Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to email@example.com.
It was recently mentioned to us that in Artist of the Week's near eight-month reign as the local music scene's preeminent kingmaker - that's right Handstamp, Skyline, FPH and SCR, we said it - we had yet to interview anybody primarily involved on the production side of things. The whole "Artist" label typically means a musician of sorts, but when an emailer countered our claim that producers aren't musicians with an irrefutable "Yuh-huh," we were sold.
Enter The Sans-Bayonet. Sans is one of a handful of local talents dabbling in the alt-hop genre peppering the underground scene lately. His production work is bursting, spatial and periodically very impressive. Occasionally he'll throw a head-scratcher out there (see "Radio Raheem"), but when paired with a talented MC (like former Artist of the Week Hollywood F.L.O.S.S.), he seems entirely capable of producing the funky, rock-hop sound that'll probably be very prevalent on KPFT or KTRU in the near future.
We reached out, and Mr. Bayonet was polite enough to answer our questions. After the jump, read about why or why not it's harder for white guys to get recognition in the rap game, the apparent obscurity of a Chad Hugo reference and whether or not this whole music thing is all just some elaborate scam to score with co-eds.
The Baristas, The Sans-Bayonet's band (he's the drummer)
Rocks Off: So, what's with the name? What exactly is a Sans-Bayonet and why choose it? Was "Without a Gun with a dagger attached to the front of it" too tedious?
The Sans-Bayonet: Well, I came up with it years ago. I thought that phonetically it sounded cool, more than the literal meaning. But I'm a pretty open pacifist, so that made sense too. I get a lot of people saying it sounds like a font style, which I didn't ever think about [laughs].
RO: That's funny.
TSB: Yeah, maybe one day someone will make a Sans-Bayonet font.
RO: Everyone has to have a dream. Being a white rapper/producer, do you feel the need to be exceptionally hip? Naming Iceberg Slim as someone you sound like, for example. Like, do you feel like it's not enough for you to be a talented producer, but you've gotta do some off the wall stuff, or be especially not black so people won't be all, "Look at this turd, he totally thinks he's black."
TSB: I mean, most people I come across don't even know who Iceberg is. I never imagined people would think I was cool for that [laughs]. I mean, I love Lord of the Rings, [so] maybe I should change it so it says I sound like Gandalf or something. I just happen to really like [Iceberg Slim's] books; this is actually the first time I've ever thought it would come off like that.
RO: What makes one want to become a hip-hop producer? It's because Chad Hugo dresses so cool, isn't it?
TSB [Laughs]: Well, I started out playing drums, which I've done for about nine years, and I guess more than anything playing in bands makes you want to become a hip-hop producer. You just get tired of waiting on people to invest the energy and time in it that you're willing to. As for Chad Hugo, I don't know if I'm going to get ostracized for saying this, but I don't even know who that is. I'm pretty out of touch [laughs].
RO: What?! That's like a guy looking to be a professional condescending a-hole not knowing who Liam Gallagher is. Hugo is the other guy from N.E.R.D. What are doing when you're not working on music? Does The Sans-Bayonet have a day job? If so, does The Sans-Bayonet's name tag read "The Sans-Bayonet"?
TSB: I'm not working right now in a "socially acceptable job" [laughs], but I'm pretty spread out between hip-hop stuff and a ton of other bands and college. I don't really have that much time as of now. The "The" at the beginning goes back to my rock roots again. It was originally thought of as a band name, and there are "The"s all over the place in rock. I'll go by The Sans-Bayonet, Sans-Bayonet, Sans, whatever your feeling I'm down.
RO: Is this something you want to do in the long run, or are you using this now to pass time and help you nail some co-eds?
TSB: [Laughs] No way. I'm trying to get my hand in every aspect of music: doing vocals, producing, drumming. I'm hoping that at least one will stick and I can be in music full-time in the long run.
RO: Hedging your bets, huh? Anything you want to plug? Now's the time to do it.
TSB: Make sure you check out The Baristas - that's the band I'm drumming for - Eminent Control, Hollywood FLOSS, The Guns of Detroit, the Artichokes, and Monoceros. Oh, and definitely, I'm running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016 for Texas' 7th District seat, so make sure you vote for Evan Malone.
TSB: Yeah, I figured since it's one of the strongest Republican districts in the country, the only chance I have to win is to campaign for 7 years [laughs].
Download The Sans-Bayonet's Lucid Dreams LP for free here.
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