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Trunk Music Interview 5/19/03
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21527
Trunk Music Interview 5/19/03  Reply with quote  

The interview:
Say someone reading this has never heard of Sage Francis before, how would you sell yourself to them?

"I'd rather let them discover me by themselves. On their own terms. That's how it should work. I really hate to see artists 'sell' themselves. It looks pathetic. Desperate. No matter how dope you are, it is not up to you to decide whether someone should or shouldn't like your music. It's a personal thing. I mean...the music will sell itself if they have an opportunity to hear it. But it is not my job to force it upon them...or convince them it is worth listening to. Not at all. And on that note...you Born Again Christians need to get the fuck out of my face."


What do you think it is about your music that brings in fans from all different genres? There seems to be so many kids that are into punkrock or indie rock (for lack of better terms) who aren’t necessarily fans of hip hop but who are big fans of yours.

"Well...a lot of rappers alienate the non-hiphop audience. They tend to target people who only listen to rap. I did that for a long time. But eventually...I grew sick of the typical hiphop boy. I didn't care to target the typical hiphop boy. I didn't want to rap about rapping anymore. I didn't want to rap about hiphop anymore. I wanted to expand my content. I wanted to talk about things I was experiencing outside of the hiphop bubble. It was my mission to make that my hiphop. And I did a fair job of it. And when people outside of hiphop hear it...they relate to it...because my words, when done well, speak to the human experience. My next album is very alienating though...just for the fuck of it."

Did you find that when you started with work with Anticon that inherited a new crowd? It just seems that the label has such a strong following of dedicated listeners.

"We were already sharing a lot of the same audience. They definitely have a core audience, and from my experience...their core audience isn't big on the Sage Francis rap styles. I might be a little too conventional for their taste. That's just the vibe I got over the years. Of course their are a lot of people from the Jolly Rancher contingent who appreciate what I do, but overall I see a split between those who dig me and who don't dig me...and the loyal anticon contingent aren't the ones keeping my career afloat. The shows say a lot."

Outside of hip hop what other musicians or bands are you interested in?

"Man. So much. Classic Rock and Punk get more play in my radio than hiphop these days. It's been like that for a few years now. My idols hate me."

Since we scheduled this interview I've read that you have signed a deal with Epitaph. How did you hook up with the label and what made you decide to sign with them? I’m just curious as to what your thoughts are, being as you as the first hip hop artists to sign to a label that has traditionally released punk/hardcore albums.

"Epitaph was recognizing underground hiphop for its recent burst in DIY artists.
The President, Andy, got his hands on my Personal Journals album (Epitaph uses the same distributor.) He liked it. Then he came to see me when I performed in LA, and that made him more interested in what I do as an artist and how I deal with people. He called me the next day and let me know that Epitaph is interested in working something out with me. I was familiar with the name Epitaph because my friends are huge Bad Religion fans...and I had recently bought a bunch of punk albums myself. Up until this point, I had done nothing short of ducked and deflected the approach of major labels. It usually always felt so false. There are many reasons why I was receptive to Epitaph's interest in me though. It felt like they had a genuine respect for me and my music, and I had the same respect in return. All I have been hearing is good things about how they treat their artists and staff. They asked to put Makeshift Patriot on their Punkorama compilation CD and I was excited about it, considering I own a good amount of those.
Andy flew out to another show of mine in Pittsburgh during the Live Band, Dead Poet Tour and talked more seriously with me. This is when I hired a lawyer and the contracts started getting passed back and forth. My lawyer was impressed with how willing they were to accommodate my requests. I mean...I have strong independent roots...and they are respecting that aspect of my music. They are not trying to take away my ability to do things the way I like to do them, in regard to Strange Famous Records and the Non-Prophets projects.
Sage Francis signed to Epitaph Records. Haha...I couldn't have guessed it in a million years, but at the same time...it makes more sense than signing to a hiphop label gunning for the next Eminem/50 Cent. My next solo album is going to be a logical progression from both Personal Journals and HOPE. The fan base and the hate base are both going to expand dramatically. Music is my future and it feels the way I thought it would...natural. The pressure is on but if my past is any indication of the future, then I am going to fuck this pressure in its face with my gentle green giant. It might take a year."


What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop? Do you feel a lot of what you do comes as a result of how you feel?

"Current hiphop lacks a lot of the feeling and energy that attracted me to it in the first place. It has changed...but that's how things go. I know what is great about hiphop...and I stick to it. A lot of what I do is a result of what I feel. That's how it works."


Coming from Canada I always find it interesting that so many bad Canadian groups get huge and end up all over the tv and radio and yet so many great Canadian artists like Sixtoo and Buck65 slip by completely unnoticed in their own country. How did you end up meeting up with artists like them?

