Chasing paper is a full time occupation for the man they call Paper Chasr! From dusting off kicks to producing banging beats, Sean ‘Paper Chasr' Williams has his finger in every pie – co-hosting sneaker talk show Obsessive Sneaker Disorder, creating the first sneaker comedy show ‘Just Ask Chad' and this month releasing the very first sneaker-themed album Know You Got SOLE : The Music. Created off the back of an as-yet unreleased sneaker documentary, Chasr has sourced a bounty of talented sneaker freaks and MCs to compile ten tracks dedicated to your favourite vice. We caught up with Sean as he embarks on an original conceptual promo tour.
Hey Sean, what's poppin off in the US right now?
First off, thanks very much for having me stop by as part of my virtual tour. This IS a great way to travel, minus the jetlag and lost luggage that would most likely contain kicks that would be gone forever! The U.S. is weird as far as kicks goes these days. Shops are closing; people are selling everything or giving stuff away for various reasons. Other folks are doing really grimey things so they can be the ‘so-called' man in the culture. The saying goes ‘I just sit back and watch the show' as Dr. Dre said on the song ‘The Watcher'. I love that record. I'm happy about the things we're doing at OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder) for 2010. We have Know You Got SOLE: The Music releasing March 16th all over the Internet. I'm very happy with how it turned out and it's a great prelude to what will be Know You Got SOLE: The Documentary. I'm very happy that I'm continuing to stay inspired.
What was the decision to promote your new album Know You Got Sole: The Music in this way - dropping interviews on various sneaker websites around the globe?
The reason why I'm doing promotion in this way is because when I originally put everything together for the film, we were on schedule to release on 2008. Due to some unforeseen delays with production, I was left sittin' with all of this dope music (most of which I produced) that was sitting around doing nothing. I couldn't stand it anymore! I was looking for a new approach to promoting music and evaluating the marriage between sneaker culture and the Internet so that's when the virtual tour seemed like the best thing. I ran the idea across Dee Well (OSD's creator) and he loved the idea. I hope it changes the way folks promote music forever. Just remember who was one of the first.
Give us a bit of background behind the making of the album - how you chose the artists and what their affiliation with the sneaker scene is?
I knew from the beginning of the film process that I wanted music to go along with it. I've been a music producer for over 20 years so whatever I do (outside of music) I try to include music as an added dimension to it. This soundtrack is my coming out of retirement project. I got so frustrated with the state of music a few years ago that I retired from it altogether. It's funny how my love of sneakers would pull me out of retirement. When it was time to decide who the artists were going to be on this project, it was a matter of reaching out to artists who I knew already loved kicks, and that I knew were very good MCs. Most of the artists I have known personally for over a decade. I was confident they would give me good music once I gave them the tracks to pick from. Some of the artists on the album I actually passed the sneaker bug to and they are addicted pretty badly now, and then others I have quite a few stories between us regarding sneakers over the years.
Writing songs about sneakers is nothing new - as with 'My Adidas' and 'Air Force Ones' but this could possibly be the first album dedicated to kicks....Where did the inspiration come from and why sneakers?
Indeed it's nothing new at all. Speaking of 'My Adidas' I have a song on the album called 'My Shelly' that I think is the 2010 Shelltoe anthem. I hope someone from the trefoil (adidas) hears that song. I'm sure we can help Shelltoe adidas sales with that one. Back to your point, at OSD we've implemented a lot of ‘firsts' for sneaker culture that we knew for a fact did not exist before we introduced them. The talk show, the Internet video network and the sketch comedy show 'Just Blame Chad' are things ‘we knew' for a fact did not exist yet. But with music, there are so many people making music (especially Hip-Hop music) in various corners of the world that if it turns out Know You Got SOLE: The Music is the first official sneaker album then I'm happy to have brought it to sneaker lovers the world over. My hope is that it is well received because I've put it out there in a way that makes it easy for both music and sneaker lovers to get it. The inspiration for this album simply came from wanting music that would be just as memorable as I hope the documentary will be. I really wanted people to have more than just the movie to remember from OSD.
But seriously how many ways can you talk about sneakers?
Ten...check the album out and you'll see. I'm very appreciative of the fact that all 10 of the songs on the album approach kicks completely differently. Musically and lyrically this is a very diverse album to play. I'm hopeful that everyone who listens to it has at least one favorite. That was my goal with the creation of the album.
This album is released off the back of a documentary you have in the making of the same name - is it strange to be releasing the soundtrack before the film when it's generally the other way round?
