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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week – Sketch Tha Cataclysm
Monday, April 02, 2007

Can great Hip-Hop come from public access television? Well, if you’ve seen Sketch Tha Cataclysm you already know the answer is an emphatic yes. Sketch got his start hosting two public access Hip-Hop shows in his hometown of Waterbury, CT, performing what he calls, in retrospect, “terrible battle raps littered with inappropriate similes and varied other foulness for shock value.” It was during that eight year period as a host, however, that he learned how to write complete songs and released an album entitled Tao Te Ching. Tao Te Ching was a collection of songs about the world told in first person and third person narratives and in a series of editorials. During the close of this period he also rocked shows with a band called (Soda) Popinski at the Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport and started building his stagecraft. Recently he tore down the house at Cousin Larry’s in Danbury and this week I’m sitting down with Sketch to find out where his intense energy comes from, what he feels makes him unique as an artist, and what’s up with the “I Hate Rappers” hoodie he wears.

Adam Bernard: After seeing your live show I have to say your energy level is incredible. I got tired for you at one point during your set. You seem fairly normal off stage, however, so I'm wondering where does this energy come from and how do you harness it while on stage?
Sketch Tha Cataclysm: Wow man thanks for the compliment! I really appreciate comments like that. I usually go into a show fairly level and I just wander around the venue to feel out the crowd, this will usually tell me what I should rock for the night. As of the past six months I have stopped making a set list, so the crowd really tells me which of my songs to rock. Conserving energy usually comes from song choices and at this point I can tell when I will need a second to chill before pulling out a nice closer. Sometimes a chill point for me is a song that is just a bit slower or an a cappella done spoken-word style that has a little more space for me to breathe before the show's closer. I really like to keep the energy up, though.

Adam Bernard: Other than your energy level, what do you feel makes you stand out in this very crowded Hip-Hop world?
Sketch Tha Cataclysm: The desire to constantly change and just be a little different always. There are many different interests I have and aspects to my personality. It's important to me to show those different sides of my character. Also, I love writing so I have experimented with different styles of writing and using different artistic devices. My first serious album was loaded with character based stories with first person narratives, personification, etc. The newest project I’m working on has more multi-syllabic rhymes schemes on political and social issues over funky party beats. The project following that will be more personal and dramatic.

Adam Bernard: Speaking of personal and dramatic, you have quite the long name. How did you become Sketch Tha Cataclysm and what does it mean to you?
Sketch Tha Cataclysm: I was called "Sketch" because of an infatuation with drawing and never finishing pictures when I was little. "Tha Cataclysm" came due to a chance encounter with a magazine, legal purposes, Jeru, and to make my name become more of an artistic statement than a rap name with a subtitle. Basically, Sketch Tha Cataclysm = Design The Change.

Adam Bernard: In climbing the ladder of success what do you feel is the next step for you and how are you going about making it happen?
Sketch Tha Cataclysm: I want to get to a point where I am able to pay my bills entirely from my musical endeavors. Getting better at the art of performance is another constant goal and also continuing to put out diverse and interesting product. For example, I walk everywhere so while I am walking I try spit some of the most complicated rhymes I know repeatedly and make all of the words as clear as possible. It's breath control, it's something I stole from the late Jeff Buckley, who used to try to hold his notes out longer and longer as he walked places. You expend energy walking so it’s a good way to practice for being on stage without rehearsing a song directly.

Adam Bernard: Finally, I noticed you rock a hoodie that says "I Hate Rappers." This might be confusing to a lot of people, can you explain it for everyone?
Sketch Tha Cataclysm: The concept just comes from the fact that everybody nowadays spits rhymes. It just gets kind of aggravating. There are a vast array of biters and trends, and due to the amount of rappers out there all of those biters and trends get amplified by a billion and cause people to assume they know what I am like before they even hear me rhyme. The special ones, the original ones, the charismatic performers and musicians, the artists… I love. These humpty dumpty rappers that rap cat with bat I don't dig too much.

For more Sketch hit up myspace.com/sketchthacataclysm.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:52 AM  
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