I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I have never had a bad time at Neurolux. Every show I have been to there has been topnotch to say the least. The Cunnninlyguists’ Strange Universe Tour made its way to the Neurolux on Wednesday and absolutely blew everyone’s mind. An artist that can vibe completely with the audience and bring something new to the table brings the concert experience to a whole new level. The innovation, wordplay, and caliber of talent of every artist that performed was something you have to experience to understand. (Tour details.)
I met Sadistik last year right after the Flowers for my Father album dropped and was able to sit down with him and talk about that album a bit. When I heard he was coming to Boise again with Cunninlynguists just before releasing a new album I jumped at the chance to get some inside details. Here is what he had to say.
Shontelle: April of last year, on your birthday you gave away up to five copies of the Flowers for my Father album so that fans could really share your music. Did that go as well as you had hoped? What kind of response did you receive and what did the guys at Fake Four think about the whole thing?
Sadistik: It went pretty much how I had hoped. The only thing I really lost was a big chunk of money out of my account, but I got a lot more people to hear it. It felt like an organic way to connect with people. I thought it would be dope to actually give people retail CDs as a hook up. It actually cost money and has the fuckin’ sticker on it. It’s the real thing. It went really well. I’m not going to do it again but it was great.
Ceschi (co-founder of Fake Four) was very positive about it. I was worried when I called him to essentially ask him if I could give away an enormous amount of one of the higher selling albums on the label. He was cool with it. Any time I have an idea or concept he lets me run with it. He doesn’t try to keep his hand in my projects or anything. He seems to believe in my ideas, so when I come to him and I tell him what I need, he helps me.
Shontelle: You did a show with Lupe Fiasco last November in Seattle. How was that?
Sadistik: Dope! It was really cool. Lupe has always been one of my favorite artists. I study his writing. I think he has innovated the craft of lyricism in some ways that might even go over looked because of some of his fiascos, for lack of a better word. I was excited to be able to share the stage with someone I have looked up to for a long time. I got to chop it up with him for a while. He was really nice. His press is so mixed I really didn’t know what to expect when I met him.
Shontelle: What is your opinion on his “fiascos?” Things like him calling Obama a terrorist?
Sadistik: I think that he is an example of an artist that I like to separate how the media projects the person, as opposed to the music. I don’t tend to always agree with everything that he says, especially if it is really bold stuff. I don’t always ride with what he says but I like his craft enough that it doesn’t bother me. I don’t give a shit about Obama.
Shontelle: You have a whole section on your Facebook for fan art or fan love. What were your thoughts when you started seeing people do things as permanent as tattooing their bodies with your lyrics or album covers?
Sadistik: It’s a cheap word to use but it’s surreal. Not surreal like it’s a dreamlike experience but people show me, I know it exists and I appreciate it, but it’s so hard for me to truly take it to heart. It’s hard for me to take that compliment and believe it. You know what I mean? If you see someone and you compliment them, even if it is a true compliment and whatever you are complimenting exists, it’s obvious sometimes that person won’t know how to accept it because of their own perception of things. I think it’s kind of like that. Where I appreciate it and it shows a deep connection with a lot of fans but it doesn’t make me feel important.
Shontelle: A banner for a recent show was dedicated to Alejandro Jodorowski (Chilean filmmaker, play writer, actor, author, musician, comic writer and spiritual guru). Would you call him an idol? Maybe someone who inspires you when you direct your videos?
Sadistik: Yeah! Jodorowski! Yeah I would. He is one of many artists that light me on fire. He does all of this bizarre surrealist stuff. As a person he is super intriguing. He is an amazing director, actor, juggler, he is a mime, and he writes comics. He is this bizarre philosopher. He is a pure symbolic artist. He is one of many on a list of people that I think keep art interesting.
Shontelle: Is there anything in particular in your videos that you would definitely say was inspired by Jodorowski?
Sadistik: I wouldn’t say I have any videos that are directly influenced by him yet but it will probably happen. I directed, wrote, and shot some of the three videos for my upcoming album. They are all kind of homage to older films, pieces of different things. They are more of a 70’s horror type trilogy that I shot. I am pretty excited about it.
A Jodorowski reference would be ill but I would need the budget for it because he has these really crazy scenes. There is a part in Holy Mountain where these people are parading down the streets of Chile holding crucifixes with dead dogs, hundreds of them. That’s just a thirty-second scene. How hard is that to make happen? He’s just one of those people that’s a true weirdo. A weirdo from his heart, not a weirdo to sell something. I appreciate that because I am person who tends to be bored or unsatisfied with things. So anything new or interesting, if it peeks my interest, it’s important too.
Shontelle: So is film something you would like to get into later in life?
