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interview with Reformer.com 4/21/03
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Sage Francis
Self Fighteous


Joined: 30 Jun 2002
Posts: 21570
interview with Reformer.com 4/21/03  Reply with quote  

this interview was conducted by Daniel Barlow
www.reformer.com


Q1: There seems to be a momentum behind you and your work lately. Word of
mouth is spreading fast. You've been getting lots of press. You've recently
signed with Epitaph. Has touring been a large part of expanding your
audience? Have sales picked up on your record and CDs? Are you eyeing a shot
at the "mainstream?"

A: I haven't signed the paper yet, but Epitaph is practically a done deal. Beyond that, we (Non-Prophets) are currently signing with Lex/Warp Records. Touring has played a huge part in expanding my fan base. The more I return to each city, the larger the crowd becomes. You first have to have songs that make people desire to see you live you...THEN you have to put on a performance that is worthy of returning to. I guess I've been doing a good job with the little things that count, because I've had no major backing at all. My records sell at a steady pace. I always eye the mainstream...I wink at them. I grab my crotch at them too. Sometimes they dig it and come play in the dirt with me. Other times they say, "whuhhh?" and I'm like, "Yeahhhh...just wait."


Q2: What's the creative process you go through? Lyrics first and then the
beat? Or the other way around?

A: I often write to silence. Because the lyrics pop into my head at random moments. Almost never around a radio. The words pop into my head and then my mouth starts linking them together. When I get a chance I try to find a beat that they fit to. Sometimes I do, other times I don't. Sometimes I get the beat in advance, but when that happens I feel compelled to write to its dimensions and sequence. I don't know which is better.


Q3: I hear the non-prophets album will be coming out soon. What's it sound
like? How different is it from your solo material, both in sound and subject
matter?

A: The name of the album is HOPE. It consists of original drum breaks, head-nodding loops, catchy choruses and some damn interesting rhyme patterns. The Non-Prophets album definitely sounds like the kind of party I would have had when I was a teenager. Joe Beats had a catalogue of beats that were making me dig into the spirit that made me love hiphop for as long as I have. Fun, up-tempo, scathing, disturbing silliness. The subject matter is much less personal than Personal Journals. It is more about...everything else. haha. There's no two-ways about it...this is a RAP ALBUM. poke poke poke.


Q4: Are you working on a new solo album? After doing a very personal album
which direction are you heading in next?

A: I am working on new solo album right now. I am hoping to have a lot of live instrumentation. Music is a huge part of my life, and whether I expose it to the public or not, I plan on exploring more music styles. My solo material is always going to have a very personal edge to it, but I have to imagine this next album is going to lean in a more political direction. The politics of our country and this world is really consuming my thoughts lately. And the fact that I don't see too many other musicians putting shit into perspective is really annoying.

Q5: Makeshift Patriot seems to have been a break-out track for you. There is
a big buzz about it and other anti-war rap tunes in the hip-hop community
(I'm also thinking of Mr. Lif's "Home of the Brave"). I know you wrote the
song shortly after September 11. Could you talk about its genesis a bit?

A: It was definitely a track that attracted many people to my music. Because it was the kind of song almost no one else could have done at the time. And if they could...they didn't. When I perform the song now, the whole meaning of it is completely renewed. Everything I say in that song is 100% relevant to what is happening a year and a half later. 3 days after the attack, I was still glued to my television and radio waiting for information on what the hell was going on. This is the first time I watched TV news since I was in college. I was appalled at the lack of integrity these fools had. I could go on and on and on...but fuck this. I wrote down 3 pages worth of news reporter quotes, parodied an actual speech made by our joke of a president standing on a pile of rubble while holding a megaphone, and incorporated actual audio I took of people cheering on rescue workers at Ground Zero 5 days after the attack. This song was written, recorded and released free to the public one month after the attack. The blind patriotism was scary. The racism was thick. The energy around me was so negative, I felt it necessary to get the song out to as many people as possible right away. What could we have done to stop the invasion of Iraq though? Our tax dollars have been used to help murder of men, women and children who have done NOTHING to us or anybody else. It's so fucking sick, but this plan has been in effect for more than 10 years now. The attack of 9/11 was used as a vehicle to follow through with a foul abuse of power by our false leaders. People tell me to leave the country if I don't like it. I tell them to get the hell out of my country if they aren't willing to change things.


Q6: Many of your songs are highly political, ranging from the fallout of
September 11 to corporate logos and sweatshop practices. Yet, all I hear in
the media now is how artists and musicians should butt out of politics and
get back to making music. Is this part of the trend of looking at music as a
means of entertainment rather than personal expression or education?

