It’s summer and Tim Holland, Denver resident political rapper Sole, is at home with his two dogs, barefoot in his backyard garden. Lately Holland has had a break from touring and this has given him time to focus on recording a new album, as well as many other side projects related to his passions for activism and social awareness. It’s summer, it’s a good time to be busy and outside, I realize this couldn’t be more true than when I am having iced green tea yerba mate next to the sprouting vegetables and an odd feeling of relaxation comes over me as I start to unwind from a full day of work. I think that the combination of a little stress and little rest makes for a well-balanced day, no? Similar to a little sun and a little cloud cover, as the hot, dry afternoon gives way to wind and dark clouds but remains pleasant nonetheless.

Holland is performing at the Hi-Dive tonight with Wanderdusk, Windslo and Abstract Collective.  The show is ages 21 and up, and doors are at 7:00 PM with show set to start at 8:00 PM.  Read all about it on the Hi-Dive's website here.

CE: What was your experience being in the Occupy Denver movement?
TH: Well it’s ongoing, it’s not over. The Occupy thing goes in waves. I thought it was fucking incredible. It was really stressful, really crazy. I definitely learned a lot. I’ve always been an anarchist-minded person, but the more I dealt with the state, the more I talked with police chiefs and officials, the more I realized that these people are full of shit. They don’t give a fuck. Like, all my worst fears about the government have been confirmed through this process, that’s for sure. I’ve experienced a lot of weird shit: co-intel probe, provocateur kind of stuff. I’ve seen so much strange shit happen in that environment; when you’re paranoid already you’re constantly around crazy shit. Riot police daily. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Denver had one of the longest standing occupations out of any city. When a lot of the activists went home in November, the homeless people stayed there. They had to fucking pass that law to get those people out of there; they had to make sleeping with a blanket illegal in Denver in order to get those people to leave. And then it’s really inspiring to see people willing to stand up and resist. I never thought a year ago that would have happened. I never thought there would be this global solidarity network in place for major actions at all times. The creation of that is really important and really awesome. I could talk about that forever, it’s just crazy.

CE: I wanted to ask you about your feelings on that new camping ban - to me, I thought that signaled the definitive end to the Occupy movement. Isn’t the whole point that you have to stay where you are and stand your ground?
TH: Well in October it was - occupying is just a tactic. In November, Homeland Security coordinated a crackdown on every major Occupy in the country: Wall Street, Oakland, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Atlanta. They were brutally evicted, and no one was allowed to pitch a tent in any of those cities ever again; pretty much anytime a tent went up, the riot police were there. So all the Occupy’s moved away from that, and started focusing more on the issues. Like, we did the ALEC “Shut Down the Corporations” thing, it was the biggest solidarity thing we had done. It was 100 cities, all did direct action against ALEC. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council; they’re not a lobbyist or a nonprofit, but they’re this group that brag to put out a thousand laws every year. They have a lot of conservative Republicans in their pocket, a lot of Democrats. So, if you’re Coca-Cola and you want to get some poisonous drink out on the market, you go to ALEC and then they pass. The NRA, their gun laws go through ALEC. The prison industrial complex, all their three-strike, anti-black laws - those all get pushed through with ALEC. So it was a cool thing, where all over the country, people were all talking about ALEC when no one ever talked about it before. Then, all of a sudden, all the major supporters of ALEC pull out, because you find out, “Holy shit, these guys are the real Illuminati, these are the real bad motherfuckers.” Treyvon Martin was killed and the law he was killed with was the “Stand Your Ground” law, an NRA-ALEC law. So the Treyvon Martin thing was the nail in the coffin for that company. There’s been small little wins - like May Day, we brought May Day back. We had 500 people shutting down traffic on May Day in Denver; that was pretty fucking great. I think it has moved beyond sleeping in a park. It was cool for a couple of months, but then you know, you aren’t going to change the world by sleeping in a park. You gotta shut down banks, you gotta shut down the military industrial complex. We were fighting the camping ban thing, and that raised a lot of hell.

