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Sage interview with NP program 2/5/04
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21492
Sage interview with NP program 2/5/04  Reply with quote  

QUESTIONS FOR SAGE FRANCIS

Sage: Some of these questions are a bit left field, but they're intended to capture your overall vibe as the pieece for the Noise Pop program is tailored toward folks who may or may not be familiar with you and your music.

Thanks!

- Spence D. (aka spence dookey)


1) Do your dreams or nightmares ever influence your lyrics/music?

"Absolutely. Dreams are a great source of focused emotion and alternative thought. For some of us, they determine what we will do with our day."


2) What can we expect from your upcoming album?

"That's impossible for me to say right now, because I don't want to predict what the outcome of it is. I know how I am. If I say one thing now, I will be compelled to rebel against that later. Like...if I said I was going to do a dark album my natural impulse would be to create a happy record when it came time to do it. No no no. No one likes happy, mom. They want to feed off of your gross characteristics so that they can identify...or...feel beautiful. Finally."


3) What led you to sign with Epitaph? Do you see yourself as being kind of a punk/rebel within the rap world?


"I didn't listen to punk growing up. It didn't appeal to me. Now it does. Now it is a good break from the hiphop I always hear. However, I signed with Epitaph because they offered me a good deal. And they believe in my music and message. Of course I could continue to stick with small indie labels and live happily, but Epitaph is going to give my music a push it hasn't ever seen before. I am intrigured by that. I don't know. I kinda liked being the first rapper signed to Epitaph. The novelty of it was the determining factor of whether I sign or not. Also, i am a big fan of a lot of the people on Epitaph."

4) How do you go about writing rhymes/lyrics?
Do you carry a pad and pen with you 24/7 and jot down anything that comes to mind?

"This sounds childish, but I write on my arm. I don't have paper on me a lot of the time. When the idea hits, it goes directly on the bottom of my left arm. If I run out of space I move to the back of my hand. And then the top of my arm. I am not ashamed of it at all. What the fuck. I have an idea and I don't want to lose. Who cares if I still have word residue from two weeks ago."


5) When you teamed up with Joe Beats for Non-Prophets, did you approach the music the same way you would for one of your solo efforts?

"For the most part. What made this different is Joe Beats was my ONLY source of music so I had less of a say of the kind of music I would be rapping over. I was at his mercy, and that's what makes this a joint effort over a solo effort. Joe determined what the album would sound like, and I was forced to work within those boundaries. But I put in the same amount of time doing the lyrics, recording and mixing as I did on Personal Journals. More time probably. Brain tumors."


6) I totally dug how you pointed out that Das EFX was rockin' the band aid years before Nelly did on "Mainstream 307." Which brings up an interesting point: where do you feel rap is these days?
Has it reached a creative impasse where everything is just being recycled?
What needs to change?

"This is impossible for me to answer. I keep getting this question and I am sick of faking my response as if I actually know. Rap is like God. It is everywhere at once, and not there at all. What?"


7) Speaking of change, how/what do you think you contribute to the genre?

"My job is to challenge conventions. And sometimes I use conventions in the process. Poison against poison. I am a gamesman. I come from a unique perspective and I would be doing myself wrong if I didn't let others in on it."

8) The term "Emo Rap" has been bandied about a bit in reference to your work, the work of Atmosphere and others. What's your take on it? (I personally think it's a lame term] If you were forced to label your style, what would you call it then?

"You know what's fucked? That term was first used in print on my Personal Journals press release, which was written by Sole. He effectively coined the term 'emo rap,' totally unaware of the connotations something like that would take on. It spread like wildfire in the internet community and now it is has taken over the ever-abused 'backpacker' label. People were using it in a tongue-in-cheek way and now it has made its full circle journey back into the media. Emo rap? Rrrriiiight. haha. If I was ever confined to one label I would have to head straight back to the lab. Looks like anyone who isn't constantly posturing is becoming a victim of the emo-rap label. Boohoo. There's other stuff to think about. heh."

