Strange Famous Records

My “COPPER GONE” album drops June 3rd!

Click HERE for pre-sale options.

PRE-ORDER PACKAGES ARE NOW AVAILABLE HERE - www.tinyurl.com/CopperGoneSFR
- including options with SIGNED CDs, 2xLP COLORED VINYL, Cassettes, T-Shirts, Hoodies, and more!

“Copper Gone is a massive emotional outpouring in rap form. The grit, grime, and brutal reality of being an independent hip-hop artist for decades all has been mashed into a whirlwind survey of how brilliance, independence, and creative commitment are dealt with today—all from perhaps our greatest modern-day poet.” – ALARM MAGAZINE

SAGE FRANCIS…relocked and reloaded. 

After a 4-year hiatus, the indie rap icon is taking his signature style of hip-hop and performance art back on the road to support the June 2014 release of “COPPER GONE” on STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS. It features beat production from long-time music affiliates BUCK 65, ALIAS, CECIL OTTER, REANIMATOR, and more.  Physical/digital pre-sales are available now.

“VONNEGUT BUSY”, the lead single, acts as a stylistic sample dish for what one can expect from the new album, transitioning seamlessly from socio-economic issues to personal politics, all while being punctuated by the project’s overall mission statement: “When it seems like you’re going through hell…keep going.” The reference to Kurt Vonnegut in the title is accompanied by a quote from the satirical writer in one of the song’s 3 sub-choruses: “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘it might have been.’”

As fans and media may remember, Francis declared a sudden retirement from touring at the end of his “Li(f)e on the Road” world excursion in 2010. Many people misinterpreted this as a resignation from music altogether as his three album deal with Epitaph Records came to its conclusion. “It sort of offends my sensibilities to hear that some people thought I gave up music,” Francis remarks. “I’ve been writing songs since I was 8 years old. Performing on stage since 12. Winning over crowds and losing partners in the process. As far as creative energy goes, my entire adult life and the bulk of my childhood has been dedicated to this craft. I don’t even think I could stop that train if I wanted to.”

In reality, Francis removed himself from the non-stop grind of the tour circuit in hopes of developing a healthier domestic situation. He did not achieve this goal, as numerous songs on Copper Gone clearly illustrate (some more overtly than others.) Over the course of the next few years, in the wake of some significant personal losses, Francis succumbed to his more hermit-like tendencies. He remained tucked away in the woods on the outskirts of Rhode Island, running Strange Famous Records remotely, all while continuing to write/record music in the isolation of his studio.

“No matter how much time I spend by myself, I’m constantly aware of how I need to keep this ship afloat. If not for me, then for the others who have jumped on board with me. That’s not the main motivation for what I do, but it’s probably good to feel pressured into staying active outside of my bubble. I’m stressed, overworked, and exhausted regardless of my situation, so I might as well step into the fire rather than just watch the world burn around me. At this point, that sounds a lot better to me than spending the rest of my life as a recluse, wondering what might’ve been.”

Copper Gone drops worldwide June 3rd, 2014 on Strange Famous Records (in the UK it is being released by Scroobius Pip’s Speech Development Records.)

——————————————————————————————————

The Sage Francis “Copper Gone” World Tour 2014 is in support of the COPPER GONE album, dropping June 3rd. All information for the US, CANADA, UK, and EURO tour dates are listed below.

US tall

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:

5/29 STANHOPE, NJ – Stanhope House - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Metermaids
5/30 NYC – Le Poisson Rouge – Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Metermaids
5/31 BOSTON, MA – Middle East – Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, TBA
6/02 TORONTO, ON – Opera House - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, TBA
6/03 PITTSBURGH, PA – Altar Bar - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Lord Grunge
6/05 CHICAGO, IL – The Abbey - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, No Bird Sing
6/06 MADISON, WI – High Noon Saloon - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, TBA
6/07 MINNEAPOLIS, MN – First Ave - Tickets
Openers: CECIL OTTER, B. Dolan
6/09 ENGLEWOOD, CO - Gothic Theatre - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Wheelchair Sports Camp
6/10 SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Urban Lounge - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, TBA
6/11 MISSOULA, MT – Palace Lounge - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Codependents
6/12 VANCOUVER, BC – Fortune Sound Club - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, TBA
6/13 SEATTLE, WA – Neumo’s - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/14 PORTLAND, OR – Alhambra Theatre - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/16 SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Independent - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/17 SOLANA BEACH (San Diego), CA – Belly Up Tavern - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/18 LOS ANGELES, CA – The Troubadour - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/20 PHOENIX, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/21 ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Sunshine Theater - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/22 EL PASO, TX – Tricky Falls - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/24 DALLAS, TX – Club Dada - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/25 AUSTIN, TX – Mohawk - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/26 NEW ORLEANS, LA – Southport Hall – Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, DJ Quickie Mart
6/27 BATON ROUGE, LA – Spanish Moon - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Sleep of Oldominion
6/29 ATLANTA, GA – Terminal West - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Seez Mics, Cas One
6/30 CHAPEL HILL, NC – Cat’s Cradle – Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Cas One, Seez Mics
7/01 WASHINGTON, DC – U Street Music Hall - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Prolyphic, Seez Mics
7/02 PHILADELPHIA, PA – Union Transfer - Tickets
Openers: B. Dolan, Prolyphic, Metermaids
7/03 PORTLAND, ME – Port City Music Hall – Tickets
Openers: Sage Francis, B. Dolan, Metermaids
7/04 PROVIDENCE, RI – Fete Ballroom - Tickets
Openers: Sage Francis, B. Dolan, Metermaids

UK/EURO TOUR DATES (more to be listed soon):

