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Wild Nights Make For Stranger Days. Stranger Day Interview and “Graves” Album Preview

By Jeff Simpson Photo By Carter Short

September 22, 2014

Shane Coble, known as Stranger Day, is a Charlotte native who provides the gamut of rap genres. His creative collective, Permanent Vacation, Coble found himself serving in several capacities within as well as outside of the hip hop community. The group is described as a “Deep Fried Family” that holds showcases by their outfits of artisans in photography, skate, literature, graphic design, music and video communities.

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Shane Coble a.k.a Stranger Day

The events provide an opportunity for local rappers, disc jockeys, bands and musicians the opportunity to display their talents and make connections. Creating a lifestyle brand of their own, they offer everything from photography books to clothing to collaborative projects with other groups and individuals.

The Deep Fried Family is not only committed to putting on a display for others locally, but regionally creating original graphic pieces, designing event props and scheduling artists to play a set in our beloved Queen City. Southern hospitality is extended to all who respect the artistry and hustle. The emcee is looking for the game to return the same love.

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Stranger Day Photo by Carter Short

CLTure: How long have you been rapping?

Stranger Day: For fifteen years.

CLT: How did you first get into it?

SD: I had a buddy in high school named Colin Graham from New Jersey. He moved down south and was a really dope DJ and rapper. He’s a creative dude in general. He introduced me to underground rap like rawkus records, non phixion, hieroglyphics and more. I grew up on southern mainstream rap but he showed me something other than that.

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Photo by Carter Short

CLT: Goodie Mobb and all that?

SD: Yeah, Three Six shit, even Wu-Tang. I grew up with a lot of 90’s New York rap, but he showed me another side of rap to where I felt I could relate more to it at the time. It wasn’t about being super tough and shit, it was just kind of like talking about societal type shit. It was cool. I felt like I could tell my story with it and here I am fifteen years later.

CLT: When did you start packaging CDs and branding taking the professional approach?

SD: I think my first real CD was probably like early 2000’s somewhere around there, but I mean the first thing I did was in high school with Colin and he had a 8 track recorder we recorded on that we transferred to disc. It was real shitty bootleg rap. I put out a record in 2006 though and it was the first under the name Stranger Day. I feel like it was a little more professional at that point with the packaging.

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Stranger Day opening for Action Bronson in 2013

CLT: Who did you perform as before Stranger Day?

SD: Ah man, it’s embarrassing player. Back then it was VisualEyez, with the eyes spelled e-y-e-z. [laughter]

CLT: Why Stranger Day now?

SD: Wild nights make for strangers days, you know what I’m saying?

CLT: Okay, I dig that.

SD: That’s what it is for now. It might get changed to Rapper Shane at some point in the future, but I don’t know. It’s whatever. I grew up in an era where everyone had a rap name.

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Stranger Day

CLT: Rap and rock used to be so separate from one another but now it seems that they borrow ideas in fashion and live performance. You mentioned being of the 90’s era and grunge influence in your musical awakening. Do you find yourself influenced by or borrowing any techniques outside of rap?

SD: Live rap is boring as fuck. A lot of people can’t rock the mic. They cup the mic to where you can’t hear anything or stand there like they’re bored with no energy. I’m also not that guy who’s like ‘Hands Up! Hands Up!’ every song. If you want to put your hands up the music should make you do that. Go to any other genre of music, they don’t tell you to do that, the fans just do it because they feel the music. So I definitely take from genres outside of rap in my performance. I feel all rappers have to have some kind of an ego. If you think people care to listen to what you have to say you might as well have fun with it, move around and provide some energy. It is hard though because if you have Kanye West’s money, you can build a stage show that’s epic. His live rap is very entertaining because he’s a dope performer and the stage setting is rad. On an indie level, we don’t have a lot of money and that makes it hard to make ill visuals so you work with what you got. You’ve still got to have some energy and not just stand there.

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Stranger Day and Elevator Jay at Squirt Day Party

CLT: What’s changed since you started rapping?

SD: I grew up in an era where a lot of people proved themselves first through a cypher or something. Then they might write a dope song and have the opportunity to record it. Now you may have ten thousand…maybe a hundred thousand views on a video and you haven’t performed live and that’s okay. There is no way you know what you’re doing and how to move the audience. It’s kind of weird. Whether it’s ten or fifteen people or a thousand you better come correct.

CLT: Yeah, that’s true. Any love for Master P? I heard a “Bout It, Bout It” sample in your discography.

SD: Yeah, for sure. [laughter]

SD: My dad used to bust my balls so hard. I used to bump No Limit Records heavy and Cash Money. Definitely grew up on Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep just as much as Dungeon Family, No Limit, Cash Money, UGK and all that. I was heavy on the No Limit and had every fucking release. I was a fan…I still am. I got real deep into underground rap I guess and at some point I kind of like was embarrassed I had grown up on that like, ‘That ain’t real rap.’ And then full circle I was like this is fine, I love it all you know what I’m saying?

CLT: Agreed. Definitely have some music like that.

SD: Yeah, I love turn up/crunk rap. I love all kinds of rap and I guess that’s what I try to offer to the rap world. Some turn up party shit and then something more conscious mixed in there as well.

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Photo by Carter Short

CLT: What’s the writing process like?

SD: I started writing one-liners in my phone and I don’t think I could stop rapping if I wanted to man. It’s just the way my brain works like little things I might see when I’m out or that someone else might say and just turn it into a song. When I work on beats with other people, I’ll start writing to it and when it gets to that point where I’m like I don’t know where to go, I’ll reference back into the one-liners and shit that I have written down. I try to formulate a concept into it and keep it going. I’m kind of guilty of not necessarily staying on theme all the time. A lot of people get a hook and write their verses around it, but as soon as I hear a beat I want to write verses to it and later on I’m like, ‘oh shit, I need a hook’.

