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interview with Resonance Magazine 2/5/04
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21605
interview with Resonance Magazine 2/5/04  Reply with quote  

QUESTIONS FOR SAGE FRANCIS

First, my immense respect for your not doing phone interviews. There?s
not a conversational medium more stifling of truly generative
communication, mine anyway. I?m a husk of my usually talkative self on
the phone, and while email makes rhythm difficult, I prefer it to the
attempt to maintain focus on a disembodied voice that has no bearing on
my immediate physical context. Not to assume your motivations?

*

Anyway, thanks for the chance to ?talk.? I?ve been a fan since I first
heard ?Makeshift Patriot,? probably the most salient, immediate, public
statement about the disaster by any white American male under the age of
40, and certainly the most fun. Soon I was heading up the Satire section
of my argumentative writing class with ?How to Write a Political Poem.?
H.G. Wells once (approximately) said that to be a teacher is to be a
purveyor of remembrance, that the teacher?s first and most fundamental
vocational motivation should be to stave off the degradation of our
collective memory. This seems to be a more or less unspoken goal of much
of your earlier work: to re-mind, in every etymological sense. Am I
blowing smoke up your vision?

*

I hear a three-pronged commitment to recognizing hip-hop?s recent roots
on ?Hope:? third-person reference (the band-aid), recontextualized
imagery (?half-shark/alligator, half-man?), and verbatim homage (LL Cool
J). I recently finished an interview with Buck 65 about his reverence
for hip-hop?s history, so I admit to a swooning love of the topic,
fitting enough with regard to a musical genre drunk on its own quest for
authenticity. What are your baldest motivations for the repeated
grounding of your own songs in their (more or less immediate)
predecessors?

*

Hip-hop has, at least throughout its nationally visible life, always
included an element of posturing. While the ?Sick of?? series was not
without its trumping of your talents, the new Non-Prophets album, to my
ear, includes sufficient reference to the Non-Prophets relative talents
that at times it feels like a nervous twitch. You (plural) back it up,
sure, but what?s at stake in the repeated assertion that this record and
its makers leave their peers (rarely specified) in the dust of your
wake?

*

Of course, it?s great to make a living doing what you love, but you
insist on ?fuck the underground? so vehemently in your rhymes about
making this project pay off that it superficially sounds like a slap in
the face of the phenomenon that informed and gave fuel to your arriving
where you are now. I?m no ?honor thy father and mother?-thumper, but how
has the underground forsaken its integrity, or is your bile just about
making ends meet?

*

Re-reading these questions, they seem to allow the possibility of my
seeming offensive. I won?t hedge, but understand that I mean them to
generate exchange --- as should all argument, the best satire, the best
hip-hop --- rather than close it off. Thanks for reading and for
anything you can send back my way. I really do appreciate the breadth of
the work you?ve recorded, and I look forward to more. If I can send you
a copy of my own band?s eclectic chamber-pop music, let me know an
appropriate address, and have a safe and decadent tour.

As ever,
Jason

PS Send any off the record communications to jason@rememberfull.com.
Thanks?
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:52 pm
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 5765
Location: Queens, NYC
 Reply with quote  



"So do you do what you do in order to be the greatest, most prolific, and meaningful person of all time or does that just happen as a by-product of your genius?"

"Yes."
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:36 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21605
 Reply with quote  

hahaa I can't believe that posted without the answers. that is very weird.

let me try again
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:14 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21605
 Reply with quote  

QUESTIONS FOR SAGE FRANCIS

First, my immense respect for your not doing phone interviews. There's
not a conversational medium more stifling of truly generative
communication, mine anyway. I'm a husk of my usually talkative self on
the phone, and while email makes rhythm difficult, I prefer it to the
attempt to maintain focus on a disembodied voice that has no bearing on
my immediate physical context. Not to assume your motivations?

"Quite simply, I hate phone calls. My stomach twists every time I hear my phone ring. I am not much of a conversationalist anyway, but the phone makes it much worse. I have to strain to hear what the person is saying, I have to risk cutting them off, I have to risk getting cut off. I just don't like it at all. And I often don't like a lot of the telephone personas people take on."

*

Anyway, thanks for the chance to talk. I've been a fan since I first
heard "Makeshift Patriot," probably the most salient, immediate, public
statement about the disaster by any white American male under the age of
40, and certainly the most fun. Soon I was heading up the Satire section
of my argumentative writing class with "How to Write a Political Poem."
H.G. Wells once (approximately) said that to be a teacher is to be a
purveyor of remembrance, that the teacher's first and most fundamental
vocational motivation should be to stave off the degradation of our
collective memory. This seems to be a more or less unspoken goal of much
of your earlier work: to re-mind, in every etymological sense. Am I
blowing smoke up your vision?