EU_TOUR_square

Oct 10 IRELAND – Sligo @ Fifth on Teeling TICKETS
Oct 11 IRELAND – Belfast @ Voodoo TICKETS
Oct 12 IRELAND – Dublin @ Sugar Club TICKETS
Oct 14 ENGLAND – Newcastle @ Think Tank TICKETS
Oct 15 SCOTLAND – Glasgow @ Oran Mor TICKETS
Oct 16 ENGLAND – Manchester @ Gorilla TICKETS
Oct 17 ENGLAND – Leeds @ Brudenell Social Club TICKETS
Oct 19 WALES – Cardiff @ The Globe TICKETS
Oct 20 ENGLAND – Bristol @ The Fleece TICKETS
Oct 21 ENGLAND – Brighton @ The Haunt TICKETS
Oct 22 ENGLAND – London @ Village Underground TICKETS
Oct 24 ENGLAND – Reading @ The Bowery District TICKETS
Oct 25 BELGIUM – Brussels @ Botanique/Rotonde TICKETS
Oct 26 HOLLAND – Amsterdam @ Melkweg TICKETS
Oct 28 FRANCE – Paris @ Point Ephemere TICKETS
Oct 29 FRANCE – Dijon @ La Vapeur TICKETS
Oct 30 FRANCE – Vendome @ Les Rockomotives TICKETS
Oct 31 FRANCE – Strasbourg @ Laiterie TICKETS
Nov 02 GERMANY – Cologne @ Underground TICKETS
Nov 03 GERMANY – Hamburg @ Uebel & Gefaehrlich TICKETS
Nov 05 DENMARK – Copenhagen @ Vega TICKETS
Nov 06 NORWAY – Oslo @ John Dee TICKETS
Nov 07 SWEDEN – Stockholm @ Debaser Strand TICKETS
Nov 09 GERMANY – Berlin @ Privatclub TICKETS
Nov 10 GERMANY – Munich @ Ampere TICKETS
Nov 12 GERMANY – Frankfurt @ Zoom TICKETS – PLEASE NOTE: date has been rescheduled from Nov 11. Show is now on Nov 12.
Nov 13 SWITZERLAND – Geneva @ Usine TICKETS
Nov 14 SWITZERLAND – Zurich @ Rote Fabrik TICKETS
Nov 15 SWITZERLAND – Bern @ Dachstock – Reitschule TICKETS
Nov 16 AUSTRIA – Vienna @ B72 TICKETS
Nov 19 SWEDEN – Lund @ Mejeriet TICKETS
Nov 21 FINLAND – Helsinki @ Kuudes Linja TICKETS

If your city or country hasn’t been listed, that does not mean we have no love for it. We’re doing our best to get to as many places as we can so let your local promoters know. Remember to sign up for the mailing list at Strange Famous Records so you don’t miss any updates.

Follow on: Twitter + Facebook.

First single – “VONNEGUT BUSY”

Mar 31

We are SO coffee mug official right now

Top of the world, mom

FIRST…I can’t reveal the cover art for “Copper Gone” just yet, but what I can do is show you this selfie that I took this morning while standing on a mountain of scrap metal. Also, I can tell you that I’m listening to the mastered version of the album for the first time ever. I went through so much shit for this moment right here. Rather than trying to explain the impossible, I’m just going to get naked and cuddle up with my headphones. When you get a chance to do the same, I hope you feel as rewarded as I do. Album drops on June 3rd via my lifelong love child: www.StrangeFamousRecords.com

Our “Kickstarter”

I’m not sure why it took us so long to make these mugs considering how coffee-crazed we are over here at SFR, but they’re now for sale: www.tinyurl.com/SFRcoffeeMugs
I’m almost ashamed to admit how much caffeine I’ve consumed while finishing this new album. It’s certainly not the only thing that has kept me fighting my way out of the hellhole, but coffee has definitely been the thing I most look forward to every night. Starting around 8pm. Heck, it’s 9:30 right now and I just finished 4 cups. We’re finalizing artwork for “Copper Gone” and I fly out to Austin in a few hours for SXSW so DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME.

OK…back to my hole.

Mar 12

New Sleep album is out April 15! New video & pre-order up now!

The new Sleep of Oldominion album “Oregon Failure” drops on CD & MP3 Download on APRIL 15!

Pre-orders from SFRstore are available here.

 

Produced by Denver’s Maulskull, Sleep of Oldominion’s ‘Oregon Failure’ is a sorely needed return to spitting bars for the genre. Set to Maulskull’s heavy hitting, up-tempo dreamtrap, the album’s themes touch on trial and error, effort and failure, and ultimately perseverance. A master of poly-rhythmic turnarounds, chopping double time, Sleep builds up cadence the way Diplo builds towards the drop. Never coming off phony or Pollyannaish, young go-hards and old school heads alike can identify with the anthems of ‘Oregon Failure’.

Features By Pigeon John, Xperience, Ceschi and Onry Ozzborn!

Check out “SINKING SHIP”, the first video from the album!

