5 questions (LEAF edition) with Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

Photo from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo's website

LEAF is almost here — the festival’s 40th iteration runs Thursday-Sunday, May 7-10. In advance, Xpress is talking to performers about what they have planned and why being part of LEAF’s 20th anniversary is so special.

Grammy-nominated kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has been regularly making the trip back to LEAF from his new home base in California. Here, he talks about the festival, plans for his own musical trajectory, and his special equation for LEAF maximization: “Pisgah Pale + Zip Lines = Good Times.”

Mountain Xpress: You’ve been part of LEAF for awhile — what does the 20th anniversary/40th festival mean to you?

23 Skidoo: It means that both the Asheville music scene and great music in general are thriving at this moment in time, and that the best family-friendly festival I’ve ever seen is stronger than ever. Maybe it means that one day I’ll play a set there with my grandkids!

What’s a fond LEAF memory you can share?

The last time I played there, I not only got to rock a mainstage set with my family (and my daughter shines harder at LEAF than anywhere in the world!), but I also got to freestyle on that same stage with both MC Yogi and Ozomatli, all in the same day! It was phenomenal. And the zip lines, of course. Always the zip lines. Pisgah Pale + Zip Lines = Good Times.

Do you have anything special planned for this LEAF?

Yeah, we’ll be debuting the first ever live performance of my most popular song from the last album … wish me luck, it’s a doozy.

What other LEAF artist from this season’s lineup would you most like to collaborate with?

Definitely Charles Bradley! I’m so stoked to see that guy do his thing live, and I dig his band just as much as I dig his voice. Otis Redding is my favorite singer of all time, but this cat’s giving him a run for the money!

What’s in the works for 23 Skidoo in the coming months?

I’m marinating all the musical madness that will go into the next Skidoo album, which I’ll start recording at Echo [Mountain Studios] in August, and I’ll be rocking a show backed up by Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band at the Orange Peel on Saturday, Aug. 1! Plus a couple other top secret schemes that are still classified…

23 Skidoo performs on Saturday, May 9, 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Eden Hall; and Sunday, May 10, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. on the Lakeside stage.

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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