Welcome to the last Effective Nerd article for 2018! It has been a great year full of hard work and learning.
This week I got to talk to one of the most hard-working artists that I know. I have been a fan of his for years now and have seen him perform a countless number of times. I have seen him rock open mic nights. I have seen him open for bigger acts like Homebody Sandman. I have also had his face drawn on my stomach with sharpie (thanks Emcee Graffiti).
Today I am speaking with the hip hop savvy known as Mic Lanny.
An Interview With Mic Lanny
Aaron Iara: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
Mic Lanny: My name is Mic Lanny. A lot of people say mick. But it’s Mic, like a microphone. And people have told me I do good raps. Well, my friends and family do.
Aaron Iara: How long have you been making music? Has it always been hip hop? Or have you created in other genres?
Mic Lanny: I’ve been doing hip hop for about 8 years. I went to college for art for a couple months. Was always a fan of hip hop but never thought I could do it till I tried. I’ve worked with some indie rock groups, some metal and punk groups but mostly only for live shows.
Aaron Iara: Eight years is quite a long time! It definitely shows in your talent and ambition.
You have traveled a lot for your music. What are some of your favorite cities/venues?
Mic Lanny: I love traveling. Love it even more when I can do it for music. I’ve always had a good time in Pittsburgh. Did a show at rock room there that was a lot of fun. Memphis is great got to perform at a spot called Canvas. I’ll always find a way to get the most out of a city.
Aaron Iara: It can be difficult to stay motivated, especially when we have setbacks that affect our goals. How to you overcome your missteps and keep progressing?
Mic Lanny: I just keep creating. That’s all I can really control. I just keep putting myself out there and if somebody likes it cool.
Aaron Iara: Staying on the grind is very important! Creativity can be a difficult skill to master. Some people wait for inspiration to strike, while others work it out like a muscle. What do you do to harness and spend your creative energy?
Mic Lanny: I work well with deadlines so I keep working my creativity like a muscle. But sometimes I see or hear something and it sparks it. It’s a combination of both. Sometimes I have to pull my car over and write something. Sometimes I barricade myself in my room and force myself to write for hours.
Aaron Iara: I am a firm believer that creativity can be worked at and strengthened. Hip hop can often be a collaborative process. There are MCs, DJs, producers, sound people, etc. How do you approach the collaboration process?
Mic Lanny: Honestly I just surround myself with talented people and let them do what they do best. If you’re having fun and you do your craft at the highest level everybody will have fun and enjoy it.
Aaron Iara: productivity can be difficult, especially for those of us who make art on top of having a 9 to 5 job. What do you do to stay productive? Do you have any special tricks or routines to make sure you get everything done?
Mic Lanny: Sometimes I see somebody else killin’ it or hear something amazing and I go I gotta do something on par with that. I’m competitive in that way. And sometimes I just box myself in, eliminate distractions and power thru. That process can be rewarding or depressing but it’s just something I need to do. I always get something out of it.
Aaron Iara: Competition can be an extremely potent motivator. I will say that I have seen it much more often in music than in other art forms.
I heard that you are starting a record label, how has that process been? What can you tell us about it?
Mic Lanny: The process of starting a record label is tough but worth it. Having control over everything I do is important. And the guys I’ve surrounded myself with make it fun. But still trying to coordinate 5 people for a meeting is tough but I know the final results will be extremely rewarding. Keep an eye on the hashtag #nvrdead for more updates.
Aaron Iara: I like to have control over my work as well. One of the reasons why I don’t in bands often is the chore of trying to coordinate five schedules and five mindsets. However I am confident that you can overcome any difficulty and be successful.
Currently, who are some of your favorite independent creators (music or otherwise)?
Mic Lanny: Kory Alexander, Brian Chiappinelli, Eric Turner and Devin B. I don’t listen to as much as I used to. I’ve actually found myself digging for older stuff in other genres. There seems to be too much of the same as far as indie hip hop and I treat em like competition. If I listen it’s only to know what I gotta do to be better than them.
Aaron Iara: That is understandable. I often find inspiration in genres/styles that aren’t related to my art. Do you have any advice for those who want to be artists? What about hip hop specifically?
Mic Lanny: As long as you stay true to yourself and what you love you’ll always have content. Hard work beats talent any day, but you better have both to fuck with my people.
Aaron Iara: The importance of hard work cannot be overstressed. I hear so many people say they cannot make art because they are not naturally talented. High level skills do not come out of nowhere. Every skill is a long and tough journey of learning and experience.
Are there any other upcoming projects/events you would like to discuss?
Mic Lanny: I have a lot of projects and events currently in the works. But to talk about with hard release dates or show dates would be pointless. I do host a rap night the first Tuesday of every month at The Allen Street Pub. And will return to hosting Lanny night live in the spring the second Thursday of every month at Savoy.
Aaron Iara: It sounds like you are staying busy! Just keep creating and keep progressing. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me!
Thanks Mic Lanny!
A huge thank you to Mic Lanny for taking the time to speak with me this week! I hope you found his take on the creative process to be informative and inspiring.
Mic Lanny’s music can be found on Bandcamp, and major streaming services such as Spotify.