Ritual Dance: Santogold

As told to: Jonathan Durbin

Santogold, née Santi White, is the wild-eyed Brooklyn performer whose indie theatrics have endeared her to card-carrying Musicians Who Matter, among them Björk, M.I.A. and Diplo. Her self-titled debut (Downtown/Lizard King) was released in April.

Sometimes I have to take a shit if I'm nervous. That used to be my pre-show thing. Right before, every time, I'd be like, 'I have to go to the bathroom.' It would always be in the dirtiest little dive bar. This was when I was with my previous band, Stiffed, and when I was more nervous. Now I'm generally over that. After I perform, I talk to my friends a little because I don't like to talk before shows. But it depends on how nervous I am. Sometimes I have no nerves at all. Most times nowadays, I don't get nervous at all. If I do, it'll be for a really weird reason -- not because of the size of the crowd or anything. I had a show last week at some Urban Outfitters gig. I got nervous because my mom came. So if I'm nervous, I don't like to talk. I don't like small talk anyway. I don't drink. People drink and then they talk to you about stupid shit you don't care about. I'm like, 'This sucks. I don't even want to talk to you.' Björk has an amazing after-show thing where she'll have a dance party backstage. She said that she likes to release all the post-show energy because afterward you're still wound up with adrenaline. When we did those shows, we'd spend the time afterward dancing. We had dance battles. That was the most fun ritual ever. But I'm not organized or interested enough to make it my own. A lot of times after shows, I'll go home and my mind will replay every detail of the night until finally I can go to sleep. That's if it's fun. If it's not fun, it doesn't take shit to wind down. I'm like, 'Thank god that's over with.'

Photograph by Sue Kwon


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