“I think art in our society has definitely gotten commercialized, but as the internet has grown, really gained a lot of diversity. I think it really shows in our music because, I mean I don’t know anybody who doesn’t listen to a bunch of random shit. Everybody is blending stuff. Hip-hop has had such a universal effect on music, I guess you can see it everywhere now. The dance tracks, techno is definitely starting to influence a bunch of stuff. I guess the music we make is definitely indicative of our time” – Glenn Saddler
Previous: Spotlight On: Glenn Saddler
Glenn Saddler is a musician based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently working on two projects, including his debut album Anthem. During our conversation, we talked about everything from his creative process, T-Pain’s influence on music, and the unique perspective he feels his generation has concerning art and culture. Hit the skip for the entire interview, and if your in the ATL, catch Glenn and his squad perform Sunday 2/27/11 at S.O.B.’s.
BaaBP: For those who don’t know you, give us a quick description of who you are.
Glenn Saddler: My name is Glenn Saddler. I grew up in Birmingham, I moved to Atlanta when I was 15. I’ve been on the East Side of the A every since. I rap, I make music or something.
BaaBP: Quick update on some projects coming up?
Glenn: I’ve been working on my solo album, my first album, for I guess a year or a year and a half now. It’s called Anthem. That’s coming out late 2011. I got a collaborative album, I guess the best way to explain it is kinda like the way Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse are Gnarls Barkley. Me and a couple buddies, one of my best friends since I moved to Atlanta, Kyle Drew, and a guy who actually produced all the live instrumentation on Anthem, the guitar player I’ve been working with for 6 or 7 months now, Kris Mac, we have a collaborative album called Night Meets Day Coming out, hopefully the next two months. We speeding through this one.
BaaBP: So are you doing the vocals more or less and they are handling the production and instrumentation?
Glenn: It’s really a mix. All the vocals are from me. All my solo efforts in the past, not much has changed from my standpoint, but I’m doing more production. I’ve have a bigger hand cause I’m arranging all this music and I’m mixing everything. This is the first project I’ve ever mixed, or really arranged totally. I’m working with Kyle Drew, and really what we did was take the live instrumentation of Anthem and really make an album out of that set. The live show for Anthem, my debut solo album, is Kyle Drew, he is usually playing keys or drums, and Chris Mac who plays guitar for the live set. We took that live set and made an album. On the album, Kyle Drew is doing everything. Most of the main drum beats are Kyle, he is laying down the main melodies. Chris is playing guitar, but he’s really been getting good at drum production. The drum production is kind of all three of us. A lot of the melodies are kyle, the guitar the drum. The running of the programs is Chris, and I arrange and I mix. And yea my vocals. And Chris Mac’s vocals are going to be featured on this album also.
BaaBP: You moved to Atlanta, who do you think is the most influential musician to come out of that area?
Glenn: To me, I grew up a T.I. head. I grew up a Jigga head, and in extension T.I. With my actual music making, I don’t think anybody but Andre. It’d be sacrilegious not to say 3 Stacks.
BaaBP: What do you think about T-pain?
Glenn: I think T-pain, actually, its funny. I think T-Pain has almost dissapeared now. He really rebroke in the vocal effects and put that into mainstream music. And you can see that all the way down to James Blake, a guy who is coming from London and a dubstep background, and really the only reason I’ve heard of him is T-Pain. If T-Pain hadn’t really broke this in and really pioneered it over the last 5 years. James Blakes wouldnt have a chance to do what he is doing right now. I think one of the things people do in this industry is over saturate, and I think he might be a victim of that. People just feel they’ve heard everything he has to say at this point. Or every way he could possibly say it. I think back in the day people used to make great projects and push that project, but that would be the only 11 songs you hear from them for two years. They’d be pushing it for two straight years, but you wouldn’t hear anything but those 11 songs. And with T-Pain, not only dropping an album every year or so, but also doing so many features and writing so many songs, we got 20 years of music in a 5 year period. I think that is why he’s had a decline in popularity. I think T-Pain is insanely talented.
BaaBP: You have a show coming up in Atlanta February 27th, is that correct?
Glenn: Yea February 27ths, at Smith’s Old Bar, S.O.B.’s. I guess you can call that Midtown, but yea the 27th.
BaaBP: What can we expect from a live performance from you?
