There isn’t much like realizing one of your favorite artists or musicians has made their way to Boise. Amy Gunderson, a first-year English major and self-proclaimed music lover made her way to the Neurolux for the DJ Abilities and Sadistik concert Feb. 27.
She described the ever-intriguing and potent lyricist Sadistik and his performance as “a darker humor more laden with sarcasm than maul skull.”
“He also spent almost the entire set on the dance floor rapping eye to eye with the crowd,” Gunderson said. “With his shaggy dirty blonde hair and melancholy tone, rhymes infused with sadness, and drugs, and more of a grunge sound, He could have been a Nirvana lead singer.”
The headliner for this concert was DJ Abilities who formerly worked with another artist known as Eyedea who passed away in October of 2010.
Gunderson described his set as, “insane and dripping with anticipation,” and explained the depth of his performance came from the tribute to his fallen friend Eyedea.
When asked if she thinks these concerts, Hip Hop or other genres, are something she would suggest to other students, the response was instantaneous.
“I would absolutely 100 percent completely and utterly advise rather than suggest,” she said. “Though many local music scenes are growing, the local hip hop scene contains a lot of potential, that mixed with a regular influx of fairly large well known musicians coming through town there is something going on regularly, and with more interaction from students it could grow to be something noticeable outside of Boise.”
So in the words of a fellow Boise State Bronco, “Why surf YouTube for music when it’s in your own city of trees?”
Arbiter staffer Shontelle Reyna caught up with Sadistik.
Arbiter: Welcome to Boise! Could you introduce yourself?
Sadistik: My name is Cody. The internet calls me Sadistik.
Arbiter: Was music always something you wanted to do for a living, because I read that you wanted to be a doctor at one time.
Sadistik: I was planning on going to graduate school for psychology. I was applying to some Ph.D. programs for that and I had already gotten into the interview process for that but at that time is when my video for Search For Some Beautiful came out. I was kind of in this messed up depression, and a crossroads. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to push music or go to school so I went to one of these Ph.D. program interviews. People flew in from all over and we were sitting at this round table before we got interviewed and all anyody could talk about was school, academic things, and psychology and I felt really bored and deflated immediately being there, so I didn’t feel like I wanted to do it yet. But I have never really had many jobs. I have had a job for maybe a couple months and then it’s just music.
Arbiter: You call yourself ‘cerebral.’ Could you elaborate?
Sadistik: As a person and an artist I am very cerebral. I get buried in my head a lot. It’s kind of a strength and a weakness. Obviously it is what creates my music, and sometimes it’s like you can just think yourself into a circle. I don’t know, all of the greatest thinkers I admire end up going out of their minds eventually so maybe that’s not a good thing to be.
Arbiter: I thought that it was an interesting way to describe yourself. Your father passed away in 2007 and you have referred to him as your best friend. Was music or a career in music something he supported?
Sadistik: He supported my music but he died right before he got to see anything happen. So, I have rapped since I was like 14 and I was terrible for a really long time. Probably the best ever now so it’s cool, but….
Arbiter: No big deal. Haha!
Sadistik: Nah I’m not serious. He died right before The Balancing Act came out so he knew I was working on something and it was important to me. Things like that but he had no idea that I would do anything with it. He always supported me in whatever I wanted.
Arbiter: That’s really great.Unfortunately, three years after you father passed, your friend Michael Larson, or as we all know him, Eyedea, passed away. You addressed this clearly in Michael (video) in Flowers For My Father (Link). Was this album your way of coping?
Sadistik: Yeah, somewhat. Especially my dad dying, I don’t talk about it directly much on my album. It’s more the mood and the vibe and the art. Everything kind of tied together was my way of trying to craft what’s in my head or explain it or make like a little mosaic of it. I don’t know if that makes sense. It’s not like me sitting her and going, “I’m sad because I lost this person in my life. Let me write about it.” It’s more like there is this anchor in you that you don’t always have to think about the anchor you just feel it. That just came out in my writing. I am saying abstract things I am sorry. I don’t know if these hand gestures are going to be in there.
Arbiter: Hahaha! No it is totally okay. I think that is why people enjoy your music, because it is not direct, it’s poetic.