"Canadian groups get huge? Neil Young is the only one I can think of right now. But uhhh...haha...Sixtoo and Buck are my homies. I love them. I initially hooked up with them in 1999 (or 98?) through anticon affiliates. I was a HUGE Buck fan and we worked out a project together called The Canada Project. It was the first time I had ever been to Canada. Halifax is a rocking city."


When can people expect a new album out on Epitaph?

"A year from now. Maybe less. Maybe more. Songs are bubbling under my skin as we speak. All I need is the proper instrumentation and a dependable/accessible recording studio."


It’s very apparent from your lyrics that they don’t shy away from personal politics and social issues. I was just wondering what your reactions are to this current “war” going on in Iraq.

"I am sickened. I feel helpless and disgusted. To the point that I fear I may become as numb as the rest of America. Must not sleep. Must warn others. It is in my spirit to fight the good fight...and my tax dollars are being abused. My politics are simple."


I guess part of the reason why I ask is that I’ve read that for “Makeshift Patriot” you took a lot of the lines directly out of newscasts. I don’t think it’s any secret that nearly every reporter in America should have had their poetic licenses revoked during that coverage. Do you see yourself drawing from the current news coverage of the war for any future tracks? Maybe a bit of a follow up to “Makeshift Patriot”?

"No, I am not taking the same approach with new songs. It was an appropriate concept for Makeshift Patriot, but I don't feel like making the same point in the same manner again."

What is the current status of the Non-Prophets album?

"Fuuuuuuuck. It is DONE. DONE. Took this bitch years to finish. Why? Because I am a neurotic piece of shit. I wanted it to be the kind of hiphop album I would have loved in 93. And even though it's hard to see the forest for the trees at this point, I think Joe Beats and I succeeded in making the kind of hiphop album we both love. We need to get the artwork done now. It is coming out on Lex/Warp Records."


Anything else you would like to add?

"Yeah...Joe has a new cd called Reverse Discourse. The conspiracy against Joe Beats needs to end. I don't know how it got to this point, but hopefully this cd will be the first step in people realizing that he is the King of the Mediocre Chicks."

Can you recommend a book?

"Stupid White People"

An album?

"Harvest."

A movie?

"Magnolia"

What is your favorite Bill Murray movie?

"What About Bob"
Post Mon May 19, 2003 11:22 am
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anonjondoe



Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 437
harvest  Reply with quote  

i was going to bring you a vinyl copy of this
to the middle east show


it's og with the ill lyric sheet and all
do you have this already
if not i'll still bring it
Post Mon May 19, 2003 12:02 pm
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21527
 Reply with quote  

no, I don't have that on vinyl at all. In fact...I don't have any Neil Young vinyl. I do, however, have a hell of a lot of Bob Dylan on vinyl.

you don't have to give me your's, but that's terribly nice of you to make the offer.

Harvest makes me feel nice.
Post Mon May 19, 2003 8:55 pm
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joedan



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 273
 Reply with quote  

intresting, i thought that anticon fans were a larger part of your fanbase.
Post Tue May 20, 2003 3:19 am
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21527
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maybe that's a common misconception, I don't know. It is not the case from what I have experienced.

a majority of the people who dig my shit aren't so quick to jump in the anticon pool.
Post Tue May 20, 2003 10:40 am
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dabinduppes



Joined: 03 Jul 2002
Posts: 615
Location: FULLERTON
 Reply with quote  

Dude "Where the Buffalo Roam" is waaaay better than "What About Bob"
Post Tue May 20, 2003 11:19 am
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name



Joined: 12 Nov 2002
Posts: 955
Re: Trunk Music Interview 5/19/03  Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:


A movie?

"Magnolia"

What is your favorite Bill Murray movie?

"What About Bob"


abso-fucking-lutely! two of my favorites.
"is this corn hand-shucked?"
Post Tue May 20, 2003 11:45 am
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scribe



Joined: 01 May 2003
Posts: 103
 Reply with quote  

Sage Francis wrote:
maybe that's a common misconception, I don't know. It is not the case from what I have experienced.

a majority of the people who dig my shit aren't so quick to jump in the anticon pool.



...i would say i'm one of those. i like sage but i'm not really into anticon. i have a few various songs downloaded but not a huge fan or anything. although soles 'bottle of humans' is an ill cd/song...
Post Tue May 20, 2003 12:20 pm
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Winston Smith



Joined: 21 May 2003
Posts: 5
Location: California
...book: stupid white people  Reply with quote  

Sage, I was just wondering if you've ever read 1984; there seems to be a lot of elements from that book in some of your songs. Also, don't you think michael moore is getting kid of egomaniacal?
Post Wed May 21, 2003 2:10 am
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