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Who is King Sagz the Dreamer?

Updated: Jun 23

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Learn more about this emerging artist!

Can you provide some background on your artistic journey and what inspired your latest release, "Gunner"?

In my case, “journey” is definitely the right word. I was singer in a touring reggae-rock band, fronted a couple straight up rock outfits and collaborated on all sorts of tracks from hip-hop to pop to frickin’ soca (Trini man gonna Trini).

COVID was hard on all of us. For me, it forced me to actually address my lifelong struggle with depression. While getting the help, I started teaching myself music production as part of the healing process. I was making music on my own for the first time, and it was about creating something meaningful in the moment.

There’s been a bunch of stops and starts. That’s often the reality when you’re working through mental health challenges. And at every start, you need to remind yourself that you belong here and you have the strength to keep moving forward. Like most of us, I’m great at hyping other people up but suck at being as kind to myself. That’s what “Gunner” is. “I was a runner, but I’m holding steady now.” I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying.

What themes or messages do you explore in your music, particularly in this new release, "Gunner"?

Perseverance, surmounting obstacles, all that good ish. Honestly, a lot of it is aspirational. Often, I don’t feel like I have those traits. Sometimes, I feel the exact opposite. But speaking about them in the present tense brings them closer to fruition, you know? There’s still the struggles—loves lost, the moments where we’ve not lived up to our own expectations. But now I try to end those stories with a reminder that we can be better, and that it’s worth it to work towards that.

How would you describe the sound?

Hahaha. Oh Lord. As any of the Beatcave family that have heard my music can tell you, it’s a tough one to pin down. But instead of boring people who ask to death with “uhhhh…well there’s hints of alternative rock, pop, hip hop, reggae, soca, indie and oh yeah, the kitchen sink,” I figured I’d just come up with a new name for a new style. Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to “Island Alternative.” 🌴🎸

Could you share any interesting anecdotes or stories behind the creation of specific tracks on this album/EP/single?

This actually was never supposed to be a single release. The music was all tracked in my living room, and a lot of what you still hear on the track is from a demo. But at a certain point I felt like I needed to push myself to start putting out music without worrying so much about the big, perfect release. So I re-recorded the real janky parts, tracked vocals in a studio, went through a pretty unexpected mixing process (that you’ll read about below) and here we are.

What was the creative process like for this release, from inception to completion?

It started like most of my tunes do - on guitar. I hear something in my head (usually beyond my playing ability), and while I master that, melodies start showing. As I finished singing nonsense words for the verse melody, the phrase “If you a gunner, show me that you ready now” just kinda spilled out. Once that happens (at least for me), you know it’s going to be one of those bless ones that pretty much write themselves.

The percussion and synth elements chosen were a big part of the creative process. I love incorporating virtual instruments—they allow me a really wide variety of textures and sounds to more accurately express what I’m feeling through the music as well as lyrics. It takes a long-ass time and can be frustrating trying to track down exactly the right sounds but when you find them, goddamn does it feel good.

Were there any particular challenges or highlights you encountered during the production/recording process?

Fun story: I played all the instruments, produced and programmed everything—and for the first time in my life, mixed and mastered as well. So please believe yes, there were challenges 😅 With respect to mixing, I went to bed many, many nights questioning my life decisions, positive I’d just wasted a month or whatever it was, and that I would need to hand this over to someone else.

But I didn’t. And that’s the biggest highlight right there. Does it have the gloss of a Drake or Billie Eilish track? Nope. Does it sound damn good for a guy who taught himself how to do it over 2 months or so? You better believe it, broski.

Did you collaborate with any other artists or producers on this project? If so, how did those collaborations come about and how did they influence the final product?

No, but I need to give a shout out to my boy Pyari. He was initially going to mix the track for me, but schedules and life happen, and that didn’t work out. Life is funny/sneaky though. Firstly, he helped me figure out a couple technical things that really helped. And secondly, his reaction to my mix suggestions made me realize that once I figured out the practical side, this was probably something I could actually do.

