Joined: 30 Jun 2002
|Sage interview for star tirbune in MN
1. First off, why email interviews only?
"The less talking I have to do, the better. I detest phones. I do not usually enjoy verbal conversation."
2. I'd want to do a feature on you regardless of the name of your
tour, but "Fuck Clear Channel" certainly is an attention-grabber.
How has Clear Channel affected you personally to the point of naming it
""It is time to reject fast food culture. Fast food music. Fast food marketing. Fast food artists. Quality and integrity has been phased out of art in the interest of giant companies. I am here to raise awareness about that. Most people don't realize how any of this works and this tour has sparked a good discussion about it. Artists in my position should be doing things to improve conditions of the music industry, but most just see dollar signs. It'll be their end. I can continue playing independent shows for the rest of my life and live VERY well off of it...as long as I spread the word."
3. Here in Minneapolis, the corporations (also including
ABC/Disney) have just destroyed radio. Atmosphere didn't make it to local
commercial FM radio till Slug was on "Lovelines" (syndicated) last month.
and most people have basically given up caring. Any suggestions on what can
they do to change things?
"Support independently run venues, independently run radio stations, independently run labels. As cliche as it is to say this, support your local scene. Resist homogenization by major corporations infiltrating your area. Clear Channel and companies like it BANK off of making everyone community they infiltrate just as predictable as the rest. There is an incredible amount of subversion going on. It's not easy to effectively make people aware of what they have SAY over. We should be eating better food, we should be getting better information from our news sources. We have to do research sometimes. That's too much work for some people, thanks to the apathy that TV tends to mainline into our hearts."
4. Do you believe indie hip-hop artists like yourself would be
bigger or more influential were it not for the corporations like CC?
"I believe it's the audience abroad that would benefit more than the artists. My goal is not to get radio airplay. My goal is to eliminate whatever it is the lessens the quality of my life. I want to turn on my radio and hear an honest and proper discussion of the war. As for billboards, they should be eliminated altogether. Why am I involuntarily bombarded with advertisements and right wing propoganda every time I walk outside. It's sick."
5. Rhode Island isn't exactly thought of as a hip-hop mecca, just
as Minneapolis isn't for Slug, Boston isn't for Mr. Lif, Ohio isn't for
Blueprint, etc. What are you guys saying about the changing face of hip-hop?
Or, if that's too dramatic, how important is "where you're from'' to
"We don't have to say anything about the new face of hiphop, we just have to make it. The world is always changing and hiphop is about 30 years old at this point. Many things have happened in those 30 years that have changed the music game and anyone who ignores those things is lying to themselves. At the core, it is all the same. Create honest material and have it presented to people in recorded form and perform it live. How you go about all of these things is where creativity, ingenuity and incentive come into play. When you come from an area that doesn't have a bubbling hiphop scene, you have to jump in the van and tap into other areas. When you tap into other areas you have to dig deep down and pull out what it is that eveyone out there will be able to identify with and enjoy. It is a blessing in disguise to come from an obscure section of America because it gave me time to collect my thoughts, build myself and eventually venture out to test the waters. Same with all the other people you mentioned."
6. Without much commercial radio support, what would you site as
the one or two biggest ways you've gotten exposure/been discovered?
"Obviously, Napster and file trading programs have been huge for me and any other indie artist. The other way which has proven to be just as important and successful (if not more) is touring from city to city and winning the crowd over with an enjoyable live performance."
7. One more business question: Did Atmosphere's jump to Epitaph
influence your own decision to sign with them, and was it a hard or easy
"I signed to Epitaph before Atmosphere worked with them. Part of the reason I signed to Epitaph was the novelty of being the first hiphop act to sign to such a notorious punk label. It was a very easy decision that we still took our precious time with."
8. The Non-Prophets CD is fantastic. I know the musical differences
between a Sage Francis disc and Non-Prophets. How does your writing differ?
"The writing process was more scattered on the Non-Prophets album. I had more areas to shoot off into. What I wanted with that album was many hot hot lines to link together in a creative and interesting way. Personal Journals was definitely more concept oriented."
9. What's the personal history between you and Joe, and . Also,
does Joe have a real name?
"Joe has a real name. Just like me. Our name is Joe. Joe and I met at the college radio station at URI. We had a bit of an altercation over something he said on the air. I stormed the studio. We became friends and then he started making beats about 1 year later. We've worked together ever since."
10. Your jabs at the Magic Stick, etc. crowd are pretty right-on in
"Mainstream 307." Are there any big-name rap acts of today that you do like?
Also, is "gangsta" rap a dead artform or do you see some merit left there?
"I think there are some mainstream acts that are fun to listen to on occasion. The last mainstream album I actually bought in many years was the Black album, and that was the first Jay Z album I ever purchased (besides Original Flavor.) I was mainly intrigued by his retirement, so I had to see what the hell the hype was all about. I listened to it and it reminded me of the rap I used to listen to when I was a kid. I liked it. It wasn't mind blowing, but it was a good hiphop album. I put it away and haven't listened to it since. When I feel like listening to that kind of hiphop I will break it out again."
11. "Disasters" is hilarious. Is there any story behind the
inspiration of that song?
"I wrote that in 15 minutes on an airplane. I travel a lot. I can NOT escape the babies. They wail and scream and cry and god damn it shut up already."
12. "Any Port" has some pretty graphic lyrics. Do you worry
about offending listeners in songs like that?
"When I offend listeners that means they should move on. It is a selective process. Leave already and make room for the next moron."
13. One semi-personal question: How did/does having a journalism
degree influence your art?
"It gave me a lot of respect for ethical writing. It made me aware that presenting information in a way that allows the audience to make up their own mind is the best kind of art."
Mon Mar 01, 2004 2:30 pm
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