Tracklisting
1. Where Ya At?
2. It’s Out of My Hands
3. The Beat
4. Something Else (piano by Beau Bryant)
5. Substances ft Ceschi & Onry Ozzborn (guitar by Skylar Blake; keys by Danny Haigh (for Crusader Keystorm)
6. Here Inside ft Nyqwil of Oldominion
7. Truth Serum ft. Pigeon John (background vocals Toni Hill)
8. I’m Sorry  (bass by Skylar Blake; keys Danny Haigh for Crusader Keystorm; additional drum programming Smoke M2D6)
9. Tumbleweed ft. X-Perience of Oldominion and A. Samori (background vocals Toni Hill; guitar by Cody Dean)
10. Sinking Ship
11. You Ain’t Sh#*T! ft. Tony Ozier
12. Rap Rehab (guitar and piano Charles Cliff)
13. Broke (background vocals Tony Ozier; bass by Skylar Blake, keys by Danny Haigh; drums by Nate Gendron
Check out the lyrics to “Sinking Ship”!:
Intro:
Okay fuck it, guess I’ll do what I do best crush it. You can’t touch it. When I get the motor running I’ma run amuck kid, my tongue is dynamite I’m causing an eruption, must have been abducted. Never muttering or fumbling, (fumbling). Pummeling a million men, and never crumbling. Son of a bitch I’m bubbling I’m in trouble again. Seem to get into it every now and then, cause I never know when I take it easy when I grab a pen. Yes I rock in the pocket pop eye sockets out when I rip it. Time ticking down, rhyme wicked now check it out you are now listening to who and what It’s all about.
Verse 1:
Now I get up in the beat like I got a vendetta with it. Let me get heavy with it let me celebrate me getting better with it. Haven’t figured out how to get cheddar with it but I set and get it let me demonstrate what a heavy weight is saying now I’m complicated aggravating everybody listening wishing they could do it better than me, but I said already that I’m heavy let me rip the script into confetti. And I bet you my machete making you spaghetti, if you step to me thinking I won’t be ready. Now if I’m sending deadly messaging I’m really sorry I’ve been really dealing with something buried in me, it really scary and I’m bearing everything inside of me for you to see now.
Chorus:
Woke up I found myself falling
I knew I could crawl out
I knew that they could not keep me down
I knew what it was all about
Leaving my soul on the shelf
Follow my instincts and look at me now x2
My eyes are open, are open, are open x4
Verse 2:
Here I go again a tornado in my head, and its forcing me to go into my basement and arrange it in a way that’s making people going crazy when I say it yea, I making waves and never fake it take away the wake and baking,  if I really want to make it. Pick my brain apart. I beg your pardon let me hit it harder than them other artists, get it moving like a cruiser missile break it down to the bone gristle, with a little riddle that I whittled when I wasn’t riddled with these bitter feelings that I’m feeling cause I’m dealing with the stress of holding buildings up, and I could kick it up a notch I’m an independent artist let me holler at myself if I wanna make it hot.
Chorus:
Woke up I found myself falling
I knew I could crawl out
I knew that they could not keep me down
I knew what it was all about
Leaving my soul on the shelf
Follow my instincts and look at me now x2
Verse 3:
Let me set it straight and demonstrate it, let me try and do it like the greats did it. Like back in the day when they did it trippy heavy ripping illustrated. Never fabricated and I’m animated Rodney made my passes laminated, and I got a cadence that’ll take you to another level let me grab the mic and break it, take it, take it, take it in let me get a win let me get it in can I get a witness let me set it straight, I wanna put it away but I can’t stop myself and the ripping mechanism, when I’m in the mix did I mention, when I’m in the fifth dimension, when I’m about to exhibit a mint condition and I’m about to open your mind and perform inception
Chorus:
Woke up I found myself falling
I knew I could crawl out
I knew that they could not keep me down
I knew what it was all about
Leaving my soul on the shelf
Follow my instincts and look at me now x2
My eyes are open, are open, are open x4
The new Sleep of Oldominion album “Oregon Failure” drops on CD & MP3 Download on APRIL 15! Pre-orders from SFRstore are available here.
Mar 05

I’m the Guest Meteorapologist on JUICE RAP NEWS

Proud to announce that I’m the guest meteorapologist on Juice Rap News. These guys have been on my radar for a while now. In fact, I think I was initially tipped off to them when a fan pointed out that they dropped a line from my Makeshift Patriot song in one of their videos. As it turns out, they record and film everything in Melbourne, Australia. When they found out I was playing there last December they hit me up to work out this feature. We had to rush like mad to make it all work out, but I’m really glad that we did it. Great folks. My part starts around the 4:50 mark, but the whole video is worth checking out. Clever/funny/smart stuff all around.

http://youtu.be/0VD33jRpeMM

Feb 01

Official Video for “BLUE”

“BLUE” is the second single off of my SICK TO D(EAT)H mixtape.
The video was released on January 6th (coincidentally enough, a date that is known as “Blue Monday.”)
http://youtu.be/6LVMSDPNObE

Video directed & edited by Jay Brown. Treatment written by Sage Francis. Cinematography by Joe Radano & Jim Collins. After effects by Paul Mihailoff. Additional Footage by Todd Burgess. Actors in order of appearance: Sage Francis, dilly dilly, Isaiah Brown, Erik Moody and Mike Aberle. Music produced by Reanimator. Scratches by Buddy Peace.

Among many things, this song and video touch upon the subject of PTSD. The lyrics and visuals were inspired by the discussions I’ve had with many vets over years. There are many organizations and resources that are available to vets who are struggling with civilian life, but not everyone feels comfortable reaching out for help. Some people might not even know that they need help until it’s too late. Just so that the information is out there, for anyone who may need it, the Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via text to 838255. The Crisis Line website: http://veteranscrisisline.net/

Jan 07

SICK TO D(EAT)H drops on Dec 12th!

SICK TO D(EAT)H is a 75 minute mixtape that drops on Dec 12th, 2013 exclusively through Strange Famous Records. It will not be available in any other store. MP3, CD, Cassette Tape, Shirt + Hoodie package deals are  AVAILABLE HERE.

Before I give a the full breakdown of what’s on this mixtape and why, I’d like to announce that there will be new Sage Francis album (title withheld for now) in June of 2014. A world tour is currently being booked for that time period as well, which will officially end what became a 4 year hiatus for me. I have some explaining to do on that front, and I will soon enough, but as I’ve basically lived a hermit lifestyle since 2010 I’d like to express how excited I am to get these wheels spinning again. This “on the road again” lifestyle will begin with my Australian tour the day this mixtape drops.


“BLUE” is produced by Reanimator.

As we approach the end of 2013, close to 15 years after I first started the “Sick of” mixtape series, it appears that everything has come full circle with me. When I released my first mixtape in 1999, it was done out of financial necessity. I was without a label, without funding, and I was sitting on a bunch of recorded material that no one could hear except for the small number of people who lived within the broadcast range of RI college radio. The MP3/download “revolution” hadn’t kicked off just yet and, quite frankly, I needed to subsidize my career somehow. As far as I know, no other emcees released their own mixtapes before this point. I make that (somewhat lofty) claim reluctantly as it’s entirely possible that other rappers were releasing mixtapes at the time, but none that I am aware of. It was essentially a medium for DJ’s who would put together mixes of interesting, exclusive, new and/or obscure songs from various artists. This made me wonder why I wasn’t doing the same for myself. The recordings I was sitting on couldn’t constitute an official album, but I saw value in the material as a whole. I was sitting on a collection of home recordings, live recordings, radio freestyles, 12″ singles, etc…The sound quality varied greatly from track to track, but the content was there. I decided to group all of these straggler tracks together and give them a home on “Sick of Waiting.” This, in essence, is the “bootleg” origin of Strange Famous Records. Which brings us to the present…