9) What do you look for in a beat?

"An identifyable mood. One that I can capture and accentuate with my words."

10) Who is your favorite superhero or super villain and why?

"I was never ever into comics or superheros. But the Millian Dollar Man was one of my favorite bad guy wrestlers. He couldn't win a title belt so he made one himself. I loved that. The million dollar belt. That is so representative of celebrity culture. These motherfuckers are ALWAYS throwing parties and award shows for themselves. As if these awards have any true merit. It's the best. I watch these award shows and watch the good guys get the shit beat out of them."

11) What is your favorite late night snack when you're in the studio or out on tour and why?

"I am a sucker for tortilla chips with salsa or hummus. I think it tastes great, but the chips are doing a number on my belly. Must...not...eat."

12) Who or what are your NON-musical influences and why?

"There are no MAJOR non-musical influences, but I would name Hellen Keller as one. She is a testament to human capabilities by overcoming incredible amounts of adversity and excelling beyond anybody's expectations. Her work is impressive."


13) What is the motto you live by?

"'In business you don't get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate.' This is something I have to put into consideration with every facet of business that I handle, which is a lot these days. I have learned the hard way through and through. The one motto that has always stuck with me is 'Without struggle there is no progress' by Fredrick Douglas. That is important to remember in the roughest of times, because there's a silver lining as long as you freak the situation correctly."


14) Which do you prefer, performing music live or creating it in the studio and why?

"I used to love doing both, now I approach both with a certain amount of reservation. I would like to believe that once I have my own studio I will enjoy recording much more. Right now I am recording on someone else's schedule as the clock tics and that takes away from the experience. Performing live is great because it exists in that moment only. This allows for some very special things to happen. I don't prefer either though."


15) Do you remember the first concert you ever went to?

"I attended the Run's House Tour in 1987. Run DMC, Public Enemy, EPMD, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. LL Cool J was there too."

16) Do you remember the first album you ever bought? Was it on CD, vinyl, cassette or 8-track? Why did you buy it?

"The first tape I ever got was Lou Reed's 'Walk on the Wild Side.' I really loved that song and my dad got the tape for me. Then I got Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' because that shit was ruling the world at the time. The first tape I actually BOUGHT was Run DMC's 'Raising Hell' because I was in love with hiphop and that was the most accessible rap tape at the moment."


17) What is your favorite album and why?

"My preferences keep changing, but currently Harvest is my favorite album. I love the vulnerability of Neil Young's voice and the simplicity in his lyrics. It is very honest sounding. Mixing that with acoustic guitar and an orchestra...and a smidgen of ignorance...it's the best. His voice, the music and the recordings are perfectly flawed."


18) Name a musician that you've always wanted to work with but haven't yet and why.

"Working with Public Enemy with the Bomb Squad on production would be a dream session. To me, that combination was the pinnacle of hiphop. It was aggressive, funny, intelligent, abrassive, urgent and poignant. Hiphop was concentrated at the time, allowing many events and albums to become a communal experience shared among hiphop lovers. You don't have a community like that any more. I might choose to do a song with Bob Dylan over Public Enemy.

19) If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

"I would eliminate the notion that there is some kind of magic going on behind the scenes that people should strive to tap into. It makes people delusional and results in a lot of wack music. People have a false idea that they need a label in order to be legit. Bullocks."


20) What has been your most important professional accomplishment to date?

"I can't really say just yet. That's something that will have to wait. It is kick ass that I am in a position to do a 41 date tour called Fuck Clear Channel though."

21) What has been your most memorable or most fucked-up gig to date and why?

