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Reality Comes From Magic: in conversation with

Saul Williams by Leah Stephenson Saul Williams, electro punk poet, meta-fictionist actor and ineffable Renaissance man, is about to release his fourth album, has published four books, and acted in seven movies, including the 1998 film Slam, for which he won the Sundance Festival Grand Jury Prize and the Cannes Camera D'Or. His last album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! was a collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. With a new album and a film to shoot, Saul is not easy to reach, so I’m thrilled to be able to share some of a fascinating forty-five minute conversation with this insightful, evolving and engaged artist.

What’s keeping you so busy Saul? The thing I’ve been busiest with is finishing my album. I just finished it. That’s Volcanic Sunlight? Exactly, yeah. Tell me about the birth of Volcanic Sunlight. I started writing the album almost immediately after finishing Niggy Tardust, when I was on the road. It’s my first album where there are no songs written out of anger. Was that conscious? I was aware of it while it was happening, but it wasn’t a decision like, I’m going to do that. It just happened that way. I think, in the past, I’ve used music to constructively channel anger and, although in my life anybody who knows me wouldn’t describe me as an angry person or… …no, no, but we all have our frustrations. Yeah, so I’ve aired a lot of frustrations through the music and this time I wanted to air something

different. I wanted something that corresponded with a more holistic picture of who I am; where I am in life; how I see, feel. Subsequently, I made the first album that I really enjoy listening to, the type of thing I listen to in my home. Usually, I’m not a big listener to my own stuff. What range of emotions did you find yourself channelling? I imagine the whole spectrum minus the thing that makes me stand up on something and scream I want my money back. There was an exclusive release for the video of Explain My Heart. What inspired that track? Explain My Heart stemmed from the idea of being heartbroken, personally or through societal means, repeatedly, yet always feeling the energy to come back for more, like, yeah, but it didn’t kill me, I’m open. Explain My Heart is about, how is it that I feel such passion, such great capacity for love, even when I’ve been let down? Why is it this thing keeps on going? Volcanic Sunlight is a dance album, that’s the craziest thing. Explain My Heart is probably the most serious song on the album. It’s not the first single off the album. It’s the leak, to share it.

Profile for Burner Magazine

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

Burner Magazine: The MUSIC Issue  

On March 1, 2011, Burner Magazine is excited to unveil Burner 03: The Music Issue, with editorials and features of Yoko Ono, Saul Williams,...

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