Saul Williams

August 2nd, 2004

Saul Williams

I was privileged enough to get the chance to ask one of my personal favourite writers and artists a few questions including details of his forthcoming album

Are you much of a web head?

I spend about one hour on-line a day.

What have you been working on since your most recent release, the long poem publication?

I have been working on a few things since, ‘said the shotgun to the head’ was released. My new album, which is self-titled, probably consumed the majority of my work time, although it was definitely more of a work of love than a work of labour. Secondly, I’ve been writing a play, and thirdly, I’ve been working on a new book of poetry.

Could you tell us a little about the forthcoming album? Title, producers, guests, some of the songs?

This new album is definitely my best work to date and is surely the most reflective of me of anything else I’ve ever released. I’m extremely excited about it. It’s self titled with 12 songs. Of the twelve songs, I produced 10 of them. The introduction track, Talk To Strangers, is produced by system of the down’s front man Serj Tankian and the song ‘Act 3 Scene 2’ is produced by Thavius Beck, who recently came out with an album called Decomposition on Mush Records. This song features Zack De La Rocha. Other guests artists are Mia Doi Todd and Ikey (keyboardist from the Mars Volta). Ikey plays on one of my favourite songs which is entitled, Black Stacey. The first song that I recorded for this album is track number 2 which is called Grippo. Grippo came about from a discussion I had with my best friend years ago, when we sat in our Brooklyn brownstone trying to imagine what kind of music our kids would listen to.

How does the second full length solo album differ from the first? Were these conscious decisions?

The main difference between the two is that this new album is much more song driven. Amethyst Rock Star was very much about poetry over banging beats. This time the music is definitely hard but there are more layers and each song works within traditional song format. Something that I never really felt the freedom to say while plugging amethyst… was that I really wasn’t into it by the time it came out. I recorded it in January of 2000 and it wasn’t released until about one year and 10 months later in the US and the UK. I’ve grown a lot over time and have been humbled greatly while still maintaining a strong vision of the sort of artistic contribution that I would like to make. This album is my best work to date and, yes, it was a conscious decision for it to be so.

What’s your CD or record of the moment that you’ve been giving heavy rotation to?

I’ve been listening to the Dresden Dolls, The Streets (blinded by the lights), TV on the radio.

Is there anyone in particular you’re really keen on working with on a collaboration?

Mary Kate Olsen. No, not really. Fiona Apple would be cool.

What’s your view on hip-hop and the performed word in 2004?

Jesus walks through black lenses only to become white again.

Have you any live dates pencilled in for us UK fans to look out for?

Is getting out and performing your work to a live audience the fruit of what you do or would you prefer to keep in the studio working on more material?

I am a performer. That is where I am most creative.

‘Said a shotgun to the head’ seemed extremely relevant to the climate in which it was released. Have you seen the new Michael Moore film and what were your thoughts?

Fahrenheit 9/11 was extremely important for our times. I’m truly appreciative of Michael Moore’s hard work and efforts. Great film.

Being an artist and writer who isn’t afraid to speak his mind about anything, do you come across any difficulties when it comes to record labels or publishers?

No. Coded Language, always.

Have you any shout out’s, plugs or messages you’d like to throw out into cyber space?

Deliver us from evil.