Shoutouts to Aggrey for helping me track down the tools I needed to even try my hand at mixing (before I even knew I’d be doing this. He’s just psychic/that much of a sweetheart) and OP at Secret Weapon Sound for tracking vocals.

Lastly, a big fat thank you to Dajaun Martineau. Mans is producing charting tracks out in L.A., but still took the time to give me invaluable feedback on my hella novice initial mix. Knowledge that would have taken me probably a year of fumbling around to figure out, he gave me in about 3 messages.

Thanks, homeslices.

What do you hope listeners will take away from experiencing your music, especially this new release?

Pure vibes. A feeling of lightness. Wanting to dance like there are ants in their pants. A feeling of “lets f@%*$g go” with respect to their own lives and passions. To use a perfectly all-encompassing rasta term: upfulness.

How do you see this new release fitting into your overall body of work or artistic evolution?

I’ve decided to stop thinking too much about that stuff—at least for now. There’s a line from the brilliant Trini novel “A Brighter Sun” by Samuel Selvon, where the village drunk drops a bit of wisdom: “What is to is must is.” This song is what it needed to be at the time, and so for me, it fits perfectly.

Can you speak to any specific influences or inspirations that informed the sound or direction of this release?

Jesus is Lord. Well, as I inferred before, way too many. My love of big choruses and bright sounding tracks probably comes from my love of 90s music. Far too many Trini acts to name have had an influence on my vocals. All the alt-pop I listen to probably has something to do with me feeling comfortable throwing synths into a track with the vocal line “Babylon can’t stop we now.” (Speaking of, the reggae influence is pretty obvious.) And of course, the guitars come from me loving to rock out as much as I love flexing out in the dance.

Are there any upcoming performances, tours, or promotional activities tied to this release that you'd like to share?

I’m putting together a banger of a live set with some co-conspirators (and I’m always looking for more, so holla if you play something). Look out for some super fun, high-energy gigs this summer. Going nuts live is my favourite thing in the world, and I can’t wait to get back to it.

How do you envision your music impacting the broader music scene or connecting with audiences worldwide?

It’s different. And a lot of us out here are different. Most of the folks running the show, the gatekeepers and what not, will tell you you can be a little different but you can’t stray too far from the formula. My goal is to prove that hypothesis wrong. I’m open (“to a fault”, I’ve been told) about my struggles and hopes..and I still believe there’s a family of like-minded folk out there I’m going to connect with. Hope y’all come with me on this weird and wonderful trip, and that we open doors for all those who have something unique to share.

In what ways does your personal background or identity inform your music-making process and the themes explored in your songs?

It shapes every single facet of my music. You can see, hear and feel my Trini upbringing and heritage. Mental health challenges and the journey to wellness will always be part of my music’s thematic makeup, but very likely never more so than right now. Like all of us, I’m trying to find myself, be a better me, and track down happiness. And we can’t help the music we make being a journal of that search for identity. So, you know. Go ahead and be nosy, delve into my diary.

Can you discuss any specific production techniques or musical elements that you experimented with on "Gunner"?

So many. You’ll hear it. The music I’ve loved has always exhibited a freedom to try unique techniques, structures and sounds. So I’ve felt the same urge from day one. Fun delays, panning stuff from left to right, throwing effects on vocals to create a mood. I was told “you can’t start your track with an effected vocal.” I politely replied: “Kick rocks, nerds.”

In general, I love combining different sounds, styles and layers, and then taking on the challenge of making it sound cohesive. I guess whether I succeeded or not is subjective. But I have a hell of a lot of fun, and from what I’ve been told, the folks listening do too. That's kinda what it’s all about, isn't it? Sometimes we (myself included) forget that.

Lastly, is there anything else you'd like to convey to your fans or potential new listeners about this release or your artistic vision in general?

Hi, I’m King Sagz the Dreamer. I’m happy when I bring this world joy, and I’m sorry for when I falter and fall short. But I’m working every day to make sure I do a lot more of the former.

Oh. And I don’t sound like what you think I sound like.

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