David Schliemann, aka Walter Whiteboy, aka Strange David, aka Strange motherfuckin’ David. Rapper and hip-hop artist. Winner of the 2013 Halloween Spooktacular: Re-Vamped Spooky Short Story Contest.
He’s a man of many names and many talents.
David is no newcomer to the underground scene. Under his former alias, Infallible, he rocked the mic with an underground Iowa collective known as Intelligentsia (All We Got Is Us, 2001) as well as The Franchise (The Essence, 2003). He’s also got two forthcoming mixtapes: a solo project titled My Father’s Son and a new group effort (Inhumanoids) with his homie Slim, titled God’s Blindspot.
He also composed a new track for Spooktacular and gave me an exclusive first reveal tonight.
Read on to find out how horror and hip-hop mix, and then hang out for the reveal. Beeotch.
JO: What is the most badass costume you’ve ever worn for Halloween?
DS: I can’t take credit for it because it was my homeboy’s idea, but one year I wore an all-red sweatsuit with a red stocking cap that had some braided rope coming out of the top of it. I was supposed to be a used tampon.
My best story is about the year I dressed up as Jesus Christ. I had a pocketful of nails and I would give people three and remind them if I got too fucked up to remember to put me up for the night. Everything was kosher ‘til I ate a bunch of mushrooms and started tripping balls. I ended up crying all the way home in the back of my buddy’s SUV cuz the thunderstorm freaked me out. I woke up on the couch with no pants on, cuddling a nearly empty case of beer.
Life lesson: Halloween parties are not a good place to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs.
You’re pretty hip to the music scene. In your opinion, what song best represents Halloween? Why?
That’s a good question. I usually listen to a lot of metal this time of year. It’s just more seasonal to me. I don’t really fuck with horrorcore hip hop cuz ninety percent of it is corny. But as far as some crazy blood-and-gore type shit, Brotha Lynch is always a good choice.
Do you prefer to hand out candy on Halloween night, or run around scaring the shit out of little costumed punk-ass motherfuckers? Why?
I’m a dad now, so I’m usually out and about during peak Trick-or-Treating hours. But back in the day, I was notorious for scaring small children. I still am but now it’s unintentional LOL
What’s your most unusual fear?
Large bodies of water. Specifically, large bodies of water with bridges over them. When I was a kid, I had a recurring dream about an angry voice of God booming from the sky and a huge gust of wind throwing me off of the First Avenue bridge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (where I grew up), and then me drowning in the river. To this day, my nuts still creep back up in my abdomen if I have to spend more than a minute on a bridge. The first time I had to cross the Mississippi River on a bridge, I almost had a severe anxiety attack.
Zombies are real, and they’ve consumed over half the human population in a matter of weeks. You have no choice but to stand and fight. What’s your favored zombie-killing weapon, and why?
That’s an awesome question. I suppose I’d rock a spiked bat for the fun factor. I’d definitely have a sidearm on me, though. Don’t wanna be converged on by the horde without some kind of firepower, you know what I mean?
Before we delve into your creative process, there’s a burning question that must be answered: What’s that fucking smell?
Your mom. My breath. Your mom on my breath.
Also, blunt smoke.
(I thought I smelled skunk!) Do you run into writer’s block sometimes? If so, what helps you get over the hurdle and back on track? If not, what’s your secret to avoiding writer’s block?
I definitely run into creative blocks. They can last for weeks sometimes. But really it’s just become a part of the process. When it builds up like that, I won’t be able to write and the pressure builds, and then something will just spill out of me and I’ll write a song in ten fucking minutes. Some of my best work comes out of the blocks, like a check valve cracking.
The release is a beautiful thing. Imagine watching the final shootout on Devil’s Rejects while Mia Khalifa tosses your salad. Fucking incredible.
Have you ever listened to your own work and loved it, then listened to it again and hated it? If so, what did you do to fix either the work or your attitude toward it?
