EPISODE VII - CAESAR, THE MARTYR
“DREAM GIRL” by Caesar, The Martyr.
Shot by @eyemeltproduction | Edited by @caesarthemartyr
Song written, produced, and recorded by @caesarthemartyr
Additional guitar solo by Sam Bogel | Mixed and Mastered by @sendaimike
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
WHAT ALL DO YOU DO FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW?
Music production, video editing, graphic design, and photography. I sing, rap, and like to write poetry.
HOW DID THIS ALL BEGIN? HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN AN ARTIST?
I wouldn’t say always, but it’s been a long time. I started getting into video editing and photoshop when I was twelve. I kept learning new skills and programs and eventually wanted to be a DJ. When I was about fifteen years old my dad brought me to this place called The Fabitat. It was a non-profit organization in Hilltop, Tacoma that had a “space to create” for youth in Tacoma. Honestly that’s where I was introduced to hip hop and production and ultimately where I found my artistic confidence through my passion for music. I never really called myself “an artist” until I decided that art was what I was going to pursue in my life.
WHERE DOES THE NAME CAESAR, THE MARTYR COME FROM? DOES THE NOTION OF SACRIFICE PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR CREATIVE EXPRESSION?
The Martyr thing was my way of trying to give purpose to life. We’re all going to die. And most of us won’t die for any cause or anything. But if you live everyday living for your passion, then one day when you’ll die for a cause. Being a martyr not only in death, but in life as well.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH? DO YOU FIND ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN YOUR APPROACH WHEN YOU GO TO CREATE AN ALBUM COVER COMPARED TO WHEN YOU’RE PRODUCING?
Music is my favorite. It really has so many different aspects to it that I never get bored, and I can write or play an instrument without being in front of a computer for awhile. I think some of the other mediums I’m trained in have happened more out of necessity and lack of wanting to let anyone else handle my vision for me. I like to be in the driver's seat in every aspect of my music and artistic vision.
We Wilt, We Bloom released on August 31, 2020 - featuring additional guitar by Coldboulder and Sam Bogle.
ARE YOU A PERFECTIONIST? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN SOMETHING IS FINISHED?
Sometimes a song needs three verses and two bridges, sometimes it barely needs a hook. If it gets across the feeling I'm trying to communicate, then I’m done. I’m definitely a perfectionist and a control freak when it comes to my overall projects and creative direction, but when it comes to making music, I try to keep the music raw instead of adding too much.. But I’ll still sit there and bounce 15 mixes just to adjust the sub bass haha
THE PNW IS A SANDBOX OF CREATIVITY. HOW HAS THIS ENVIRONMENT SPECIFICALLY INFLUENCED YOUR ART?
I wouldn’t say the place necessarily influences my music. But all the moments that have lead me along my artistic journey, I owe to the PNW. I grew up here, and multiple people have helped me along the path of visual artwork and music production.
WE ARE ALMOST 6 MONTHS INTO THIS PANDEMIC SHUT DOWN. HAS THIS BEEN “DOWN TIME” FOR YOU?
No it’s been the first time in my life I’ve felt like I was a full-time artist. I’ve done nothing but hang out in my studio for the last six months. I love it.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO GET BORED?
In a way.. I don’t like doing the same thing twice. Anyone who listens to my music can tell I’ve got about a million different styles. Dark screaming trap, alternative rock, punk, indie, lo fi, oldies music with auto-tune.. I’ve been making house music recently. So no I don’t get bored, I’m always doing something. But I get tired of things fast.
YOUR NEW ALBUM “WE WILT, WE BLOOM” JUST RELEASED AUGUST 31ST. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE TITLE CONCEPT?
It originally was called “I Wilt, You Bloom”. I felt I was deteriorating emotionally and watching others grow or “bloom”. Watching people learn and mature from mistakes, while I’ve just grown bitter. As the album progressed and I wrote more, I realized that I’m not the only one deteriorating one.. And that we all go through both processes, sometimes several times a year, or maybe just once. Either way, the title is about the ebb and flow of emotional stature.
IS THIS A SEQUEL TO “CUTTING DAISIES FROM MY THROAT?
Technically, no. Thematically, kinda. Sonically, I’d say it’s a more mature and polished venture of Alternative Rock and Indie-pop. I’ve progressed a lot since that album, and changed a lot as far as where my heart was during Cutting Daisies.
THE FLOWER METAPHOR SEEMS TO BE A MOTIF IN YOUR PROJECTS, IS THIS SOMETHING INTENTIONAL? WHAT DOES THE FLOWER REPRESENT TO YOU?