CE: What’s next for the Occupy supporters in Denver?
TH: We’re working on the Suncor spill in the Platte River. Suncor is a company that refines oil from the Alberta tar sands. They are the number one exporter of tar sands oil. So they refine it here, and they had a fucking benzene spill in the Platte River. Something like 100 million cubic liters of benzene, and they claimed to have sealed it off. But all the water in the area - like Commerce City - the whole water table is contaminated, it’s cancer causing and there’s dead fish. Their solution to it is to put these bubble things in the water, and send the benzene in the air. Somehow that is a good idea. And if you go to any of the buildings around the Suncor refinery, they all had to pay to put these air purifying machines in all the buildings because the fumes were so bad. And they’re still operating.

CE: I follow you Tumblr - was that Denver Health video about the mental patients real?
TH: Dude, they pay people to do shit in front of the cameras. The level of things that they have done to stifle the occupiers is absolutely staggering. It’s hard to prove it all. My friend Rashon shot that video. The thing is that the liberal class in Denver wants to help the homeless, but when it comes down to the realities of our economy and the people that are vulnerable, that shit is ugly and scary. And that was their thing - they wanted to make it seem like everyone camping was homeless, or drug addicts or violent, and that scared off the democrats. And most of those people weren’t really involved, and the churches would come feed them there, it was a good place to be. So the city’s response is to say it’s not illegal to be homeless, just stay out of sight. It’s shameful.

CE: What is new for Sole? I see there’s a new album on the horizon - when is that set to be released?
TH: It’s almost done now. I’m kind of playing with one or two more songs, and then I don’t really know what I’m going to do with it. I’m thinking I’m probably going to put it out on my own, probably early in the fall. I’m probably going to launch a Kickstarter campaign, and leave it 100% up to the fans how much of a budget I’m going to have. So rather than putting a whole bunch of money into it, I could see how much I can raise up front and then I’ll just mix it and leave it open as a pre-order. I’ve never done a full on marketing campaign for a DIY release on my own, and since this is going to be my first solo album in about seven years I want it to be really big, but I also don’t want to deal with a label because I’m already doing everything a label does. I’m always experimenting with what I’m doing.

CE: Please explain Lil B - I know you collaborated on a song together. I can’t tell if he is way too smart for me, or I’m thinking about it too much.
TH: I don’t know, it’s really hard to tell what goes on in his mind. I think he’s just a real stream-of-consciousness, sort of abstract kind of dude. He just channels a lot of stuff, and has no filter. I only had one song with him. I liked his music because it was creative.

CE: Any new collaborations coming up? I see there is a documentary featuring a radio personality that I do not know.
TH: Yeah he was a DJ at Regis for a while, he’s a British guy. What am I working on? I’m working on this album, I’m working on a cookbook . . . I’ve actually been selling food at this vegan pop-up shop. I’ve been debating which way I want to go with it, because part of me just wants to ride around on my bike with a grill on the back and just grill seitan just one night a week. I started working on a poetry book, but I don’t know when that’s coming out. I am releasing an app in about a week and a half. I can’t even really keep track, I’m just involved in so much shit. All in all, I think I’m trying to focus on my album right now.

CE: Any new music or books that you have been into recently?
TH: Yeah, I’ve been reading this book called “Commonwealth” by Antonio Negri, it’s part of a three-part series, and it’s a philosophy book. It’s about reclaiming the commons, and how the first sin is private property. These people used to share the commons—peasants, natives—everyone lived through mutual agreement with each other. And I just ordered “Fear of an Animal Planet” which is all about the secret history of animal resistance solidarity. Like the tigers in the zoo defending each other. Real stories of cool shit that animals do.

CE: And music?
TH: Not really. I’ve been listening to the new B. Dolan mixtape, it’s called “House of Bees Volume 2” and it’s really good. I’ve been listening to the new Drake album, that’s the last album that I liked and there are four songs that I really like, but a lot of crap, too.

Feeling fully relaxed by the time I get to my last question for Holland, I ask him about how his summer is shaping up. Summer is a magical time that has been ingrained in our consciousness from childhood with summer vacations, camps and being out of school. In Colorado, it’s especially exciting to go explore outdoors things that are usually inaccessible during colder times; my favorite thing to do is just ride my bike. I pose this question and Holland looks at his surroundings and says, “I’m excited about gardening. I just like life in the summer; I like camping, swimming. I think there is some potential for some pretty crazy shit to be happening with the Occupy stuff in the summer. Once fall comes around, I’ll be working and touring, so summer is the time to be doing other things. Like Sweet Action ice cream.”

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One Response so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    great interview..

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