photo: Jackie Roman
Das Racist can be a tough group to figure out, and as our attempt shows, an equally tough crew to interview. With songs such as “Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell” and Rainbow In The Dark” and the ever always fun, “Chicken and Meat” you may think the duo of Victor and Himanshu are just fun, games, and jokes. And for the most part, you might be right.
We set out to discover more behind the multi-cultural crew that is shaking things up in more ways than one. For all their randomness and jokes, there’s seems to be a serious side that is hard to get at, but there none the less, tracing back to the duo’s introduction during their college years and shared living quarters in their school’s Students of Color For Social Justice dormitory. From the name to the music, Das Racist’s main goal appears to be either be a brilliant strategy of remaining hard to catch and figure out… That, or they’re just as clueless as everyone else, and still trying to figure out if they’re at Pizza Hut or Taco Bell. Get to know them (or at least try) a little better in this new and exclusive RH First Look.
RubyHornet: You two bounce off of each other so well, I’m interested to know what the two of you talked about the first time you met in your “students of color for social justice” dormitory?
Victor: We talked about real Hip Hop, the five elements, positive soul vibrations, mood rings, NuvaRings, how maneuvering is nothing new to either of us, injustices, etc.
Himanshu: I asked Victor to help my mom with my bags and s**t moving into the dorm he was my R.A. I also thought, “oh no, another slightly hood looking brown dude I’m going to have to compete with over women.”
RubyHornet: What will you take the most out of your college experiences together?
RubyHornet: Himanshu, your parents moved to Queens in 1980, what did they teach you at a young age about the complexity of race and social issues in the united states?
Himanshu: Not that much really. They were more concerned with putting food on the table and getting me to the point where someone can ask me what I’d take the most out of my college experience with Victor. They also mostly deal with other South Asians, so I was the one getting angry about race with teachers and classmates and White people I had to deal with as an American somewhat outside the enclave.
RubyHornet: Where do you think you both got your humor from, what were your families like when you were growing up?
Victor: My family is pretty cool.
Himanshu: My family’s great.
RubyHornet: In a past interview you both cited your favorite poetic device as repetition, why is that so important to you guys and can you explain its poetic importance to someone who isn’t up on poetic devices?
Victor: Naw, naw, naw.
Himanshu: I’m over repetition.
RubyHornet: You guys are probably sick of telling people about your flagship record “Combination Pizza Hut Taco Bell” so that obviously isn’t something I’ll ask, but a lot artists with large records have regrets or hate towards their own record, has this happened with you guys yet?
Victor: Oh, you know, like whatever.
Himanshu: I’m okay with it.
RubyHornet: Since all of your music has some sort of social political base to it would you ever consider putting a record out that was so confusing and without any message in your knowledge just to see how fans would react trying to figure out your point and message in the record?
Himanshu: That’s my new poetic device.
RubyHornet: I’ve followed your group through the music and interviews etc. and I find it funny that you guys can go from sarcasm and joking to some of the most thought provoking serious answers. How do you feel about balancing the way you put out your message?
Victor: Don’t really “feel” much of anything anymore.
Himanshu: It’s not something we consciously do.
RubyHornet: You just recently released the mixtape Shut Up, Dude who’s the title aimed at?
RubyHornet: I feel like you guys enjoy organized confusion in the sense that you guys are putting out really good quality music with a good package but the way it is interpreted can be endless and confusing, is this something you’ve thought about?
Victor: Yeah, I enjoy Organized Konfusion. Prince Po is underrated.
Himanshu: It’s not something we consciously do.
RubyHornet: I feel like you guys are ready to make a lot of zig zags and random left turns in the road of your career, do you think your formula will be changing a lot?
Victor: We don’t change the formula. The formula changes us.
photo: Victoria Jacobs
RubyHornet: Like your hosting of “Minority Fest” last year what else do you guys have lined up as far as social change events and projects of that same non-music level?
Victor: Three words: private military corporation.
Himanshu: Minorityfest 2010.
RubyHornet: What music do you guys plan to be releasing in the future seeing that you just put your mixtape out, do you believe in over or under saturation?
Victor: We have a couple things we’re working on and a bunch of leftover tracks from the mixtape but we’re taking our time for now.
Himanshu: The next plateau.