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Moonshine Bandits Interview: Country and Hip-Hop Blended Into Success

Moonshine Bandits are bringing their country/hip-hop blend to the next level. Moonshine Bandits are bringing their country/hip-hop blend to the next level.


Moonshine Bandits are true American originals. The group is made up of blue-collar types from rural California who have created an interesting amalgam of hip-hop and country. They describe themselves as a mix of Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash, and while they’re building their own audience of true believers, they’re versatile enough to play to both the country and the rap crowd.

RosebudMag.com caught up with band member Dusty for an exclusive interview to discuss the band’s journey and how they’re carving out their own niche in the music world.

Rosebud Magazine: It’s so interesting that you’re on the rap charts and on the country charts. How are you received by a rap audience compared to a country audience?

Dusty: What we’re doing right now is building our own audience drawing from both genres and rock audiences, too. We went on the Insane Clown Posse tour and obviously that’s not a country demographic so we did more of our rap-based songs. Once we got finished with that tour, we went on a country tour and used our country songs more for that. Our lyrics and content stay the same pretty much. We’re really fortunate to be able to cross over like that.

It’s interesting that those are the two genres because a lot of people who are into country don’t like rap and vice-versa. But you guys seem to have gotten a lot of people interested in the Moonshine Bandits.

I think there are a lot of people who grew up listening to both country and rap. I know we did. And you’re starting to see country stars incorporating more rap elements. I think it’s more accepted now because people listen to everything. When you’ve got an iPod, you listen to more than one genre, and that’s how things are nowadays.

When you guys started out, was there any type of a blueprint or as far as you’re concerned, were you trying something new?

It wasn’t like we sat down and said, “Hey, let’s combine two kinds of music.” We just started making music writing about what we’ve lived. We’re from central California, which is a big farming area. And a lot of our music is based on partying, so a lot of people can relate to that. It wasn’t like we sat down and planned it out. It just came natural to us.

Around the country, when people think of California they think of San Francisco and L.A. But the culture around the state outside of those two places is quite different.

We get it all the time where we tell people we’re from California, but we clarify and say central Cal. They think we live near the beach and go surfing, but we’re like, “Not at all.” Where we’re from, our cousins and uncles and everyone farms. That’s how they make a living. Blue-collar lifestyle, small town communities.

You hear that in the music. When you say that you hope the music reflects where you’re from, that makes sense because hip-hop and country are both blue collar forms of music.

Yeah, it’s coming through and people are being able to relate to it all over the U.S.

Now that you’re on the road and taking this all over the country, do you notice that there’s a different reception depending on what region of the country you’re in?

I think, to be honest, a lot of the spots we play it’s culture shock when they see the two styles of music blended. But then halfway through the set they start listening to the content and they get that it’s something new and something different. We’ve seen lots of crowds get drawn into what we’re doing.

But there’s also a lot of people that are traditional country music lovers, and they don’t like what we’re up to. I get that. Some people don’t like change.

How was the Insane Clown Posse tour?

To be honest, at first on the ICP tour we were nervous because our music was so different than theirs. But Violent J (of the Insane Clown Posse) told us he was a fan of our music. By the time we did our first show and we saw the crowd reaction and they were chanting “family,” so we knew from that point on it was awesome. It was a great experience. Obviously we had pockets of people who didn’t like the music, but the entire experience was awesome. It increased our sales and we met awesome people.

What’s next for Moonshine Bandits?

We have a new album recorded and it should be out this year. We went to Nashville and got in the studio with a bunch of Nashville singers, songwriters, and producers, and the album is pretty badass. It’s different than anything we’ve done because we were able to work with a ton of new people. I think the album is going to take us to the next level.

Check out more Moonshine Bandits at www.moonshinebandits.com

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Moonshine Bandits blend blue collar genres, and aren’t afraid to throw a porn star in the mix.

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