*

"This is one song I definitely made with the intent of documenting exactly what was happening during 9/11 and what happened immediately after. I understand how things get twisted and rearranged through time in order for the story to make sense in relation to the agenda of whoever is telling it. I am in a priveledged position to make music that people will listen to for years to come, and I take that position with pride. People aren't reading the Providence Journal's first versions of 9/11 and the days the followed it over and over. They aren't convening at clubs at all hours of the night and chanting the words to it. I am helping create a communal experience and I would be a fool not to because this was a collective memory that we all share. But as we know by now, memory is not very dependible. It was important to document the conditions of our people and country ina medium that was worth repeat listens. This is the only song I have done this with, with that intention."


I hear a three-pronged commitment to recognizing hip-hop?s recent roots
on "Hope" third-person reference (the band-aid), recontextualized
imagery (half-shark/alligator, half-man), and verbatim homage (LL Cool
J). I recently finished an interview with Buck 65 about his reverence
for hip-hop's history, so I admit to a swooning love of the topic,
fitting enough with regard to a musical genre drunk on its own quest for
authenticity. What are your baldest motivations for the repeated
grounding of your own songs in their (more or less immediate)
predecessors?


"This is tradition. It is done in every form of art. We are continuing the memory and the story of those who came before us. And people I am referencing often made references of their own, and that's the only reason I know what and who came before them. It is a tip of the hat and a kick in the ass. It makes people research and find the origin of roots."


*

Hip-hop has, at least throughout its nationally visible life, always
included an element of posturing. While the "Sick of" series was not
without its trumping of your talents, the new Non-Prophets album, to my
ear, includes sufficient reference to the Non-Prophets relative talents
that at times it feels like a nervous twitch. You (plural) back it up,
sure, but what's at stake in the repeated assertion that this record and
its makers leave their peers (rarely specified) in the dust of your
wake?

"Posturing is what initially made hiphop unique and fun. It is bragadocious and arrogant, and it gets away with it. When I CONSCIOUSLY make what I believe to be a traditional hiphop song, I am compelled to rap about rap. I am compelled to brag about my DJ or producer. It is a competitive based music and we have a fun time talking shit."


*

Of course, it?s great to make a living doing what you love, but you
insist on "fuck the underground" so vehemently in your rhymes about
making this project pay off that it superficially sounds like a slap in
the face of the phenomenon that informed and gave fuel to your arriving
where you are now. I'm no "honor thy father and mother"-thumper, but how
has the underground forsaken its integrity, or is your bile just about
making ends meet?

"I'm not absolutely sure what you are referencing of mine, because not only am I a product of underground culture, but I am a major proponent of it. At the same time, I am not impressed and intrigued by underground acts who think they are better than mainstream acts just because they are broke. As if they have more integrity because of it. You can make a song that goes against mainstream ideals, but if you can't do it in an interesting way than you care just as uninventive as the 'bling bling' contigent. I don't really put much thought into these things though. I really don't consciously struggle with mainstream or underground politics. I know how both worlds operate. It's unimpressive."


*

Re-reading these questions, they seem to allow the possibility of my
seeming offensive. I won't hedge, but understand that I mean them to
generate exchange --- as should all argument, the best satire, the best
hip-hop --- rather than close it off. Thanks for reading and for
anything you can send back my way. I really do appreciate the breadth of
the work you've recorded, and I look forward to more. If I can send you
a copy of my own band's eclectic chamber-pop music, let me know an
appropriate address, and have a safe and decadent tour.

As ever,
Jason


"Hmmmm. haha. I pumped this interview out while I sat in a Kinkos across from the club I am about to perform at in Burlington, VT. Thanks for taking so much time with your questions. cheers."
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 5:14 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19374
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
 Reply with quote  

Hey. I hate phone calls too.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:36 pm
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Doctrine



Joined: 05 Apr 2003
Posts: 4626
Location: ATL, Livin' Swell
 Reply with quote  

Phone calls urk the CRAP out of me...It's mostly the ring...But if the conversation is more than thirty seconds I grow annoyed...I NEVER talk in public places on the phone...I consider it very rude...People just walking and talking on the phone...If I get a call...I step to the side and make my wherabouts unknown until I'm finished...I just hate seeing people on their phones in public hoping to draw attention to themselves...So I assume people would hate the same thing from me...

AAAAAAAH!

Sage...Do you like interviews? I know some artists just EAT THEM UP! But every interview I read of yours there's some uneasy ora within them...I don't know...
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:14 pm
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