Premiere: Sadistik releases Eyedea tribute, "Micheal"

Eyedea and still-grieving friend Sadistik
Eyedea and still-grieving friend Sadistik

Sadistik is a Seattle rapper who was among the many profoundly moved by Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen, a beloved rapper and figure in the hip-hop community. Gimme Noise is proud to premiere a tribute he created called "Micheal" and an accompanying video featuring old photos, and many of Larsen's family and close friends.

"Micheal" is a deeply personal track with a melancholy beat featuring an interpolation of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" produced by Eric G. The song will be on Sadistik's next album album Flowers for My Father, out on Fake Four Records in February 2013, and is meant to help raise money for a dedication service put on by Larsen's mother in November. Watch the video below, and hear Sadistik's thoughts on why he decided to put it together.

See Also:
Eyedea dead at 28

City Pages: When did you and Eyedea meet?

Sadistik: I believe we met in early 2009. I contacted him to tell him he had been an inspiration to me over the years and asked if he would want to be featured on a song I was working on. We ended up making the song and then doing a few shows together and we clicked almost instantly. I remember he introduced himself as Micheal, which resonated with me for some reason. After that he joined a tour I was doing with Kristoff Krane and that's when we grew a lot closer.

What did you guys talk about and what was your friendship based on?

Mike and I would talk about a lot of different topics. Of course we would discuss music, rap, art, film and things like that; but we would also discuss techniques and experiences that help shape someone's craft. I think he might have recognized a few similarities in me in the way that I study other people's styles. Aside from that we seemed to connect a lot discussing past relationships that hadn't worked out. He had a Socratic way about him where he would direct some conversations to try to really see what you were really about once the persona or ego of a person is dissolved. When we talked it was Micheal and Cody, not Eyedea and Sadistik, if that makes sense. In fact, the very last sentence that he ever told me was "I'm always here if you need to talk." That was the day before he passed away. It rips my heart out to think about that.

What is your favorite memory of him and what do you miss about him the most?

That's a great question. I think my favorite memory of Mike was after a failed show we were supposed to play in Olympia, we decided to drive to Portland a day in advance for the next show. On the way there, he and I decided to see who could drink a few Old English 40's the fastest in the back of the van. I can't give too many of the details on the story, but we were just laughing for that entire trip and he introduced me to the band WHY? that night. That night just felt special to me for some reason. It made me realize how much I admired being around him as a person instead of just an artist. The thing I miss the most about him is definitely his sense of humor. He had such a dry, sarcastic wit that always made me laugh. I remember the first time he was on his way to my house and he called me and said "Hey man, I'm going to go grave-robbing on the way, do you need me to pick something up for you?" I miss that.

How did this track come to be a tribute song?

Honestly, I was never sure if I was going to do a tribute like this, especially one that is so detail-based and literal. The topic is so big and overwhelming that it terrified me. It still does actually. How could I possibly expect to do Eyedea justice? I just had to accept that I couldn't and just make something that felt honest and see how it ended up. The fact that I was with his mother and Kristoff Krane when we discovered he had passed away is something that I've kept very private until this song. It's an experience that I'll never truly let go of, but I felt a deep need to write about it. I was also scared of how a lot of tributes can be perceived by people. When I began writing this song, I really wanted to convey that Micheal was a good human being and friend, not Eyedea was a good rapper, you know? I think everybody already knows how good of an artist he was so I felt no need to really expound upon that.That would have felt unnatural and exploitative to me. To be completely honest, I wasn't planning on writing this, but it was a topic and experience that has lingered in my head for so long that it just felt necessary.

I hear Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in the sample. How does that fit with the song's message?

I didn't specifically set out to sample that song, actually. Eric G., who produced this song, was sending me a lot of different ideas at the time and something about this one immediately made me think of Micheal. I tried to explore different topics or themes to write about and my mind refused to stop thinking about him and the weight I feel from losing him. I had a miniature meltdown in my head to decide if I should try to write the song or not, got over it, and then I basically locked myself in my room for a few days until it was written.

What do the signs people are holding in the video mean?

Eyedea's mother Kathy was kind enough to help organize that part of the video for me. We actually had a bonfire at Micheal's grandmother's house and had a lot of his family and friends attend. I basically explained my ideas for the video and then passed out the supplies and let everybody come up with their own word or phrase to include in the video. Again, I wanted this song to be for Micheal, not just Eyedea, so the majority of those people are his friends and family. The close up shots of people's eyes are from his family and friends as well. Most of which I have become friends with since his passing to the point where I consider a lot of them to be an extended Minnesota family in a way. I thought that would feel more genuine than attempting to get solely recognizable people to cameo in the video. I'm humbled that they were all so willing to be a part of it.

How does this fit within the album you're putting out next year?

There's plenty of time for people to find out about the details of my album. Let's just say that it's coming out February 19th on Fake Four Inc. To be honest, I would just love it if people took a few minutes today to reflect on the kind of artist and human being that Eyedea was. We can talk about me a different day.

Final thoughts?

Eyedea's mother Kathy has been tirelessly organizing events to keep her son's memory thriving. On November 9 (his birthday), she is doing a Vaudeville presentation of the E & A song "Big Shots" in the Twin Cities. I've included a PayPal button in the video description that goes directly to Kathy to help her pay for these events. If you feel inclined, I encourage you to donate, regardless of how small the amount may be, as it is going towards a good cause.

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