KMM: Okay, so first things first, I have to ask, what’s dramatis personae mean?
SA: Dramatis Personae is a theatre term that basically is a list of the characters as they appear in a stage play. My use of the term stems from my tattoo of Shakespeare’s quote “All the world’s a stage” and my tendency on this upcoming album to craft it like an opera or post-modern musical and the fact that I’m introducing the characters of the album as they relate to me [the protagonist].
KMM: Okay, that makes sense. Musically, “Dramatis Personae” seems to take from your last album WEIRDO but ups the ante by a few notches. What was your inspiration going into the creation of this song and the upcoming album? What is the upcoming album called by the way?
SA: Well the album does have a title but I’m keeping it under wraps until I announce the pre-orders and release process for it, but for all intensive purposes for this interview I’ll call it WIP2016. And this song is actually the album opener so I wanted to kick the album into high gear with a song that sounds like a natural progression from WEIRDO because the rest of the album while being noisy and chaotic in many places takes quite the departure from WEIRDO and even my previous work. I’ve actively been avoiding listening to other people’s music when I can because I wanted this new album to be different shades of me, not Social Anxiety listening to Nine Inch Nails or Social Anxiety listening to Say Anything. My process with creating this song and the album as a whole was to build off the foundation of my previous efforts while launching myself as high as I am willing to reach.
KMM: Your lyrics kind of tip-toe the line between self-deprecation and self-love. You find yourself stuck in between that place a lot, huh?
SA: *laughs* That’s basically the niche I operate in, yes.
KMM: I don’t want this to sound redundant, but what is your reasoning for weaving with what it seems no effort between those two mind states?
SA: A life full of hard lessons that needed to be learned I suppose. I learned at a young age that good and bad don’t really exist as absolutes, nothing is ever black and white like that. Most, if not all of us operate within some sort of gray area of existence teetering between good and bad depending on the present situation and our perception of it. That was one of the greatest and hardest lessons I learned so I’ve structured my entire output as Social Anxiety around that lesson. Things are way different now though so I’ve had to adjust the parameters a bit. Back on “Love + Other Drugs” and the first E.P.’s of S.A. my self-deprecation wasn’t done in jest or out of playfulness, but rather a lack of self-love. Now I love myself, but despite that, I still realize that I am a deeply flawed person so if I can point out my own flaws and anxieties it takes the steam out of anyone who tries to do that to me.
KMM: I’m guessing that’s where the “All of you suck at trying to hate me” line in the song comes from.
SA: Correct. While this song is self-deprecating, it is also vaguely positive and encouraging. My music takes a full panoramic view of myself when it most successful. The good with the bad. The beautiful with the ugly. I take that to heart not only in the lyrics and music but also in the mixing and mastering of my music.
KMM: What do you mean?
SA: As you could probably tell this song upped the saturation to levels so high the ending basically sounds like a cacophony of white noise. I wanted to send a message with this song that sometimes your path to self-discovery is going to lead you down a rough and chaotic road but as long as you stay as positive as you can allow yourself to be and keep moving forward you’ll reach a new place built on foundations of love and understanding. I’m learning new things about myself every day and they aren’t always good things, but they are still valuable attributes and deserve to be discussed whether in jest or seriously. When I say that I’m in love with life, that includes the good and bad of it interwoven together because you can’t have one without the other.
KMM: That’s a pretty beautiful thought. What do you hope people get from your music?
SA: Music, especially the music made by my favorite artists, have always been a safe place for me. But I don’t use music to escape, but rather to confront and actively work through things. I want my music to be the soundtrack to finding yourself. I want my music to make people feel less alone. I want it to make people feel worthy of love and affection despite their flaws because we are all worthy of affection despite our flaws and it’s time more artists addressed that rather than continued feeding into this cycle of consumerism and self-destruction.
KMM: That’s great. What do you think about the people who say you’re not hip-hop?
SA: I think they are right. I’m not entirely anything. I just make the music life moves me to make and release it hoping that it moves people to purchase it or listen to it. I don’t care what you call it as long as it gives you a positive experience. I’m not into labeling things, I’m into creating experiences.
KMM: Thank you so much for chatting today. It was a pleasure hearing from you. I hope everyone checks out “Dramatis Personae” and digs it.
SA: Thanks for listening to me talk. I can’t tell you how awesome that feels.