Mod Sun, a rising rapper, rocker and author from Minnesota, was one of the opening acts at Houston’s Free Press Summer Festival last Saturday. Chugging beers and jumping into the crowd, Mod Sun was full of high energy and positivity. The Daily Texan spoke to him about his performance and what it meant to him.
The Daily Texan: You mentioned that this is your first time at FPSF — how did that feel?
Mod Sun: I’m kind of on a festival run right now, and I always want to tap in that market, mainly because if you listen to my set it touches a lot of bases. I feel like I can really touch a festival crowd like that because it’s made up of a lot of people and you never who they are there to see. So I feel like I have at least something to give to everyone at a festival, and I’ve always really wanted to use that to my advantage. Being able to play at festivals recently has been magnificent.
That being said, this one is super cool because I don’t get to play (in Houston) enough but I’ve always had really good vibes about Houston crowds. It’s not like one of those crowds I have to worry if I’m going to get them. They’re going to rock. I played first at a festival today, it’s 100 degrees out, and people were just rolling in, and guess what — people were front to back jumping with me off first song. I was blown because I get it, first person up, we’ve got a long day in front of us.
A lot of people, if they’re seeing someone for the first time, they just want to watch. That’s the way it goes, but a lot of artists let that get to their head, wondering if they like them, and I never go there. I play the show like a boxing match: As a boxer you want to knock them out with the first swing first round, but if you don’t and you get up in last round with five seconds left it’s still a knockout. If you give up they are going to knock you out, so I always use that vitality.
But everyone was rocking with me from the top, so I really feel like I did something nice today. I feel like even if all those people aren’t going to check me out after, I feel like I offered their day something.
DT: You asked in your concert, “Are you ready to make some friends today?” and mentioned that “(you) don’t have fans, (you) only have friends.” Tell me about that mentality.
Mod Sun: It’s obviously a really good thing to want to make friends, but where that comes from is a whole lot deeper than that. As a kid, I was going to a lot of concerts, and my thing was I would have the bands stay at my house.
My mentality was that I never wanted to be treated like a fan because I didn’t want them to treat me like they were doing something I couldn’t. I’m not a fan of these people. I love these people, and I’ll support them, but I’m not your fan. “I’m going to be on that stage someday” — at least, that’s what I would say to myself. And I want all those kids to take that in and have that same mentality because I understand some people who go to shows want to be on stage too.
You’re not my fan; there’s no boundary. Just because there’s a little railing does not mean there is a boundary. I can’t do this without you.
DT: At the very end of your concert, you said, “I hope you enjoyed the movie.” I know that has to do with your most recent album, Movie, but what does that mean to you?
Mod Sun: The idea behind that is that at the end of your life, your life flashes before your eyes, and I like to make sure I’m going to love my movie. I act like everything is a scene in my movie, so even when I’m just sitting in my house alone, I’m dancing around and smiling. I feel like if you’re bored, then you’re boring, and I’m not like that. I’m going to love every second of (my movie).
I’m not going to be happy when I have to die because I really love being alive, but I’m going to go off in that place really happy. That’s good enough for me.
DT: So tell me about your tattoos.
Mod Sun: For those of you who don’t know me out there, it says in huge letters on my stomach: “happy to be here.” There is an extreme reason why I have it, but the mentality is just that when I wake up in the morning I’m happy to be here. I want people to like me; how could you be mad at a guy who has “happy to be here” on his stomach?
I almost died many times in my life, who knows if I did. My first book is called “Did I Ever Wake Up?” because I feel like I possibly didn’t wake up one day because life is pretty much a dream at this point.
All my tattoos are based on something. Lots of words on my body because I feel like I have so many words inside my body I’ve got to put them on the outside.