Sadistik [Interview]

Cody Foster, better known to his loyal following of fans as Sadistik, is artistically indefinable by any means.  He’s the sort of lyricist that other famed lyricists would do right to emulate, or at the very least, learn some shit from.  He’s been around the world on endless tours and has spit more verses than you’ve shared bong hits with your “cool Aunt”.  The pride of Seattle (not Minneapolis as so many believe), this indie hop hopper has conquered the land, and has developed a loyal following unlike anything the music industry could imagine.  And he’s done it all on his own.  On his own, but with a whole lot of help, to complete juxtapose my previous statement, with the likes of other amazing artists like Kristoff Kane, Eyedea, Kid Called Computer, Lotte Kestner, Louis Logic, Bodi, Mac Lethal, and so many more.

And while I absolutely adore Mr. Foster’s work, when the opportunity to swap words with the this indie hip hop sensation, I could think of no one better to help me think of some ideas for conversation than my old friend and part time musician, barista, and long time college attendee, Christina Hess.  She resides in Minneapolis (again, not home to Sadistik) where we all know just might be the Mecca of indie hip hop, being the home to the now legendary Rhymesayers Entertainment.  Christina has definitely been my go to girl when it comes to all things dealing with the subject matter, and she had some great things to ask the mad hatter of hip hop.

So check out this wonderful conversation with one of today’s greatest hip hop artists and read as we discuss his future, Edgar Allen Poe, loss of friends, and G.G. Allin’s infamous enemas.  Enjoy!

 

 

Ron Trembath: What can fans expect from your upcoming Whiskey Note Speaker Tour with Louis Logic?  Any new material?

You can definitely expect some new material on this upcoming tour with Louis Logic. I’m finally going to start unveiling some of these new songs from Flowers for My Father, but I’ll still be mixing in some of my older music as well. I also am planning on improvising during my sets more and seeing how the crowds digest it. We’ll see how it goes.  (Note to reader: We are well aware that this tour is not “upcoming” anymore, and that Sadistik recently had to to bow out of the last couple remaining shows.  Some time elapsed between the interview and this session.  We just wanted to keep his response, because, well, in the Train Wreck’d Society, Cody Foster shits gold plated diamonds and can do no wrong.  So we want every word he will give us.  Please continue….)

Christina Hess: In your opinion, what is the best thing since sliced bread?

I would have to say Jameson being readily available. Shout out to whoever made that possible.

CH: If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Basically a lot of beer and sandwich ingredients. I go out to eat pretty often so my refrigerator wouldn’t impress you.

RT: Who do you consider to be the best female vocalist out there today?

Well, best and favorite are two very different things. I would say my favorite is my friend Anna-Lynne Williams. She goes by the moniker of Lotte Kestner and I absolutely love her sound. In fact, she will be appearing on my new record a few times. Some other female vocalists I’ve been listening to lately are Phantogram, Warpaint, and Blonde Redhead.

CH: Who are some of your non-musical influences?  Why?

I have a ton of non-music influences. I think if you listen to my music closely it’s pretty evident actually since most of my references are from film or books. I’m a huge movie buff, especially horror films and foreign, and I would say that is probably my biggest influence outside of personal experiences and relationships I’ve had. I’m also becoming quite an avid reader these days as well. I’ve definitely learned that everything I experience, watch, read, hear, etc. makes its way into my art in one way or another.

RT: It’s been said that you are quite the film buff….let’s do the whole desert island thing, and grant the fact that you had a TV and DVD player with magical electricity on this island….What 5 films would you not want to be stranded without?

Ah, speaking of the devil. That’s tough, but here’s what comes to mind:

1. A Clockwork Orange

2. Oldboy

3. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

4. Suspiria

5. Eraserhead

CH: What are some of your other creative outlets?

This is something I’ve actually been exploring more lately. I’ve kind of come to grips that I need creative outlets in order to avoid feeling crazy inside my head at times, but sometimes I just don’t feel like writing or I don’t feel as confident in the words I put together so I need other outlets. I’ve been slowly learning some basics of guitar and I’m also working on a poetry book. I also wrote and directed that “Higher Brain” video with Kristoff Krane and I really loved that experience. I absolutely love film and would love to direct at some point in my life. Maybe I could make some cool creepy short films or something eventually, I don’t know. That’s one thing I love about having full creative freedom with my projects is that I get to be involved in other mediums such as album artwork and music videos.

