Just Under Twenty Questions: The Tim Fite Interview

Today I chat with a musician who I first heard on the show "Sound Opinions". First, the critics talked about his free anti-consumerism hip-hop album "Over the Counter Culture" and most recently they interviewed him about his latest album (which sounds more folky or alt-country than hip hop) "Fair Ain't Fair." You may also have heard of him back in earlier days as half the duo Little T and One Track Mike, who did the song "Shaniqua." Plus, he makes lots of cool videos and other ephemera on his website and works in a side band with Danielle Stech Homsy called The Water Island. He's just a talented dude.

When typically does inspiration strike you--any particular time of day, or place?
Most of the time he strikes me when I come home from a long night of streetwalking without any money for him. I say, "Inspiration, please don't strike me, I promise I will do better tomorrow night." And he says, "Bitch, when I say earn, I mean earn." And then he strikes me.

"Over the Counter Culture" is available as a free download: which if any albums that you've bought for full retail price would you say was worth the money?
Digital Underground's "Sex Packets"
Bad Brains "The Youth Are Getting Restless"
Hawksley Workman "For Him and the Girls"

You have a rule that you only sample from albums that you've bought from the dollar bin. What's your MO? Do you buy randomly and then listen for sample-able tracks or do you look in the bin for anything in particular?
I generally buy on the basis of two criteria. The cover and the liner notes. Usually cd's with lots of different instruments listed in the liner notes pan out well for me. Also when there is big cats like lions or cougars or leopards on the cover I find the samples to be quality.

You work and perform with your brother: do you have any advice for other artists on how to work well with family members?
"Be EXCELLENT to each other."

What are you listening to lately?
Devin the Dude.
Lil' Mama
Neil Young
Books on tape.

For the new album, why did you decide to record the drums at your old high school?
It was a free place to record with lots of extra drums and instruments that I don't own and can't afford to rent.

Your mom was responsible for getting you into the high school to record, and I know that you've recorded in their barn: have your parents always been supportive of your music? Were they musicians?
My parents are supportive of almost everything I do, as long as it doesn't involve self destruction. They are not musicians, but they do have ears.

You're a natty dresser: where do you get most of your clothes?
I actually don't get most of my clothes. Especially this one green shirt. No matter how much we try to communicate with each other, I can't understand a god damn thing it is trying to say.

There's been a lot made about the various genres you've traversed: are there any that you haven't worked in that you've thought about trying your hand at?
I have always wanted to make a reggae record. Like Willie Nelson.

Voice-wise, what do you do to change up your vocal performances between hip hop and country?
I don't think I do very much different. I think I pay a bit more attention to locution when I am rapping, but all in all it is just tongue teeth tongue.

Your music videos are very cool: how do you choose the directors and concepts?
Ryan Foregger is my director. He did Away From the Snakes and Camouflage. He also did all of the little teaser videos for Fair Ain't Fair. Me and him come up with most of the ideas together. It is fun. We like having fun. Who doesn't?

Your shows tend to be multimedia: have you ever encountered any technical disasters?
Occasionally my fingers fall off.

Do you prefer to do shows of a certain size? Is it harder to get a show with video involved to reach a larger group?
I don't think that size matters. Sometimes it is harder with larger groups but it still feels lovely.

How long typically does it put together an episode of Gun Show?
It depends on the Gunshow. On average, it takes two full days.

When should one listen to Tim Fite, and when should one listen to the Water Island?

Listen to Tim Fite when on land, and Water Island when on water.

What are you working on now?
An interview for Zulkey.com!

What do you do when you're not working on your music, with Water Island, on your art, or on Gun Show?
I clap my hands above my head.

Who have been some of the most fun artists you've toured with?
I had a real nice time touring with Peter Paul Rubens. Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez was a hoot as well. They are some amazing artists.

How does it feel to be the 210th person interviewed for Zulkey.com?

It feels like a good honest sandwich.