One of the greatest things about running BBoyTechReport.com is the shear amount of incredible art that comes my way. Be it music or design, creative or engineered or otherwise, the art is what makes it all really worth it. The SAZ Project is one such bit of art and music that makes me glad I have a platform that allows me to share.
So let’s holla at The SAZ Project principles and see what this thing is all about.
BBoyTechReport (BBTR): What is SAZ?
SAZ: Zane Morris-Stewart and Seon Rice Lupin, a duo of jazzy hip-hop and acoustic musicians. Over the past eight months, we have created a self-sustaining art community under the umbrella of our music. http://sazproject.com
BBTR: Tell us more about the SAZ Project. It sounds like it’s much more than just about the music. I get a sense of “Hip-hop as High Art” sort of vibe.
SAZ: Anything creative is just acting on imagination. We take a lot of influence for our hip-hop genre material from the art scene, so it was important to us to have them coincide with each other when we started the project.
We feel that in working together with creatives, we can create the perfect medium to get peoples work seen by new audiences. The Creative (photographer, painter, illustrator, designer, writer, tattoo artist, etc.) can send in their work, and when featured we make them a ‘Creatives’ page to develop a link between themselves and our community. As people hear our music, they see the creatives work. Not only does it make the creative feel involved, it acts as a pathway to broadcasting their artistry!
BBTR: Very Cool. What are your plans for the SAZ Project going forward?
SAZ: Two albums and two tapes, over 50,000 hits, around 300 worldwide submissions a few art shows later, we’re looking to bring the project to a wider audience.
We received loads of music submissions by the nature of the project that we wanted to show off and couldn’t think of a medium. I (Zane) met up with Chanse from BoyNeedsTherapy for a feature and I really felt like he saw the vision of the project. We clicked so well that at the end of November we launched the BNT SAZ YouTube channel along, providing the same style of music/art match up. Think of it as similar to the Majestic Casual channel, but with particular focus towards unknown artists who are still on the come up!
BBTR: Tell me more about the Art Shows… Are they done in a way that allows the artist to shine with music as a backdrop, vice versa or is the music and the art center stage together?
SAZ: We have big plans for the future of the shows. We’ve been assembling a jazz band to play live renditions of the first two albums, and are currently shortlisting the venues. The aim is to have a variety of London creatives attend, with stands for the SAZ artists who have had their work used to open their own stands. By making it more than just an art event, but a creative meet up, we feel like we would be giving an opportunity for talent to meet talent, all within an environment of good vibes.
The shows last year focused on the DIVE collaboration with design artist Dree Velicaria. A seven-pieced heavenly anime influenced album that we did over the course of seven weeks, with Dree providing a cover weekly.
BBTR: What’s on your docket for your next project?
SAZ: Projects** Haha.
Were working on a few different styles at the moment. Were working on a progressive acoustic folk EP with our friend Shannon Maybury, a more classical element embodiment of work with Gabi Florentina, and I’m (Zane) producing for two artists in America who really caught my attention, Jon Waltz and Love Mansuy. Keeping the hip-hop running with our family Age of Luna, and a few other bits here and there.
BBTR: I love the concept of SAZ. I’ve always been a proponent of showcasing hip-hop in a “high art” sort of way. Can you explain to us the meaning and the ultimate goal of your “self sustaining art community”?
SAZ: I can’t tell you the overall goal because it changes a little with any opportunity we get. I can say the aim over the next few months though is to be able to provide gigs, jobs or work experience based on our contacts to the members of the SAZ community, so they can get that little bit more that always helps with their own journeys.
BBTR: What is your instrument of choice?
SAZ: I play guitar as my primary instrument, and have done since I was a kid. I have phases where I use my electric, but I did a lot of solo acoustic gigs over the past few years and really took a liking to it. I can also play drums and can work my way around the keys, but I would by no means say I could ‘play’ it.
Seon’s a bit more experienced on the keys, but he’s a drummer first and foremost. We used to have a rock band together, so we’ve been together for quite a while.
BBTR: Do you prefer flipping samples, composing original material or a mixture of both? Why so?
SAZ: We both go through phases. I haven’t used a sample in a few months for all the material I’m making because I’m enjoying getting back into instruments, but sample-based work is fun. Music stopped being a priority for me for a while, and learning to produce properly allowed me to really get back into music after such a long time away from it. We both went through about 6 months of just loving to see what we could do with random samples like Portuguese jazz songs from the 40’s. Whatever we could get our hands on really!
BBTR: Who or what inspires you in making beats?
SAZ: With the style of hip-hop, Nujabes was a pillar for us. We grew up on his music so it was like the soundtrack to our lives. Fat Jon is of equal measure.
BBTR: Why do you think Beat making has become the cornerstone of hip-hop culture lately?
SAZ: Probably because it’s a lot easier to get into now then it was up to a decade ago. Consumer priced versions of audio equipment is cheaper, and vinyl sample searching can be done online now, and whilst that takes away some of the fun, its definitely quicker. Most computers can handle production programs as standard, so when you recommend someone to give it a try, they don’t have to go empty their accounts to give it a go.
The way music is shared is a lot more efficient now too. Sites like Soundcloud allow people to share their music with likeminded people. Most of our views come from countries we’ve never even been too, and we’ve found a few producers who we had to get in contact with because we liked their styles of production.
Artists are starting to see the art of beat making as its own section of music too, rather than just as a beat waiting for a rapper or singer. We make our instrumentals so that a voice isn’t needed for the experience, and that’s becoming more common to listeners so they don’t mind.
Keep up with BNT SAZ
Website – http://www.sazproject.com/bnt-saz
Boy Needs Therapy – http://boyneedstherapy.com/
Jon Waltz – https://soundcloud.com/jonwaltz
Love Mansuy – https://soundcloud.com/lovemansuy