Tour Necessities Q&A: Stillborn Identity on Slow and Sunburnt tour
Pittsburgh-based, punk-influenced rapper Stillborn Identity is heading to Florida today to begin a very short-run tour. By short, I really mean it–he’ll be performing in Cape Coral, Orlando, and Tallahassee, before heading back home and preparing for his next set of touring dates. I stopped him in his tracks for a moment to answer some questions for my Tour Necessities series, where I ask him a bunch of tour-related stuff regarding the Slow and Sunburnt tour. He talks about avoiding people on the bus, asking fans for a place to sleep, throwing crummy clothes away after shows to avoid cross-contamination among clean clothes, hopes to skate in down time, maybe trying yoga for the first time, dental hygiene being crucial while touring, packing back-up ham sandwiches, Taco Bell being his only fast-food vice, liking the instant gratification of performing for fans and disliking playing for careless crowds of people, slangin’ merch (such as his most recent album Slow and Steady and his TheThrowAwayDays zine), and more. Read about all of that and then some, along with peeping the tour dates (the first one kicks off tonight), in the Q&A below!
TIFFOLOGY: You’re about to do a very short, 3-city Florida tour, hitting Cape Coral, Orlando, and Tallahassee. What can you tell me about this run?
STILLBORN IDENTITY: Winters in Pittsburgh are brutal. This mostly just started as an excuse to get outta the cold for a bit. It’s funny, though, ’cause up until a few weeks ago, it was still nice here. If I booked my tour to FL when it was, like, 50 degrees in Pittsburgh, I would have been bummed!
Tell our readers why they should attend a show in their city.
I’ll make you laugh, nod your head, and shake your ass within 20 minutes. ;)
I saw that your main mode of transportation will be by bus. Are you the type of person where you’re open to talking to people that are sitting around you, or do you actively try to be antisocial and avoid all small-talk conversation?
Ha, on the bus I’ll probably try to avoid it. My technique for getting a seat to myself is to immediately break out as many books, computers, and headphones from my bag as possible, so no one wants to sit next to me!
I imagine that you’ll be bringing your skateboard with you, so do your best to describe your board to me. This has nothing to do with your tour, but rather a sneak peek into the life of Cody.
Right now, I just have some worn out Habitat. Alex Davis pro model. It’s getting all razor-tailed out, probably a few cracks in it. I’m actually kinda worried I might snap it while I’m out. I think I got some well-worn indy’s, too. But that’s the best when you grind them all flat. Lock into shit way easier that way.
Hitting up any skate spots?
I’m always hoping to. It’s usually a little harder than it sounds with everyone’s schedule, though. This time, I’ll be by myself, so I can skate whenever, but skating solo can be a bummer. One of my friends that I skated with all the time when I was like 18-21ish lives in Fort Myers now. He’s married and has kids, but I’ve been pressuring him for weeks already to get out when I’m there!
I read that you’ll be doing some Buti yoga while on this tour. Is yoga, or even meditation of any sort, something that you do while touring, or is this something entirely new for you?
Haha, I don’t know if I’ll actually do that. I don’t really even know what it is. But I have a friend who lives there who is super into it. I’m not opposed to trying new things to try and stay in shape. When you’re on the road, it can be hard to get your cardio in after sitting in a car for so long. Might not be a bad idea to try something like that actually.
Motels/hotels or staying with people/friends? If the latter, what type of house guest are you/do you try to be?
I hope I’m staying with friends! I’m kinda just winging it. I have a few places kind of lined up but nothing set in stone. Hotels/motels are outta the question though. That’s way over my budget for this tour. I’m a pretty mellow house guest, though. If people wanna go out, I’ll go out. If they wanna stay in, I’ll stay in. I don’t drink as much as I used to, so I don’t really get all loose. I’m totally gonna be that dude asking for a place to stay during my set, though.
How many bags are you likely to pack?
