Californian trio cLOUDDEAD might deal in the tried and tested combination of beats and rhymes but there is more to main man Dose than your average MC.

Back in '97, two MCs battled it out at the annual Scribble Jam contest. These days, one of them tours international arenas waiving chainsaws at crowds of thousands, and the other one is Doseone, who - along with beats man odd nosdam and fellow MC why? - make up cLOUDDEAD, a Bay area based hiphop outfit so leftfield that they can hardly be called hiphop at all. Live in London last month, Doseone donned silver plastic wings and a bowler hat for a set alongside Neotropic. Dose's stage style is as out there as cLOUDDEAD's music: their free-flowing, thoughtful poems (as Doseone refers to their lyrics) align with moody, wandering beats to hook you into a world which is very much their own. Too often it's a lazy tag - but this is truly original.

cLOUDDEAD: This group is the only thing I do which is an equal 33.3 per cent equal split between three people. It's also the one where I'm absolutely comfortable with the caliber of the people around me. It's wonderful, a total equilibrium.

why?: why? and I write poems that are always very honest and truthful. We are total soul mate poet people in that we share one lens. We go to the same place when we are together. Our aesthetics align naturally. We're all best friends making music together.

Lyrics: A good poem expresses what is personal. It's not preachy. We like to use references from pop culture that relate beyond pop culture; we like to use personal references that relate beyond our persons. We've got this trash picker aesthetic, where everything we use has always been out there on the kerb - whether it's the pop kerb or a photograph someone picked up.

The Bedroom: When we were making this record we had no idea it was going to be played outside our bedroom let alone be made available worldwide. But that's kind of its charm. We're still bedroom artists throwing our music out, but now we have a concept of how far it's gonna go. You streamline a plane so that it doesn't rip apart in the air.

The Competition: I'm like the trashman of hiphop. When you've been in it for a long time you get hyper-critical. I follow Quannum, Radioinactive in LA, Labtekwon in DC. These are all guys that I appreciate because they're DIY and they have a high mark for what they do. If I sense any half-arsed behaviour in any music it turns me off.

The Show: Our music has reached a level where it's exceptional studio music, but we haven't had the ability to put it into our live show yet because we don't have the money to tour or buy a video projector. We're getting a little frustrated now but we're working on it.

The Day Job: I work at Amoeba Records in Berkely. It's one of the dopest record stores in the world and they understand why I have to take two weeks off to go to England. I am definitely not making enough money yet to give it up. Student loans, rent, cat food, thrift store t-shirts... that shit's expensive.


Mush Records