Seez Mics x Aupheus join forces for Cancel The Guillotine!

Strange Famous is proud to present CANCEL THE GUILLOTINE, the new EP from SFR veterans Seez Mics and Aupheus!

The 5-song collection is available to download at StrangeFamous.com and at the SFR Bandcamp.
7-Inch Records and Cassettes are also available to pre-order here.
CTG Is also available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal, and wherever you listen to music.

Both Seez and Aupheus have made their mark in the SFR universe over the years, dropping solo projects like Seez’s “Live Long Enough To Learn” and Aupheus’ “Megalith” (both in 2018), as well as appearing on multiple releases from other members of the SFR crew. The pair commenced their cross-oceanic collaboration when they learned that they’d both cemented their longtime association with Strange Famous as members of the inaugural slate of artists signed to the Strange Famous Digital imprint.

Here is their story, and the story of “Cancel The Guillotine,” in their own words:

SEEZ MICS

I couldn’t tell you what Aupheus looks like.

Aupheus couldn’t tell you what I smell like.

However, after listening to our new album “Cancel The Guillotine,” I think you’ll agree that we sound uncancellable.

Aupheus and I joined SFdigi during the initial roster roll-out in September 2016. We began exchanging emails about how excited we were to be on the same label because we were already fans of each other, and we made plans to collaborate on songs for our respective albums.
I remember the time frame very clearly because less than a month later, I was listening to early mixes of our first song “Macro Mirror” during my honeymoon. I kept telling my new bride about the effortless chemistry I had with this producer from London, and how magical an experience it was to instantly connect with someone I hoped to collaborate with in the future. The irony was not lost on my wife. I’m a very romantic person.

In 2018, Aupheus and I doubled down on our burgeoning alliance when we repeated the magic with our second song “My Pincode To Everything.” Like “Macro Mirror,” the industrially dystopian beat and specifically abstract rhymes blended seamlessly to form a song that was uniquely hip-hop but also uniquely something… else.

Aupheus and I began discussing doing an entire album together in 2019. As life would have it, my free time rapidly declined due to a new baby, which led to a new job, which led to a new worldview, all of which led to a new approach to time management.

I’ve always been a deliberate, meticulous writer. I won’t even listen to a new beat unless I’m sure I’ll have enough time to start writing immediately should the mood strike me. This was a fine process when I was single and responsible solely for my own needs and wants, but not so much once there were diapers to change and diaper-related bills to pay. Whenever Aupheus would email me about getting the album started, I’d have to politely kick the proverbial diaper down the road. (Sorry. It was a time full of diapers.)

As with most of the world, all of this changed in 2020. I was suddenly home a lot more and able to shuffle off to the basement once the wife and kids were occupied by things other than listening to my political rants or hawt sports takes.

So, I emailed Aupheus to say, “Bruh, enough waiting – let’s give the world what it needs right now!” (I think I actually said, “Hey, send me a beat and let’s see where it goes.”) The first beat he sent eventually became “et al.” I wrote and recorded it in one session, which is very unusual for me. I could tell our chemistry had not diminished during our time apart, so we kept working at a rapid pace until BOOM we had the five songs that comprise “Cancel The Guillotine.”

It was an honor to work with Aupheus. He is brilliant, diligent, and professional. I look forward to our next project.

As for the meaning of “Cancel The Guillotine”

I say more than enough on the record itself, so I’ll keep it brief here:

we should all
metaphorically and literally
cancel
metaphorical and literal
means
of cancellation


photo credit: Tef Wesley

*** *** *** *** *** ***

AUPHEUS

Since Seez already properly recounted the genesis of our union and detailed his writing process, I’m going to lean into the technical side of the album – as is fitting for the producer, I suppose.

‘Cancel the Guillotine’ is a 5 track collaborative project between me and Seez Mics; Seez on the raps, me on the beats.

The whole project was done remotely through the pandemic, with Seez in the US and me in the UK. Seez recorded all of the vocals at his home studio and sent me the stems. We communicated entirely by email.

