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3 separate Uncle Sage interviews (March/April 2011)
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21790
3 separate Uncle Sage interviews (March/April 2011)  Reply with quote  

Interview with 3/29/11

Q: You're returning to the Paid Dues Festival, what do you look forward to the most?"

A: I've been thinking about sharing some brand new material just to see how the crowd reacts to it. I've played Paid Dues a number of times over the years so I'd love to offer up some exclusive material to the crowd. Other than that, I'm looking forward to doing a mishmash of older material, especially for fans of mine who might be seeing me perform for the first time. I'm more than happy to perform the more classic songs when they're supported and appreciated by people who haven't had the chance to see them performed live yet. I hope Neil Young does the same for me when I see him perform next month.

Q: What can you always rely on from the Southern California crowd?

A: SoCal has one of the most supportive crowds of any area, no question about it. That's partially why so many interesting and innovative artists have come out of that area. As someone who comes from the east coast, I can't explain how appreciative I am to get the kind of love that California gives at alternative-style hiphop shows.

Q: In your 15 year career, you've paid your dues through MC Battle competitions, long tours, and bootlegging your own music. What are young artists today lacking by not experiencing what older artists went through?

A: This might sound strange for someone like me to say, but I don't think most young artists today understand quality control; not just in terms of songs they put out, but also how the songs get made. This is no fault of their own as this is just how the music industry is these days. It's a disposable culture of digital music overload. It's much easier to record songs and release songs now. People are pressured to release music on a whim. Some of it is great but most of it just adds to the litter problem of music's soundscape.

Q: Are you sticking around for the whole festival? What advice and/or do's & don'ts can you give to first time all-day festival attendees?

A: Honestly, I don't know much about attending outdoor music festivals. I perform at a LOT of them and I'm always curious as to how people survive them without all the free water and blow backstage. Did I say blow? haha. I mean...water. Free water and water. Seriously though, I don't know how people do it. Here's what happens if all goes well: I arrive, check in, make my way to the stage, wait around, drink water, perform, give hugs, take pictures, get paid and then find my way back to the hotel so I can be alone.

Q: You traveled to South Africa earlier this year as a volunteer to assist in the treatment of orphans with HIV. How did you become involved? Should artists become more involved with social issues?

A: Artists shouldn't involve themselves with social issues unless they have a genuine urge to do so. There's nothing that separates artists from janitors or doctors or firemen in that respect. That being said, I became involved with the project in South Africa because I was invited by people who know that I take interest in such issues. It was one of the most enlightening and rewarding experiences of my life. I learned so much about myself and the world due to that trip. I very much look forward to returning so I can visit my South African family again.

Q: You're an MC, poet, activist, and label boss - what takes priority for you nowadays? Which will we see more of this year and beyond?

A: I'm not entirely sure what takes priority for me anymore. For better or worse, they've all been blurred into one thing. I am an artist because I have a passion for the arts. I run a label out of necessity. I think activism is inherent in both of those things for me. I will run the label as long as it doesn't sink me and I will create art even if it sinks me.

Last edited by Sage Francis on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:01 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous

Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21790
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New interview with 4/6/11

Q: It seems that your earlier releases were more bent on social commentary, addressing what you saw in the world around you. Lately, especially with Li(f)e, you get very introspective. What has happened in your life throughout the last several years that triggered this change in your writing?

A: Social commentary has always been a part of my writing, even when I was a kid, but what I'm mainly known for is my introspective material which dates back before my Personal Journals album was even released. However, since Personal Journals it is true that I focused mainly social commentary. With the LI(F)E album I talked about my personal situations and tried applying them to the world picture. Nothing in particular changed my writing. It just felt like it was time to address a lot of the things I speak about on that album.

Q: There always seems to be a recurring theme of inner struggle, battle of opposites, that you play with in your imagery. What is it that fascinates you about pitting one extreme against another in your lyrical content?

A: I think that's a good description of my writing style. I like extremes. I view both sides of any particular matter and try to find a middle ground. But if it doesn't feel right for me to promote the middle ground then I just offer the extremes and let listener decide which way they want to lean.

Q: Mental illness is another issue you seem to draw from. What are your personal experiences with that?

