I'm kinda smitten with Santi White. But not in a creepy, stalker way. I mean, I wear a fake mustache made out of hair that I found in the Dumpster outside her Brooklyn apartment and everything, but that's just because I look pretty damn sweet with a mustache.
Nah, I'm just digging her music right now. You probably are, too, but just don't know that you're listening to Santi—better known as Santogold—when you're playing FIFA 08 and NHL 08, or watching Entourage, Grey's Anatomy and Gossip Girl (dude, I can't believe you watch Gossip Girl!), or when you're glazing over during halftime of the Chargers game and those Bud Light Lime commercials come on.
Her solo debut, Santogold, has spawned a multimedia barrage of singles like “Creator,” “L.E.S. Artistes” and “Lights Out” and tours with everyone from M.I.A. to Bjork to Coldplay. And while “L.E.S. Artistes” has been featured in adverts for the Ford Flex, I think her musical style leans more toward the Toyota Prius, with a malleable hybrid that contains elements of pop, rock, dub, new wave, punk and [fill in the blank].
There are a lot of questions you could ask someone like Ms. White—for instance: Did she really bludgeon Col. Mustard with the lead pipe in the conservatory?—making her ideal for my Agent Orange approach to interviewing, in which I carpet-bomb questions until a few intelligible answers are left standing.
But, alas, les artist was placed on “vocal rest” during her current tour and is conducting interviews only via e-mail (with both the questions and responses filtered through a publicist). I was allocated “3-5” written questions, which is kind of like giving Scott Weiland 3-5 doses of methadone. It's not enough, but it'll have to do. CityBeat: Is it rewarding or frustrating that your music is so hard for people to define? Santi White: I like that it's hard to define. That means I'm doing something new. [This might be the most generic answer in the history of music articles. Just saying….]Corollary: What are some of the best comparisons that people have used to describe your music and what are some of the worst?The best comparison would probably be Grace Jones or Siouxsie Soux [sic], and the worst would probably be Debbie Gibson.How did the Bud Light Lime commercials come about, and how much of an impact do you think they've had on the success/exposure of your album? They came about through my publishing company and have been really helpful in gaining exposure to new audiences. I get MySpace messages all the time from people who heard me first on commercials, TV shows and video games. And when I open for acts like Coldplay (who have a very mainstream following), a lot of their audience recognizes my songs from the commercials and that's when they actually start paying attention. And is it unnerving or exciting to be watching, say, Dancing with the Stars and have your music pop up in a beer commercial?As far as watching Dancing With the Stars, believe or not, I usually miss that one. I don't really watch much regular TV, so I've hardly ever seen the commercials.Corollary: Would you agree or disagree that Bud Light Lime smells, if not tastes, a little bit like urine scented with lemon Pledge?[No response.]Is the musical progression of Santogold an example of creationism or evolution and why? Show your work. Definitely evolution. Santogold is a culmination of all my musical influences from childhood to present, all my life experiences, all my jobs, my successes and failures. It wouldn't exist without everything that came before it.Corollary: Which of the following best describes your vocals at the beginning of “Creator”:
1) It's just some cool vocal scatting you came up with in the studio.
2) It's dolphin-speak for “Don't stop, get it, get it.”
3) You have highly evolved language capabilities and were trying to send a message back to the mother ship.
4) You were trying to warn a flock of whooping cranes about the dangers of power lines.
5) Other.[No response.]Which saint (St. Francis, St. Peter, St. Joan of Arc, St. Diego, etc.) do you most closely identify with and why?I don't know much about Saints, but I'll say Joan of Arc because she was a bad-ass bitch! Talk about courage!If this wasn't an interview but a self-introspection exercise, what 3-5 questions would you ask yourself?What's your purpose?
Are you being true to yourself?
Are you happy?Not entirely. But at least I still have my mustache.
Santogold plays with Mates of State and Low Vs. Diamond on Friday, Oct. 10, at House of Blues. 619-299-BLUE. www.myspace.com/santogold.