Here I am sitting on a pile of recorded material that I can’t really call an album, but the archivist in me is really happy to give it an official home with SICK TO D(EAT)H. The sound quality varies from song to song due to the different equipment and formats used from 1994 to 2013. From the remixes to the demos to the live recordings and the soundbites, I packed as much as I could into 75 minutes while tying it all together with a turntable ribbon. If you’ve followed every commercial release of mine, then you’ll notice that some of these songs are alternate versions of official album cuts. You’ll also notice that the demos contain additional lyrics or bonus verses while the music is entirely different from the official album versions. If you follow every update I make on social networks, which is nearly impossible, then you’ve heard some of the other material such as the “Ubuntu (Water into Wine)” song –that is the first song I recorded since the release of Li(f)e in 2010 and it set me back into motion as far as writing and recording goes. Every track on this compilation mix comes with an interesting bit of history, including the brand new ones, and this is all explained below.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this mixtape in one form or another. Big salute to Pat Jensen for the artwork, design and layout. Another salute to Storm Davis for helping keep SFR afloat despite how rough the waters have gotten for indies lately.  All the emcees, musicians and producers who are mentioned in the track listing deserve shouts as well because they rule, so check out their music and buy their albums if you can. Lastly, thank you all for sticking with the kid all these years. Now let the Epic Beard Men usher you into the new mixtape with this free download: “You Can’t Win” (feat. B. Dolan, prod. by Buddy Peace)

——————————————-TRACK-BY-TRACK BREAKDOWN——————————————-

Sage Francis – SICK TO D(EAT)H, 2013

01 - STD INTRO - (2005, beat & cuts by Kool DJ E.Q.)

Back when I had a radio show on WRIU 90.3, the opening theme to my show was “Death of Hip Hop” by Kool DJ E.Q. off of the “Return of the DJ” album. Still one of my favorite DJ pieces. I can’t remember how we got in touch with one another, or when he sent me this beat with scratches on it, but I’m guessing it was around 2005. I stumbled across it recently and realized it had never been used so I added a few relevant vocal samples to it for the sake of the mixtape intro.

02 - GIMME DAT - (2008, beat by Buck 65)

I believe we released this as a “Clip of the Week” at SFR in 2008 and then it disappeared from the internet. The beat Buck did for this is insane. It’s a barrage of percussion that, for whatever reason, made me want to list off a bunch of “stuff” that I want. I tied it together with a chorus I jacked from The Dead Milkmen: “Everybody’s got nice stuff but me.” With their blessing I might add, which is awesome because they’ve always been my favorite punk rock group. Thanks, Dead Milkmen!

03 - ZERO Demo - (2009 “I was Zero” demo, beat by Buck 65)

The backing music on “I Was Zero” from my Li(f)e album is almost entirely different from this demo version except for the bass line. There are also additional lyrics on this version. The demo has a more playful feel than the album version, which I think is necessary for the chorus to really work the way I intended. I go back and forth between the two though depending on my mood. The outro of this song is a recording of Jackson from Grand Buffet from our Fuck Clear Channel Tour in 2004. I didn’t credit him on the track list because he has red hair.

04 - BLUE - (2013, beat by Reanimator, cuts by Buddy Peace)

I strongly debated whether I should save this for the official LP, but in the end I decided its tone probably wouldn’t match the overall feel of what I’m going for on it. Alas, I’m really proud of this track and I’m always excited to work with Reanimator. A bulk of these lyrics were inspired by a vet who I sat next to on a plane many years ago. His story about transitioning back into civilian life after all the war he had seen really got me thinking about…well…our culture of violence. I’ll leave it at that for now.

05 - SLOW D(EAT)H Demo - (2009 “Slow Man” demo, beat by Buck 65)

This is entirely different music than the version of “Slow Man” from the Li(f)e album and it includes an additional verse. This one provides more punch where as the Li(f)e version takes a more laid back approach. My falsetto is nothing short of exceptional on the chorus. I can only hit those notes when there’s a full moon.

06 - THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD TO ME - (2013, beat by Prolyphic)

Prolyphic (who just released an album with Buddy Peace called Working Man) is mainly known for his emcee skills. He makes some monster beats though and this is one of them. It’s very uptempo and full of movement. Every single line in this song rhymes with “dead to me.” Because…these are things to do in Denver when you’re dead to me. It’s a good list of suggestions.

07 - VIVA LA VINYL - (2013, beat by Reanimator, violin by Jolie Holland, cuts by Buddy Peace)

I had been sitting on this Reanimator beat since 2004 or so. I’ve always loved it but I could never think of the perfect way to use it. In fact, while I was recording some songs with Jolie Holland Human the Death Dance, I asked her to play violin over the music. I loved it, but I still couldn’t find my place in it. While I was rapping up this mixtape I decided to give it a shot and it has turned into one of my favorite tracks as of late. It’s incredibly chilled out and I basically get to tell the tale of a guy who’s not making the smoothest of transitions into the MP3 world. Buddy Peace was able to put together some scratch magic on the fly. The vocal sample on the end was suggested by Kathleen from Circle Takes the Square. As you’ll notice, it provides the perfect segue to the next song.

08 - YOU CAN’T WIN (2013, feat. B. Dolan, beat by Buddy Peace. EPIC BEARD MEN!)

When B. Dolan and I formed the Epic Beard Men, we wanted it to be the kind of thing where we could make fun hip-hop songs and just wild out.  A lot of our solo material tends to be about depressing shit, so it’s good to have the option to do stuff that’s more traditional and reminiscent of the kind of hip-hop we grew up on. I’d say it’s a mix between the Beasties, Run DMC, NWA and the Native Tongues. If that makes any sense. This is only the second official song we’ve done as EBM, both tracks produced by Buddy Peace, and it ended up being 10 minutes long. We actually got into a serious argument about how to end the song which could have ended our bearded union if Buddy Peace didn’t step in and demand that we not shout out every single city we’ve ever played at the end of the song. “Just some of the places…just some,” he said. Many thanks to Dan Sawyer for letting us record in his studio.

09 - BREAKING 2BAD (2013, feat. B. Dolan, beat by Buddy Peace. EPIC BEARD MEN!)