A: Just being human I suppose. Mental illness is part of all our lives. It's a shared sickness. Some cover it up well, others can't.

Q: You also seem to play with themes of spirituality, what's your opinion on the state of organized religion in America today?

A: I feel the same way about organized religion as I do about organized crime. Just when you think you're out they pull you back in.

Q: In several 2010 interviews you've stated that Li(f)e may be your last record. Given more time to reflect on this, do you feel this to be more or less true?

A: Although I don't remember that statement or its context, LI(F)E was my last album on Epitaph Records. But I don't know how I could ever stop making songs. However, I *did* stop writing and recording for a full year once LI(F)E was finished. Which is very strange because I've been writing and recording songs consistently since childhood. In the past few months I've gotten back in the saddle and I've recorded songs for other peoples albums which I think is sufficiently warming me up for my next solo project.

Q: It was great getting to meet you at SXSW in Austin. What was your experience there like? Did you feel encouraged by all the artists and bands who came to Austin to spread their name doing what they love?

A: That was my third or fourth time at SXSW. I have no idea why I spend so much money in order to play a free show in one of my strongest territories. That's just bizarre. That said, it was one of my favorite shows ever in Austin so I'm glad I did it. The crowd was rowdy and singing along to all of the songs. Lots of energy and love despite it being such a late show. I can't say I felt encouraged by other artists or bands but it sure was nice bumping into some of them. SXSW is like music band summer camp.

Q: You've spoken about the possibility of moving toward other creative outlets in the near future. Do you have any particular idea on what these outlets may be?

A: Outside of recording, I'm currently working on a book which will be a compilation of writings from various musicians. I'm also dedicating some time to and I hope to start working on beats soon. A DVD has perpetually in the works since my "Life is Easy" release. Other than that, I'm just preparing myself for album releases on Strange Famous Records.

Q: If you could be granted one wish, right here and now, what would you wish for?

A: Well, that's easy. I would wish for an unlimited amount of wishes. Thank you for not putting a restriction on what I can wish for. People always try to screw me out of an unlimited amount of wishes.
Post Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:33 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous

Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21790
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Interview with in promotion of my upcoming Ireland shows.

Q: When you were touring towards the end of last year, you said that
it would likely be your last ever tour. Here you are back out on the
road again. Have you changed your mind?

A: My non-touring stance seems to be a matter of confusion for many
people. To me, a "tour" is a long string of shows. A tour keeps me
away from my home for weeks/months at a time. I toured steadily from
2000 until 2010. What I'm doing now is selecting spot dates, which is
different than touring. I will fly out to certain cities from time to
time, do a show, and then return home. This results in less money and
less performances for me overall but I much prefer this method and I'm
very lucky to be in a position to do it like this.

Q: Why has it taken until now to finally bring you over to Ireland?

A: I've played Ireland a few times over the past decade. Rowdy, rowdy shows.

Q: Your latest LP 'Li(f)e' came out back in May. Now that you have had
a bit of time to reflect on it, has your view of the album changed at

A: I'm not sure what view of mine you're referencing but my newest
realization is that LI(F)E should have been released as a
collaborative project rather than a Sage Francis album. The strong
point is with the lyrics, as is with all of my albums, but most of the
other things were put in the hands of others. I'm a control freak so
it took a leap of faith for me to let go of the reigns in that regard.
I don't necessarily regret that, but I do think it should have been
released under a different project name. In fact, doing that may have
even helped the promotion and exposure of the album.

Q: One track I actually wanted to ask you about specifically is
'Little Houdini'. How did that song come about and why did you decide
to start the album with it?

A: Little Houdini is about a guy named Christopher Daniel Gay. I
caught wind of his escapades many years ago and I thought it was
incredibly inspiring. I saved whatever details I could get of his
prison breaks from the few news stories that were published and I
waited for an opportunity to tell his tale. Once I received the music
from Jason Lytle it all came together perfectly. I started the album
with "Little Houdini" mainly because it's such an epic song. A song
like that should either start an album or end it. I decided that "The
Best of Times" should be the album closer.