Sadistik: Love to. Love to. You know every athlete wants to be a rapper. Every rapper wants to be an actor. Every actor wants to be a rock star. Everybody wants to do something else. I really want to get into film eventually. I have been kind of studying obsessively and shooting my own stuff, starting to edit. I’ve been getting my feet wet. I have a lot of ideas that could turn into something interesting.
The new videos for my album, I hope you like them. They’re weird. There’s boobs and tarantulas and kids with hammers and shit. It’s cool.
Shontelle: You mentioned Ceschi earlier, one of the founders of Fake Four. He was arrested in 2010, ended up serving 18 months for supposedly transporting 100 lbs of weed from California to Connecticut. The story seems a little convoluted. What are your thoughts on what happened and how did this effect you as an artist with Fake Four?
Sadistik: Yeah he got fuckin’ set up on some bullshit. I mean, whatever, rules are rules – I get it but Ceschi is a nonviolent, unthreatening productive member of society. It bothered me heavily to know that someone like him was in there. Anybody that knows Ceschi or knows the story knows that he got fucked. He was set up. They wrapped those boxes in Christmas wrapping. They threatened his grandfather. They had the press there, ready to take photos of him. The whole thing seemed like a production. I wasn’t there, but it seemed pretty sideways. He is out now, happy. It felt like a little fishing weight hanging on the end of my heart when he was in there.
I can only speak for how it affected me and it hasn’t affected me much. It affected me more as a friend than as an artist. It stayed afoot fine with the people he had holding the label down while he was gone. He got out right before my new album was coming out so on a selfish musical marketing note, I feel it worked out well for me personally. I know it was stressful for him to come and re-acclimate and pick up right where the label was, so I feel for him.
Shontelle: Summer of this year you are coming out with Ultraviolet. You don’t seem like the kind of artist who is going to do the same thing twice so what was your inspiration for this album? What is going to be different?
Sadistik: Thanks, that’s the best kind of artist, ever. I started this album the day I finished the last album. The last song I finished on Flowers for my Father was “Snow White.” The day that was done I started going in. It took direction as it went. It took form as it went. I love this album. I think it’s the best thing I have done.
It feels like a mood. Feels like you’re in a cave with neon bats’ echo locating you. I don’t know what it is. In my head it feels like this tone. It’s a little bit slower in parts than some of my stuff. There’s more hooks. It’s a little bit of a different direction than I have [gone] but I think it’s the right one for me and I hope people like it. It’s been going over well live. I think it’s going to put my name on a lot of new people’s radar without isolating people who have already supported me. We’ll see.
Shontelle: You definitely had some amazing production on your last album. What’s the production like on this one?
Sadistik: I am very particular about what the music sounds like. I feel like it’s still my signature stuff in a little more of a niche direction I had not taken it before. Eric G produced about half of this album. He produced a huge portion of the last one too. It’s really spacey. It’s like a cerebral space gangster sound.
Shontelle: You mentioned when we were talking earlier that you were going to have Sister Crayon feature on this album, are there any other features?
Sadistik: Yeah my song with Eyedea is on it. It’s called “Chemical Burn.” I finally get to get that out to the world and off of my chest. I have a song with Tech N9ne on it, the song with Tech N9ne also has Sticky Fingaz from Onyx. It’s hard as fuck. I have a song with Nacho Picasso as well and then vocalists like Sister Crayon sprinkled throughout.
Shontelle: Last time you were in Boise you told us about a poetry book you have been progressively working on. Is that something your fans can look forward to this year or is that still in the works?
Sadistik: Still in the works. I wanted to have it done this year but I have been writing nonstop. I have not taken a day off. Since the last album, every single day I have made it a point to write or record or do something creative and even if it’s not there, force it. Luckily I haven’t had to. I have been in this really good mental zone. That’s all I’ve done for a year, I get up, I smoke pot, I drink coffee and write. Throw my brain into this cavern. I’ve been so distracted and excited about the music stuff that the poetry has kinda sat back.
I’m still working on it. It’s about halfway done. I have a title, I have the ideas all there but I am insecure about it. I don’t want to just throw it out. I’m really scared I’ll put a poetry book out and five years later read it and hate it. Poetry can so easily age poorly. I want it to be good. I have a lot in store besides the poetry book that I haven’t announced yet. This year I will be releasing more music than I ever have.
Shontelle: The 20-year anniversary of Illmatic is coming up. What’s your favorite track off of that album?
Sadistik: My favorite song, off top would be “Life’s a Bitch.” While we are on the topic, no disrespect to Illmatic but I liked It Was Written more than Illmatic. It’s darker, it’s got “The Message” on it and “I Gave You Power.” It even has that song with the Dre beat. He even got a little more commercial and it worked. I liked it.