Complexity and Clarity with Sadaway| Written Wednesday

While not a huge fan of labels, Sadaway would call himself an artist in the broadest sense. He creates visual art (mostly in the form of pen and ink works, but occasionally paintings and, recently, jewelry), poetry, raps, sings, and produces beats. While he wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘I do it all,’ Sadaway is definitely open to trying it all.
For his art and image as an artist and performer, Sadaway puts a lot of thought and effort into cultivating a unique aesthetic.  He has managed this through choosing specific motifs that persist across all mediums of his work. From the visual pieces released to his sound and, even, the style of his outfits, Sadaway keeps certain elements in mind.
If he were to put a name to his specific genre/aesthetic, Sadaway thinks it would be something along the lines of:  Post-Apocalyptic Alternative Vapor Rap (ridiculousness intended).
To check out what he means, follow his Instagram, SoundCloud, and art page?? (find these***). If you are interested in learning more about the creation behind his aesthetic and style, read our interview with Sadaway below!

 

How do you cultivate and maintain a following on social media?

Building an Instagram account up to 10k followers was easier than it sounds, actually.  In all honesty I could of grown the account even more effectively if I had stayed more consistent with the content I posted. But, I decided to compromise sheer numbers for individuality and creative freedom.  The account started as a meme account which, unsurprisingly (at least in my experience), grows very quickly. Humor is a great medium, as it transcends particular interests and has huge sharing/reposting/whatever potential.  The theme of my meme account was Fallout, as that game franchise has been near and dear to my heart since I was the ripe young age of 13. I started it on a whim during my first semester at college, just for fun, to see how many jokes I could think of.  Unbeknownst to me there was already an entire community of similar content creators on the platform. Connecting and collaborating with these community members gave a huge boost to my following and introduced me to some really cool people. Eventually, I decided to transform my account into a showcase for my art and music as this is what I am truly passionate about.  Making the transition was difficult as the account did stagnate to a degree and I lost my momentum. The account is still a pet project and asset of mine and I’m confident I will accumulate new followers with the same techniques. (@sadaway.jpg if y’all wanna join the wave)
Overall my advice to burgeoning content creators would be to stay consistent both in content and uploading habits.

 

What inspired the song “Fuckin’ Cat” ft NGGA? What is the meaning behind the song?

Fuckin’ Cat was my first venture into the sometimes frustrating but ALWAYS rewarding realm of beat making.  Beat making, for me, is pretty straight forward albeit time consuming (not helped by the fact I’m lazy and distractible as fuck).  It sometimes starts with a concept, it sometimes starts with nothing.  I find that having one specific sound or feel in mind is the more difficult route. It’s easy for me to pigeonhole myself into a mindset of how the beat should come out and lose my creative edge. For me, it’s often best to just sit down and start plucking keys and experimenting with drum patterns. Depending on what I’m feeling at that moment, my beat will come out accordingly.

Not only do you rap but you make your own beats. Describe your beatmaking process.
Ok, so bear with me on this one. Speaking of Instagram, y’know those sponsored ads in your feed for clothing brands you’ve never heard of before? The ones selling overpriced streetwear, ironic graphic tees, or something like that? Well, one day I happened upon one selling all-over print ski masks. More importantly, they were giving away the first 100 units free (just pay shipping). So, one was a kitten and immediately I thought, “damn, that shit’s tough. I need me one for shows.” It just so happened that when that mask arrived I was just beginning to experiment with making beats. As soon as I got it and proceeded to put it on, the idea just came to me along with the music and I got to work. I had the beat completed in time to perform it the same day. Thus, Fuckin’ Cat was born.  It’s definitely a lighthearted, sort of gag track. I’m not trying to impress anyone with it, I was just having fun.  But, at the same time, it was my first ever song completely produced and written by just me. It’s special for that reason.  There’s really no rhyme or reason to this song. It’s just a 5 minute bombardment of awful cat puns and wild ad libs (shout out to NGGA for coming thru with those).

 

You have very fast-paced, multi-syllabic verses. How do you learn to balance complexity and clarity?

I personally feel that’s it’s one thing to rap and have a catchy hook, but it’s a game changer to have lyrics that flow seamlessly or, even, poetically on a track. That’s why I have such a tremendous amount of respect for artists like Earl Sweatshirt and MF Doom, I think they really own this style of music. I try to emulate this style too in my own work. But, my approach has evolved as I have grown as an artist. When I first started writing and performing, I would often cram as much wordplay into a verse as possible. Usually this would lead me to being forced to rap really fast which, in turn, lead to me choking or running out of breath. On top of this, most listeners couldn’t appreciate everything I was saying. So, over time, I slowed my pace and started writing in spaces to breathe.  Now, writing a line is kind of like a game, the objective being to see how many rhymes and how much wordplay I can fit into the shortest amount of words. My takeaway here is that if you want to flaunt how clever you are on a track, emphasis comes first. Speed is a bonus.

