Yeti-One, aka Aaron Coleman, burst onto the scene a few years ago as one-third of the avant-garde hip-hop group Twin Monster. His distinctive baritone voice and rapid-fire delivery have since made him one of the most respected and in-demand rappers in Indy.
This spring saw the release on Audio Recon of two albums featuring Coleman: a solo production under his Yeti-One moniker, I've Got Something I Don't Want To Say To You, and The Diamond Age, a production by The Algebraists, a group consisting of Yeti-One on lyrics and producer 90lbs on beats.
I caught up with Coleman for an online interview ahead of the album release this Saturday at Locals Only.
NUVO: You recently released two albums. How long were these in the works, and what does it mean to you to have so much of your music out in the world?
Coleman: I've Got Something I Don't Want To Say To You was a year-long learning experience. I spent an entire year teaching myself to produce, record, mix and master...It's nice to be able to work at your own pace in your own home. It also gave me total creative control. The Algebraists album was finished from rough sketch to master copy in one month...90 lbs (producer of the Algebraists) was really good about keeping up with my speedy work ethic. He and I made that album while I was working on my solo album. It is a little scary, in this music scene, to put out two full length albums. Only because the game isn't how it used to be. There are free downloads out there every day of the week. If your product isn't on point...you can be skipped over and forgotten really quickly.
NUVO: Can you describe the difference between the two projects?
Coleman: My solo album (I've Got...) was my vision. It was an album with no limits. I wasn't going to leave out any genres in my samples. I wanted to show people that hip-hop exists in everything and that it can be for everyone. I also wrote, recorded and mixed the entire project myself. The Algebraists album was really 90lbs vision. He was preparing for the Heavy Gun beat battle last year and brought some tracks to me to check out before the battle. He had some incredibly gnarly electronic hip-hop instrumentals. So we went forward as a duo and created The Diamond Age which for me is by far the most creative and fun project I have ever been a part of. My album was about hip-hop. The Algebraists album is about the experience of sound and using the music to go places otherwise impossible to reach.
NUVO: Why did you release your solo album for free (and not the Algebraists)?
Coleman: I have done a lot of free projects in the past including the Red Bus albums and some others. I think that, in this stage of music, the most important thing is to get people to listen. I wanted to get my album out to as many heads as possible. So free is always a good way to do that. I don't make this music for myself. The true pay is in the response and respect received after the music has been heard. However, the other side of that is, once you've given so much of yourself for free, its time to see what other kinds of support you've generated. So I am selling The Algebraists album because I know the true heads want to support the music. Plus, 90 and myself busted our asses on this project to create a sound never heard before in this city.
Full, free album stream of I've Got Something I Don't Want To Say To You via Bandcamp:
NUVO: The Algebraists have a very specific sound that's distinct from what either you or 90lbs have done in the past. How did you shape/develop the sonic and lyrical direction?
Coleman: I think 90lbs was tired of using samples really. He just wanted to make something truly unique. Back in the day 90 used to make ambient electronic music under the name Benson. So I think he just really missed that side of the music world. The lyrics were really just fueled by the feeling of each instrumental. If it was hype...It was hype. If it was serious...it was serious. You know?
NUVO: Some of your more casual fans might not realize that you are a visual artist, also. How do visual art and music interrelate for you?
Coleman: Most of the time I keep them completely separate. I really like having the two worlds two bounce around in. I can leave the music world and work on my art. Or, I can leave the art world and work on my music. However, I did do the screen printing for the red bus 2 album.
NUVO: What role has Indianapolis played in your artistic (musical included) development?
Coleman: This city has given me everything. I couldn't imagine starting out anywhere else. The fans are loyal and the other emcees out there are down for the get down.
NUVO: Can you speak about where you are in your life, your pending move to Chicago, and the direction of your career(s)?
Coleman: I am moving to Chicago with my fiancé to get my master's degree in printmaking. I actually got a full ride to go, so I'm pretty stoked. But don't worry, I'm working on a project right now with Dj Spoolz and DJ Metrognome that will drop while I'm up in Illinois. I'm still gonna make as much music as possible.
NUVO: What's happening with Twin Monster?
Coleman: Twin Monster is chilling. We have all been so busy putting together our own projects that we haven't really been working as a group. We still perform together a lot. Lorax and Ligyro are two of the most talented cats I've ever shared the stage with. I wouldn't be surprised to see a full length somewhere in the next year or so.
NUVO: What your favorite meal to cook?
Coleman: I'm a meat and potatoes guy. Steak.