This is a remix Buddy Peace did of the first official EBM song, 2Bad. Every sample except for the drums comes from the “Breaking Bad” TV show. B. Dolan’s not even a fan of that show (he thinks the final season of Dexter was awesome…pffff) so if you have any criticism about how we sampled a bit of television magic then direct it my way.

10 - LET EM COME REDUX - (2012, Scroobius Pip, Metermaids, Cecil Otter. Beat by Cecil Otter)

The original version of this song is on Scroobius Pip’s solo album, “Distraction Pieces.” This redux is a complete overhaul of the OG, from music to lyrics to guest spots. Cecil Otter put the beat together, I recorded a new verse, the Metermaids hopped on the track and Cecil Otter capped everything off with an additional verse.

11 - DARK ARTS ABRIDGED - (2011, “Art of Darkness” demo edit. Beat by MC Lars.)

People who are familiar with MC Lars probably heard the full version of this song on his Indie Rocket Science album.  His version clocks in at 5:30 where as mine is 3 minutes long. Because he’s not on it. I KNOCKED HIM OUT THE BOX! Wait…haha..no disrespeck. Let me explain. This demo version is what I originally recorded before anything else was added or switched and I fell in love with it. On the album version, the string samples had to be removed, the sing-sung chorus was replaced with chopped vocals, and the verses were broken up with Lars’ sections intertwining with my sections. You’re more than welcome to enjoy and/or prefer the official album version, but I’m glad I get to share the demo version too. I found it to be a good pairing with the song that comes next, especially with the Bill Hicks snippet used at the end.

12 - REHAB Demo - (2006, beat by Paul Fava)

“Going Back to Rehab” is the last song on my Human the Death Dance album. It is brooding with a very slow built. The demo version, however, is uptempo and hits hard straight out the gate. Paul Fava gave me this beat in 2004 or so and I believe we released this as SFR “Clip of the Week” in 2005. That was the last people heard of it though until now.

13 - HIGH STEP Demo - (2006, beat by Eaters)

It’s interesting how the tone of music can give a whole new feel, and maybe even understanding, to lyrics. This beat by Eaters (UK) is creepy and dark. The album version, which was produced by Ant, is more energetic and in your face. It was strange hearing this version after so many years and realizing that, “hey…I like this song a lot. Fuck everyone who thought it was just about football.” Haha. The second half of this song is the recording of a sexist pastor who doesn’t apologize for standing where God stands. Take a number, slob.

14 - THE PASTOR SLEEPS FINE (interlude) 

Reanimator gave me these horns ages ago and I wasn’t able to make proper use of them until now. The pastor sleeps fine, guys.

15 - ORIGIN TO DESCENT - (2013, beat by Buddy Peace)

You may possibly hear the second verse from this song pop up elsewhere at some point. In 2011 someone approached me about doing a song with Kool G Rap. He’s a childhood idol of mine so I jumped a the opportunity. I recorded my verse and then I heard his verse. And then the person who approached me hopped on the song as well and then it turned into a whole other thing. Well, Buddy Peace remixed the version with just me and KGR which I preferred over the beat they were using. Since I haven’t heard back from them in a couple years, and since I don’t want to use KGR’s vocals without his permission, I decided to just record an additional verse release this as an entirely new song. I think Buddy was getting a bit restless about this beat not being used, so I’m glad I have an excuse to release it now.

16 - TREE OF KNOWLEDGE (spoken word, 1999)

This is a live recording of me performing a piece called “Tree of Knowledge” at the Century Lounge (Providence, RI) during the beginning of an AOI show. A version of this piece exists with a beat but I think the spoken word version has a great touch. The music I placed behind it was kind of a happy accident and I was surprised by how well it fit with just a bit of editing. The outro of this track has a snippet from a Bill MacMillan poem. He’s great.

17 - THERE IS A BETTER WAY - (Lord Grunge on vocals & guitar)

Lord Grunge (Grand Buffet) sent me a preview of his rock and roll album which comes out next year. This is the intro to his album. I snatched it and sang over it in an attempt to recreate the harmony sessions we’d often have in the tour van. That’s that. It’s mine now. Eh. It’s actually his…it’s a short catchy tune and he was nice enough to let me use it.

18 - UBUNTU (WATER INTO WINE) - (2012, beat by Adam248 & Sage)

For information about this song and the kids who are featured on it, please visit www.tinyurl.com/SageFrancisUBUNTU 

19 - DON’T THINK Vs. REBEL YELLOW - (2013, No Bird Sing / Cecil Otter. Mash up by Bearpuncher Prime)

SFR recently released No Bird Sing’s “Definition Sickness” album. “Don’t Think” (feat. yours truly) was the first single and we held a remix contest. Bearpuncher Prime came through with this mash-up where he placed our vocals over Cecil Otter’s instrumental for “Rebel Yellow” and I love it. Works perfectly. It’s a Minneapolis love-fest in here.

20 - BABY STAYS (LIVE ON BBC) - (2010, guitars by Worgie and Yila)

When I was visiting the UK in 2010 I was asked to be a guest on Lauren Laverne’s show BBC Radio 6. She asked if I could perform some songs live and recommended that I play with live instruments. Well…I didn’t have a band with me. I scrambled around to see if I could find someone to play guitar for me and that’s when Dan le Sac and Scroobius Pip put me in touch with Worgie and Yila. Without more than an hour to prepare, we stepped into the studio and this is the result. I’m really happy with it. Apparently the UK was into it as well because this was the only time my name trended on Twitter. I did it, mom! I’ve arrived!

21 - DON’T KNOW (feat. Atmosphere, 2003 demo)

This song somehow fell through the cracks when I recorded “Stuck” and “Cigarette Breaks” with Atmosphere back in 2003. It was never recorded in a professional studio and the demo recording only existed on 4 track tape. I had to convert it to CD so it’s definitely got some sound issues. It’s a fun track though and it’s about time this saw same daylight.

22 - KID PROFIT FREESTYLE OUTTAKES (1994 bedroom cypher)

I don’t want to say this guy’s real name because he’ll kill me for including these snippets. I miss those old days though. Freestyling in the bedroom about absolutely nothing at all and recording it…why? Because one day I’d have a mixtape called Sick to D(eat)h.

