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interview // mars ill


Mars Ill is an Atlanta-based super duo of Manchild on the mic and Dust taking care of production and the ones and twos and are also part of the crew Deep Space 5. Mars Ill made a name for themselves with the classic independent debut Raw Material in 2001, and then satisfied the public with the EP follow up, Blue Collar Sessions in 2002, and Gotee Recordsí Backbreaknomics in 2003. Mars Ill is now returning with the most anticipated album of the year, ProPain on Gotee Records set to be in stores October 19th.


How did the group Mars Ill come to be?


Manchild: Dust and I met at a hip-hop conference in '98.  By January of '99 I was touring with his group, deadpoetsociety.  by the end of that year, Dust had moved to Atlanta to be in my city and we had formed Mars ILL.  Recorded "Raw Material" in the first couple of months in 2000 and the rest is what it is.


What is the logic behind the name Mars Ill?


Manchild: Mars Ill comes from Acts in the Bible.  Acts 17, I believe.  Really great story about philosophy, loving your fellow man and how to share what's on your mind and your heart.


What was the first song Mars Ill recorded?


Manchild: It was called "Another".  It features Rahlo from BlackSoil Project.  Right after Deadpooetsociety switched to Mars ILL, Rahlo was a part of the crew.  When Dust moved from Indianapolis to ATL, Rahlo decided to stay in Naptown and do his own thing.


Who is Mars Ill's biggest musical influence?


Manchild: Wow, so many influences.  Spans from Run DMC to Public Enemy to Wu Tang Clan to Company Flow to Led Zep to Miles Davis to Jimmy Hendrix to Boot Camp Click to whoever has contributed something innovative and special to music at any time.

Dust: Outkast for me. My sound has little comparison to them but what influences me is the group's desire to constantly change who they are musically and always take chances.

How did you hook up with Gotee?


Manchild: Well, it was pretty well documented that we weren't trying to sign a long term deal and had sort of a reputation for doing these short 1 album deals or licensing deals or whatever.  Basically, Gotee had been watching us and the same goes for us to them.  When they approached us, we all preceded the relationship very slowly until we all knew signing with them was the right thing to do.


What are listeners going to hear on ProPain?


Manchild: They're going to hear a rap album from two guys living in Atlanta, GA.  And the new fresh, out of the box, complete sound of hip-hop.  I don't know, man.  We poured it all out again and this is what we came up with.  Itís different from our other records with some of the same elements sprinkled all around.  Iím confident that our people will love it and we'll hopefully gain a new crop of listeners as well.

Dust: Classic hip-hop with a dash of new sound.

What gives you inspiration for your songs?


Manchild: God, my family, my children, life moving all around me, my crew, other artists, the poor, the rich, the good bad and ugly.

Dust: I like to listen to old music, old records. Creative freedom inspires me, just being able to do stuff for self expression.


How did Manchild hook up with MF Doom for the upcoming Victor Vaughn Part 2 album?


Manchild: It was through IZ Real at Insomniac Magazine.  Good looking out, by the way.  It's a project he's overseeing.  I met doom through him at a show about 3 years ago, I think.  IZ put it all down, so Iím thankful to be a part of it.


What is the program you offer called GhostAlbum?


Manchild: Mars ILL will ghostwrite and produce your record and record and coach you through it in our Atlanta studio for $10,000.  Weíll also be quiet and not tell anyone we did so. 

Dust: Just a way for us to earn a little extra money by producing and writing for some artists.


How did all the artists of Deep Space 5 come together?


Manchild: I sort of assembled who I felt was like-minded to me in faith, art and life, and we have 12 guys.  Of course, Iíve met more people outside the crew that fit the profile, but Iím not starting the Zulu nation here, it's a crew, plain and simple.


How did MTV come to use Mars Ill's beats for various shows and how did that DS5 poster show up on the guy's fridge in "A Guy Thing"?


Manchild: Labels (Uprok, Gotee, etc) have publishing departments working on getting all that stuff for their label's music As far as the sticker, I really don't know.  Terrible movie, by the way.

Dust: There's a girl at Gotee that works all of Gotee's music to be licensed for that kind of stuff, and I guess they liked our beats. I have no idea how the poster ended up in that movie.


What can we expect from Mars Ill in the future?


Manchild: Changing the whole world one soul at a time.

Dust: More albums


For more information on Mars Ill check out http://www.marsill.com


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