In 2008 you couldn’t turn on the TV and not hear a song off Santigold’s self-titled debut blasting over commercials for Bud Lite Lime or Kohls or Honda Civic. The album was everywhere; Santi took a page from Moby’s Play-book and licensed it to all takers. Point is, she’s not exactly shy about cozying up to corporate brands. In fact, she did it before it was the norm. So it’s no surprise that she–like Bloc Party and Grimes before her–has teamed up with ABSOLUT X for a night that “incorporates music, art and mixology to break new artistic ground” for a special performance tonight at Roseland Ballroom. There are masks and specialty cocktails involved (full press release after the jump). So too are Questlove, contemporary artist Sanford Biggers and mixologist Naren Young. We caught up with Santi for a very quick chat about art and fashion and her tiny role on The Office. Oh, and we threw a question in about booze in for good measure.
You have quite a knack for coherently bringing together your various sources of inspiration while still preserving your creative voice. How do manage that?
I think collage is about using various existing mediums to express your own unique voice. For me, the process of creating my music is about taking bits and pieces of things that I like and juxtaposing them to create something new, whether its harnessing different skills from the various producers I work with, or using elements specific to contrasting music genres out of context. The idea is to stumble upon new terrain that feels fresh and interesting and that’s where my own creative voice is key.
It seems like you have been having a lot of fun with cameos lately, appearing on both The Office and Vampire Weekend’s video for “Diane Young.” How do you go about choosing your acting roles?
I love cameos because they’re a quick fun opportunity to step out of your creative world into someone else’s. It’s always fun to appear in a friend’s video and support their creative vision, so when Ezra asked me to be in their “Diane Young” video I said “of course!” My cameo on The Office was a bit different because it was more outside of the context of music, so it was very new experience. I’ve just recently started studying acting and it has been amazing so far. It’s such a nice break from creating music because instead of digging around inside my head for information about myself and my views on things, I get to dig around my head to find a connection to other characters’ experiences. It’s still creative because a lot of it you get to make up. It’s a nice new challenge. The Office was hopefully the first of my ventures into this world.
Your fashion choices have always been interesting. How do you see those aesthetic choices as relating to your sound? Have you ever worn something that you’ve completely regretted?
I think the way I dress and the way I make music is actually the same process. It’s still a mix and match collage process, taking bits and pieces that may not traditionally go together and piecing them together in a way that feels special. I’ve definitely worn things I’ve regretted, sometimes because things don’t look the same on camera as they do in person, sometimes because things that look good aren’t practical to perform in. But, you live and you learn, and there’s always the next outfit.
We heard that you handpicked artist Sanford Biggers for this project. Can you tell us a bit about the collaboration with him and mixologist Naren Young?
Yes, I think Sanford is a brilliant artist and when I heard about the idea for this event, I jumped at the opportunity to work with him. I always love the chance to work with artists whose work I respect. The idea of tying in his concepts with my stage show was exciting. Absolut brought in Naren Young because the goal of ABSOLUT® X is to create a platform for artistic collaboration that incorporates three different disciplines-music, art and mixology. I never heard of mixology before this, had you? – so I learned something already! They asked me about my favorite drink so Naren could create a Santigold inspired drink for the event. I said fresh-squeezed juice, and he turned that idea into a fresh-juice inspired party drink, which I thought was interesting
Full press release for tonight’s event with Santigold, Sanford Biggers, Naren Young and Questlove on next page.
ABSOLUT X CREATES NEW ARTIST EXPRESSIONS AT
ROSELAND BALLROOM THURSDAY, JULY 11th
The Intersection of Art, Music and Cocktails featuring musician Santigold, contemporary artist Sanford Biggers , mixologist Naren Young and DJ/producer Questlove
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Santigold joins forces with multidisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, mixologist Naren Young and DJ/producer Questlove to create new artistic expressions at ABSOLUT X New York on Thursday, July 11th. A catalyst for creativity, ABSOLUT® X has already taken over Austin, Miami and Seattle, bringing best-in-their-class artists together such as Bloc Party, Cruz Ortiz, WALK THE MOON, Bert Rodriguez and Grimes, to break new artistic ground. At Roseland Ballroom, longtime admirers of each other’s work, Santigold and Biggers will collaborate onstage in an awe-inspiring performance.
Guests will don custom ABSOLUT® masks to develop their “ABSOLUT® self,” making their dream identity a reality while enjoying a mixology demonstration by Young. Working with the non-profit Architecture for Humanity, Biggers’ finished art will be donated and installed in a selected public space, leaving a piece of ABSOLUT X to live on in New York.
From Andy Warhol to Swedish House Mafia, ABSOLUT® VODKA has a long history of collaborating with and supporting cultural provocateurs. With the launch of ABSOLUT® X, the brand is challenging millennials to transform their present and futures to create a new reality. ABSOLUT X continues the mission in Philadelphia on August 15th with Twin Shadow and Klip TV.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2013