23 - LIFE IS AN STD - (1996 demo)

This song appeared on my very first demo tape in 1996. I didn’t have anyone making beats for me at the time, so I rapped over this Killarmy instrumental which samples the theme song from The Incredible Hulk TV show. I went on to record a studio version of this song with AOI a couple years later, but I prefer the rawness of this one. My ideology has changed a lot over the years, so it’s funny to hear myself dropping pseudo-religious references in a serious way. That’s kind of why I like including older material on mixtapes though. Shows evolution. Or devolution. Depends on your perspective.

24 - YEARS Demo - (2009, “16 Years” demo, beat by Kurtis SP)

The album version of 16 Years did not follow the demo version at all. The music is entirely different. I don’t even think there’s any percussion on the album version. As Kurtis SP’s name suggests, he uses an SP 1200 to make beats which makes drums crunchy and awesome. I love both versions of this song, but this one is a great alternative. There’s even a bit of a chorus happening there. I figured that the theme, feel and content of this demo would be a perfect ending to the 75 minute journey.

ENJOY!

Nov 16

Breaking Badass

While standing at the merch booth at my show in Pasadena, I was griping to my friend Hugo about how I’d be missing the final episode of Breaking Bad due to my long flight home the following day. Moments later a cast member introduced herself to me and asked for pictures. Uhhhhhhh yeah. Cripes almighty. Much love to Emily Rios (AKA Andrea from BB.) Having her at my show killed any and all gripes I could possibly have. I damn near shit myself. She was going on and on about my music and all I could think was, “Oh my God, are you serious right now? Todd did you SO DIRTY in the second to last episode!” haha. Thanks to this surprise guest appearance at my show, I’m not even mad that Walt Jr’s crutches were not kicked out by the final episode even though that’s something I’ve been predicting (hoping for) for the past two seasons. Due to being so giddy, I forget to mention to her that I have a song with B. Dolan (remixed by Buddy Peace) called “Breaking 2Bad”.

All in all, ’twas a very good night. California is always so good to me. Thanks weirdos.

Sep 30

“Don’t Think” Remix Contest – And the WINNER is…

**UPDATE**
What kind of name is Joeypresents and who the hell is this character anyway? Well…whoever he is and wherever he’s from, Mr. Joeypresents is officially the WINNER of the “Don’t Think” remix contest. CONGRATS, Sir Joeypresents!


Choosing a winner was not easy for us. There were over 70 remix entries and many of them were strong contenders for the #1 spot. After much deliberation, No Bird Sing and Sage Francis decided that Joeypresents’ overall composition, mix and musicality earned him the blue ribbon. There are many honorable mentions to be sure, but a special shout out goes to Dilly Dilly as she was the only producer who made it into everyone’s “top 3″ list. What ultimately kept Dilly away from the top slot may have been the sound/EQ of the mix, but what we most enjoy about it is the original vocals she added to the project. There were in fact a few people who probably could have probably won this contest with a better overall mix. We can’t be too nit-picky as we understand there was a relatively short amount of time for people to bang this remix out, but having a better EQ and overall mix should be kept in mind for future contests.

In addition to the official SFR winner, we had announced that the person who receives the most votes at www.tinyurl.com/DontThinkRemixContest would win the “popular vote” trophy. That honor goes to Moxe of Spain who not only put an electro/danceclub twist to the song but must have put on a hell of a campaign as he got more than double the votes of anyone else. Joeypresents didn’t receive a single public vote, which I find interesting to note. Haha. Funny how that works out. Alas, big ups to Moxe for being able to rally so many fans.

Lastly, we want to reiterate how agonizing this whole process. There’s a ton of talent out there, people from many different states and countries who deserve recognition for their work, so we’re going to leave these remixes up unless it is requested by the producer to take them down. Additionally, feel free to put the music up on your own youtube and soundcloud pages. Thank you all for helping us lose sleep this weekend.

Oh, wait, can’t forget why we decided to do this remix contest in the first place…
No Bird Sing’s “Definition Sickness” album drops on November 12th. Pre-sale deals are at www.tinyurl.com/DefinitionSickness

Congrats once again to Joeypresents, Dilly Dilly, and Moxe.
All 70 remixes along with my short critique on each are listed below.

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Below are the names of the 70 remixers in chronological order. I’ve included my brief notes on each remix in italics. Each person deserves more attention I’m sure, but there’s only so much time in the day. If anyone feels they were slighted or overlooked, please forgive me. At the end of the day, taste is pretty much subjective. I expect other people to weigh in with their own opinions and maybe they’ll hear something that I didn’t.