I was sending beats over at an early ‘sketch’ stage, rough and basic, from there we’d share ideas back-and-forth to develop them together. I can say for certain that the beats would have sounded different if I’d been working completely solo.

The beat that became the title track “Cancel the Guillotine” was originally slower than the final version, at about 80bpm. Seez suggested speeding it up to 100bpm which at the time I thought was a crazy idea as I’d envisioned it as a slow and brooding joint… but turned out it worked much better at the faster tempo!

There were lots of moments like this while working on the beats for this project; I was the one physically putting them together but in terms of ideas, the production on this record is a collaborative effort.

We initially decided to put together a 4 track project. Seez had the idea of sequencing the tracks in speed order, starting with the slowest track and finishing with the fastest (or vice versa). The first track we recorded was ‘et. al;’ that beat was originally a quick sketch I’d put together on the SP202. It was super slow at 65.5bpm so we decided to use that as the slowest extreme and increase from there.

Aside from the SP202 I also ran various sounds through an Emu EMAX I rack sampler for more old school crunch / beef / magic.

Every track makes use of the turntables in some shape or form; I sampled a load of old records and used Serato to scratch Seez’ vocals. I also used an electric guitar run through a midi pedal and various effects to create sounds. The scratches on the title track I ran through a wah pedal. On the software side, everything is sequenced in Logic with a selection of 3rd party plugins.

The final track “They’re All Lying To You, Some Are Just Honest About It” (“TALTY” for short) was the last track we put together. The beat originally was at a constant tempo and had the same spacey vibe throughout, but Seez had the idea to gradually increase the speed – I hadn’t heard anything like that recently (probably since “Alphabet Aerobics” – RIP Gift of Gab). I wasn’t sure quite how that was going to work, but I implemented the speed change and Seez came back with those intense vocal takes building to a climax. Once I heard that, it made sense to rework the music to crescendo around the vocals. That was quite a challenge to see how far I could push the dynamic intensity on that one, building multiple layers of sound without the mix getting too messy and ensuring that the vocals were still punchy and audible. It took a few days of trial and error before I got that working to my satisfaction. Hopefully the beat does the vocals justice. I think “TALTY” and “Cancel the Guillotine” are my two favourites from the record.

As a final note, I’m appreciative of Seez being open to giving and receiving constructive criticism without awkwardness or fear of causing offence, that’s the way I like it. If you’ve had experience working with people in any creative field then you’ll know that’s not always the case, ha. I think we had a great working dynamic in that respect. I’m hoping we’ll be able to work on more music in the near future.

To everyone who takes the time to check out the record – salute! Thanks for listening. – A

TRACKLISTING
1. et al. (3:46)
2. Cancel the Guillotine (2:42)
3. Big Bank Bang (2:31)
4. Solipsistic Human (3:59)
5. They’re All Lying To You, Some Are Just Honest About It (3:50)

Total Running Time: 16:49

All vocals by Seez Mics
All music by Aupheus
Mixed & mastered by Aupheus
Artwork by Aupheus

CANCEL THE GUILLOTINE: THE COMPLETE LYRICS

1. et al.  

We binge through – what we’ve been thru

Then we purge any urge to dwell

And hopefully it helps to buy like it hurts to sell

The search for self: a solo performance 

Opening to rave reviews until the curtains fell

Now the audience is earth bound

Polarized, then reversed by the history we only learn

To learn how to claim to know how this turns out 

But it turns out

We’re just building new lives from the ashes of the ones we just burned down 

And guess what… it’s just your turn now

Simian impulse to violence- why’s it the wisest

Are seen as the weakest, who needs their silence?

Who benefits from the repetitive sedative of propaganda and the mileage of a mindless virus  

I speak not of COVID 19 or Miley Cyrus

I speak of course of the perspective from power

They don’t see you as a friend

They don’t see you as a foe

They don’t see you at all

et al.

They don’t see you as a lover

They don’t see you as a hater

They don’t see you at all

et al.

