Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Now this is what i call music in 2007...The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! is the lovechild of me and Trent Reznor. I met Trent when he asked me to fill the opening slot of his European With Teeth tour. After only the 2nd show he asked if I might be down to collaborate on a song or album, whatever I saw fit. At the time we were both listening to the Kanye/Jon Brion collaborations and feeling like a cocktail of our two worlds would fare even more interesting…and harder. Since then, Trent Reznor has become the big brother I never had, offering his insight, expertise, and shared desire to fuck up the system while believing fully in the power of music and the intelligence of the masses. What we both first realized we had in common was a deep love of Public Enemy and their Bomb Squad production, which personally served as the backdrop of my adolescence and fueled the fire that matured my vision of the sort of artist I wanted to be. A lot of people get caught up on my lyrics and poetry, but my writing is always founded on beats and polyrhythmic backdrops. My background as a dancer (I used to dance for a rap group in ATL in the early 90s) has always made me crave hard rhythms. Through Public Enemy I discovered that my ability to dance somehow improved when I truly felt the power of the words. This album captures everything I have aimed for in a song. Of course, as a performer, what truly inspires me is the opportunity to perform them live. The Niggytardust concept sets me free to do more on stage with costume, etc. than one might expect from a regular Saul Williams show. It allows me to put my theatre training to use. I’ve also thought long and hard about all the discussion surrounding racial epithets etc. and chose this title as a means of furthering the dialogue while also showing how creativity will outlive and outshine hatred of any kind.
The album would not have been possible without the collaborative spirit Trent and the other artists involved: CX Kidtronik and Thavius Beck brought beats and fire to the vision, energizing the process with blown amps and head-nodding cramps. Atticus Ross engineered and programmed. Alan Moulder is sonic testimony from headphone to full blown that the very rocks will cry out if you work with the right engineer.
I’m also collaborating with visual artists and designers as part of the whole NiggyTardust concept and presentation. Melody Ehsani designed Tardust jewelry, bracelets, rings. necklaces, etc. and also did the cover layout. Angelbert Metoyer has contributed greatly to the visual aesthetic with paintings and soon to be finished set design for the shows.
As far as the way we’ve decided to release the album, we’re aware that it’s pretty risky, but are even more aware that we cant turn to the so-called powers that be of the industry for answers. Someone has got to be willing to take chances. I was very inspired by the recent Radiohead release and felt compelled, almost instantly, to follow my gut and expand on their concept. Obviously, independent artists have been around for years. My indie film, Slam was in fact what opened so many doors for me. yet, the stigma of being an indie artist in the music world hasn’t always been rewarding. This time I feel different. I feel like the times have conspired to make this album an important part of history.