Our latest exclusive interview is with Savan DePaul, an experimental hip hop artist, electronic producer, visual artist, and poet from Pennsylvania. We connected with this multi-talented musician and visual artist to discuss his new album, find out how Asperger's affects his creativity and life overall, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Savan DePaul, be sure to follow him on his social media streams and stream/download "Sketchpad" ASAP! Stay tuned because our review of the album is coming real soon.
Congratulations on the release of the "Sketchpad" album. Tell us about your creative process for it. How long did it take for you to produce the beats, write, and record it?
Sketchpad took over a year to make, from July 2016 to early August of this year. I originally wanted to create a short scattered collection of varied tracks and it was originally titled Sketchdump. Slowly, as time went on and I was recruited into the Vivid Kind collective, I fleshed out the album's concept to be more conscious and more experimental. There were at least 7 different iterations of this album over one year, writing each track to each concept and constantly tweaking verses/beats. After the song ideas were mapped out, I started working on the artwork for each track - painting cover art for the album (which was renamed at this point) as well as art for each individual song. I must've recorded each song at least 5 times.
How did you decide which songs made the cut for the album?
Once I had Sketchpad mapped out, I had 15 tracks that were meant to be on the album (one bonus track). There were 3 possible tracks meant for song #2. The first one "Misanthropy" was hated on by underground cats , so I replaced it with "Do The Nebula Bop." That one garnered mixed reactions, so I said "you know what, screw it" and created a bombastic instrumental that everyone loved.
As someone with Asperger's, how is that reflected in your production and lyrics?
I've dealt with Asperger's for my whole life and it's permeated through everything I do, positively and negatively. Strange speech patterns, slight paranoia, hyperfocusing, quiet demeanor. It helps me creatively yet hinders me socially - it prohibits me rapping in a conventional manner, yet allows me to write and rap in unorthodox ways. Especially within the last few years, I've used that disorder to express myself in weird and alternative ways. Many people over the past few months didn't rock with my style or straight-up dissed me. My response? Simply be me. I stopped caring what other rappers thought of my methods and doubled down on what made Savan DePaul unique as a rapper/producer. Over time, a lot of those same artists and producers who hated turned around and appreciated the project.
If you could collaborate with any artist, regardless of genre, who would you select? Why?
Oh man - it would have to be El-P. From his work with Run The Jewels and his awesome solo material, El-P has made so much amazing music. One of my major influences in any genre of music.
Tell us about your visual art. When did you start painting? Is your work available for sale? If so, where?
I really got into painting last year. Before that I did lots of sketches (which is what inspired the name of my album - my lyrics were written in the same pad as my drawings). I decided to paint as a stress reliever at first and later worked that into the project. I wanna start selling them later in the year once my schedule dies down a bit, there's so much to do now. When it comes to painting, I love creating abstract atmospheres and surreal art in addition to concept art, usually focusing on aliens and sci-fi imagery. Something I really enjoy and love to reference in my lyrics, too!