Cisco the Nomad, Clay Edwards, explains his relationship with rap, his dream venue at which to perform, and why he feels he is everyone’s favorite sandwich

I know you are involved in a couple different performing groups on campus; do you have a favorite?

No, I kinda need all of them. As far as performing groups, I’m most involved in Twit and SketchFam. SketchFam is my own group with a lot of other people. It focuses around the music that we make, and it’s completely independent from Colorado College. The style of the performances in both groups are is pretty different.  But I need Twit, definitely, and I need SketchFam and they both manifest in doing shows. It’s more about process.

What do you like most about performing?

The fact that it’s just a bunch of people in a room and everyone is focused on keeping the same ball in the air. The audience gives back to the performer, and the performer gives to the audience.

Do you have an ideal performing venue?

I’d love to perform music at the Ogden Theatre in Denver and I’d love to act in a play at the Curious Theatre in Denver. Those are two places I’d love to perform. I can’t really imagine anywhere else because I haven’t spent much time looking around. Steppenwolf in Chicago would be incredible to perform at. Or you know, The Fox in Los Angeles.

I know you have performed slam poetry and rap. Is there a difference when you are writing one or the other?

Yeah, I mean rap is like—in a container. You have to follow a certain rhythmic pattern, and so that limits the amount of syllables you can keep in a line in order for it to be coherent. And you can manipulate what that pattern is to make it sound good.

For slam poetry, you can use those same tools and techniques, but the form is way less limited because you don’t have an actual beat behind you. So you can go on a big long rant, or just list a bunch of stuff, and it doesn’t necessarily have to rhyme. You could even place rhymes much farther apart, where as in a rap, it is much more structured.

What kind of artist would you describe yourself as using only foods?

I’m kind of a well-made sandwich. A good sandwich with a decent spread. And it’s the sandwich that you like. You know, with ham, cheese, mayonnaise on wonder bread. It could be something much more fancy than that, you could have a serious ciabatta roll with airy bread on the inside, high quality pastrami, some mortadella, and you know, sprouts and vinegar, a weird chipotle aioli, toothpicks made out of cedar. You know, it could be that sandwich or whatever is good in your mind. That is the sandwich I want to be.    

How did you discover your love/affinity for rap?

I discovered it and I liked it because I couldn’t have it as a kid. My mom didn’t want me listening to it very much. I played Madden 2004 when I was like nine at the computer, and I listened to the soundtrack over and over again. I’d start the game over to listen to certain songs, and I would buy albums from stores and stuff like that.

What artists have influenced you the most?

Kendrick Lamar, pretty much the whole TD camp, Mac Miller, Chance the Rapper, Das Racist, Lil Wayne. Lots of dudes. And as I got older a bunch of other people.

What kind of character do you like to be when you are not being yourself?

I don’t know how to answer that… I am always a character.

Where you before you came to CC?

I was a kid who acted in every single play he could get his hands on. I did improv and wrote plays in Denver. I wrote a lot of poetry. And I smoked a bunch of hookah with a really close group of friends of mine over the course of several years and freestyle rapped with them all the time, and that was my entire social identity. No one else got along with me except the kids I met up with late at night and made rap music with.

What is the story behind Cisco the Nomad?

This summer, I was out in L.A. producing music and working a really, really shitty job. Just to keep my mind active, I was sitting at a desk pulling staples and scotch taping things—like that was my whole job eight hours a day—so I would listen to books on tape, and then go home and write music at night. And I was re-listening to One Hundred Years of Solitude, and there is this character, Francisco, the man who travels around and he keeps coming back to this mythical town. He brings music and news for like 100 years, and he dies eventually and his music stops. There is still music, but no one’s music is ever quite as good as Francisco the Man’s, and so I wanted to do something like that. I had also felt like I had outgrown Thing Two, which was what I was called before Cisco the Nomad. It was a name from freshmen year of high school that I had just never moved on from. Eventually you’ve gotta grow up.

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