*Adriatic – (electronic/ambient/glitchy. Doesn’t really do all that much musically but it’s a good chilled vibe throughout.)
*Aiden Butterworth Kenny – (Sparse overall, which isn’t a bad thing really. There’s no particular part of this remix that hits me in a special way, but I do like how it has a perverted monastery thing happening throughout.)
**Animus MaximusThis is the kind of remix that sounds like it was crafted bit-by-bit to the vocals. Almost to the point where if someone unaware of the original may think that this is the original song. I love the change-ups and attention to detail here. My only criticism, if I have to provide one, is that I’m not in love with the sound of the drums. But I don’t hate them either. This here is definitely a top 5 remix for me.
*AntiochTechnically sound but for some reason it feels to me that the music doesn’t really follow the flow of the words too well. Not sure how to explain it, but I think too many things were stuffed into the sonics. I do like the drums even though I typically lean more toward breakbeats.
*Auxiliary Phoenix (Ireland)Starts off interestingly enough, but ultimately leaves me wanting more stuff to happen.
*BeatfnThe synth line that repeats non-stop throughout the whole remix becomes a bit annoying to me. Strange how that never changes or drops out.
*Bearpuncher PrimeClever mashup. He said: “I wanted to keep the mashup a strictly SFR/Minneapolis affair, so I used the instrumental for Cecil Otter’s Rebel Yellow…”
*Bec Ars (Romania)I’m not sure if it’s the drum pattern or the overall busy nature of the music, but it feels like too much is happening throughout this whole remix. That said, I really love the horns and I like how special attention was paid to change-ups throughout the song. It just never seems to settle in comfortably.
*Big BalouAnother remix where the main music loop goes non-stop throughout the song. Starts off really strong though.
*B SendioSome cool tricky stuff happening with the vocals and music but that only happens in the beginning. The stock synth sounds and the drums sounds leave more to be desired.
*Chris SalterAcoustic guitar remix. I’m quite partial to this type of music, and I love the approach, however this music seems to falter a bit during the chorus. I think it’s good there are no drums on this remix as I think it helps the vocals open up and breathe…that’s refreshing. However, the chorus is the only part of this song where the vocals take on a melody of sorts, and the guitar line in this remix seems to be clashing with our melody. If you can call it that.
*Classy BadgerThe mood feels right. The lack of variety in sound or change-ups in drums unfortunately weighs heavy on this remix by the end.
**Cool Poindexter (Australia)I love all the ways that this remix hits. So many interesting elements here. My one and only criticism is that the synth in the chorus might be too overpowering. It might be just right though. This is a top 5 remix for me no doubt.
*CubbiebearCubbiebear comes hard with this remix, per usual. Pulsating music stabs and punchy drums. I was hoping for something crazy to happen during the chorus, but that may have been an unfair expectation. I think the way the music drops out through much of the second verse works well. Can’t help but feel like more could have been done, but overall the punchiness of this remix secures it as a top 10 for me.
*DahbuThis drumstep remix is definitely one of the most unique entries we received. It’s so repetitive that it went from being annoying to enjoyable for me. I don’t even mind that the only vocals he used are from Joe’s first verse. I kind of like that actually.
*Dan Guinski (Brazil)I’m really into this remix. It works in a lot of ways. The snare drum reminds me a bit too much of “Ace of Bass” but this remix was clearly crafted to the vocals where as a lot of the other remixes pay much less attention to the nuances of the vocals & song structure.
*David DuBoisThere are some interesting things happening with the synth line, but the vocals are buried through most of this remix which I think hurts the remix overall.
**Dilly DillyThis was the first remix that got me truly excited. I like the new feel and how she sang the chorus. A most unique entry and a personal favorite.
**DJ High-r “Cosmin Andrei Remix” – Has a smooth, laid back feel. The music switches up during the second verse but not the drums. The 4 bar loops throughout the song become a bit too repetitive, but still a nice feel overall.
*DJ Iron GutGrimy synth with good movement. Definite head-nod factor happening here. Cool acapella fuckery and vocal samples.
*DJ SpellsThe synths border on cheesy, but I have a sinister soft spot for this type of sound. Everything has been sped up for this remix which is fine, but I do wish that vocals didn’t have that “sped-up” sound to them. I find it’s best to tweak the vocals in a way where they sound normal even if they’re faster in tempo. The major downfall of this remix is how the vocals fall offbeat a bit during the second verse. Love the scratches at the end.
*Doc GodfreyFeels a bit too plain overall, but that might be due to how sparse the drum track is. I enjoy the tricks that are happening with the vocals and music.
*Dynamo414 remix (Sweden)Good change ups in the music and overall enjoyable, but the drums feel a bit stiff as they never change in pattern. I think some drum variations could have elevated this remix quite a bit.
*EcidThis is another synth-heavy remix which seems to be popular with this remix contest more than others we’ve done in the past. However, I think the true strength of this remix is in the sound of the percussion and the pattern that is used.
*El Sistema 407 (Chile)I really like the upbeat feel that this remix gives off. The music drowns out the vocals a bit too much in certain sections, but overall this is a definitely an interesting feel-good version of “Don’t Think.”
*Evolution M.S. (Brussels)This remix kind of has a weird 80′s r&b pop twist to it. Not hatin’.
*Goldensrap (Turkey)I can’t tell if the sped-up vocal sample that repeats throughout this remix is its greatest strength or weakness. Ultimately I’ve decided that it just feels like not enough is happening in this remix to consider it as a top contender, but I enjoy it the way I enjoy scratching an itch until I pull my skin off.
*Grandfather’s AxeThis is a definite head nodder. Love the sound of the drums on this remix although they I think they should have a louder presence in the mix. In fact, the overall mix of levels might be my only criticism of this remix.
*Jae HavocI really like the music used on this remix but I think it’s too loud overall. Just by a smidgen though. The drum pattern is interesting and works well with the vocals.
**Jesse BlankenshipFunk style and walks with a badass limp. Top contender.
*JoeypresentsThis music reminds me of when I attended dance clubs in the early 90′s. Not sure why. I envision big goofy hats and farmer jeans with one strap down. It’s a good memory despite how that description may come across.
*KnooperThis remix starts off so strong that I was feeling like it might be the winner hands-down. The upbeat drum pattrn, the punchiness, the underlaying music, the way it transitioned into the first chorus…all amazing. I found it a bit strange how Joe’s verse was a cut a bit short but I figured those vocals would appear toward the end of the remix or something. They didn’t. In fact, my verse was repeated a second time at the ending. I think that section could have benefited from switching from Joe’s lines to my lines if there was a desire to extend the track. My opinion anyway. My excitement faded a bit, but not entirely, when the oscillating bass appeared in the second verse. At that point it leaned more toward a dubstep/drumstep sound when I was originally hoping it would branch off into some more badass rock sounds. I still dig it. Different strokes and all. Certainly one of the best sounding remixes we received.
*K-Zom (France)This remix is pretty mean overall. The drums snap and the low-end synth along with the high end melody hits just right.
*Lars Rosenblad (Sweden)There’s not enough melody or depth to the music for this remix to hold my attention for very long.
