Andrew Robert MacFarlane Nielsen (born October 6, 1982) is an American rapper, producer, writer, cartoonist and Stanford University alumnus, known by his stage name MC Lars. He is the self-proclaimed originator of "post-punk laptop rap." He was one of t...
Andrew Robert MacFarlane Nielsen (born October 6, 1982) is an American rapper, producer, writer, cartoonist and Stanford University alumnus, known by his stage name MC Lars. He is the self-proclaimed originator of "post-punk laptop rap." He was one of the first underground rappers to sample and reference post-punk and emo bands. He is the founder and CEO of the independent record label Horris Records. He was the runner-up to Eisley on the Yahoo! Music's "Who's the Next Big Thing?" contest in 2005.
He has recorded for Truck Records in the UK, Sidecho Records in the United States, Big Mouth Records in Japan, and Shock Records in Australia. He was formerly known as MC Lars Horris but changed his pseudonym to MC Lars in 2004 for purposes of simplicity. MC Lars currently resides in Venice Beach, California.
In 2006, he released the single "Download This Song" with it entering the Australian Singles Chart at number 29.
Nielsen has toured and done one-off performances with many different bands and rappers, including Snoop Dogg, I Fight Dragons, The Matches, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Something With Numbers, Simple Plan, Bowling for Soup, Army of Freshmen, Gym Class Heroes, Say Anything, Streetlight Manifesto, Suburban Legends, Test Icicles, Jack's Mannequin, Patent Pending, Bayside, Fightstar, Make It Better Later, MC Frontalot, mc chris, Wheatus, The Aquabats, Ludacris, YTCracker, T-Pain, Yung Joc, Cartel and Zebrahead. Some of these bands play the part of Hearts That Hate for the song "Signing Emo" at live shows.
Nielsen appeared in the 2008 independent film Community College as MC Lars.
Nielsen was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.
Style and culture
Originally releasing tracks under the name Lars Horris, he eventually dropped Horris which later became the name of his record label, in order to become MC Lars. In the past, MC Lars was backed by a single friend who handled laptop duties. He now plays with a laptop and a punk rock band to back him up, which he refers to as "post-punk laptop rap". Samples from bands such as Supergrass, Brand New, Fugazi, and Iggy Pop play a key role in MC Lars' music.
MC Lars has also shown an interest in using lyrics and song titles based on English and American literature. "Rapbeth" references William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, whilst "Mr. Raven" is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". "Ahab" is about the novel Moby Dick and "Hey There Ophelia" on This Gigantic Robot Kills retells the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The term "iGeneration", used to describe the generation born primarily in the mid-to-late 1980's, was used in his song of the same name and given out for free to Facebook users in August 2006 in conjunction with iTunes.
MC Lars' MySpace profile includes exclusive tracks related popular culture: "Internet Relationships", "Hot Topic is Not Punk Rock", "Download This Song" and "Signing Emo". Hearts That Hate, whose song "Cry Tonight" is sampled in Lars' "Signing Emo", is a fictional group created by the rapper. The Grammy-nominated Texan band Bowling for Soup performed as Hearts That Hate when MC Lars has supported them on tour. A full version of "Cry Tonight" is available as a B-side to the UK "Signing Emo" single.
In early 2006, his song "Download This Song" was featured on the pop-culture CBC Radio show Definitely Not The Opera.
The Graduate (2005–2006)
In 2006, Lars worked with the Canadian independent record label Nettwerk Records to release The Graduate. Following this release, Lars toured extensively throughout the US, then he toured UK and did shows in Japan, and Australia. Not long after the album was released on iTunes, Lars received an e-mail from a 15-year-old fan Elisa Greubel on his web forum saying she identified with "Download This Song" since her family was one of many being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America. This led to Nettwerk executive Terry McBride and a team of major-label artists managed by Nettwerk to support the Greubels with their case. MC Lars returned to the UK in October 2006.
