The new hip-hop album from yuckgod HD is yucky, grimy and grainy 

Photo by Ian Michael Lindsay

Ian Michael Lindsay, the musician behind the rap project yuckgod HD, is talking via FaceTime about the group’s latest album, Symphonie Macabre, when he pauses from talking about beats and producers to kill a spider on the wall. “I hate spiders!” he says with a wince. “I hate killing, too! It’s the worst of both worlds.”

That’s ironic, as he describes the new album as being about death. “It’s rough out here right now,” he says. Symphonie Macabre “is a loosely affiliated collection of works about death and city life. It’s grimy, it’s yucky.” 

Lindsay has been a musician for 15 years, primarily known for his funky bass lines in groups like the Sunday Bump, and for his soft singing voice. He released a neo-soul/folk album in 2019 called Ideé Fixe. Now, at 26, he’s getting into a genre he’s been a fan of for most of his life: hip hop. 

Taking influences from lo-fi alternative hip hop, especially underground West Coast artists like MF Doom, Lindsay released his first yuckgod album in 2019, a 24-track mix titled yuck, pt 1-4. 

He’s released two more projects since then within the past year — Folk Music (which is actually a hip-hop album, despite the name) and yuckyghoul 1: Small Bikes, a collaboration with Oliver Neill, also known as Ghoulio. 

Symphonie Macabre is yuckgod’s third release of the year, another heavy collaboration with Ghoulio. Neill produced five of the nine songs on the album, including the title track, which he describes as “a good example of his strongest rapping influences.” Neill also says the song is “super lyrical, there’s no hook, it’s just over beats that are loops with no drums. It’s straight rap shit.” 

Though the title track is short, at only one minute and 44 seconds, it serves almost as a thesis for the project, which Lindsay and Neill both refer to as yuckgod’s most cohesive album yet. 

Originally from Forest Grove, Lindsay moved to Eugene in 2012 to go to the University of Oregon, where he studied political science. He graduated in 2016 and stayed in Eugene, becoming an integral part of the local music scene. After moving to Portland last year, he still continues to collaborate with the musicians he met during his time in Eugene. 

Lindsay and Neill met their first week of freshman year at UO in a hip hop themed “first year interest group,” which ended up being led by another Portland/Eugene music staple, Brandon “Brax” Parry. 

That’s how Lindsay got introduced to Eugene music scene’s unique world, where collaboration is key. You’ll see it on the features list and production credits of his albums — people like Smyth, broke moses (aka Speno), Salmon Doza and more are woven into his projects. 

“Everyone that I really love has their hands all over my music,” Lindsay says. “I send my shit to all my friends. They’re good at being gentle with my ego, but like to set me straight too.” 

Symphonie Macabre was created socially distantly, with people like Ghoulio, Smyth and Dugg Mason sending in beats virtually. Lindsay will often take those beats, find the ones that inspire him, and have a quick turnaround of rapping over them then sending them back. 

“I’ll take two weeks and send him a pack of like 10 beats,” Neill/Ghoulio says. “He’ll be like, ‘fire, thank you,’ and I won’t hear anything. Then a few days later he will have rapped on three of them.”

Neill describes Lindsay as having a “really productive and also casual” approach to making music and putting projects together. 

Lindsay says Symphonie Macabre sounds like Oregon to him, “like a mud puddle or something.” It’s grimy and grainy, a true look into the world of Oregon hip-hop.

Symphonie Macabre came out in June and is available on all major streaming services.