This is another part of my process. I’ll finish a song and be so fucking proud of it. I’ll then obsessively listen to it 500 times in a row and start to fucking hate it. I’m kind of an arrogant prick about my music, so I will literally pick it apart to the point where I’m pissed about how I said one half of one word LOL It’s just part of the way I do shit, though. I have to find every single thing wrong with it. Sometimes the flaws turn out to be beautiful and add to the joint. Other times, I go back and rework it. All just part of the ritual.
You have an album coming out soon. How did you decide which songs to include, and what inspired them?
It’s not so much a matter of picking. It’s kind of a fucked-up story, but I’ve been working on this album for almost 2 years now. I had a shit-ton of material done but the phone that I had all the beats on crashed and I lost fucking everything on it. This was right around the time I got my laptop and mic, so I was going to rework a lot of those joints cuz they were recorded on the phone with a studio app and some fuckin’ headphones. But after it crashed, I was unable to locate many of the beats from the original joints and they’re just kind of lost to antiquity. I want to rework a lot of them eventually cuz it would be criminal to never put out a decent version of them.
So I had to start pretty much from scratch about 9 months ago. But it was cool because it made me hungrier and a lot of beautiful songs came out of it. That was also around the time I met Slim and started doing the Inhumanoids joints. It’s all to the good.
Like I said, it’s not really about picking and choosing cuz I’m super proud of everything I do. I just serve it up and hope motherfuckers are hungry, you know?
Do you think well-written lyrics are more or less important than the overall message? Please explain.
I’m a student of the craft, so lyricism is very important to me. Like everything else in the universe, music breaks down to math. There’s a formula to it all. The rhyme scheme, the flow pattern, cadence, tempo—It’s all very mathematic to me. I look at it like Einstein would have looked at an equation.
But on the flipside, the best shit I write is the real heartfelt shit. Shit with a message. Joints like “My Father’s Son” or “My Son’s Eyes” were written from the heart and are some of my best work. Even the joint I did for Spooktacular, “The Howling”. It was a hard joint to write and record because it holds a mirror up to a very ugly part of me and I have to speak on it candidly. I don’t glorify infidelity but I don’t pretend that I’m a victim of circumstance either. It’s just real, and when it’s real, people will feel it. I guess in summation both are very important and it’s just about balancing the two.
If you could have written any one rap song in history, what would it be and why?
Fuck, that is a hard question to answer. I really couldn’t say, man. To say I wish I had written that joint seems sacrilegious. If I love the song it’s because the person who did it put their soul into it and made something beautiful. To say I wish I could’ve written it sounds like I want to bite their style, and that’s a no-no.
I guess my favorite is probably Big Pun, though. I don’t think anybody has ever done it like he did it. The man was a fuckin’ monster and it’s sad he had such a short career.
Do you still do any prose writing? If so, can you tell us what you’re working on? If not, why the fuck not? You’re a good writer, man!
I haven’t written any short stories since the last one I did for Spooktacular, “The Proper Tools.” I’ll never write a novel. Not because I am against the idea, but just because my ability to focus my attention on one project for the amount of time it would require is just nonexistent. I think I write songs and do music because songs are small pieces of myself and are not giant undertakings as far as time investment goes. And I love to perform as well.
I actually started writing a memoir/collection of life experiences I had planned on calling “The Ultimate Triumph of a Complete Failure”, and it was coming along rather well, but I lost interest for a while and the notebook disappeared. My baby’s mama probably threw it out after we split up. I’d like to write a screenplay someday and possibly a memoir. But that’s down the road. Music is my number one right now.
And last but not least, why the hell did you agree to this interview? Didn’t anyone tell you it was a horrible idea, for Christ’s sake?
Because you’re my homie, Jon.
Also, I’m a shameless fuckin’ attention whore. The day this feature drops I’ll probably jerk off while reading it at least five times. I’m just a sick fucker like that. Strange motherfuckin’ David, bitch.
Well, if jerking off to your own word porn and voice is strange, then I’m right there with ya! Thanks for the opportunity to sucker you into an interview!
And stick around for an exclusive first reveal of his new joint, “The Howling”, coming up in less than an hour!