RT: If you were sent before the supreme court to defend hip hop music as being a “truly artistic” genre, what would you say?

People have been arguing over what’s art and what isn’t forever. I think that as human beings, we have this curious need to compartmentalize everything and try to squeeze it into a box just to see if it will fit. To answer your question though, of course rap is art; it’s people expressing themselves. Now, is it good art, or relevant art or innovative art? That’s a different discussion. Genres are such a broad term to me. I personally see rap artists like Sage Francis or El-P in a different artistic light than someone like Gucci Mane or Lil’ B, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t art. I mean, Jason Pollack dripped paint on a canvas, Andy Warhol hired people to replicate his paintings to claim as his own, and G.G. Allin would give himself enemas on stage. Are they artists? Obviously, those are drastically different examples but I personally believe it is all art, some of it just happens to speak to me louder and clearer than others.

CH: How do you separate yourself from other rappers (in your genre, as well as others)?

That’s a good question and it’s something that I’ve thought about pretty often lately. Since music is so accessible to make these days, there are thousands upon thousands of rappers all vying for the same goals and the thought of fitting into a crowd has never really appealed to me. I work really, really hard on trying to get better at my craft and I hope it shows in the final products and that people will find a reason to want to hear what I make. I mean, I’ve never met anybody that is exactly like me, so I don’t think I should be a replication of anybody else artistically. I certainly am influenced by a lot of other rappers and admire some of their work very much, but I hope that at the end of the day people can say I have my own sound in some way or another.

RT: Our mutual pal Alex, a.k.a. Bodi, wrote about his experiences with the late Michael “Eyedea” Larsen in a little book called Children of Mercy: Tales and Teachings From The World of Independent Music.  You were also friends with, and worked alongside Eyedea before he passed (The book was also dedicated to his memory.  How did Michael influence you?  And how much of him is in your own art?

Micheal has influenced me even more drastically than I think I’ve fully realized. I find myself thinking of him and missing him on a daily basis. I actually made a song about him and shot a video for it in Minneapolis with his friends and family recently. The goal of the song wasn’t to say how great of an artist he was, I think that’s been pretty obvious, but how good of a friend he was to me.  He also was the connection that brought Kristoff Krane and I together, whom I consider to be one of my best friends and favorite artists. The fact that Mike believed in my music in one way or another will always be one of my proudest achievements and I don’t really have an accurate way to describe how I miss him.

RT: If you could perform for any historical figure, alive or dead, who do you think would most understand your work?  Why?

I’m going to cheat and give an answer for each. The first person who comes to mind as a dead historical figure who I think would understand my work would be Edgar Allan Poe. I feel like he obviously wrote very dark material but the closer you inspect it the more you can see the craftsmanship and details he put into his work. He also had a pretty difficult time dealing with certain obstacles in his life that I think would relate to my material in some way. As for a living person, I would say David Lynch. I admire him for many reasons, but I really love how Lynch doesn’t give a shit about answering concrete questions in his films, but instead he is much more concerned about painting the mood and tone that he wants you to feel. Oftentimes in his movies you can’t really recall all the details of the plot like in most movies, but you can remember the way it made you felt long after it is finished. I feel like I aim for that in my music at times.

CH: Do you believe that Minneapolis could be considered the epicenter (a.k.a. the Compton of the early 90’s) for indie hip hop?  Why or why not?

Is this why people always seem to think I’m from Minneapolis these days? Haha, anyways, I guess that would seem like a fair statement to me. I mean, the Rhymesayers guys have really built the business model for indie rap in a lot of ways. I have a lot of respect for their work-ethic and feel like they deserve every bit of their success. Beyond the bigger acts in the Twin Cities, I feel like there’s a ton of talent out there too. Kristoff Krane, No Bird Sing, Kill The Vultures, Ecid, etc. are all great acts that are below a lot of people’s radar.

RT: What was the last thing that made you smile?

My girlfriend just gave me a home made birthday card. That made me smile.

To learn more about Sadistik and his current and past releases, upcoming tours, and all the what have you that you could ever want to know, head over to his website, sadistikmusic.com.  And you can find him on that new social media site called Facebook.

