Q&A: Mod Sun talks Super Bowl, happiness, and tattoos at sold-out show

Q&A: Mod Sun talks Super Bowl, happiness, and tattoos at sold-out show

Written by Gianna Barberia, Managing Editor


It was 7 p.m. at Sonia in Cambridge, and rapper and musician Mod Sun was pregaming for his sold-out performance. Even though he was just hanging out in his small dressing room with some friends, his energy was contagious. A smile never left his face, which was mostly covered by Gucci clout goggles and a series of small tattoos. Later on, he would entertain a sold-out crowd with opening acts Call Me Karizma, Forget Brennan, and Austin Cain. But, for now, he laughed and poured himself a drink.

Artistry Magazine sat down with Mod Sun before his set to discuss college, his career, and his inspirations.

Artistry Magazine: So, first things first, who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl this Sunday?

Mod Sun: No one! It’s in Minnesota, and Minnesota should’ve won and gone to it. I’m from Minnesota, so I can’t even believe it.

AM: You’re not rooting for the Pats?

MS: NO! No! Never. I’m sorry; I’m not a sports guy, but I feel like they always win. I don’t like teams that always win.

AM: Are you excited that it’s in Minnesota?

MS: I know it’s a good thing for the city, but I’m not there though. I wish I was there; that would be so fun. But I’m playing in Philly on the night of it. So it’s going to be madness no matter who wins. But if Philly wins…actually, I don’t know what would be worse — if they win or if they lose.

AM: What’s your favorite part about performing in Boston?

MS: I played at The Middle East many times before. I played there with bands long ago, and I’ve played there as Mod Sun a couple of times, and stuff has always been pretty good for me here. I love that I’ve done pretty well here because it hasn’t been that way everywhere. But, more importantly, the architecture. I f*cking love it. I’m 100 percent, absolutely [an architecture fan]. But I’m not a new architecture fan, like modern architecture. I like going overseas a lot — I spend a lot of time in Paris — because all the architecture is the same as it’s ever been. I can’t stand how in America, the whole basis of America is like tear down and rebuild, you know? I love places like Boston that don’t have that whole aesthetic. They keep it how it was, so you can feel like you’re in the old times. I like to pretend that I’m living in the past.

AM: We’re a college publication. Do you ever regret not going to college and having that experience, or are you happy that you didn’t go to college?

MS: Well, the type of person I am, if I went to college, my experience would be like raging and all that. In school, I was Mr. Have Fun, you know? I didn’t get good grades. I was like the dude who when I walked in the class, the teacher got happy. She would give me a horrible grade, but she got happy when I was there. I know that if I went to college, it would’ve been a mess. But, that being said, if I did go to college, I would’ve gone to an art school or film school.

AM: Your mantra and a large theme of your latest album “BB” is happiness and being happy. How do you personally keep yourself happy? What are some simple things people can do to be happy?

MS: The most basic way to start is to think: if you go to a funeral and you walk in, you can either be very sad that the person died, or you can celebrate the fact that you knew that person, and you have to know that you wouldn’t trade not knowing that person to not feel the sadness. That’s how I look at things. I look at life as a celebration. That being said, I also look at things as a process, and your worst mistake could be your best advice. The worst thing that ever happened to you a year from now could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. None of this is coincidence; the stars align for you and all of this is like pieces of a puzzle. For me specifically, last year of my life was the hardest year I ever had. It was challenging. And this year of my life is the best year I ever had so far. So, time works; it’s on your side. Don’t give up.

AM: Which song from “BB” is your personal favorite?

MS: The last song of the album is called “train hopping in hippyland,” and the message of that one is something that I’ve kept a consistent key in my music, which is speaking about the past and talking about my idols. My idols I have tattooed on my arm right here, and all of these people were dead before I was alive — almost every single one. These are not Katy Perry and f*cking Justin Timberlake, no offense, no disrespect. But my idols, to me, did something in history, did something historical. So, I like to do songs that are like homages to the people who came before me, and I think that’s very important. I have always thought that the best thing you can try to do is inspire your inspirations. Inspire your inspirations is something I keep kind of consistent with me. I came from the crowd, so when I look out into the crowd, [people shouldn’t look] at me like I’m doing something they can’t do. When I was in the crowd, I hated being called a fan because I never looked at those people onstage like they were doing something I wasn’t going to do. And [“train hopping in hippyland”] just touches on all of that for me.

AM: And which one of your tattoos is your favorite?

MS: Probably this tattoo I have on my leg right here that my girlfriend [Bella Thorne] just did on me the other night. She’s going to tattoo my whole entire leg. [The tattoo] is a to-do list that says “Love Bella” and then she’s [tattooing] all of these flowers. She just got me a [tattoo] machine for Christmas. I don’t have any tattoos on my leg, and we were starting on the most f*cking painful spot in the inside of your leg. She did really great, but I was freaking her out because she was trying so hard to do it good and she’d look up at me and I was like [grimace] and she was like “I can’t do this! I can’t do this!”

AM: Have you given [Bella Thorne] any tattoos?

MS: No, not yet. She wants me to, and I’m just like “Bella…” She’s on TV shows and sh*t right now. She can’t just come to work the next day with more tattoos. So I was like “Okay, just wait, your season’s almost up.”

AM: How would you describe yourself in three words?

MS: Energetic, motivated, and warm.

AM: And finally, what’s coming up next for you?

MS: Out here [on tour] right now, I have my studio with me. I’ve been making tons of new songs. And also [I’m writing] a new poetry book that I’m going to drop. I have one poetry book out right now that’s been out for a while, so I’m following up with another one. I’m just not going to let all of the recent awesomeness interfere with letting my caterpillar become a butterfly. [I’m going to] let it just be a process and having fun instead of trying to just take advantage of a good time and be like “Oh, let’s put new music out now while people are paying attention.” I would’ve before, but now I’m just excited that I’m not late into my career, I’m far into it. I think that’s a super big blessing.

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