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Chopping Broccoli: TBASA Prepares for the Apocalypse with Sage Francis

Posted by May 22nd, 2010 No Comments » Interview
Q&A with Sage Francis 

Sage Francis is gearing up to tour in support of his first album since 2007’s Human the Death Dance. The scholarly gentleman took a few moments for a cyber chat with TBASA about the record, the tour and the pending “end of days.” Last time I saw you in Seattle you were karate chopping heads of broccoli into the audience. Can we expect similar antics at the Showbox on June 1?
Sage Francis: I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but this time I use human bodies instead of broccoli.

NM: You’ll be featuring songs from your upcoming album LI(F)E. The last track, “Best of Times,” is incredible. It nearly brought me to tears on my initial aural imbibing. How does that make you feel?
SF: It feels like I didn’t quite make the mark…like I haven’t reached full emo potential. But it does feel really good to know that people are relating so intimately to the subject matter. I honestly didn’t think people were going to connect in that kind of way. I didn’t have much time to think about such things when I was writing the song, though. I think a lot of what I talk about in “The Best of Times” are things that make me weird. Turns out I’m pretty normal. Or maybe I’m weird because I’m the only one who admits a lot of that stuff?

NM: You worked with Yann Tiersen on the new album, which makes me want to move Amelie up on my Netflix queue. How’d you hook up with him?
SF: During the course of making this album we kept reaching out to various bands though whatever channel was available to us. Yann is booked by the same agent who books me, Christian Bernhardt. He and I have talked about collaboration ideas for years. Somehow he managed to get this music from Yann just before we finished recording the album. If you haven’t seen Amelie then you have a good thing coming. But it should be known that Yann has much more to offer than the sparse, ambient type tracks you’ll hear on that soundtrack.

Sage Francis album coverNM: Yeah, can you believe I have yet to see Amelie? I’ll be sure to check out some of Yann’s other stuff too. From what I heard of LI(F)E on, you work a menagerie of collaborators to deliver an album with a truly epic quality. Is this an all out effort to release a mega hit before the world changes forever on Dec 21, 2012?
SF: I’ve always been a tiny bit ahead of my time so it was actually an effort to release a mega hit before 2011.

NM: Assuming some sort of cataclysm is inevitable, who would you most like to collaborate with in these, the end of days?
SF: I’d like to do an acoustic album with Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. I’d like to hear those two together. Maybe they’ll let me sneak in some Puffy Daddy type “ugh” and “yeah I like this” type of back up vocals.

NM: Your album A Healthy Distrust (Epitaph, 2005) was written and released during the middle of the George W. Bush years. Now that Americans have a more “progressive” president, was it difficult to get as angry about social injustice for the new album?
SF: I didn’t make this album out of anger. That’s not my driving force when making art. It is my driving force in a lot of what I do in other areas of my life, but not when making songs. Frustration maybe. But not anger.

NM: Can we expect a full band on this tour?
SF: Yes. I’m being backed by Free Moral Agents on this tour. They are a six piece band, headed by Ikey Owens of The Mars Volta.”

NM: Wow. That should be incredible. What about female backup singers? You need them for the breakdown in “Slow Man!”
SF: There is a female backup singer. Her name is Mendee. However, I’m not sure if she’s going to sing during “Slow Man.” We’re currently rehearsing for the tour so I’ll run this idea by her tomorrow.

NM: When you tour, are there venues that won’t comply with your no smoking requests?
SF: If I make the request, they all comply. I only made that request when I had serious throat issues. I was told I would never be able to talk again if I continued to perform but I ignored the doctor. I took one day off and then continued the tour. People got upset at the “no smoking” request as if I was ruining their life somehow. Honestly, I don’t give a fuck if people are smoking anywhere these days. I prefer the smoke to be blown up my ass, but blow it in my face for all I care. I’m always looking for an excuse to be ruined and destroyed by the people I try to entertain.

Sage Francis

Sage Francis making a little sideways teepee style deal with his fingers

NM: Thank you Sage for indulging the inquiries of a fellow mad man. Any chance you will sign TBASA to Strange Famous Records?
SF: I have no idea what TBASA is, but the answer is no. Strange Famous Records has a full roster and I’ve decided that we won’t sign more artists anytime soon. Check back after the apocalypse if you think of it.

Sage Francis plays June 1 at the Showbox at the Market

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