I wanted to do just 1 back pack, but I think I’m gonna have to do two. I’ve got this voice effect station that I’m slowly adding to my sets that takes up some room.
If I were to open up your bag, what is the first thing I would see?
Books, note books, CDs, merch, day old ham sandwich, and sometimes I take a camera. It all depends on how I’m traveling. Tours by bus, I downsize a lot.
When you pack for touring, do you pack just enough clothes for the amount of days out or extras, just in case?
Oh man, this one is embarrassing, but I do not pack enough clothes for the amount of days and some how I still always over pack. Haha. I’ll probably only take the pants I’m wearing, maybe an extra shirt or two, and my crumbiest pair of socks and briefs. That way, when I’m done with the socks and undies, I just throw them out instead of throwing them back in my bag and contaminating everything. I think I learned that one from Ray Strife.
Another packing question: tidy and organized or random and chaotic?
Always starts out organized. I try to keep it that way, but it’s tough when you’re leaving venues in a hurry and stuff. When I have a minute at where I’m crashing, I usually reorganize things.
Tell me about your top 5 (or up to 10, if necessary) albums that will be listened to during this tour.
I’ve been playing the shit out of the new Bleubird CD. Unfortunately, my iPod is, like, 8 years old and won’t sync with my computer anymore; And that’s all I’m taking since I don’t have a lot of room. But, on there, I might run through my Deer Tick and Murder By Death discography at least once when I’m listening to bands, and some rappers I have on there that still dig are GDP, Existereo, and Cool Calm Pete. Specific albums, it’s hard to say, but I’ll be listening to those artists for sure.
Tell me about your top 5 travel necessities (food & drinks not included).
1) Ummmmm, a decent book for sure. Unfortunately, I just finished reading Buck 65’s book (which was rad!), so I had to scoop something new up after work today.
2) I pretty much always have some paper and Pens on me. Not even just during tour, but all the time.
3) Skateboard. Even if I don’t get to skate a spot, I feel like I have to have it.
4) My camera, but sometimes I hate having it, ’cause it’s expensive. So I dug up an old point and shoot that my mom left at my parent’s house. Might take that.
5) Toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss!! I can go days without a shower, but if I get the urge to floss or brush, but can’t do it, I go crazy!
Tell me about your top 5 snacks and beverages for the road.
I’m a soda fiend. I try to limit it to just on the weekends, so I don’t rot my teeth out, but since I’m on tour, I’m gonna be treating myself right! If I see some “fancy” craft soda, I’m all about it. When I have space, I try to pack fruit and veggies just so I don’t eat trash the entire time. I wasn’t joking about a ham sammy earlier! All my friends dog me on that (Joey smooth even referenced it in our last collab after our tour together), but I’ll throw two or three in my bag when I leave and eat them for a day. Haha. I haven’t got sick from it yet!
While on this tour, are you most likely to be: a fast-food / local food spot junkie, a grocery store shopper to make your own food (healthy or otherwise), or are you most likely to be seen buying random cheap stuff in a convenience store and throwing something together as if you’re on an episode of Chopped?
Eh, I’m a victim of the greyhound this time. I’m sure I’ll eat fast food during the day when the bus makes a stop. If I’m on the road for a while I’ll buy some groceries that don’t go bad, so I can whip something up at a place where we play. But this time, once again, because of limited space, I’ll be eatin’ out. Not fast food, though. I never eat that unless I “have” to… except Taco Bell. Taco Bell is another one of my vices.
When you’re in the city of your next show, and there is time to be killed before you load in for sound check, what will you likely be found doing?
I’d like to think skateboarding, but I probably just be lame and try to stay up on emails and future tours I’m working on.
Are there any special stops that you’re looking forward to on this tour?
The first stop is where I know the most people. Rap friends and friends from Pittsburgh who relocated, so I’m pumped to catch up with all them!
Do you have a rider for this tour? If so, what kind of things are on it? If not, will you ever be the type of artist that has something weird and/or extravagant on the must-have list (whether for real or for a joke)?
