Addverb Superb aka Alias Helios, A. Dubs, A. Double
Artist: A. Dubs (a/k/a A. Double, AddVerb Superb, and AliasHelios; previously known as LyricHo, and The LY)
I am A. Dubs.
I be an Emcee, Beat Broker, and Media Artist.
My favorite instruments are: my voice, my MPC2000XL, my baby (a Yashica FX7/Zeiss 28mm outfit), and my Xacti (“The cheapest entry-level camera for independent filmmaking.”)
I’ve been involved in music for most of my life, either with piano or church choir. I started (not, completed) novel-length fiction a couple of times since 4th grade, and was included in a city-wide poetry collection when I was 11.
True ‘songwriting’ didn’t happen until I got much further along in music theory (I’m still not that good!), but I’ve been in love with music and image for as long as I can remember.
Rhyming didn’t ‘click’ for me until I heard, “My Philosophy.” when I was like, “Finally rhymes with some weight, and thought, and purpose.”
Well..fast forward to 1990.
I’d just blown a year of school in Burlington, Vermont, with a whopping .9 GPA (I bet you couldn’t get a .9 GPA, even if you tried). The only ‘A’ I got was an almost 100% in creative writing.
Who was I kidding? I didn’t want to go to school. I went to UVM to skate, and to be close to New York City. I wanted to be as far from home as my smarts could take me, with as little effort as my laziness could muster. Whalah. The second biggest party school in America.
While in Vermont, I skated a lot more than I studied. So when I came back home, every bit of my energy was spent trying to get better at skating. I reconnected with my friends from the skater/punk/new wave scene. and for that first summer, I did what most 19-year-old flunkies do: work a shitty job and fuck off.
To back up a bit: I started skating socially around 15, because that’s what all my friends did. I still loved music, but I was mostly a listener, and it was mostly Prince, and hip-hop was happening, so I called myself a DJ and even had a radio show at UVM. I was back for about 2 months, when, I dislocated my right knee. I skate regular-foot, so, my dreams of becoming a local skate god were quite unceremoniously dashed.
But I still had music.
I also had a double tape deck that could record both directions. And, since my ability to skate away with my bros was essentially done, at least I could make ‘pause-tapes’ (mixing songs using the [PAUSE] button instead of record-style mixing and beatmatching, using turntables and a mixer), and I ultimately earned a little name among those of my friends who partied more than skated.
Well, as anyone who’s ever been a DJ knows: a little beatmatching, and a miniscule knowledge of breaks, and now–you’re a producer!
I took, what in retrospect was appallingly weak mixing skills, and even less impressive knowledge of breaks, and made a 7 minute loop from breaks in Prince’s “DMSR,” and played it for my friend Joe (Ruma, aka Intellect Emcee.) He and I were both looking for a place to stay about the same time, and since that, um, ‘beat’ made me his producer, it made sense that DJ ‘D-Train’ (me) and ‘Soul Swinga’ (Joe) should also be roommates.
That’s how InLimbo began.
As it turned out, two of my road-homies BC (John Harrington) and Psychedelic LumberJack (Lewis Dickenson) also started freestyling with Intellect and I almost everywhere we went. While hanging out with them on one of many sleepless weekends, I decided I wanted to be their DJ, in a freestyle-based side project. They were down.
That’s how Midwest Avengers began.
Intellect joined Midwest Avengers around the time it became a loose collection of freestyle fanatics. During it’s hayday, any combination of the 20 or so affiliated rappers and emcees would show up to do shows. Midwest has a deeper history, but essentially, everything solidified when DJ Toasty Toast, aka Toast Emcee suggested we stop just freestyling, and actually practice a show format, with the core emcees: BC/Blast Cosmonaut, Psychedelic Lumberjack/LJ, Intellect Emcee, and me, now known as LyricHo aka “The LY.”
The reason I mention Midwest Avengers history, is because it’s through that group, that we actually began to get noticed beyond our original scene. The freestyle foundation helped open us up to writing, and writing and performing on dozens–if not hundreds–of stages bred showmanship.
It was The Life. I had InLimbo and Midwest, a nice crew to run with, and my universe was filled with creative folk and art.
Then real life started happening.
My first son was born in the winter of 1995, and music quickly took a backseat, for the better part of a decade. Once my second son was born, then a third…music was more like in that milkcrate in the trunk. My turntables were gathering dust, all but my most favorite records were gone or traded or stolen or lost, and I spent more time with my camera, studying photography and media production.
I rarely even turning my MPC on.
Around 2002, I started a collection called, “King of the Bullshitters,” which got as far as CD burns, and a listing on CDBaby around 2006. Convinced my artist days were done, I also stepped in and managed Midwest Avengers until around 2009, making occasional guest appearances on stage. When I would perform, the crowds were for others, so they were, naturally, increasingly ambivalent toward my art. Although Midwest had a runaway hit single in the early aughts, InLimbo felt less relevant–content and sound–the further we got into the new century.
J-Toth added me to the Frozen Food Section roster around 2008 or so, and once again, I was to release my early stuff. But my day job work loomed, and I simply didn’t have the time or focus to take advantage of the opportunity.
Thankfully, I always tried to stay connected to the scene. Through a shared bill with Midwest Avengers, I found out about Pandelerium, and was trying to pay attention to whatever they were doing. I was initially interested in getting some production work, and bonded with Original Sin ove some possible guest appearance on a release.
in 2011, I happened upon Red Zero, featuring DJ Innovation and Original Sin, from Pandelerium. Red Zero was a band, and the best music and show I’d seen in a long, long, time. I was in awe. I’d been trying to bridge that gap in my own production, but that night, I witnessed flawless execution of that idea. After their set, I went to give some props to them, and was ultimately asked if I wanted to join…!
From then until the band took a break in 2014, Red Zero was my creative life.
As an aging emcee, in love with what we were doing, I probably put too much pressure on that band being a vehicle for creative and artistic success, because it certainly has the potential to be all that I need for years to come.
In the meantime, I am back to being just me, my catalog, and my favorite instruments.
Taking things one day, one image, one beat, one rhyme at a time.
– A. Dubs