"Whooooo. Wow, I have a bunch to pick from. Ummmm. Well, I gotta pick one out of the many, but this isn't the MOST fucked up gig, it's just a funny story. One of the first times I got a chance to perform was at a Woonsocket block party. My aunt had a connection with whoever was running this thing and they said I could perform on a side stage. I was about 14 at the time, but a few people knew who I was because of some battles and talent shows. Well...I tried incorporating a bunch of my friends into this show of mine. We recorded all the instruments onto a cassette tape. There were no CDs back then, nor did we have enough money to get DATS. So....we put the whole set on cassette tape. We drive to the block party and there's about 100 pweople there to see the hiphop show. The stage we were supposed to perform on was the bed of a truck. And there was no sound system WHAT SO EVER. So...daddy drove me home and I grabbed our house speakers and my fisher price mics. By the time we got back to the block party I realize I forgot the cassette tape that had our show on it. So we figured we would rap and sing over nothing. It was all a mess. Nothing ended up happening. The house speakers and shit didn't work. I think we rapped a capella for a moment and then decided to call it quits. It was a big disappointment of mine, because I realized that the magic I had been witnessing for so long actually came into being through planning and legwork."


22) What is your kindred spirit animal (the animal you are most like)and why?

"Definitely the elephant. There is no doubt about it. I watch them and identify on many levels. If there's ever a special on elephants I have to sit down and watch it. They always make me cry. It's weird. I love them."


23) What is your favorite book [it can be a comic book, novel, reference book, etc.]

"I enjoyed 'It' by Stephen King a lot. 'Fast Food Nation' rocked my world and explained so many things I had questions about in regards to our culture and how it got this way."


24) Can you name your Top 5 rap albums of all time?

"Not really. Here's 5 that I like more than most:

1) It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back - Public Enemy
2) By Any Means Necessary - BDP
3) Raising Hell - Run DMC
4) Illmatic - Nas
5) Enter the 36 Chambers - Wu Tang Clan

holy cow, I kept changing my answers. This is definitely not my top 5 list, but it'll do."
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:59 pm
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esreV-eR
sir-n00balot


Joined: 03 Jul 2002
Posts: 806
Location: Kingston
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nice interview. enjoyed.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:05 pm
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Reggie



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 5765
Location: Queens, NYC
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I remember Sage talked about a show he played a few years back that was in a laundromat. I believe it was in Iowa but I might be wrong about that. That's always stood out as a bizarre gig to me.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:27 pm
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mr self distrukt



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 1249
Location: a crew called self
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jeah, it was in iowa city... good times, odd times.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:33 pm
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Rhino



Joined: 10 Apr 2003
Posts: 4798
Location: Square of Despair
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Nice one. You should do a song called Elephant. I would be able to relate since I am a pachyderm also.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:51 pm
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shigeru



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 51
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Hey sage, in reference to the elephant-keep the trunk up!
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 9:49 pm
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SneepSnopDotCom
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 3087
Location: Wisconsin
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Every time I see Sage say his favorite books are "IT" and "Fast Food Nation" the little devil on my shoulder whispers "Those are the only two books he has ever read."
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:26 pm
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
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That's amazing you bigged up Helen Keller, Sage - rap has been treating her as nothing more than a cheap punchline for over a decade.
Post Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:17 pm
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SneepSnopDotCom
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 3087
Location: Wisconsin
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At least her name doesn't rhyme with "damn skank"


Anne Frank has REALLY gotten it bad from hiphop.
Post Fri Feb 06, 2004 1:11 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21492
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Sneeb,
I don't profess to be very well read. I have read more than two books though. haha. The problem with people asking abot "favorites" is I am trapped into giving the same answer every single time. Unless I read a book I enjoyed more than those two, I have to keep giving that same answer. And its true, I haven't read a shit load of books. I don't know what else to say. I just don't feel like lying...sometimes.
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:17 am
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Jesse



Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 6166
Location: privileged homeless
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Can I interest you in a little number called Mein Kampf?

Quite popular in its day...
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 9:47 am
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SneepSnopDotCom
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 3087
Location: Wisconsin
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Sage.... Don't even explain yourself, who cares. I, personally, would get away from the Stephen King stuff if you wanna seem intellectual... pretentious whore intellectuals scoff at such drivel as "IT". PUH! FUH! SHUH! eh? I still think Sage would be into Robert Anton Wilson, but that's just me.