Ha, nope. No rider list for me. Nah, if I ever had one, it would be super mellow. And I’d only give it to “big” booking companies as opposed to the kids/friends who book me as a favor. Water, maybe food and drinks.
Who will some of the show openers be?
Oh, I’m pumped about this one. In Cape Coral, I’m playing with some people I met last time I toured FL. Nodding Off, The Glow of Street Lights, John Wayne Gretzky, and one other dude I haven’t met yet. Orlando, I don’t personally know any of the people yet. Tallahassee, kidDead is playing with me, we’ve played together a few times. But, I don’t know the other locals there either.
What do you like most about touring? And, in contrast, what do you hate most about it?
Touring, sometimes, is the only instant gratification you can get from this. You can make a connection with people that’s way more real than if you just release your music online. If you move them in some sort of way, you can see it on their face while you play. I love meeting like-minded artists, too. I like seeing new places. It’s all pretty fun. It’s awesome that people are open to me going to their town and sharing my songs.
There’s just as many down sides too, though. Bad shows where no one cares can get to me no matter how many times I say I’m doing it for myself. Sometimes you gotta come outta pocket. The down time between cities can be just as exhausting as having a very packed schedule. It’s all give and take. Not to sound like some corny poster you’d see in a corporate job’s break room, but you just gotta go at it with a positive attitude.
Any pre-show rituals?
Nah, none. That shit is for weirdos.
Any particular songs that you’ll be performing and/or are excited to perform?
I’m still playing a lot of stuff off Slow and Steady. That’s still my most recent release and I dig it. I’ve also been working a few verses from songs on STLBRNcollabamonth2015 in there. Once that tape actually comes out, I’ll probably do more. The only unreleased thing I’ll play is this kinda trap rap song I wrote. It’s only a minute and a half long, but I’m stoked on it. It’s a real fun change of pace for me to try a totally different style.
What is the first thing that you do after your show is over?
Shake some babies and kiss some hands.
What merch will you have available, if any? Will you bring any of your TheThrowAwayDays zines?
Yeah, I’ll have merch, for sure. Slow and Steady is what I’m pushin’ the most. I did Slow and Bootlegged last year when I was waiting for S&S to come out, so I have a few of those left and I have a few CDs of Aim High Fall Hard to run through. I have one cassette of it, but I’m not sure if I’ll sell it or not. Everyone is trying to tell me I need to have at least one copy of my releases, ha. I’m not bringing shirts this time, no room. And, yes! New zines for sure. I just got them printed last week and I’m real excited to share them.
Final words?! That’s a lot of pressure, am I dying?? Thanks for all the support CrayonBeats! STLBRNcollabamonth2015 will be out soon. For now, you can check it out on Soundcloud. Holler at me of you want a copy of my zine, TheThrowAwayDays. It’s (usually) free. Ha. I have a podcast now that goes with it, too, so peep that if you’re into that sort of stuff. I’m doing a short tour at the end of Feb with Moemaw Naedon, in the Midwest, if you’re out that way. All kinds of stuff. That, and bojack horseman is the realest shit out there! If you’re trying to sign a petition for a 3rd season follow me on social media and we’ll put our heads together and make it happen.
FLORIDA TOUR DATES:
>> Tue. Jan. 26th in Cape Coral, FL at Nice Guys Pizza w/ Nodding Off., John Wayne Gretzky, DUB EKOMS, The Glow of Street Lights (FACEBOOK EVENT)
>> Thu. Jan. 28th in Orlando, FL at House Show (message me for the address) w/ David Yanik of Gnarly Whales, Doug Lowell (Stillborn Identity (PA), David Yanik, Doug(?) house show)
>> Fri. Jan. 29th in Tallahassee, FL at Bread and Roses Bakery w/ Ross Norton, MF GOON, Spew (FACEBOOK EVENT)