*LeaeAll the sounds in this remix are “original” according to Laea, so that’s cool. Interesting glitch tricks and after-effects happening with the vocals. There seems to be some compression issues happening with the vocals during the “snap” sounds, which is the only percussive element of the verses and they appear through most of the song.
*Liam BrennanMinimalistic with an interesting drum pattern to boot. I like it in all its simplicity. It works in this instance.
*magOwlHe submitted two remixes and, although both of them were really good, this is the one I think would catch most people’s ears. The sample captures the perfect mood and I especially love how the sample used in the chorus works perfectly with the vocals.
*Mainframe Bird “Glitch Hop Remix” – Sped up and glitchy. Not my taste per se, but it’s interesting for me to imagine a song like this being played in a club.
*ManicDark synthful bliss from some 80′s horror/fantasy flick. Love this style.
*Matthew John JamiesonThis has a nice melancholy feel to it. The pattern of the percussion is interesting but doesn’t always seem to mesh well with the vocal rhythms. Really nice remix overall.
**Mild Maynyrd- I wasn’t sure if I’d like this remix by the way it started, but then it quickly grew on me and as the music developed it completely drew me in. Very unique feel.
*MissunDistorted guitars and, what sounds like, live drumming. If live instruments are involved in this remix then it’s a bit of a letdown that there aren’t more change-ups throughout. A chord change here and there could definitely give this remix the dynamics it needs. Nice piano breakdown at the end.
*Moxe (Spain)Electronic club mix. Not really sure what genre this is but I think it works pretty well. Doesn’t seem to be crafted to the vocals though.
**Mr Bomb CampThis one hits. It goes many places. My only criticism really is that I wish the strings were actual strings instead of synth strings. Why didn’t he hire an orchestra for our remix contest?
*Oscar Motus (France)Feels a bit too stale for me overall, it does have its interesting moments though. Just wish it had some more sonic spice.
*Pers OneThe main music loop may be too repetitive but I find it to be really hypnotic. Other edits within the remix are a bit iffy in execution and the drums are flat, but I do enjoy this remix overall.
*Peter HallThis remix is technically sound. But hearing a remix like this after listening to so many others, I fear it doesn’t do enough to hold my attention.
*RSTThere is a serious compression issue happening with this final mixdown which is unfortunate since the music and beat sound like they work really well with the vocals. You’ll notice that the overall volume dips up and down rapidly throughout the song and that’s definitely distracting. It’s too bad more attention wasn’t paid to that aspect of this remix before it was exported because it definitely has promise.
*Rudius MaxThe way this remix kicks off reminded me that I was hoping to hear more people do interesting tricks with the vocals and, specifically, the chorus. So this started off with a lot of promise for me but then it didn’t really keep my attention in the same way as the remix continued. It seems to be stuck in the same note that is presented right after the intro.
*Sai-Copie (France)I love the old school flavor of this remix. The use of 808 drums and the repetition of the “Don’t Think” vocals throughout this remix makes it unique enough to set it apart from the rest in a good way.
*SaltforAmy vs. MikeNastyA good remix overall, but it doesn’t hit me in any special way. I like the way the drums hit, but by the end of the song they sound a bit grating due to a lack of change-ups. It’s tough to tell on just a couple listens, but I think the drums might overpower whatever mood the music is bringing to the plate.
*Sam HertogsThis remix isn’t going to change the world, or this remix contest even, but this style of beat kind of borders on a trap sound and it’s the first time I’ve heard myself over that kind of beat in a way where I was like, “Hmmm…I can see that. I get it.” So props for that.
*Scott ChambersI like it. Reminds me of a drunken purple elephant.
*Serg GonzalezI like the composition of this remix. It sounds like it was all played live. I also love how he played around with the vocals a bit throughout the course of the song. My main criticism has to do with the sound of the drums as I think they sound too flat. This might be a result of them being live drums but I don’t know for sure. My minor criticism is that the vocals sound like they were placed a tiny sliver ahead of where they’re supposed to be.
**Skobie WonI love the feel and the change ups. Lots of attention paid and considerable work went into this remix.
*Soundsmith the ProgrammerThe vocals are drowned out a bit by the music which is unfortunate because if all levels were evened out this would definitely be one of the top remixes for me.
*Stray SideThe drums are my favorite part of this remix, and the music works well too. But the lack of dynamics in the music is where this remix might ultimately fall short. I like the feel the music really works though.
*SupabuldozerReally good movement happening in the music in a way where it works well with the vocals. I love piano though so I might biased. I like the way the music changes at the end.
*The BackroomI like the sample used and the various sounds within it. I think my biggest criticism of this remix might be the lack of change-ups throughout the song, especially during the chorus. The 8 bar loop is definitely cool, but I think it needs a companion loop to help switch up the feel from time to time.
*ThinNXxDark synth stylee. I’m easy to please when it comes to this sound.
*Tiger LightningThis is a sped up version of the song. Glad that the vocals don’t have the sped up sound to them, but it still feels rushed overall. Not sure this is the best sound for the song, but it is technically sound. Everything fits into place the way it should.
*Trey CleggHorrorcore style. Simple but effective. Some cool vocal effects and I like how the music switches in the chorus.
*Tommy CrypticElectronic drums and synths hitting just right here. I like where the drums drop out and switch up, but the music seems to lack in dynamic. I enjoy this remix a lot though despite that.
*The_Applefish (France)My main gripe with this remix is that the vocals were placed a tiny bit ahead of where they should be, so every so often they sound offbeat.
*TymonsBassThis remix borrows a lot from the original song, but you’ll quickly notice the unique qualities of what Tommy has to offer as the song goes on. It has a lot to do with glitches, vocal effects and electronica trickery. An interesting listen.
*Vinyl RichieClearly a lot of work went into crafting this remix, but I think the use of stock sounds might give it too much of a cheesy feel.
*VoluTI believe this is the first “Don’t Think” remix I’ve heard with some swing to it. It’s unique in a few ways actually. For some reason the music isn’t totally drawing me in, and that might be because it never hits a solid groove, but I certainly appreciate the overall execution.
*White Guilt (UK)Mr. White Guilt takes this into “Teenage Love” territory and it’s got me swooning. “Don’t, don’t, don’t hurt me again.”
*Wiwa (UK)I asked him to raise the vocals in the first version he sent and they still seem to get buried during parts of the verse. It also seems like the vocals fall off beat from time to time, but it’s a pretty cool sounding remix overall.
*Yoo SephSounds like live music which is cool, but I’m not sure it hits me in any special way. It’s another remix that might mainly be suffering from the stock sounding synths.

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Strange Famous Records and No Bird Sing retain all rights to the “Don’t Think” acapella. If you remix this song, you can offer it to your fans as a stream or download (though we’d prefer if you waited until the contest is over,) but you are not allowed to monetize or sell the remix.

Sep 22

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