Artist Of The Week - Sintex
A lot of artists like to say they can see the future of music, but how many have actually been to the future? According to Sintex, he has, and it was the inspiration for his 2009 album, 2020. Originally from Ohio, but now a Queens, NY, resident, Sintex’s story is an interesting one, and not just because of the time travel. Sintex had an extremely religious upbringing, and when I caught up with him this week he discussed it with me, as well as the way in which he rebelled against it. Also, since Sintex claims to have been to the future, I grilled him on when we’re going to get hoverboards, flying cars and robot maids.
Adam Bernard: Start me off with the Sintex story. What led to your interest in music?
Sintex: The Sintex story is actually a very religious story. I was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist, and my family is pretty hardcore with the beliefs, as is required. We kept a strict Sabbath, went to church every Saturday, and didn't eat most meats. Movie theaters and dancing were prohibited. Whenever my parents listened to non-gospel music, which was mocked as "secular" music, they always reminded me and my brother that we shouldn't be messing with this shit, we should only be engaging in music that exalts God. I was always rebellious, so, needless to say, that didn't work for me. I don't remember how old I was when I started making music. I would make imitations of songs by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Cameo, Sly and the Family Stone, stuff like that. I made gospel joints, too, of course. Gospel music is dope. I even composed some songs on the piano that impressed my piano teacher. My songs always had words and stories that went along with them. When I was about seven hip-hop got ahold of me and I was hooked. My older cousin down in Louisville introduced me to it. He was always rapping and listening to stuff like The D.O.C., Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, EPMD. I wrote my first rap when I was seven just to impress my cousin and my brother. It was some shit comparing my rhymes to a cartoon-fest. They liked that verse a lot and that encouraged me to keep writing joints. I actually performed for the first time when I was eight, during a talent show at school.
Adam Bernard: Other than the influence of your cousin, what about hip-hop appealed to you?
Sintex: Hip-hop appealed to me because of its rawness, its aggressiveness, its crudeness, its shamelessness. It was counter to everything that was being taught to me, and many in my family discouraged it. It wasn't a thing that Seventh-Day Adventists were supposed to be doing, but I was always doing something that I wasn't supposed to be doing. MCing was the musical release for my rebelliousness. Plus my Dad was a school principle, so I read all the time, and that meant that I had more words than the average kid to play around with. Looking back, emceeing made sense for me.
Adam Bernard: How’d you end up with the name Sintex? I’m guessing it’s a reworking of syntax, right?
Sintex: The name Sintex found me when I was 18 and not living at home anymore. The shit that I was writing was beginning to take a turn that was very anti-religious, some of my songs were just downright sinful. The name was definitely a play on "syntax." I was going to call myself "Sin Texts," but some chick thought that Sintex would be cool, and she looked hot, and was a big fan of my shit, so I took her advice.
Adam Bernard: Last year you released an album titled 2020. What were your goals for that album musically? What were you hoping to get across?
Sintex: 2020 is actually an experiment. I really did make that album in the year 2020, but instead of talking about what’s going on during that time, I decided to discuss the things that brought me up to that point. This album, more than any other that I've made, was really made for me. It's a portal to myself, connecting two different time periods. The younger me is telling the older me what's going on, and simultaneously the older me is reliving his younger years as a much wiser man. Yeah, it gets weird. The whole thing became a mystical experience. Each song has layers of meaning and gives a variety of lessons. The best part is that they're lessons from me to me. Each time I listen to it I get something new. Other people have gotten a lot from it, too.
Adam Bernard: Although there’s a silhouette of you on the cover, there isn’t a picture of you in the album’s artwork. Was this a conscious decision? If so, what led to that decision?
Sintex: That was actually a stupid accident on my part. I took pictures in 2020 with a camera that has technology that didn't exist in 2008. In fact, it doesn't exist in 2010. So all of the pictures look fucked up. The best one that I could get was the silhouette one. I was going to use pictures from 2008, but that would have closed the portal.
Adam Bernard: K.O. Beatz produced the entire 2020 album. When and how did you two link up and why do you feel you work so well together?
Sintex: I've been working with K.O. since high school. I used to always borrow his walkman and tapes during study hall freshmen year. He would always have mixes with the hottest music out at the time. One time he slipped up and gave me a tape that had somebody rapping over some beats that he'd looped. It was over from there. I asked him to loop some beats for me that I couldn't find the instrumentals for. Man, we made some shit! It just kept building from there. He started buying equipment and making original beats. We put albums out, calling ourselves X-Factor. 2020 is actually the eighth album that we've made together. We're like brothers with hip-hop. We don't make albums unless we're both inspired to put something out.
Adam Bernard: I know you’re working on another project right now. What can you tell me about it?
Sintex: The next album is going to be a Sintex & K.O. Beatz album. While it will be our ninth collaboration, it'll be the first one on which we've both stamped our respective aliases. We're both on top of our game, man; the music is just so fuckin beautiful on this joint. It's another portal, but a completely different kind. This album is becoming its own organism and it's changing our lives.
Adam Bernard: Finally, since you’ve been to the year 2020, tell me, are we ever going to get those hoverboards from Back To The Future, or flying cars and robotic maids like in The Jetsons? Don’t disappoint me now!
Sintex: OK, Adam, I promised the man from 2020 that I wouldn't give too much information about the future, but I will respond to your specific questions. Yes, there are hoverboards, but they're a side-development of a bigger type of technology. What's amazing about the hoverboards is that the equipment itself actually responds to your body movements. It reacts to your muscle movements and balances itself out. Hoverboards are actually safer than skateboards for that very reason. They're not universally available, though. You can't just go to the store and get them. You have to be in the right circles. We'll talk in 2020; I got you. Flying cars, which are actually available by the end of 2010, are more ubiquitous in 2020 due to their prices going down. Not everybody has one, of course, but anybody can drive one if they really want to. Robotic maids... well, let me say that artificial intelligence is something to be marveled at in 2020. There are robots that can do almost anything, but like all of the other cool technology, these kinds of robots aren't universally available, they still cost too much money.
2020 on Bandcamp: sintexera.bandcamp.com