Sadistik: Direct is so boring sometimes. There are enough Sugar Rays in the world you know.
Arbiter: In another interview you describe your hometown, Yakama, Wash., as “a terrible place” because of the violence etc. there. Do you think that that had some effect on your style as an artist?
Sadistik: I was being a little excessive when I said it was terrible. It is not a place I would raise my kids or anything like that but I don’t want to pretend that I came up from some big struggle or anything like that. I saw ugly things but for the most part I am an over-privileged white male. I am not pretending to be part of that kind of struggle. It was ugly. There is lot of racial tension. There is a lot of just separation of people and small mindedness and things like that. I don’t know how much it really affected my music though. I feel like if I grew up in Wyoming or whatever, as long as I was exposed to the same art at the same time I probably would have came out pretty similar.
Arbiter: What art would that be?
Sadistik: It grew from like 4th grade listening from Coolio and Snoop Dogg, to my tastes in rap refining until today. I am still finding, and kind of obsessing about hip hop. I have added more things that I appreciate more. I have become a lot more obsessed with film, reading more books, taking in more stuff, taking the time to read about painters and crazy people. I have a lot of time on my hands because I don’t have a job and I get bored easy. Art is very inspiring to me if it hits right so I put a lot of energy into it.
Arbiter: You talk about starting listening to Coolio and Snoop, was hip-hop something you latched onto early on?
Sadistik: Yeah, yeah I was obsessed. Most people would assume, or lump me in with the Aesop Rocks or the Atmosphers or the Eyedeas, and think that that was my big influence, even though some of those people might have influenced me one way or another later on, I am a rap fan. I am not one of those kids who, “oh, I hated rap until I stumbled on somebody who made it white and then all of the sudden I liked it.” I grew up loving really hard core west coast gangster rap. Three 6 Mafia’s Chapter Two album made me want to start making music and made me want to try to make beats. I was really into ‘G’music. Everyone is always like, “ this emotional sad rapper guy,” and they just assume I’m listening to this piano song. No I’m listening to E-40 and, yeah I was talking to DJ Abilities today and I was telling him “hey you have to listen to this Too Short song.” It’s called Cuss Words. It is like 8 minutes. He is rapping the whole time, there is no hook, and it’s super hard. He’s name dropping Ronald Reagan. That shows how old it is. The beat sounds really current. Shit like that. I love rap.
Arbiter: I would say that your lyrics themselves are very poetic. Is your writing style for your poetry a lot like your process for your albums?
Sadistik: No it’s different. I am working on a poetry book on the side and I am way more insecure about it than my music. It is way more vulnerable to me. Not because I think people will react badly to it, to be blunt if I wrote something amazing or if I wrote something average as hell I would probably get the same response. Give or take. For it actually to be good I am kind of insecure about it. I don’t do any rhyming or anything like that, which some people message me telling me “I can’t wait for the book, are you rhyming in it?” No, I am rhyming way too much. I don’t want to rhyme. I am not so accustomed to it. It is more me experimenting. It’s like giving someone a paintbrush and, I don’t know. I am really inspired by Sylvia Plath and Dylan Thomas. They are probably my favorite poets. I use a lot of references to them. On the cover of my album, the girl drowning has a tattoo on her arm from a Dylan Thomas poem that I had tattooed up my arm for my dad. Little things like that I try to tie in.
Arbiter: So when can we expect to be able to see your poetry book?
Sadistik: I am almost done with it. I could probably just write it in a couple weeks if I just buckled down *cough* and stayed sober. I have just been so in a zone with music that I just haven’t slowed down. I actually just finished Flowers For My Father pretty shortly before it came out. It’s not like I was sitting on it for a long time. I was working on it for two years. Snow White was the last song I made on it and I made that last minute, and asked, “Please include that, I really like this song.” While we are doing everything to get ready for the release, I started again. I started immediately going to the same producers and being like, “I want more, I want to go in this direction,” and I am already about four songs into it.
Arbiter: Into a new album?
Sadistik: Yeah. I have just been in such a groove that I haven’t wanted to write poetry. I bet when I go to Europe I will. When I was in Europe last time I was writing a lot of poetry.
Arbiter: Well thank you for doing this interview. Glad you came. Hope you come back soon!