Photo by Heather Byington
Stone Arch Bridge Festival 2012: Dream Crusher interview in a limo
Some rappers, especially locally, make cheesy beats on a computer, spit a couple bars at one local show then sit around and wine and bitch because Siddiq or Sims didn't come snatch em up because they totally killed it on that Soundcloud download. Those type of guys suck.
Sean Anonymous is the opposite. Yes, he makes beats -- but they are not cheesy. Yes, he spits bars at a couple shows, but he's been doing it for years and with many different bands -- wide EYES, Bottom Feeders, and More Than Lights -- and has been experimental with his genres. Plus it's also impressive he sells a good majority of them out. Okay, Siddiq didn't come knocking on his door either, but just yesterday he was on a plane doing beer shooters on his way to perform at a Warped Tour stop across the country. So he's doing all right.
After grinding out new material, being possessed on stages and helping front the local Occupy Movement, Sean had time to finally finish his debut album. His idea of celebrating his new release is two release parties at The Nomad this weekend, each with a different style. We hang out with Anon and ask some questions before he heads off on a jet plane.
So seems like you are always working or on the go, is this how you pictured "that rap life?"
(laughs) I feel like I've been living the rap life for a while -- haven't had a real job in a couple years, but I've never been this busy before. I really like it, it's a little stressful... but it's good stress.
You got a goal in mind after all this hard work is done? Getting signed by Russell Simmons? Selling out First Ave? Mountain Dew commercials?
Ha! Selling out First Avenue is definitely on the list and shit, if Russell Simmons was looking to sign somebody like me I'd probably hear him out. A Mountain Dew commercial doesn't sound too cool. I don't really drink soda, so that would probably be hypocritical of me.
A lot of hip-hop is hypocritical though, so you would fit right in? Example: Tupac having a song about peace in the streets, and then appearing in a malt liquor commercial.
(Laughs) I never thought about that, I guess a lot of things about/people in hip-hop are hypocritical...
Anything you can call yourself out on?
Just real specific things. I've got a line in a song where I say something is "Shitty like gang graff" but I saw some gang graffiti stuff the other day and the lettering was actually tight. Not saying I endorse it, but that's kind of hypocritical.
You are known for having an energetic live show. Do you believe in rap demons and are you possessed when you are on stage?
(Laughs) I'm not exactly sure what I believe in. I do feel somewhat possessed when I get on stage, but if I'm possessed by anything, it's excitement to do what I do, and the need to rap at people. I wish I could say I was possessed by rap demons. (That sounds cool)
You were involved in the Occupy movements. Do you think that movement solved anything? Or was it more a fad amongst internet hippies?
I was definitely quite active in the Occupy movement when was in full swing, and I still believe in Occupy full-heartedly. Lately, instead of huge rallies, it seems that the Occupy movement in MN has moved into more intimate settings, such as the Occupy Homes movement. I've been somewhat involved with Occupy Homes, and I believe that both have had positive impacts in the community. I've seen owners of homes that have been foreclosed (through banks' shady business measures) get to keep their homes. I've seen large groups of people march on Wells Fargo and close their bank accounts at the same time. So yeah, I definitely believe in the Occupy movement.
What's your opinion on the Obama/Romney 2012 race?
Romney is a scary motherfucker. I'd hate to see what were to happen if he were president... most of the Republican candidates this year seemed to be classist, racist, and most likely sexist as well... I can't say that I'm the absolute biggest Obama supporter, but he has made some positive changes since being in office. I think the way people around the worldview America has changed for the better. But, long story short, most major politicians are puppets, so if we want to make a change, the best place to start is in our own lives.
So you are a pretty versatile artist. Is that why you have two release shows? Different styles/bands, etc?
Definitely! I'm glad you picked up on that...there are definitely two different vibes at my release shows. I think that people in Minneapolis are pretty open to experience different things musically, so I'm expecting to see some folks come to both nights. (Hopefully)
You think breaking up a shows does more to pigeonhole the genres? Shouldn't you expose the audience to all your styles and friends?
That's a good point. If I were to be doing one show, then definitely but, I truthfully was looking to get as many people to come out to both nights as possible it'll most likely be some different folks at each of the shows. There are lots of different sub-genres of hip-hop in Minneapolis. I think one of the things that have helped me out along the way is the fact that I'm cool with all of them. I try to support music that I like, regardless of the genre.
What started you down the path of being an independent artist, and are you satisfied with where you are at right now in your journey?
I don't know what the defining moment that inspired me to be an independent artist was... it probably started out of necessity. When I first joined Wide Eyes, we were three 17-18-year-old kids trying to get our music out there any way possible. We'd walk down Hennepin, rapping for anybody that was willing to listen, occasionally tossing people little mix tapes that we burnt on Tony's computer. I think the DIY mentality is a strong part of who we are. If a label were to be interested in us, I'd definitely hear them out, but I think we're doing an alright job on our own. It's nice to have control of what we're doing. And yeah, I'm happy with where I'm at, but I don't think I'll ever be satisfied. I think that's what we'll keep us striving to make our music/shows bigger and better.
You are apart of many projects what is your favorite to work with?
I've worked with a lot of folks, but Wide Eyes are my brothers. We've been a group for 8 years. I wouldn't want to choose favorites, working with Bottom Feeders and Dalia and Dreamcrusher has been amazing... but Wide Eyes has had the most impact on my life, musically and otherwise.
Tell us about your new record?
My new EP, Anonymo, is my baby. It's my first solo project. Its the record that has taken me the longest, I love it. It was produced by my homie DJ Corbett. I can't express how grateful I am that dude was willing to work on a whole album with me. He's been working with cats like Royce, Black Thought, Saigon, and countless other folks. He has been insanely supportive, and is one of the reasons why I started taking my solo music more seriously.
One thing you want to see happen at the Nomad this weekend?
This weekend, I hope to see a lot of beautiful people having fun. I would like to have the shows sell out, and get buzz, and other things like that. (The normal stuff) But as long as people are there and having a good time, I'll be happy. This is hip-hop, and I'm just trying to throw some fun parties.
The first party -- Friday the 6th -- will appeal to the classic raw hip-hop fan, featuring performances from Illuminous 3, Lizzo and The Larva Ink, DJ Snuggles and hosted by MaLLy. The night features a headlining set from Sean Anonymous, backed by the rest of the Wide Eyes crew. The second night -- Saturday the 7th -- will fan toward the alternative, art hip-hop fan, featuring performances from Anonymous backed by live-band - Dream Crusher, Duenday, Phillip Morris, Sophia Eris of The Chalice and hosted by Big Zach from Kanser. Nomad World Pub 501 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN price: $5 in advance, $7 at the door...