COED Interview with a Hollywood Badass
He’s not a household name just yet, but those in tune with the underground music scene know this Boston b-boy well. Having survived a few rough spots of substance abuse and career uncertainties, this rapper and up n’ coming actor now buzzes with positive opportunity as, among other things, one-fifth of the re-formed House of Pain cartel La Coka Nostra, one-third of Special Teamz, a two-time Ben Affleck go-to guy when a criminal role is needed in a movie, and this fall as a solo emcee with a debut full-length record about to drop.
George Carroll, better known as Slaine, talks playing a scene-stealing dope slinger Bubba Rogowski in Gone Baby Gone, bank robber Gloansy in The Town, dark days for inspiring good hip-hop, rapping with some of the game’s most iconic veterans, and drinking in Boston’s best watering holes.
In The Town, there was a lot of stuff I had to do that didn’t involve talking. That scene in Gone Baby Gone, it’s like the movie stops and it’s mine for three or four minutes. In The Town I had a line here and a line there, I’m part of this crew, so there’s other kind of acting going on. Being in it a lot of the time, and being masked a lot of the time, so it was a different experience. Making The Town was a cooler experience because I had been on a movie set before, my second time working with Ben Affleck and I was very comfortable with that, so being on a set for thirteen weeks rather than six days built a lot of relationships – it was unbelievable. It was just such an amazing experience, especially shooting it in Boston. Getting up a 4:45 everyday and shooting for fifteen hours. It was great.
You’re referring to the nun masks? Yeah, those were uncomfortable man. We had to wear those for about eleven days. The Skeletor masks were pretty uncomfortable too, but they all looked cool. The people who put that together, the costumes, they were amazing. One of them, a lady who worked on the skeletor mask, is actually from my neighborhood. That mask gave me a rash. The spooky thing is you couldn’t tell who was who. People would come up to me like I was Ben and I’d be like ‘I’m not Ben, he’s right there.’ Same thing with the nun mask. You couldn’t tell who was who. Then, after a few days of shooting, the nun masks would start to take on the features of our faces. Then you could tell as each mask took on a different face. But then you had like eight stunt guys walking around wearing masks too, so you didn’t know who the fuck was who!
Drug thug Bubba in Gone Baby Gone versus bank robber Gloansy in The Town:
Both criminals. At a lower level, that some people might not catch the nuance of it, a Charlestown guy (Gloansy) is a lot different than a Dorchester guy (Bubba). I did a couple things with the accent and all that, and a touch of the Charlestown sense of humor. I think the character I play in The Town is overall more likeable. I mean, you might like the Bubba character in Gone Baby Gone, but he’s not a funny guy. My character in The Town, even though he’s a bank robber, he’s a likable guy, the guy you want to have a beer with. Bubba was more of a lone wolf, you don’t want to fuck with him kind of guy.
This album was really made over many years time and no matter what I did before or do after, this my defining album. I’m pretty confident in this album, with the topics it covers. It’s like an autobiography, but more than that. It’s my psyche, my dreams, and my nightmares. This is the one I’ve been waiting to make since I was like nine years old. My mixtape volume 1 and 2 focused on addiction. This one touches on that too, but more of the ‘why’ and ‘where’ all that came from. It goes deeper than I’m even comfortable with sometimes. It’s like the difference between me telling you a story about myself and you actually looking in and watching my nightmare.
Musical friends and accomplices:
I didn’t want to put a bunch of guests on the record because I’ve done so many group things before. So, I wanted to prove I could do my own thing and because of the personal nature of it. How do write a super personal song and call your buddy up and say ‘you got a verse for this?’ But, I did work with some people I consider good friends of mine artistically. Reef the Lost Cauze and Vinnie Paz. Ill Bill and Q-Unique are on it. Everlast is on it. B-Real and Jaysaun is on it.
Solo music versus group efforts:
On a solo album, I’m in the studio running the show and that’s not necessarily how it is in a group. I’ve used this analogy before, like if you’re kicking at the bar with your buddies, fucking around, telling jokes, maybe talking politics and getting into a heated discussion… that’s what it’s like with group albums. The solo album is feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. Your dreams, nightmares, realities. More personal stuff. It’s aggressive like the La Coka record, but infinitely more personal.
The bar scene in The Town was shot in Charlestown in a place called Sullys. I’ve had my different water holes over the years. Some of them closed down. Actually, after I quit drinking for a while, one of them closed down. I think I quit drinking for a while and they went out of business. For me, I like the little grimy Irish hole in the wall pub. Like other cities, it’s not the same place I grew up in anymore, but you’ve still got spots – plenty of pubs and bars.
Update: A World With No Skies, was scheduled for release on October 26 via Suburban Noize Records. However, according to a recent Facebook post, Slaine briefly mentions the album will be pushed back – due to sampling issues, i.e. all the “samples” used on the record must be cleared. He has also said a brand new mixtape will be released on October 26 to keep the masses happy until A World Without Skies officially drops. Keep a lookout for a new release date, and Slaine tour dates announcement soon.
The first video, for the single “99 Bottle”, has been directed by Danny Boy O’Connor and will release soon. In the meantime, check out Slaine’s teaser/promo video which features the “99 Bottles” track.