It was just another “Tuesday With Lazerbeak” (to steal the name of his blog), the kind of Tuesday that would make most of us beg for a little mercy (to steal the title of a Doomtree song).
He promoted an interview with Go 95.3’s morning team about his new solo album and newly balanced lifestyle. He posted a remix of Canadian indie-rock band Royal Canoe’s new single. He handled some management business for Poliça and Sophia Eris.
On the Doomtree front — his hip-hop crew for over a decade — he lined up info for a European tour by P.O.S. and prepped a new song by Dessa, who’s recording a live album with the Minnesota Orchestra March 26 and 28 for Doomtree Records, which Lazerbeak runs.
Then the musician, producer and artist-manager doubly known as Aaron Mader made his way home to a different kind of sheer chaos, the kind that makes the tasks of babysitting rappers and co-orchestrating an orchestra album seem easy.
“Penny has a great new nickname for him,” his accountant wife, Brittany Mader, announced to their guests on behalf of their 6-year-old daughter.
Smiling through a new hole that the tooth fairy would honor later that night, Penny declared him “Butt-Cheek Beak!”
Lazerbeak lost it, laughing as goofily as his 4-year-old son Lou did, before joining Lou’s twin, Cam, in a round of Fisher Price-league hoops down in the family room of their split-level south Minneapolis home.
More seriously — and unsurprisingly — Lazerbeak almost lost it the bad kind of way about three years ago.
Entrenched in the music business ever since his teenage punk band, the Plastic Constellations, hit the road straight out of Hopkins High School, the 36-year-old veteran says he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown in late 2015 and early 2016. That’s when his hip-hop crew tried (rather unsuccessfully) to launch its own festival, the Doomtree Zoo. At the same time his sweet family of three had become a wild party of five, negating all foreseeable aspirations of remaining a touring musician.
“Plain and simple: I’d bitten off way more than I could chew, and didn’t know how to handle the stress,” he said. “I was getting maybe three hours of sleep every night. I’d lost 30 pounds. I was really in a hole and didn’t know how to get out.”
That’s when he got into what he now calls “a lot of weird hippie-dippy stuff.” That included meditation, via the Headspace app; writing in a gratitude journal every night via the Gratitude app; and even collecting healing crystals, for which there is no app, but he managed to get the rest of the Mader family into it, too.
Lazerbeak also started making a different kind of music that might be deemed his weirdest pursuit of all, at least for a guy known for bombastic rap and, before that, Fugazi-channeling roar-rock. But this, too, had a healing effect.
His new solo album, “Luther,” is an all-instrumental, “total winter zone-out” collection, he said. Built from samples, synths and electronic beats, the songs are reminiscent of the French electronic duo Air, the score from the first “Blade Runner” movie and all that dewy mystical stuff they play in massage rooms.
The record is named after the more tranquil of Mader’s twin sons (nicknamed “Laid Back Lou”) and his namesake, singer Luther Vandross, about whom Dad said: “His music brings me more peace of mind than just about anything.”
Lazerbeak made the seven mellow, harmonious tracks all by himself, recording by day in the Doomtree office in northeast Minneapolis and on headphones at night in his kitchen.
“Once I started to feel healthy again, I guess I wanted to make music that reflected that and added to it,” said Mader, who is touting the album with a party Friday at the Parkway Theater featuring many of his old cronies.
In keeping with the record, he intends the show to be a laid-back affair — but not too much so. “I’ll feature some of these new tracks somehow, but it’s going to be more of a ‘This Is Your Life: Lazerbeak’ kind of thing. People would fall asleep in the seats if I got up there by myself and just played this record in its entirety.”
One likely guest is childhood pal Jeff Allen, aka Tyte Jeff, with whom Mader led the Plastic Constellations through a roaring near-decade that included a deal with New York’s French Kiss Records and tours with the likes of Low and the Hold Steady. They are starting to write songs together again, though not quite like before.
“We’re making more acoustic dad-rock now,” he quipped.
No doubt we can expect some of the Doomtree clan, too. The oldest of two children of a former pastor and a Pillsbury staffer, Mader fell in with the then-unruly group of rappers when another Hopkins High friend, Stef Alexander (aka P.O.S.), persuaded him to buy a cheap beat-making machine.
“He showed me the most basic functions and just said, ‘Go crazy,’ ” Mader recalled.
Once they settled into their various roles, the Doomtree crew had a crazy good time. He recounted how thrilled they were to simply sell out the Varsity Theater for the first Doomtree Blowout concert in 2004. Their peak came in 2011 with the “No Kings” album and tour. It “was the first real taste of modest success,” he said, “where I thought perhaps I could make a living off music.”
Soon, though, he became a dad. That’s when he shifted to more of a behind-the-scenes role, handling managerial and promotional duties for Doomtree and its members.
“As Doomtree grew from a scraggly musical gang into a scraggly-but-legitimate small business, Beak became a real leader,” said Dessa, who recalled a tense meeting a decade ago where she “marveled at how he was able to coax so many strong personalities (mine included) through challenging decisions.”
“Where I was quick to frustration, he was patient and calm and helped make sure everyone was heard. In that moment, I thought, ‘Beak has an important business skill I just don’t have: diplomacy.’ ”
Lazerbeak also went to work as both a solo artist and a producer/beatmaker for non-Doomtree artists. His second solo album, 2012’s “Lava Bangers,” led to a project with a budding young singer and rapper: Lizzo. He coproduced her 2013 debut, “Lizzobangers” — featuring the hits “Batches & Cookies” and “W.E.R.K. Pt. II” — with Poliça’s Ryan Olson.
“I still love that record like few others,” he said, proudly staking his “little part” in helping Lizzo become the megastar-in-waiting that she is now.
Mader continues to work with up-and-comers. He produced a full record for Minneapolis rapper Longshot (last year’s underrated “Parades”) and coproduced new tracks to help Lizzo’s sidekick Sophia Eris kick off her solo career. He also serves as a manager for Eris and Poliça, a role he said he has “started to love.”
“I guess after all this time and all the many corners of the music industry I’ve touched, I just know how to get a decent amount of [stuff] done,” he said. “And for the artists and people I love, I get satisfaction out of doing it for them.”
If it sounds like Mader has again bitten off more than he can chew, no worries. There’s a lot more balance on the home front, thanks to school, preschool and family. “Shout-out to the grandmas,” he said.
He also has come up with a few rules for managing his time. He keeps steady work hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and avoids e-mail “or online stuff in the early morning or at night unless absolutely necessary.”
He swears by meditation, too. “It might totally ruin my street cred. But I wouldn’t be able to keep doing all the work I do without finding all this mindfulness,” he unapologetically added.
One sure thing to glean from his wildly multifaceted career: Work ethic goes a lot farther than street cred, at least here in Minnesota.