If you go
What: Filthy T
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St., Denver
More info: larimerlounge.com
Filthy T began about six years ago with two high school friends from Denver. Ben "B.Heded" Hedman (who also goes by Russel) and Joseph "Sloppy Joe" Barnholt, a rapper and a guitarist, have been joined by an ever changing line-up that currently includes bassist Kirby Beegles, drummer Adrian Hernandez, vocalist Nikki Smith and guitarist Joe Shull.
The hip hop and alt-rock band is releasing a new album, with an unexpected twist, this weekend at the Larimer Lounge, so we gave Ben, a CU-Boulder grad, a ring.
Let's start with a brief history.
Basically, Joe and I met at East High School and we were both, like kids now, into many genres. We'd exchange bands and rappers. Then I was doing a solo act as a rapper, and then Joe picked up a guitar in college. So, at the end of college in 2008, we started Filthy T, which was our ideal of a mashup rap-rock band.
You've done a lot of benefit shows. Did you set out to do that?
We're in a special situation with the band, and they way I would describe it is that we're a bunch of successful young nerds who decided to start a rock band. Money was never part of our equation, so benefit shows always make so much sense to us. We've done $10,000 in our charity raising. We headlined the Bluebird for Make-A-Wish, we played a show for the Aurora theater victims, a show for the cancer unit at Children's Hospital, a show for Claire Davis, the Arapahoe shooting victim and a couple others.
A very significant amount of work has gone into benefit shows ... I think the idea of being able to affect the community after violence with something like music is really beautiful to us.
Tell me about the new album.
The new record is called Fragile, which I fully acknowledge is a pretty emo title, but it's the best we could come up with. The reason it's called Fragile is because it's an acoustic album. We're normally a hyper-produced, rock, house, everything-in-between band. This is our full range, something a little more delicate.
The tracks from the album are all about more fragile aspects of life. There's one about our former guitarist overdosing on heroin and dying. There's one about a soldier who comes back from Iraq and contemplates suicide, and that's based on a close friend of ours. There's a heartbreak song, one about dealing with internal insecurity.
Do you think people were tentative about an acoustic sound?
Definitely, and people are really confused. We made it work really well. There's so much recognition about how nice acoustic music sounds in the world right now — not just in the folk eruption, but also all these semi-folk rock bands on the radio. I grew up playing Texas fiddle. I was second in the state once upon a time. I'm no stranger to acoustic music at all.
It's still rap rock, which I think is our core signature. When we're writing it, we're trying to describe it as seamless genre-mixing. If you can see the seams, we're not doing it right. This album is definitely no exception. There's a ton of rap on it. I think rap over acoustic guitar is really interesting. I think of "Thug Mansion," by Nas. Atmosphere has some fantastic rap and acoustic guitar pieces and I think there's a lot of room in that space. We kept our signature stamp on it.
Contact Ashley Dean at 303-473-1109. On Twitter: @AshaleyJill.