Q: When you were preparing for the release of 'Li(f)e' you said "maybe
I will lose some fans, but maybe I'll also gain some". Now that you
can look back at that in hindsight, how do you feel the album was

A: Well, with the album being so rock-driven I had the idea that it
would be covered by the kind of press that I don't normally get.
That's what I considered to be the 'best case scenario' as far as
media is concerned. However, almost nothing happened on the publicity
and promotion-front outside of the typical hiphop channels which means
that the people who heard the album were mainly the people who already
know about my music. And, thankfully, the majority of these people
embraced the project. A few people grumbled, saying that they would
rather hear me over boombap production, but I'm actually surprised by
how positive most people were. If you're a hiphop head, your brain
does need to switch gears a bit in order to appreciate an album like

Q: I was going to ask you about your influences. You have given a few
hints on different tracks over the years. Who were some of the people
that inspired you as an artist and perhaps influenced your style?

A: I have a million influences but there's no father to my style.

Q: I wanted to switch gears for a moment and ask you about the label.
Over the last few years, Strange Famous has become one of the most
important labels in independent Hiphop. You have put out releases for
the likes B.Dolan, Buck 65, Dan and Pip and a host of other artists.
What made you decide to expand the label?

A: As my operation and outreach grew I felt like it only made sense to
include others in on the SFR ride. The main goal is to stay active and
helpful while working with artists I enjoy. Of course, I could have
just focused on myself and my own career all these years but it's
tough to focus on yourself when there's so much talent around.

Q: At a time when a lot of labels are finding it very tough out there,
Strange Famous have maintained a very loyal fanbase. What do you
attribute that to?

A: We've earned the respect and trust of our fans through many years
of being reliable and consistent. Other things are at play, but what I
just said is the short and tall of it.

Q: What's lined up next for Strange Famous? What should people be
looking out for in the coming months?

A: There are four albums in particular that all look like they're
about to be birthed this year. I'm just hoping they don't pop out at
the same exact time because that means some people will have to wait
for their album to be heard and no one likes that. A new group we've
been working with is the Metermaids from Brooklyn, NY. Their album,
Rooftop Shake, has production by 9th Wonder and guest vocals by Buck
65 and myself. Cecil Otter has been working on his "Porcelain
Revolver" album for the past 3 years and it looks like it will be
finished soon. Prolyphic is currently working on an album called
"Working Man" with an incredible DJ/producer from London named Buddy
Peace. Other than that, I know that B. Dolan is cooking up something
magnificent but it's possible he'll release a mixtape before the
official album. Same with me actually.

Last edited by Sage Francis on Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:36 pm
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Joined: 23 Jan 2011
Posts: 13
Location: Ireland
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Stoked for the Dublin show. Speaking of older material, would love to hear "Crumble" and "Specialist". Just putting them out there of course : P
Post Thu Apr 07, 2011 3:14 pm
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A champion of Kurtis SP

Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7949
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i havent read these yet but i just wanted to pop in say Polterzeitgiest is the greatness
Post Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:14 pm
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Inedible Condiment

Joined: 30 Sep 2008
Posts: 1046
Location: Halifax, NS
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I find the different pictures interesting (as well as the interviews of course).

First one is all "too cool for school/rebel rebel"
Second one is a "motivating the crowd/action"
Thrid one is "Sooo, here's where I work, this is my monitor..."
Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:00 am
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Joined: 21 Jul 2004
Posts: 1377
Location: East Coast, Fuck You!
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Inedible Condiment wrote:
I find the different pictures interesting (as well as the interviews of course).

First one is all "too cool for school/rebel rebel"
Second one is a "motivating the crowd/action"
Thrid one is "Sooo, here's where I work, this is my monitor..."

I can see that...I saw the first one was all "psyched to start the tour", than "hell yeah, I am winning!!!" and than "I so want to take a nap in my own bed".
Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:28 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous

Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21790
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I love that breakdown of the pictures. haha
Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:03 pm
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Joined: 25 Jan 2004
Posts: 3891
Location: In side YOUR head
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Inedible Condiment wrote:
I find the different pictures interesting (as well as the interviews of course).

First one is all "too cool for school/rebel rebel"
Second one is a "motivating the crowd/action"
Thrid one is "Sooo, here's where I work, this is my monitor..."

He's such a cuteee ;)
Post Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:49 am
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