Finally we hear from Santigold, the semi-elusive pop visionary who recently teamed up with Busy P, DJ Mehdi and Benjamin Epps on a track called “MPC 2021.”Prior to this, Santi had released a 2018 album I don’t want: Golden Fire ConferenceNow, she’s back with a percussive new single from Boys Noize, Ray Brady, Psymun, and Ryan Olson: “High Priestess,” which also features a new video.
Speaking about her first new single in four years, Santigold shared an in-depth statement about songwriting:
I’ve started composing this beat, but I don’t have any themes in mind, I just know I want to do a rap punk song (sounds dangerous). My buddy Ray Brady and I started doing something, trying to add all the meaningful elements, kicks, subs, new wave synths. Boys Noize ended up with something super cool that really built the song and made me even more excited about it. It came quickly until it didn’t. The punk rock energy and anxiety I wanted to encounter wasn’t quite there. I tried adding a guitar and live drum kit and that was a big red buzzer “X”. I ended up tagging Psymun (Simon Christensen) who brought in Ryan Olson and they brought the last missing element. The energy I was looking for couldn’t be old punk rock, it had to be the future sound of punk rock. They brought anxiety, the missing push and pull, but sounded so fresh and totally unexpected. It all came together in ways I couldn’t imagine when we started, but that’s exactly what I set out to do. I want to make music that sounds like the past and the future; music that makes you feel safe enough to jump in and take us where we need to go but have never heard of it. I want my music to be a bridge.
I like to work in this way, a joint effort, a meeting of minds and hearts to create a true collaboration rather than any single part by itself. For me, music is about community, it’s a way of connecting, both in the production process and in the listening process. I’ve written this song during the pandemic for the past two years and am desperate for that connection. I started working with Ray in my studio a few weeks before the first lockdown of 2020, but after that I was completely alone in a room. Part of the time I was in a room in a cabin in the middle of the Canadian forest, completely cut off from the world. The technology is great though, because I feel like I’ve been with these people all the time. My engineer recorded me from a distance on my studio computer. Boys Noize and I hang out on Zoom every day, talking and laughing more than we’ve had the chance in years. I worked with Simon this way for the first time, working with us on Zoom in different countries, and immediately discovered why I liked him as a producer. It’s like transporting a vibe to the studio, being able to sit face-to-face for hours on a song together.
I’ve also been in mom mode for months, it’s like finding gold to find the cabin to escape to during the day, run away and end up with music and friends after not having a chance to do so for months. It literally saved my spirit. Which brings us to the name of the song. I call this song “High Priest” because it’s about my greatness. At that moment, I needed to be my own witness, to call out my own strength, my own perseverance, my own wisdom, because I felt disconnected from it, deprived of the rhythm of life I had cultivated for myself, and entered This smaller, one-dimensional version of myself, grounded and isolated for far too long. While the lyrics are funny, the rap lyrics are mediocre, boastful, arrogant, but that’s what I’m saying behind it all.
Listen to “The High Priest” below.