In what ways do you combine your different art forms and present them to your audience?

As was stated earlier, I try my best to capture a similar aesthetic across all mediums of my art.  This means that most, if not all, of the visuals I put out should be almost interchangeable with most, if not all, of my music.  And, of course, you have to dress the part too. I aim for bright neon colors and gradients that compliment each other and contrast this with drab, piecemeal designs and textures like rust, corrugated metal, and  torn fabric for my outfits.  My visual art shares many of the same elements along with computer generated graphics and scenes from popular post-apocalyptic games and movies (mostly Fallout if you hadn’t already guessed).  For my music, I use a lot of synths and electric instrumentation to create elaborate, serene soundscapes then contrast this with rough, heavy percussion and sound effects.  My goal is to establish a recognizable and unique aesthetic that permeates all fields of my work.
In what ways does your music style allow you to discuss different topics while maintaining a consistent theme?
I think that my style of music should not have a significant impact on what I communicate through it, on my own beliefs, or values.  While the instrumental aspect of my music may be fairly homogeneous, thematically, my lyrics and messages could ultimately be anything. That’s the beauty of poetry and hip-hop to me.  People expect rappers and poets to give them something raw and real, something they can relate to.  Rapping allows an artist to speak their mind as frankly as possible. It’s really just rhythmic talking. Whether that talking comes in the form of a story or a conversation is at the artist’s discretion. For instance, in my own music I’ve discussed everything from childhood nostalgia to regret, from love lost to being that fuckin’ cat.

 

As a visual artist how do you ensure you are being properly compensated and credited for your work?

This is a tricky one. In short, I don’t.  Unfortunately, being a novice independent artist and putting your personal creations out into the world always poses the risk of having your ideas be stolen, especially in the internet age.  I used to get fired up when seeing someone post a meme I had spent time imagining and editing without so much as a mention of my name. After that, I began to watermark my work. But, even then, anyone could crop a watermark out of a photo, edit it out with a program like photoshop, or even reproduce the same idea on their own.  Now, I take these situations in stride as they’re really just a fact of life for artists like me. The dream is that once you become established, your work will be able to stand out from the rest and immediately be recognized as your’s, with or without your name attached.  For compensation, it’s pretty much the same, you win some you lose some. I think the visibility that the art I make for others provides me is more valuable than the $20+ I ask for small pieces anyway.

 

In what ways do you network and collaborate with other artists?

I network with any opportunity I get to. You never know who’s a creator, who’s a connoisseur, or who has connections.  It’s not like we all have sticky notes on our backs that show who’ll fuck with the vision and who won’t.  So to that end, I just engage people about their interests and go from there. I really love a good conversation and, for the most part, I’m an open book. If someone asks, I’m more than willing to share what I’m about. In my opinion I think that’s the most natural way to go about it, just get out there, drop the phone and talk to another human being face-to-face dammit. I really can’t stand the guys sliding into every dm or comment section they can with the shameless self promotion. I guess I give them props for their tenacity but I find it really obnoxious and a sure fire way to have me never check out your stuff.  For me, it’s as simple as if you appreciate what I’m doing and the feeling is mutual then let’s swap contact info and make something radical.

 

Over the span of your career, you have changed your stage name multiple times. Tell us about the process of deciding the right name for you. How do you know when it’s time to change it? How do you ensure that your audience remains familiar with who you are despite your name change?

Hahaha, damn. I knew this one was coming. I can make it short for this one.  Basically, being a successful artist or visionary means not giving a single fuck about what anyone thinks of you,your talent, and making your own way.  In that respect, I do what I want because I want to.  If I’m not feeling a name, a look, an idea, or whatever it might be, I switch it up.  Typically there’s been a good reason in the past. I change, my art changes, and I need a fresh start to seize upon the new energy and direction. Other times, I just realize the old name is lame and that’s that. I see it as no harm no foul since I don’t exactly have legions of adoring fans to catch off guard. And for the fans who might be confused? They either get with the program or move on, I won’t lose any sleep either way.  As for the name itself, it’s whatever the coolest thing to pop into my head is.

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