CLT: Who do you work with most of the time?

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“Graves” Album Release Party 9.26 at The Neighborhood Theatre

SD: For my new album, Graves, I worked almost entirely with my buddy Joel Khouri. He’s just a really rad musically talented person in general. He’s not primarily a hip hop producer but a really talented musician. We started working on a song, did another song and then decided we should do an album.  He produced eight of the twelve songs on the album. Justin Aswell had some production on there. Ducko McFli from Nashville, TN has a beat on there. This kid MYKAL STAR from Rock Hill has a beat as well. I typically try to work with my friends. There’s a ton of features on this album and 99% of them are all Charlotte musicians from different bands inlcuding Terrence Richards fr0m Junior Astronomers, Ally Hoffman, Scott Weaver, Alex Castanas and many more.  I do a lot of shit with Elevator Jay too.

SD: We’ve [Elevator Jay] done a bunch of stuff together. At this point we have almost an EP of material we just haven’t figured out what to do. We did a party this summer once a month at Snug Harbor called Squirt, and we brought in different musicians and rappers from the region and every time they came here we did a track with them after the party.

We brought in Grip Plyaz from Atlanta, GA along with RBTS WIN, a band from Asheville, NC. DJ Spinstyles from Kansas City, MO and producer Go Dreamer from Atlanta, GA as well. We brought him for the last one.

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Elevator Jay

CLT: How do you feel about the hip hop movement in North Carolina?

SD: I think there are a lot of really talented people. At some times though I think rap is like a pissing contest, and I don’t give a fuck about it to that level. I enjoy working with band friends, musicians and collaborating with dope artists. If you fuck with me as a human being or my music then it’s all good. I probably go to more rock shows than I do rap shows, but we all hang out and make music. I think the rap scene is killer and there are a lot of really rad people. I wish the city would come out and support it more.

It can be a very clique-ish world in rap where you only fuck with your circle. That’s cool, but I feel like when my crew Permanent Vacation throws an event, we try to incorporate all different genres so everyone comes out and supports each other.

CLT: Could you tell us a little more about Permanent Vacation?

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Famous Jason of Permanent Vacation

SD: We have a team of people involved in different creative outlets from bands and photographers to videographers and DJs. It’s such a wide array of people. Someone might not realize you’re a rapper but fuck with your homeboys you’ll find out from there and it kind of helps everybody build. It started in 2010 with me and Famous Jason and a DJ from Chicago, IL named British Knights. We realized we had a lot of talented friends and that we should all rep one thing. I could make a Stranger Day shirt and that’s cool, but how often do you go buy another band’s tee? We have a crew or a movement and it’s easier to get behind that and support it. We would be no where without the people involved and the crew that helped build it. Its a 100% team effort.

CLT: Any reason in particular why Permanent Vacation?

SD: The idea is that if you made a living doing what you love that would be a permanent vacation. It’s not let’s go sit on the beach and fucking drink beers all day, though I would love to do that. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about working hard and I feel like that’s a big misconception when people hear that name, ya know. We all have full time jobs.

CLT: Let’s talk about the new album. Why Graves?

SD: For so many reasons. I felt it made sense like on some ego rapper shit like, ‘Fuck it, I’m putting other rappers in graves,’ like I’ll body you on a verse. The duality of it is that I’m older and I been trying to make this shit happen so maybe if it doesn’t happen this time, it’s time to put this in the grave. Sike, there is now way I’ll quit. [laughter] The theme of death and religious undertones are throughout the album…just like questioning the afterlife. I started working with Joel on this project and wanted to get every rapper on the project but then I felt like that had been done.

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Rapper Riff Raff sporting Permanent Vacation at VMA’s

CLT: Shifting gears a bit, what bums you out about the rap music?

SD: Definitely the business side of it, getting people to pay attention to the city. I just want to make music and after fifteen years I’d like to be recognized for it or be able to make a little bit of money from it and go see some cool cities. I’ve done some tours, some east coast runs growing up for sure, but it’s difficult to do that and still pay your bills. At the end of the day, I know my squad is deep and we do dope shit. I’d rather spend a little bit more money and press a badass colored vinyl so that it’s in existence forever and if people don’t listen, I’ll just do another. It’s all good.

CLT: You’re more about the art.

SD: Yea, I’m trying to come back full circle and have fun now and not stress the business so much. The past few years I did stress the business side of it because I thought it was important to do this and it is, if you want to play that game. At the end of the day, there’s a niche for everything. Immortal Technique said this once, “There’s a market for twisted shit fetish videos…The Message and The Money.” There’s a market for everything, you just got to find your lane.

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Stanger Day Tintype photo by Jeff Howlett

CLT: What are your plans for the future?

SD: I think I have a good ear for music, putting my friends and DJs onto good records so I’d definitely like to figure out how to make money from that. I’d love to make those connections now and build a reputation but I have to get it for myself first.

Follow Stranger Day on facebook and twitter.

Follow Permanent Vacation on facebook and twitter.

CLTure will be giving away 2 music passes to A3C Hip Hop Festival at the “Graves” Album Release Party at Neighborhood Theatre.

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Premiere of “Born Bad” by Stranger Day from the album Graves produced by Joel Khouri. Video shot and edited by Shamus Coneys of Shamus Films.

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