Sound Advice: Mod Sun with Trademark Aaron and Raised x Wolves (June 30)

Positive-vibed Hip Hop artist Mod Sun plays Fountain Square’s Indie Vol. 2017 series.

click to enlarge Mod Sun - Photo: modsunmusic.com
Photo: modsunmusic.com
Mod Sun
There may be no more fascinating character in Hip Hop, or any musical genre, than Derek Smith, better known as Mod Sun. A child of divorce, the Bloomington, Minn. native was well traveled at a young age, between his mother’s frequent moves for work and his father’s relocation to Long Beach, Calif. As a child, Smith was diagnosed as being bipolar, but he resolved to manage his condition without resorting to medication.

At 17, Smith was the founding drummer of Minneapolis-based Post Hardcore band Four Letter Lie, staying with the group through five years, three albums and extensive roadwork, including several Warped Tours. At 22, he announced his departure from Four Letter Lie to begin a Hip Hop career under the name Mod Sun, an acronym for “Movement On Dreams, Stand Under None.” He released a string of mixtapes in 2009 and the 2010 mini-album that helped define his place in the genre — The Hippy Hop EP — before dipping his toe back into the Post Hardcore world as the drummer for the band Scary Kids Scaring Kids on its farewell tour. Inspired by the Jim Carrey film Yes Man, whose main character said “yes” to everything that was asked of him, Smith accepted lead vocalist Tyson Stevens’ offer of drum tech (which led to the actual drummer’s position when Tanner Wayne quit), with the stipulation that he be allowed to open the SKSK shows as Mod Sun.

After wrapping up the SKSK tour, Mod Sun pushed out three more mixtapes and a couple of EPs; the latter batch included 2012’s philosophical statement, Happy as Fuck. That year also saw the publication of Mod Sun’s non-fiction book Did I Ever Wake Up?, a chronicle of his enlightened state after a transformative LSD trip that convinced him the key to happiness was simple positivity and dealing with life’s problems in a productive, constructive manner. 

In 2015, Mod Sun released his debut full-length studio album, Look Up, which featured guests G-Eazy, Dizzy Wright and Blink-182’s Travis Barker. He followed it up with his sophomore studio album, Movie, released in early January and featuring guests like Rich the Kid, D.R.A.M. and Maty Noyes. 

Pharrell Williams might sing about being happy, but Mod Sun lives it. His Cincinnati show is part of Fountain Square’s free Indie Vol. 2017 concert series.

 

For more show info, click here.

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