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Four Fists: Walloped Into Prominence / At Doug Fir Tuesday 10/23

By C. FRANCIS O'LEARY // Andy Bothwell (left) and Stef Alexander, also known as Astronautalis and P.O.S, the members of Minneapolis-based Rap duo Four Fists, will perform at the Doug Fir Lounge on Tuesday, October 23.

Minneapolis-based rap duo Four Fists has taken the long way around to making an album. Consisting of Stef Alexander (P.O.S) and Andy Bothwell (Astronautalis), Four Fists took six years between releasing their first two-song EP in 2013 and releasing their first LP, 6666, on October 12 of this year. Now, fans are finally getting a chance to see them live as they tour 6666 nationwide; coming to the Douglas Fir Lounge in Portland on October 23 and the Nectar Lounge in Seattle the following day.

Stef and Andy first met in 2004 when they played the same stage at Warped Tour, after which they vowed to make music together and Four Fists was born. The name Four Fists is a reference to the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story The Four Fists, “about a man a man who had been walloped into prominence,” taking four beatings throughout his life and ultimately becoming a good man; a fitting name for two underground rappers making their way in the world by perfecting their craft.

Over the years, the two of them have released tons of music in their solo careers, as well as together. As the two progressed, each release has had a distinct style and this album is no exception. With heavy bass and calls for riots to confront injustice on some tracks, humorous songs about the theater of daily life, and contemplative songs about their values changing as they get older, 6666 carries a new tone for those familiar with their work. Though the styles of song may be disparate, 666 still definitely feels like an album more than just a collection of singles. In all of Stef’s previous albums there has been a goal of some sort; to incite action in the listeners. This time he didn’t think about that once. Andy says it was precisely that inward focus that led to the cohesive narrative of 6666. What comes next, though, should be a pleasant surprise for their fans. “I don’t ever feel like I hit it,” Stef said. Andy agreed, “The next thing is always the best thing.”

An important reason why 6666 became the album it did is the growth, both personally and professionally that the artists have undergone. Recently, along with the stress of managing independent record label Doomtree Records, Stef has needed a kidney transplant that required extensive dialysis treatment and, to top it off, had another child. During the same period, Andy moved permanently to Minneapolis, was on continuous tours of the US and Europe, and got married.

With everything going on in their lives, why did they make 6666 now? Simply, they’ve wanted to do it for a long time and this was their first opportunity. Their separate cycles of making albums and touring had prevented the two from being able to work together for an extended period. Andy said it felt like a “solar eclipse moment and if we didn’t do it then it would be another five-ten years before it happened.” Fans should be glad that window of opportunity came when it did, when asked how the album is different than it would have been if they had made it in 2013 following the EP, Stef said “it would have been full of fun rap songs, but it wouldn’t have been as good.” The maturity and personal experiences the pair brings to this release will help it age “like fine wine,” according to Andy. To speak to that personality, he also said “there’s a canyon between Astronautalis the rapper and Andy the person” and over time that canyon has “narrowed greatly and made me more happy as a person”.

For those new to new to Four Fists, 6666’s lead song, Nobody’s Biz (below) or the albums titular song, 6666, are good places to start. You can keep up with Four Fists news on Twitter or Instagram at @fourfists6666 and the individual artists at @astronautalis and @YEAHRIGHTPOS. When I asked if they had any last thoughts to add, the two said, “Read The Four Fists, listen to our album, come to our shows, and hang out with us.” You can do just that at the Doug Fir Lounge on October 23. Doors at 8. 21+. Tickets $20.

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