think the music reflects that. My approach with Never Better was to start building from the rhythm rather than start with a loop. Then add some jarring hi-hats or whatever, but the point was to just keep building from the rhythm. Doing it that way allowed it to stay original.
What is it you want people to know about this progression in your music-
Never Better is an album that I am feeling way more and that’s what I like about it. You can’t just put this record on and relax. It’s an active listen and that reflects what I have been enjoying about music these days.
I read that much of Never Better was written in a moving car. What’s the story behind that-
Between putting together my first album Audition, touring and even school pickups for my son I spent a lot of time driving around. I would burn a CD and play it in the van. As soon as I was inspired I would pull over wherever I was and start writing. Even while I waited for my son at soccer practice I would park and turn it up as loud as I could and get some writing done.
Minneapolis is home to a few legendary record stores and the fan base for vinyl never seems to go away. With Never Better being released on clear vinyl what is it that you like about the medium-
What’s not to like about it. It’s real life. Growing up as a punker you want it all. You want the coolest. You want the 7 Inch and the 10 Inch records. You want picture discs you want color discs. You want cut vinyl, clear vinyl. I even have a locust 5 Inch record. It’s always been about vinyl and with CD sales sliding vinyl is as cool as it ever was. I have paired my album with a download card as well so people have a cool piece that is adaptable.
What’s up with the name P.O.S-
Starting off in my own punk band I looked at punk rockers like Johnny Rotten, Fat Mike and Sid Vicious. They all had mean stupid names and they all influenced me. Besides, growing up in Minnesota and having a giant mohawk you’re not really anyone’s friend. So what’s wrong with Pissed Off Stef-
What’s pissing you off now-
The way people treat each other on a day-to-day level. The new president though seems like he could be a good thing, but that may not necessarily change things on that level.
Australia is a hell of a long way from Minnesota. Did it feel like that when you toured here in 2006-
It felt like I was far away but it felt like I wanted to move there; I was having such a good time I couldn’t wait to do it again.
Are you down with coming back Down Under then-
It’s not about if I’m down, it’s about how soon I can do it.
WHAT: Never Better through Shock
WHEN: Out now