My inspiration came from the fact that most music related to films gets lost and neglected once people go see the movie. They walk out of the movie theatre and the music is lost forever. There are music composers and music supervisors all over the world that work very hard to make movie music happen. I was once one of those people. I also don't want folks to go see the documentary and then there's nothing for them to hold onto from the project until the DVD comes out. It's not fair in my humble opinion. With something like sneaker culture where you have folks that are always in search of other things related to the culture, I wanted the music to come first and serve as its own commercial for the movie as well. After the movie releases I will put out Know You Got SOLE 2. If this whole thing works out we can make this a franchise of sorts to see how so many artists out there feel about kicks and can relay that message through their music. I'm excited about that possibility. Maybe Sneaker Freaker could join me on that mission (hint).
Tell us a bit about the film... it's been a while since Just for Kicks.
The film will conquer issues within sneaker culture that we've heard about over the years of doing the weekly talk show and me being involved with sneakers for over 24 years. Some of those issues are - the inequity between what female and males get when it comes to kicks. Women are very unhappy (angry even) with what they get in comparison to men and boys. Another issue we tackle is the problem finding kicks for men who wear a size 15 and up. We also tackle the VERY HEATED debate over camping out for sneakers. These are some of the things we know will make for a hot debate on camera that will lead to the discussions in the boardrooms for the footwear companies. The movie will be ready by the end of the Summer in some form. We are completely re-shooting the entire film at the moment. It will be nothing like what folks remember from seeing trailers in 2008.
What's been the hold up?
The delays were due to a few issues both within and beyond our control. One was a very bad car accident that our post-production genius was involved in that almost cost him his walking abilities. The others were related to the battle to put out a film that people are fiendin' for without disappointing them by not hitting certain topics the best way we could. All roads lead to us doing the entire film over again. Luckily for us the music we created withstood the delays.
Sneaker culture in many places has shifted into a somewhat 'new school' era where the old cats that were heavily into it have moved on, making way for a new generation. Is it the same in the States?
It's funny you mention that old to the new theme. That's actually one of the reasons why Dee and I are podcasting with OSD every Wednesday. Our show's mission is 'Appreciate, Educate, Elevate Sneaker Culture' and each week we talk about news and shoes. When you have a multi-billion dollar industry like kicks, we think it's irresponsible to focus on collections and ‘characters' alone. Let's show kids all over the world the thing you love can actually put you on a path to a career that will last a lifetime. We take great pride in trying to enforce that point every week for two and a half years now. That's the reason we support folks like Dwayne Edwards of Jordan Brand when he introduced the Future Sole competition. I was so impressed with seeing kids barely out of puberty could possibly be on a path to designing sneakers for a lifetime. I'm a former graffiti writer and I never thought to draw let alone design kicks and I've been into kicks over half my life to this point. Kids are the future of the business. If we don't walk with them down the path to a future of great kicks to come, we'll be bitter old sneakerheads (I hate that term) complaining about the good old days of sneakers. That's for the birds!
For sure! How do you hope Know You Got Sole will connect with audiences?
My sincerest hope is that the issues raised and addressed by this film will consciously resonate with sneaker lovers all over the world. These issues affect so many people, and that's the reason I chose the ones I did for the film. I hope the music offering is something folks really look at as a labor of sneaker love. The album was not created out of boredom or novelty. I really love sneakers and I really love music. I hope that shows. I appreciate the support for everyone who will be able to hear that.
So for all those fiendin their fix, when does the album drop and how can heads cop?
The album drops March 16th and can be purchased from online retailers all over the world such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon.com, Myspace Music and it's also available for Nokia phones and Microsoft Zune players. Once again I thank EVERYONE all over the world for the support. If you have love for kicks, then I have love for you! I hope to one day have sneakers for everyone to buy.
What's up next for Paper Chasr?
That was one of the hardest questions in this interview. Let's see...we've got OSD as usual every Wednesday night, then there's Just Blame Chad episode #2 of the sneaker world's first sketch comedy show coming soon, and a sneaker game show on OSD in the works. We have a line of Tees we're working on, and we hope to secure our first footwear collaboration project this year, and there's more! (As if we have time). Musically, I'll be back in the studio with a slew of releases from my record company Ope Entertainment. I have 'Napoleon Complex' which is a project with me and 5FT from Black Moon which will be his first official solo project, an album from my long time friend Benjamin Hooks, a digital EP from a very talented new MC named Proper, and after completing the film, I will jump back in there to do Know You Got SOLE 2.
Thank YOU to Mafia, Woody and the entire Sneaker Freaker Team, and thanks for putting out those dope New Balance too! I hope to be back soon with more good sneaker related news to report! WALK GOOD!