Z: What is your original name?
SP: DJ Boyer
Z: And what’s your pen name?
SP: Self Proclaim
Z: That’s a cool name, Self Proclaim. Can you tell me about the origin and significance of that name?
SP: Every artist feels like they’re more than what they are even when they first start off. They feel like they’re the best rapper, singer, artist; they feel like they’re already the best so they are, “self proclaimed”
Z: Cool, can you describe to me your profession?
SP: I am a DJ
Z: And how did you get started?
SP: I mean growing up I loved listening to Funk Master Flex and DJ Clue scratch records up. When I was 14 my sister bought me my first pair of turntables. I studied sports, entertainment and event management in school and then from there I interned at RCA records (Sony). It was a new experience working for them, sometimes I felt they were like a machine. I wanted to do my own thing and I always wanted to be an artist, so I just did it.
Z: That’s so cool, I think everyone yurns for that courage to just do it. Could you tell me a little bit about how where you’re from has influenced your music and what artists inspired you growing up?
SP: I’m from Princeton, NJ. Growing up there I experienced a great amount of cultural diversity. There wasn’t a big racial or social class divide, so being exposed to that influenced my music. My favorite artist is Mos Def, Q-Tip is my favorite producer, Common, Phonte and Jimi Hendrix are some others I love. I could just go on and on but those are the people that inspire me on a regular bases.
Z: Nice, how would you describe your sound?
SP: I honestly can't put a finger on it. I pride myself on not sounding like someone else. Each track has a different vibe to it, I’m always switching up.
Z: If you think back to childhood, what was your first experience with music?
SP: My first real memorable experience with music was when I was in elementary school. I took a music class where each kid got to play a different instrument, I got to play on the drums and the teacher gave each of us a tape recorder; that was the first time I paid attention to music.
Z: Wow, what a powerful experience! So tell me, when you’re getting ready to write music what inspires those moments and what ignites your fire to write? Take me through your overall creative process.
SP: I could probably sit down and write a whole song, or just write 4 bars. I pretty much just write when I feel inspired because if I try to force it, it won’t come out, and if it doesn’t come out then it’s not going to sound how I want it to.
Z: Right, I feel you. Sometimes it’s difficult as an artist to wait for inspiration. What do you attribute to your drive as an artist?
SP: My drive comes from the world. My music its real everyday stuff, it’s not about materialism. There may be some materialistic rap in my music but it’s not my main goal. I use materialism sometimes so that people listen at first but then once they’re listening they’ll hear the message behind it.
Z: Hmm, I hear you. What is your dream?
SP: Honestly my dream is to own a place in a village in South France. I would go into hiatus for 8 months out of the year and then come out for 4, tour and then go back into hiatus. My dream is to just chill in a nice relaxing area and push myself as an artist to see how far I can go.
Z: Wow, I am very impressed by that answer. Why France?
SP: I had to do a project on France when I was younger. I was doing the research and I saw pictures of villages in the south of France and since then I always wanted to live there.
Z: What about communicating with people? I know if you stay close to Paris almost everyone speaks English but in South France you may not have that.
SP: I wanna learn to speak French.
Z: Very plainly put, I applaud you. I think your whole plan, your dream is so so great. I’m planning to move to Paris within the next couple of years so I’ll be looking for you! Speaking of the next couple of years, what do you think you’ll be in say, 10 years?
SP: In 10 years I’ll be the same person. I will be myself, but I'll have a lot more to give to the world.
Z: Once again floored by your response. What are your immediate music career goals?
SP: In the next 6 month I want people to listen to my music. I really just want to break the repetition of music, every song has the same beat even in every genre, the music sounds the same. I want people to really sit down and listen to music and expect greatness.
Z: What does music mean to you?
SP: That’s a question I feel is impossible to answer. It’s like an addiction; It’s that feeling you get in the bottom of your stomach, and when you try to get away it drags you right back.
Z: Yessss. So I’m sure you’re familiar with the term, “starving artist”, how do you cope with major financial obstacles especially given this economy? I know from experience unfortunately that the creative world just doesn’t pay well.
SP: It excites me to not have money, that’s when artists are at their best when they have nothing left. I'm not really worried about that, I’m looking forward to being a starving artist. It’s kind of like paying your dos; it’s something every artist goes through. If you can make it through those steps then you’ve pretty much succeeded.
Z: Hmm so having said that what has been the biggest challenge for you?
SP: To not hold myself back, doubt is the biggest setback.
Z: And how are you putting yourself out there?
SP: I’m not doing too much as bad as it sounds, it’s intentional. You have to be selective about putting your music out there. Everybody makes music and everyone’s an artist. Right now it’s about the creative process not about marketing myself. It’s about making music and waiting till I’m comfortable putting it out there. I want to make sure that I put my best work out there, so people will be more excepting about listening
Z: Do you have any performance plans, new releases, tours etc?
SP: I'm working on a project right now, it’s my debut. I've been working some people in this debut, it’s set to come out at the end of February.
Z: I feel honored to have met with you pre-debut, so I can say I interviewed you first! Okay it’s time to have a little fun, complete the following sentences! Without music, I would be…
SP: I would be nothing.
Z: Music is…
Z: My music makes me feel
Z: I write (songs) because…
SP: It helps me get through my stress.
Z: People should support music because
SP: Artists are spiritual guiders in life. Think about the things that artists do for you, if you’re having a bad day, music has the power to change that.
Z: Awesome. One last question: If you could choose one message to share with my readers and the world, what would it be?
SP: Be different do different things.
Z: Thank you so much Self Proclaim for being a special guest on Zapora-Strange. I look forward to your upcoming EP. See you in France!
Listen to Self Proclaim here first