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Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling [Band]

Photo by Kelly Davidson

If they weren’t so increasingly verbal and creating all sorts of tunes via an almost pathological amount of avenues….Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola could be mysterious.  But, alas, this match made in indie rock heaven  is absolutely everywhere.  They have no less than nine touring and/or working acts including Darling Pet Munkee with the amazing Axemunkee guitarist Catherine Capozzi, The Michael J. Epstein Library, Epstein’s crucial part in Shawn Fogel’s uke tribute to Neutral Milk Hotel conveniently titled, Neutral Uke Hotel, and Space Balloons. The latter apparently puts on an amazing birthday party for three-year olds.  But, you can not know this diversely talented and eccentric duo without knowing their pseudo gargantuan like act, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin.

Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin is, for the lack of a yearning to use better words, and absolutely amazing group.  When they stormed my ear drums a couple of years ago with their brain splitting take on the already eerie enough Leonard Cohen cut, “First We Take Manhattan”, I was absolutely smitten.  So much so that by the their 2011 EP, Questions Are A Burden To Others, fell into my life, I most certainly could not image how I once had a fully functional adult life before a band decided they should create an outlandish musical reincarnation of the cult TV show, The Prisoner.  It didn’t seem like a life I wanted to go back to, and I am thankful I never will.

For those few souls out there who have yet to hear DNFMOMD and have your world completely rocked, you’re pretty lame, and redemption is necessary. For further description on your loss, I guess you can try to imagine what it would be like if Neko Case and Sufjan Stevens started a Black Sabbath cover band with their gears turning towards a mystical heaven, and maybe the tenacity and excited overtures of the likes of New York Dolls.  They have cultivated an amazing following of strangely fanatical listeners, and have scored some high honors across the media world including scoring the #6 spot on Time Magazine Online’s Top Ten Most Creative Videos list with their take for take remake and reconstitution of the opening scene from the cult TV show The Prisoner.  And then there is Cacciola’s nomination for the covenant Best Female Vocalist Award from The Boston Phoenix, winning big at SENE festival (also for “Arrival”), and without fear of any sort of fear of reprisal for self deprecation, they scored a spot on Crappy Indie Music The Blog’s Recession Proof Music List.

More recently, Michael and Sophia have embarked on yet another amazing adventure entitled Music Begins Where The World Leaves Off.  Jumping on the bandwagon of their own genius work covering Leonard Cohen, the duo has decided to make the essential to all music enthusiasts cover album.  They will be releasing monthly(ish) cover tracks throughout 2012.  Two tracks have already hit the interwebs, including Bruce Springsteen’s “Cover Me” and The Eurythmics’s classic anthem “Sweet Dreams”.

Photo by Kelly Davidson

With the direction these two are headed with their wonderful concept of petrified and tamed insanity, it is impossible to not feel continuous bursts of excitement.  Enough excitement to wet yourself in a white suit I would suppose.  Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darlin is most definitely an act you do not want to sleep on.  Or shall I say: forsake!  No I don’t think I will.  Or did I just do it?  No matter, this is amazing stuff, and the world needs to know the power of these amazing chaps with the audacity to be one of the foremost pioneering bands out their today.

Learn more about this amazing group at their Website.  And be sure to make your way over the The Boston Phoenix site to vote for Sophia Cacciola as Best Female Vocalist.  And keep yourself in tune with all of their other projects on Mike and Sophia’s own Blog.

Zia McCabe [Interview]

The Dandy Warhols are a peculiar bunch to say the least.  For some of us, they are a household name as common as any other indie rock band of the last few decades.  For others, they might not ring a bell.  For independent film fanatics, Ondi Timoner may have introduced these fun-loving hipsters (before there was such a thing) to us in the Sundance favored documentary, Dig! which chronicled over a decade’s worth of footage between the Dandys and another cult favorite Brian Jonestown Massacre.  Some may simply hear any given track from these now electronic-indie rock messiahs and ponder….are these the guys from the Mythbusters theme song? (Yes, yes they are.).  They are also the brain children of Beat The World Records, which houses the mythical yet relatively unknown band of youngsters known as 1776 that deserve to be world-renowned.  And for some of us, they may be the centerpiece of every tree decorating event come holiday season with their amazing adaptation of the greatest Christmas song ever made, “The Little Drummer Boy” (Okay, this one might be mostly personal.)
No matter how you know them, or don’t, these geniuses in their own right are veterans and have consistently proven themselves as a staple in the indie rock world through pure and raw talent and intuition of what it takes to create beautifully crafted indie rock in a world where any sort of indie rock could please the masses.  And nobody (not even front man Courtney two last names), accentuates such beautifully crafted charisma as the band’s keyboardist and masterwoman Zia McCabe.