Glenn: I’m trying to go in man, cause last time we did our first really major headline thing in Atlanta was S.O.B.’s in late November. We had a lot of stuff. I had Bias doing some vocals. I had this amazing singer named Earth Tone do backup vocals and play guitar. Had Chris Mac play guitar. Had a trumpet player. But we’re trying to make the set tighter this time. We are throwing in some more covers. And we are doing all night meets day material. This time we are all doin equal sets. It’s gonna be me, a really dope artist out here named Trans, and my label mate BiAS is act one. It should be a really dope night for some alternative hip-hop man. And really just hip-hop in general. It’s gonna be a lot of different sounds but I mean, in 2011 I think anything is mainstream at this point.
BaaBP: Do you wanna talk about that a little bit? The blurring of lines between genres? And how you feel that applies to your music?
Glenn: I remember reading this article, I don’t buy magazines, I go to book store and read the article. I was at Borders, I wanna say a year ago, and there was this article about Pharell and Kanye, and how they were the first of the generation that grew up on MTV. They grew up listening to hip-hop, cause thats the predominant music of their culture. But they also grew up listening to Madonna, and just a bunch of music from the 80’s that was really big at the time. Billy Idol, Queen, and AC/DC, just a bunch of stuff, that as MTV was really introducing the video. So those kids grew up to be Pharrell and Kanye’s generation. And so it was something new for them where they were kind of melding these genres. And this is really when the skate scene starts taking off. And at the same time, you got my generation, I’m 22, and we don’t know anything but that. It’s not anything new to us, it’s almost our birthright to listen to everything under the sun, watch all sorts of movies. I think art in our society has definitely gotten commercialized, but as the internet has grown, really gained a lot of diversity. I think it really shows in our music because, I mean I don’t know anybody who doesn’t listen to a bunch of random shit. It used to be, like in middle school is was cool to listen to rock. But at this time, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t listen to a bunch of shit. I think that’s really where music is going. You got Cudi, even past Cudi. You got Vampire Weekend who are introducing so many different elements. The lead singer from Vampire Weekend, Ezra, that dude is basically rapping half his lyrics. Just in a very high-pitched tone. I mean, everybody is blending stuff. Hip-hop has had such a universal effect on music. I guess you can see it everywhere now. The dance tracks, techno is definitely starting to influence a bunch of stuff. I guess the music we make is definitely indicative of our time.
BaaBP: You mentioned its kind of our birthright to listen to everything. I’m kind of curious, I’m 22 also, and I feel like there is a strong generational thing happening right now. Like you said, we kind of grew up at the perfect time, to kind of understand how the internet grew up and have a really strong appreciation for it that older people don’t quite have and younger people will take for granted. Hip-hop started as sampling, and the appropriation of somebody else’s music. So if you think of artists like Girl Talk, kind of mashup, things like that. How do you feel about appropriating other people music, what’s too far?
Glenn: I mean, in all honesty, I think art, especially commercial art, is at the point where once you release your stuff it’s no longer yours. I was talking to one of my homies the other day, the crew of ours, we’ve really been getting really fortunate lately, we’ve gotten a really good space. I was telling homie this, at this point all I could ask for was a connection with my audience, kind of feedback, and I think as a commercial artist, at the point when you release it, is is the audiences. I think its really dope how its come about, because I mean me personally, I love covering songs. A new life comes to a song every time someone covers it. Going way back, you have Otis Redding covering the Rolling Stones with “Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. You got Aretha Covering Otis Redding with “Respect”. I mean, tons of Luther Vandross hits were covers. A bunch of the Rolling Stones hits were covers. I think that is something that goes back in music. You hear a song and your like, okay what is my interpretation of it. Because really, if you look at stories and the history of stories and history in general, there have been really few stories. It is just the retelling of those stories, which has given us the millions of stories. And really that is what appropriation comes down to, its the retelling of something else. Which is, you know, a right human people have at this point.
BaaBP: Do you think we have a different point of view compared to older people?
Glenn: I think that’s one of the biggest reasons. Someone twice our age would be like, ‘forget that man’. Growing up in this day and age and just seeing how, I mean, culture’s just grab so liberally from each other. It’s just made culture better, it’s made skate culture, hip-hop culture, everything better with this fluid interchanging of stuff. Like I said, I think the internet had a really big part in that. It became what each person wanted to hear rather than what is being forced to you through the radio. So, I definitely think our generation has a really unique view on that stuff.