A prodigy of the internet era, Sango has been causing some sonic disruption as of late. As part of a collective of new wave producers — think Kaytranada, Stwo, IAMNOBODI and Falcons — who have been responsible for redesigning the current soundscape, the Seattle-born, Michigan-based producer has carved out his own genre by blending household hip-hop and R&B sounds with his own relaxed disposition. With three albums – Da Rocinha, Da Rocinha 2, North — and two EPs (Otra Vez and Trust Me) under his belt, not to mention a bevy of remixes, Sango doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Coinciding with the launch of its new series The Come Up which focuses on the music industry’s most promising new talents, HYPETRAK spoke to the 22-year-old producer about his current label situation, how he developed his signature sound, and more. Check out an excerpt below and head to HYPETRAK for the full interview.
Tell us a little bit about your early days and background. Was there a time before Sango?
Yeah (laughs). Before I came up with my current artist name, my brother and I made beats together. Back then, we moved from Seattle to Michigan. I don’t know if you get this, but when you’re from the West Coast and you move somewhere else, you want let people immediately know where you are from — LA, the Bay, Seattle. Our original name as a production crew was DubWest. At that time I also started to experiment on my own sound when my brother would be busy with school or so. I was like 16 or 17. I came up with the name LumLOCC (laughs). Lum because I saw a luminous future for me, kind of corny I know (laughs). I sticked with the name for about a week or so.
That does indeed sound very West Coast. Doesn’t the ending LOCC imply some sort of affiliation with the Crips?
(Laughs) Yeah man, you’re spot on. A lot of people don’t even know that I grew up in a Crip neighborhood in Seattle. I’ve never been a Crip or a Blood though. I was never a gangster but I chose this name as a dedication to my origin. A lot of Crip members from Los Angeles or Oakland, Riverside and all that, moved up to Seattle to claim fresh soil to sell drugs. As for me, I was just a kid in the ghetto. Generally speaking, Seattle is a nice place and like any other major city, it has its rough patches. It’s not as dangerous like Compton or Oakland but there are people that I grew up with that were kind of crazy. There were also a lot of fake gangsters, wanksters out there that tried to make a name for themselves. There were a lot of corny and fake people among them, and a lot of stupid things happened because of that, like people getting robbed or killed just to make a name for yourself. I have to thank my parents for not having ended up being in trouble too much.
How did Sango develop from there?
I was like one of these nerdy kids in the hood that played Pokemon all day, rolled scooters, played basketball and soccer, and watched internet at night (laughs). I thought of the name by watching InuYasha anime. I loved InuYasha for a month but the character Sango was a girl that slays demons and I thought that was rad. I liked the character’s bold attitude and decided to adopt it to my music. But I can see how this name can end up being confusing to some. I found out that Sango is also a language in Central Africa, so some people would hit me up and ask me if I was Congolese (laughs).