Most aspiring musicians move to New York in order to try and find collaborators, create art and interact with the music industry.

But when Doomtree producer and DJ Paper Tiger found his way from the rap crew's homebase of Minneapolis to Brooklyn in 2010, he had already done the first two and, along with the group's other six members (five emcees and one other producer), had created a record label so as to avoid the industry entirely.

Despite living in Brooklyn, Paper Tiger has remained an important part of the Doomtree collective and the production efforts on his cohorts' solo works.

amNewYork caught up with Paper Tiger before his adopted-hometown show at Highline Ballroom Tuesday.


With the rest of the crew still in Minneapolis, how has running the label worked?

When I was living there, we had our weekly meetings, usually which were in my living room, and we would sit around and figure out what to do. But as the years progressed, we do a little better each year, and people are able to start hiring out different people for help when it comes to the business side. It frees us up to work more on music. And we can send song parts to each other over the Internet. Everyone has their strengths, and we've figured out how to make the right decisions without having all seven of us sit around and talk about every little thing.

When you come up with a beat, you've got five emcees who could potentially rhyme over it, not to mention the crew's collaborative efforts. Who gets it?

I'm still trying to figure that all out. There has not been a super-systematic way for us to figure out how to do it. It's sort of about being aware of what projects people are working on. And it's about kind of getting them out there so that everyone can hear it. It's not a finely-tuned system yet.


It was only a little more than three years between the latest two crew albums "No Kings" and "All Hands." What's changed during that time?

It's still in the same realm as what we did [On "No Kings"] because it wasn't that long ago. But everything has been kicked up a little bit. Everybody's verses, the beats, all the moving parts, were even more collaborative this time. It was just kind of kicked up a notch. I think it's our best project.


One of Doomtree's emcees, P.O.S., has a background in punk music. Dessa started in spoken-word poetry. Producer Lazerbeak's solo album, "Lava Bangers," features as much indie rock on it as it does hip-hop. How do all of those influences fit on one album?

You hear a lot of different influences. And the way that we make music isn't like a lot of what else is out there. And a lot of that comes from this world where we want something to be challenging. We don't want to be the ideal of a genre -- like "this is classic rap music." It's too easy when someone [fits] too nicely into a genre. And we like making things that may make people more uncomfortable at first.

IF YOU GO: Doomtree performs Tuesday at the Highline Ballroom at 8 p.m., 431 W. 16th St., 212-414-5994, $16 pre-sale, $20 day of show.