I recently read that Mein Kampf is the second bestselling book in history behind the Bible. Weird eh?


I've always wanted to read it just to get a psychological viewpoint of how, where, and why things went wrong with Hitler. The guy had talents... he could have used his abilities for nice things... But something fucked up and I wanna know what! I've read that he read H.P. Blavatsky and that was all she wrote, but that could just be bullshit.
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 2:33 pm
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
Posts: 984
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SneebDotCom wrote:
I, personally, would get away from the Stephen King stuff if you wanna seem intellectual... pretentious whore intellectuals scoff at such drivel as "IT".


This isn't directed at you Sneeb, but I don't think SK is that bad. He writes very vividly, and in way the people can understand without being pretentious. The only thing I dislike about SK is that he starts off with a great idea which has loads of potential, but as the story evolves he gradually fucks it up. IT is a perfect example. He really taps into something with the whole Clown thing (*SPOILER ALERT*) but when it turns out to be some stupid alien demon spider from Mars it completely spoils it.

His best work is his non-horror stuff. I personally recommend his short story Rage, which he wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. It's about a kid who brings a gun into School, shoots his teacher and holds his class hostage. He then goes into a detailed psychosis into what drove him to do this. It was written decades before Columbine etc, and I think it's a better attempt at explaining these situations than any of the attempts since (such as Elephant). Although SK withdrew the book himself in the US, but if you ever managed to get hold of a copy it's an excellient read. SK fucks the ending up of course, but I honestly think it's his best work (which is a shame because he thinks it's the only book he should never have written).
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 4:07 pm
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SneepSnopDotCom
COCKRING WRAITH


Joined: 01 Jul 2002
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Location: Wisconsin
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Yeah I personally don't give a fuck what books people like.... I was just commenting/joking on pretentious intellectuals and their outlook. I liked the IT miniseries thing... it was a spider from mars? Weird.... they never said anything like that in the mini-series.


I'm more of a Clive Barker fan.... You ever read the books of Blood (I think that's the correct title)? He has some sweeeet stories in there. I read those when I was probably 13 or 14 and there is a story where some guy gets a glimpse of God (it might have been satan, my memory is weird, and this is going back over ten years) and when he gets a glimpse, he immediately goes into shock and dies.... which made total sense to me and still does. I remember another story involving a small european village having a ritual where they bind all their bodies together with ropes and all this stuff to form a giant humanoid form out of all of their bodies... and he goes into how the weight of all these people being bound together begins to rip all their tendons and... I dunno, read it, it's fun stuff. I'm not into Barker's fantasy stuff... but I like his horror stories a lot.
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 4:19 pm
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Billy No More



Joined: 16 Sep 2003
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SneebDotCom wrote:
Yeah I personally don't give a fuck what books people like.... I was just commenting/joking on pretentious intellectuals and their outlook. I liked the IT miniseries thing... it was a spider from mars? Weird.... they never said anything like that in the mini-series.


Yeah I understand, that's why I said it wasn't directed at you. The Spider from Mars thing I was just exaggerating, but it was something dumb like that.

I've not read any Clive Barker stuff (he wrote and directed Hellraiser right?), I'll check it out when I get the chance. The only thing about reading is that it's so time consuming, I never seem to have the spare time to do it. Listening to music, surfing the net, watching TV, doing some work etc I tend to do all at the same time, as I can flick my attention between them. Where as reading needs my 100% attention and focus, therefore it quite often takes a backseat. I know it shouldn't, but it does. A couple of weekends ago I just sat and read books for two days. It was awesome and I felt like my weekend had been useful, like I'd achieved something and getting up for lectures was a lot easier come Monday morning. Where as most weekends seem to fly by and I realise once again, I've done nothing.
Post Sat Feb 07, 2004 4:47 pm
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