Headlining The Tanners at Evolution Emerging is the British-Grenadian rapper Sågaboi, who looks set to take the festival by storm. Fresh from supporting De La Soul earlier this year and with a ton of material ready to unleash to the masses, the local favourite’s potential is limitless and we can’t wait to see what he has in store. Sagaboi’s producer Lewis Walker sat down to talk to Damian Robinson about music influences and the future of Sagaboi.
Damian: Hi Lewis, the production of Sagaboi’s material is very impressive spanning the whole electronica range right from Grime through to minimalist hip hop. Where does Sagaboi’s sound come from?
Lewis: I’ve been beat making for about 10 months, before that I was mostly producing live bands or playing in punk bands. Outkast is where we take a lot of influences from, as well as backpacker rap like Chance the Rapper.
Damian: So it’s Big Boi or Andre 3000?
Lewis: Andre 3000 all the way. We love his flamboyance and creativity. What’s great about the North East at the moment is that there is no set style for what we’re doing. Likewise no one’s really set the benchmark. If you look at other scenes, like part of the London sound, some rappers will use New York beats, or rap in an American accent and it’s not always true to the area. Maybe no one’s tried to wave the flag so much up here in the North East so we have the chance to be really creative and play with the sounds and production and create a North East sound.
Damian: I love the premises. That’s really bold.
Lewis: We love the punk ethos and do it yourself style so it’s completely up to us to use the tools we have and be as creative as possible. We don’t want to put any boundaries on our sound or what is expected from us. We take influence also from producers like Rick Rubin who used a punk attitude to create their sound. I’ve produced punk bands, and Sagaboi comes from a hardcore band and spoken word background, so we see the similarities to each other, and to Rick, in what we’re trying to do.
Damian: How does the collaboration work?
Lewis: We start with Sagaboi recording some words or a beat he wants me to produce and watts’apping it to me. I’ll produce some materials and send it back down. Sagaboi mix tape one is up and running now which we recorded in 14 hours. And then the collaboration goes even wider with support from an art collective we’re a part of called Egoflex. Alannah in Egoflex helped create a short film to go with the mix tape and it gains more attention and helps to produce a broader body of work. We’re all skint students and we need to find resource where we can to help create our ideas.
Damian: That’s such a punk ethos
Lewis: Totally, if you want that quality control then you need that DIY environment. Once you have that control then the only conflict you need to focus on may be the ones you have as artists and agreeing on what the body of work looks like. Next out will be Sagaboi’s full video series and then we’ll look to have more materials out in late summer with a stronger musical direction. Sagaboi’s on fire at the minute so the live show will be really strong and then the next release should really start to put the North East urban scene on the map.