A: Of course corporate media is going to say things like that. And of course people INFLUENCED by corporate media are going to support such statements. Because those opinions are fueled by the beneficiaries of war who select the information (slants and all) that is fed to the TV-hungry public. What determines the news that is reported to the people of this country by such media outlets as CNN, MSNBC, and...Fox (chuckle)? It certainly isn't truth. There is more truth in one picture of a bloody Iraqi child than anything I have seen in the green tinted video game presented to me all day and night these network stations have the nerve to call news. And now the celebrities are made out to be the bad guys because they're the only ones with the FREEDOM to actually say what should be heard. Dissent. I feel for the poor men and women who are scared shitless in a country they've been sent to just because they were molested by military recruitment officers before graduating high school. I don't support the troops by waving an American flag...I support the troops by demanding their return so they can tend to a productive, happy life. Immediate threat by Iraq? And how many weapons of mass destruction have been found while we pummel their land with BOMBS? okayyyyyyyyy.

Q7: Performing poetry and rapping have a lot in common. Is there a
difference between the two for you?

A: There is a difference. I am more of a stickler with rhyme patterns and rhythm in my raps. I am more of a stickler with alternative writing techniques and unique expressions of ordinary subject matter in my poetry. It doesn't necessarily rhyme. In fact, it's best when it DOESN'T rhyme. I have yet to present most of my poetry to the public. It all goes to the women in my life before I steal it back and burn it.

Q8: I've yet to see you perform live ... but I heard it's like watching a
well-acted play. What's your approach to live performances?

A: A well acted play? heh. I have seen enough plays to know that the immediacy of my show goes well beyond a play. Unless its the kind of play where the actors are willing to jump into the crowd and improvise a very serious altercation. Yes, it is theatric. Yes, my blocking is superb. haha...nah, I don't know. My approach is to get on stage and entertain the crowd with alternative performance methods. None of which include the tried-and-true "say hoooooooo" shit. Sometimes I see seasoned rappers going through the motions and it really annoys me. I'd rather have half of the crowd hate my guts if the rest of the crowd is able to truly appreciate the lengths I go at entertaining them by stripping naked and reading Jewel's "A Night without Armor."

Q9: What's up with your alter-egos anyway? There seems to be a lot of people
in your head.

A: Mmmm...nah. They aren't in my head at all. I have given names to my personality flaws. To help you.

Q10: What brought you to Keene? I dropped out from the college you'll be
performing and just recently moved away from Keene (too many bad memories
and shitty friends). You know ADeeM, don't you?

A: Someone asked me to play a show in Keene and I agreed. I do know ADeeM. What's much more relevant is my love for Shalem who actually graduated from Keene State.

Q11: You said you don't listen to much rap these days, but you obviously did
when you were younger. What artists inspired you when you were young? What's
in your CD player/ turntable right now? Do you read books?

A: Public Enemy, KRS, Run DMC, Ice T, Rakim, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Tribe, Beastie Boys, and on and on and on. I loved anything that had anything to do with hiphop between 78 and 93. I am listening to Bad Religion at this very moment. Beyond that, I am a big fan of classic rock as of late. I do not read as often as I would like to. I love books and there's going to be a time (hopefully soon) when the time I dedicate to random people is just going to go into reading.

Q12: You don't have a traditional 9-5 job, right? What's an average day for
you? Do you spend your time working on new material? Do you make enough off
your music to stay financially stable?

A: I haven't worked a 9-5 since 1999. I bust my ass to make my music available to the purchasing public. The rest of my time is dedicated to eating, sleeping, sex, booking shows, performing shows, traveling, interacting with people and art in general.

you can get info on new product or upcoming shows by emailing me at sagefrancis@hotmail.com or visiting www.non-prophets.com
Post Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:03 pm
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Sara



Joined: 07 Mar 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Portland, Oregon
 Reply with quote  

well stated.
Post Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:56 pm
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Dee



Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7872
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WHOA! You're signing with Epitaph!? I had no idea! Congratulations man! Damn. Makin' moves.
Post Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:02 pm
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asexualdrone



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 347
Location: dreamin, not sure if im awake
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hmm bad religion is a epitaph signed band
Post Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:22 pm
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Dee



Joined: 19 Jul 2002
Posts: 7872
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I knew he was on that compilation...didn't know he was signing.

I guess I missed the boat on this.
Post Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:50 pm
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dwbarlow



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 1
Location: Dummerston, VT
Brattleboro Reformer  Reply with quote  

Hey guys,

The full story, which I'm working on today, will be in the entertainment section of Thursday's Brattleboro Reformer (for those that don't know us, we are VT's second-largest daily newspaper and perhaps the most liberal paper in the entire country).

It should be available at www.reformer.com on Thursday. Go to the search menu, type in my name, "Daniel Barlow," and it should pop up.

Thanks again to Sage for his quick response and amazing answers. I'm actually excited today to do a story for my newspaper.

Hope to see a bunch of you at Friday's show at Keene State. I'll be the "professor-type" with a hot blonde on his arm ...

-Daniel Barlow
www.reformer.com
Post Tue Apr 22, 2003 11:32 am
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