Zach Sherwin is a comedy rapper with a conscience. Known for his hilarious songs and online videos, as well as his numerous appearances on the hugely successful Youtube series Epic Rap Battles of History, Sherwin is vegan, and doesn’t shy away from mentioning it in his work. Much of his work carries a strong message that’s presented in a humorous way.
We had the honor of speaking with Zach recently and were able to ask him a few questions, including about his future work and his decision to go vegan.
Before we present that interview, we’d like to post a few of Zach’s videos for those who haven’t seen his work (or for those who have and want to see it again):
And for those not familiar with Epic Rap Battles of History, here are a few of Zach’s performances in that series (he plays Stephen King in the first video, the Ghostbuster Dr. Egon Spengler in the second video, and Walt Disney in the third):
Below is our interview:
For us fans, whats’ your next project? What are you currently working on?
[Laughs] There’s so much stuff going on. So I’m currently writing for Epic Rap Battles of History which is in production for its next season, so that’s been happening. I’m writing for a few other people’s projects, but in terms of my own thing I’m working on a batch of songs and videos that’s going to come out soon and then I’m also cooking up a whole new genre of the current things I put out, and I’m really excited to get my brain around it and start getting it out into the world.
Do you have any plans for your next CD or do you think that’s pretty far off?
No, I think its close. The next project is already recorded; it’s a matter of releasing it in the right way. My approach up until now has really been make a video, release it, make a video, release it, then release an album of stuff that doesn’t have videos for it. So for the first time for the next batch of stuff that I mentioned in my last blast of thinking and talking, this is going to be a little different. There’s more than a new album of stuff recorded already.
One of the things you’re known for is your performances in Epic Rap Battles of History, where you’ve taken on a diverse cast of characters from Stephen King to Voltaire, all of which you’ve done really well and really hilariously. Have you considered getting more into sketch comedy or acting,or is your focus specifically on comedy writing and rapping?
That is such a generous and thoughtful question, I really appreciate it. I love doing the Epic Rap Battles of History characters. I got my start in comedy in a sketch group. I formed it in college with some friends of mine and we worked for a few years out in the real world supporting ourselves off of it until the group broke up due to people wanting to do different things. So I don’t see myself going back to being in a group.
I really like acting but I’m not pursuing it in any intentional way. I like working on projects that are very specifically suited to the type of things I like to do comedically and normally that’s’ not narrative comedic scripted stuff. So I really like being in peoples projects when they have the vision for the kind of character they need played and want me to play it, which is what’s so great about Epic Rap Battles, but at least at this point in whats coming out creatively its not something I plant to do a ton of.
But I love it – I hope some friend of mine sells a show with a part in it with me in mind so i get to take that on and get into it.
In some of your songs and Twitter posts you allude to or sometimes specifically mention being vegan. So, when did you decide to go vegan, and are you happy you made that decision?
[Laughs] Full disclosure I forgot that this was a vegan oriented conversation until you mentioned that. But now of course I remember and am happy to go there!
My family is old school vegetarian. My grandma has been vegetarian for like 60 years or something. Way before it was cool and like Gwyneth Paltrow or whoever was promoting it. So she’s deep, and my mom also has been vegetarian for decades so they kinda got me started on the path. I became vegetarian at like 13 or so and in my senior year of college I had been flirting with it for a while [going vegan] because I stopped liking the things that made me vegetarian but not vegan. I lost my taste of milk, that went first after hearing about cow utter puss seeping into any milk you’re drinking. I learned that and was just like… ew… it’s like you drink an alcohol that made you throw up one time; you cant unknow what you know. So it started because of that.
In my senior year of college I really went for it. I tried it and gave up eggs and dairy and studied abroad in Australia and would get drunk and eat pizza but when I came back I got serious. That was 14 to 15 years ago that I’ve been full on vegan. It’s one of the decisions in my life and there are others that are not the common default thing to do and also I can’t imagine ever going back. If a doctor said you need to start eating meat for your health I would find a new doctor, not a new diet.
In your song Buddha Worm you save a worm that’s crossing the sidewalk, only to be humbled later by how similarly you don’t control your own fate. Is this something you would do in real life, move a worm or something that might otherwise get hurt?
It’s 100% inspired by a true story. When I see worms on the sidewalk I scoop them up with my credit cards and move them. It makes me so sad to think about a worm trying to make its fragile way across the sidewalk and someone stomping on it and just moving along their way. I just want to get him out of harms way. So yeah its 100% true.
Switching to politics for a moment, do you have any opinions on the current state of the presidential election?
[Laughs] Yeah I take my advice from Dan Savage the sex advice columnist and I will happily vote for whomever the Democrats put up in the election. I think this is a fascinating election and also dismaying and its definitely the most fascinated and tuned in I’ve been for any election I can remember.
Going back to Epic Rap Battles of History, the new season starts next month as you mentioned, and it sounds like you do have some involvement this season; is there any information you can give us on any characters you’re playing or might be writing for, or any information at all?
[Laughs] Sure.. I can’t give any specific information about what characters we’ve been writing for. I can give information about the fact that I will be playing a character and in fact I shot my role yesterday. I was on set for like 16 hours yesterday – it was a long day. I will say I think the new season is going to do.. there’s two battles in this season I think are going to be really really relevant to conversations that are happening right now in our society and culture and in how people are thinking of the world now a days; I think its really exciting. I’m proud of Pete and Loyd [the founders of Epic Rap Battles of History] for taking on some of this stuff. I think there are some ambitious battles and it’s going to be really interesting to see what the reaction is.
Recently one of the founders of Epic Rap Battles said that it might be time to do more sequels, bringing back some past characters. Is there any character in particular that you’ve played that you’d like a chance to play again?
Wow. Let me think it through…. let’s see.. I’m going to really consider this… I’ve never thought about it before and wasn’t aware of that quote. I loved playing Albert Einstein there’s just so many fun things of inhabiting that role and the battle represents a time in Epic Rap Battles and in my own involvement with Epic Rap Battles that it’s a kind of precious thing. It would be fun to play Voltaire more, that was a really fun character and he’s such an interesting dude and the first was very short because it’s one of the battles where there’s a lot of characters involved, a kinda battle royale. So I wouldn’t mind getting back in there.
It was really fun playing Stephen King; he was someone I use to read. At one point (and its hard to say this for long with how much he puts out) I had read everything he had ever written when I was a teenager. So yeah it’d be fun to spend more time in his world, but I think Voltaire is where I’d really have the most fun getting back in.
We’d like to send a sincere thank you to Zach Sherwin for speaking with us! We look forward to our next opportunity to talk with him, and we encourage everyone to check out Zach Sherwin’s Youtube channel, his always-fascinating Twitter page, and consider buying his hilarious Rap! CD on ITunes!