This Gigantic Robot Kills (2007–2009)
In April 2007, MC Lars and Nettwerk made the component tracks for his single "White Kids Aren't Hyphy" available for remix under a by-nc-sa Creative Commons license on the Jamglue online mixing site as a contest. In May, MC Lars toured the UK on the third installment of the Good To Go Tour, making friends with Wheatus front man Brendan B. Brown. In July Lars and Brown recorded new songs, two of which would later appear on This Gigantic Robot Kills. In November, Lars returned to the UK on tour with pop-punk band Last Letter Read who performed their own set and then on stage with Lars, debuting Lars' new song "Hey There Ophelia".
In 2008 and 2009, Lars worked with "Weird Al" Yankovic, Wheatus, the Rondo Brothers, Nick Rowe and Mike Kennedy of Bloodsimple, Daniel Dart of Time Again, Donal Finn of Flash Bastard, Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan, MC Bat Commander of The Aquabats, Suburban Legends, Worm Quartet, Gabriel Saporta of Cobra Starship, Brett Anderson of The Donnas, MC Frontalot, Jesse Dangerously, Jaret Reddick of Bowling for Soup, Adil Omar, Linus Dotson of Size 14, Parry Gripp of Nerf Herder, Salvation, Jonathan Coulton, Aesias Finale, Sebastian Reynolds, Joe Ragosta of Patent Pending and classical musician Walt Ribeiro to complete his album "This Gigantic Robot Kills".
Lars Attacks!, Greatest Hits, and Edgar Allan Poe EP (2011–present)
In an interview on punknews.org MC Lars stated that the album Lars Attacks! is going to have fewer guest artists and more of a return to basics so the album will to contain less punk elements and more standard hip-hop stylings like the split with k.flay. The subject matter will be "Everything from circumcision to bro culture to vikings!"
Later in the interview he revealed that he would be releasing a children's album after Lars Attacks!.
MC Lars used Kickstarter to fund a "Greatest Hits" album on vinyl to commemorate his ten-year anniversary. The Kickstarter campaign also included his "Edgar Allan Poe EP".
On June 18th 2015, MC Lars confirmed that his new album The Zombie Dinosaur LP is scheduled for release on October 6th, 2015. However, the release date was later pushed back to November 6th, 2015, as announced on MC Lars' Bandcamp page, due to delays with the design layout artist.
B-sides and rarities
Some demos of songs Lars finished but will not be released include "Dharma Police", "You Might Be Stoner", "Coming Up Short", "Ana's Song", "Wikipedia Song", "I Flow Econo", "Dudes Don't Text Dudes", "Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Religion I Learned from Daniel Johnston", "Pop Life", "Don't Fear the Ice Cream Monster".
Horris Records is an independent record label formed by MC Lars in 2006. Horris served as an imprint of Nettwerk and Oglio before becoming its own label. In 2008, Horris signed a two-record distribution deal with Crappy Records, founded by Jaret Reddick, from the American rock band Bowling For Soup. The label's name derived from a cartoon character Lars created in middle school which also served as the basis for Lars' original stage name, MC Lars Horris. In 2011, Horris signed Weerd Science.
Horris Records currently represents Damondrick Jack, Jon Thatcher Longley, Joe Oliger, Mike Russo, Josh White, and used to represent Chros Ayer, Stve Connolly, Mike Love, Jon Shiffman, and Rob Piccinni Jr.
MC Lars is often joined on stage by bands he is on tour with. He has had Bowling For Soup, Simple Plan, and Army Of Freshmen play with him live on the song "Signing Emo" filling in for the fictional band "Hearts That Hate". He's also had the band Failsafe back him on several tours of the United Kingdom. While supporting the band Zebrahead in the UK and Europe in 2010, MC Lars had Zebrahead members Ed Udhus and Greg Bergdorf on drums and guitar every night. In addition, Zebrahead Tour Manager Bobby Conner joined them on bass.