Zia has been a staple in the Portland community, as well as the first lady of one of the finest indie rock acts of the now.  She has been around since the beginning, and her influence has been obvious as the band has progressed over the last few years into a legendary act that has moved beyond a simple cult following.  I was fortunate enough to steal a few digitally infused words with Zia where we discuss The Warhol’s 9th (or 10th?  You decide…) album, her country music side project, her controversial pregnancy photo shoot for Suicidegirls.com, and how being a mom and a rocker is absolutely awesome, and can lead to amazing causes and opportunities.

 

Your band, The Dandy Warhols are officially releasing your ninth full length album, This Machine, in April.  What can fans and new listeners expect to here from this venture?

Ha, I thought it was our tenth… I have a really hard time when it comes to describing our albums. I can say there’s more writing collaborations than we’ve ever had which I think gives the album an eclectic sound in a different way than previous albums. We also took a simpler approach when it came to tracking, as in we each kept our tracking to a minimum rather than layer on as many tracks as we fancy. This made it easier to create tracks that sound like we do in real life.

 

Tell us a bit about Brush Prairie.  What influences such a transition in music genres?

I grew up in a  log cabin in Battle Ground, Washington (not far from Brush Prairie, Washington where I was born) listening to Willie Nelson and the like.

Vintage country and psychedelic R&R are equally my roots, so now I’m finally getting to entertain both sides of my musical coin. Plus I LOVE getting to be the lead singer dolled up in vintage western outfits. Beyond that I’m interested in fronting a band with a vintage soul sound and/or blending all these genres together.

You’re Dandy band mate Brent Deboe has also ventured into the folk and country scene as well.  Any chance of a collaboration?  Tour?

Yes, we already talk about covering each other’s tunes and touring together and all those fun things, I’m sure we’ll end up writing together on the road.  Since his band is based out of Australia, we’ve discussed me getting a backing band over there and doing some shows together as our first item of business. Good times!

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement with Rock N Roll Mamas, and what your involvement has been in this movement?

Jackie is a local film maker and mother who got me involved as a subject for her Rock Mamas film several years ago. It’s shaping up to be a great film about the life of woman who have a passion for their music and in no way are willing to leave their children behind. I’ve also made some small music pieces for Jackie to use in the film.

 

You are notoriously known for being a hard working and rocking mom.  As the years keep passing, does it get easier or harder over the years to handle the stress?  (Explain)

As any parent knows, it doesn’t get easier it just keeps changing. There are always new dangers to prepare for and challenges to face as we do our best to raise intelligent, inspiring humans. Of course having a baby on the road was a massive challenge that I still look back on and wonder how I ever pulled it all off. However, I am very much looking forward to getting Matilda back on the road with me this summer since her being in school has kept her at home the last couple years. It will be fun to have a more independent, lower maintenance kid on the road and one who can better enjoy and learn from the unique experience of rock and roll tour.

 

You are officially a Suicide Girl after you posed nude for SuicideGirls.com while you were pregnant.  How was this experience?  Was it enlightening in some way? (Explain)

It was 103 degrees  outside and I had a migraine but I didn’t want to miss the chance to document that time in my life and be the only pregnant suicide girl. I’m glad I did it but wouldn’t consider it enlightening. I think they mislead viewers with the image of a sexy website ran by the chicks but as far as I can tell it’s still got some sleazy dude running the show.  I think my set turned out tasteful and displayed the beauty of a heavily pregnant woman with class. I also like the controversy it caused with the suicide girl fans.

What exactly has made you continue to call Portland home after all of these years?  What intrigues you about the city, if anything?

I love that this town was founded by pioneers and pirates. (my family was part of the Lewis & Clarke expedition) Portland has taken pride in being creative, diverse, independent, rebellious and a leader in all things environmental and subjects culturally edgy. Besides that, Portland is nestled between a majestic mountain, dripping rain forest, wild coast line and a unique desert. I love this part of the world!  As much as I love traveling, this will always be my home.

 

What does 2012 have in store for Zia McCabe?

Lot’s of touring in support of This Machine for one thing. I’ve also invested some important time in the field of self-improvement and life reorganizing. I’d like to complete Brush Prairie’s first full length album, build up my commercial music business and maybe even witness the end of the world as we know it.

 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My daughter. She gives me a thousand reasons to smile every day. Yes, a few frowns in there too, but sooooooo worth it!