Santigold On Why We’re Failing As A Society 

Words: Florian Obkircher
Photo: Christelle de Castro

Santigold lets loose on her new album 99¢ and alleged butt texts from rapper Earl Sweatshirt

The many talents of Santigold make her the pop star other pop stars seek out. The Red Hot Chili Peppers took her on tour, Mark Ronson brought her in as a guest vocalist, and Christina Aguilera asked the 39-year-old to co-write songs with her. 

Santigold’s two solo albums, her eponymous 2008 debut and 2012’s Master of My Make-Believe, cemented her reputation as a forward-thinking musician exploring the territory between new wave, reggae and indie-pop. Santigold’s new master piece 99¢ is a reckoning with our social price tags and digital habits, as the US singer revealed in her recent interview with The Red Bulletin.

Santigold will be playing at the Roskilde Festival this week. Watch the event live on Red Bull TV!  

THE RED BULLETIN: Your new album 99¢ is a concept album consolidating the idea that everything in life is a product, including people and relationships. Can you elaborate on that?

SANTIGOLD: I think it’s where we are in culture right now. As an artist you can’t escape the idea that we are all products. You’re supposed to constantly market yourself. Actually you spend way more time doing marketing these days than making music. That reality is what drove me to explore the idea of how we all are products.

Santigold’s album 99¢ is out now on Warner Music

© Santigold // YouTube

How does social media play into your theory?

Facebook is the place where you create this version of yourself that you want to sell people on. People are making entire careers by creating these branded versions of themselves. People are doing social media largely as an opportunity to sell themselves, and of course, that crosses over into how we meet people in real life. If you read any psychological studies, they’re saying that people are so much more anxious and feeling depressed in life, because they are constantly comparing themselves and their lives to these fake versions of everyone else. 

True. Even when you’re dating, you’re choosing people by swiping through these pictures.

Right? The other thing about it is, social media is affecting people’s abilities to communicate. How many times have you been to a restaurant when everyone’s just staring at their phones?

“We are all products”

That has definitely happened a few times.

People don’t even know how to spell anymore. Do they still teach handwriting in school? I got a text one time that I thought was a butt dial, because there was not one full word in it. Do you know who Earl Sweatshirt is?

Yes, sure.

The text was from him. We were at some music festival. At one point he called me and he’s like, ‘hey, I’ve been texting you this whole time! I told you to come here and that we’d going to be right back and this and that.’ And I was like, ‘really? I didn’t get anything but some butt text from you.’

Really? What did the text say?

It was nonsense, O C H D N C or something. It was just letters! I didn’t understand any of it. That’s where we are at in society. People are not using language anymore to communicate. I think these are long-term social issues that we are going to have deal with. These are people who are going to be running countries later, you know? 

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02 2016

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