We’re the flowers. We’re delicate, fragile, beautiful, and we don’t last very long. We need a lot of care for our beauty to show, and a lot can go wrong with that process.
YOUR MOST TWO MOST RECENT SINGLES “DREAM GIRL” AND “SAMO” SOUND LIKE POLAR OPPOSITES SONICALLY. A LOT OF ARTISTS AREN’T ABLE TO PULL OFF MULTIPLE SOUNDS, HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO NAVIGATE IT SO EFFECTIVELY?
Haha, I don’t know man I just really like making a lot of different types of music. I love oldies and soul music but the sound of a distorted 808 never gets old for me.
ON YOUR 2016 SONG “MAN OVER THE MOON” YOU SAY “THE CONTRAST AND JUXTAPOSITION WAS NEEDED”. HAS THIS BECOME A MANTRA OF SORTS? AS AN INTERDISCIPLINARY ARTIST IS THIS JUXTAPOSITION SOMETHING YOU DO CONSCIOUSLY AS YOU MOVE THROUGH DIFFERENT SOUNDS AND MEDIUMS?
That line is more so metaphorical. It’s about the contrast of dark times and the good ones. The line before says “The moon and wolf, not meant for each other”. Suggesting although I wasn’t meant for this particular girl, the relationship was needed, and the dark times that came after were needed as well. To push me towards the next chapter.
IT’S BEEN 4 YEARS SINCE “MAN OVER THE MOON” DROPPED, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW THAT PARTICULAR SONG CAME TO BE? IT FEELS LIKE THAT PERIOD WAS A SPRINGBOARD MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER, IS THIS TRUE? DID IT FEEL LIKE THAT AT THE TIME?
That song was a poem about a very life-changing period of my life. I also decided I couldn’t wait any longer to get help with production or recording and I was just going to do it all myself. That's why the beat is so trash haha, but it definitely was this moment in my life where I decided I was going to commit my life to my art.
THERE IS A LEVEL OF SINCERITY ABOUT YOUR WORK THAT SETS IT APART. THERE IS A LEVEL OF DARKNESS BUT IT’S EXPRESSED IN A CERTAIN WARM WAY THAT DOESN’T NECESSARILY INDICATE DESPAIR, MORE LIKE EXISTENTIAL LONGING. AM I FAR OFF? HOW INTENTIONAL IS THIS?
I’d say that’s a pretty great way to interpret my lyrics. It’s intentional in a way, but I think that’s also just kind of who I am. I’m probably the most cynical dreamer you’ll ever meet. I can get in pretty dark places sometimes, but I never give up hope that things are not only going to get better, but that my dreams are still attainable. When putting out these songs, I hope that I can relate to the people who are or have been in similar dark points of their life, and after relating I hope to create trust between myself and the listener. Then from there I hope to let them know it’s going to be ok, and that dark point won’t last forever. When you’re not doing well you don’t want to listen to happy music. You want to know you’re not alone in your sadness. So, I guess I’m a friend to those people.
WHO ARE YOUR GREATEST MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS? WHY?
I’m really into Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Portishead, Tame Impala, Daft Punk, Justice, Johnny Cash, Kanye West, Tyler The Creator..The list never ends. I can’t narrow it down.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SONG THAT YOU’VE CREATED?
A lot haha. Usually my most recent song is my favorite. But off the new album I’d say my favorite is LESS THAN A SECOND, which just captures some very real struggles and questions I have that remain unanswered. The lyrics never get old for me.
WHAT ARE YOU STUDIO ESSENTIALS? WHAT MAKES A CAESAR SESSION UNIQUE?
I’ve worked pretty hard to collect lots of keyboards and controllers and guitars over the years. I hate using computers if I don’t have to. The process of making music is much more natural when you can just use your hands and jam.
ARE YOU A STUDIO RAT? WHAT ELSE DO YOU ENJOY DOING?
Yes. Reading old books, and watching old films. Like Hitchcock and Welles
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK WITH CLUB CRESCENDO?
It’s a group of local artists that have kind of banded together just to support each other. It’s basically a ‘Strength in numbers’ thing. I’ve been producing lots of music for some people in the group, but currently it’s still in the works.
WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL AS AN ARTIST WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
To inspire and relate to as many people as I can. I want to make the soundtrack for people's greatest adventures, and music that heals the greatest heartaches.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?
Hopefully somewhere I can look back five years and say, “I never saw it going this way”.
Find Caesar here.