So you see 

They don’t see you, so

You are not a right, you are not a wrong

Quite simply, unless you are seen 

You simply are not 

Widgets fidget digits- zeroes and ones

Cowards and heroes succumb to mysterious hum

Appearing to come from ulterior drums

And some lump sum numb from – over exposure

Let go and hold your composure

The underbite looking over your shoulder’s

Screaming “Get over it, soldier!”

We only get older – associate sober – the ultimate poster 

Child for “at least I’m not them”

So amen, yes a-gain… again and again

Been waiting to start for so long, wonder if it ever will end

You have no message to send unless it offends

So let’s just pretend reality is a sight for sore eyes

Most importantly – your eyes

Where beauty is beholden to an intangibly ephemeral golden 

age

That has never, does not, and will not exist

This is not a commercial

————————————————————————————————

2. Cancel The Guillotine 

I don’t look ahead – cause I don’t look the part

The past is no place to put your heart

The books’re smart, the streets’re smarter

Wonder why either would teach ya to be a martyr

Carve a – name into armour, arm a charmer

With karma to harm a flight risk

Don’t blink or you might miss – not overt as a sliced wrist

More like pairs of loose lips and tight fists – 

Loose as a noose – tight as a vice grip

(Welcome to) the beginning of the enzyme

Vacant stares at stairs leading to a for rent sign

Space taken for granted like bottled water at bedtime

Skip to the head of the breadline wreaking of red wine

10, 9, 8 the gears grind like clockwork

Alarm goes off and your virtue is not worth

The yard sign it was signaled on 

Now the mob’s on your lawn with pistols drawn, so sing along

When did the commercials go so commercial

The death toll expo, a heads roll reversal

It hurts so we seek out elixirs to fix us

The trick is the truth is a nuisance and flickers

In shadows and sun light we see through the hood

As a solemn reflection of the people we could

Be…

If it wasn’t for the guillotine

Cancel the guillotine

Your beliefs don’t believe what you believe em to mean

With an emphasis on Sisyphus, they killed the king of the hill

Over petty differences – simplistic image of privilege is synchronous with innocence until proven guilty by association

(Kill the vibe) vilified so they won’t debate him

They tried to object in the court of public opinion

But this sort of peasantry is unbecoming the kingdom

Immutable characteristics become heuristics 

For the opportunistic – it’s film or be filmed 

Now the nuance is little more than a proxy war

Ignore the blood – lock the door so we can mop the floor

The stocks’ll soar, the crowds’ll roar 

Inflating a rotten core but we’ll still want more 

Sure, the city slicker is a shitty tipper

Who differs only to beg for an arm and a leg to stay ahead of the grifter

Crypto klepto kept no coin that couldn’t be leveraged

As a threat if they couldn’t settle on severance

————————————————————————————————

3. Big Bank Bang

Money… who needs it, amiright?

Money is not real

Unlike loved ones and a hot meal

I say this as a man doing all that I can

To keep my family fed

Pardon the paradox, I hope you understand what I meant

When I said the revolution will not be live streamed

The swiped screen is just another victimless crime scene

While the power changes hands in a Byzantine pipe dream

Legislators and agitators are reshooting the fight scenes

Pushed to the brink of pulling a weapon out

Cause a lack of leadership ensures followers never count

Some reach into their pockets for the fresh amounts

The rest are living check to checking out- so check it out

Don’t spend more than you make

Do make more than you spend

You’ll be excited by stability

When they grow bored of the trend

The horde will descend, however 

Your ascent is not prophesized

Mobility is priceless

Especially when your movement is now monetized

I’ll subscribe to any theory provided there’s no pay wall

Or lottery lobotomy propping me on an eight ball

Or robbery of property by case law and chain saw

Selling to be sold is civilization’s trade off

Listen all a ya’ll, it’s self-sabotage

We built an insane asylum where the padded walls

Are made from dominoes of debt and the last to fall

Will be the first to collapse it all

We’re all little banks 

When big bank

Has a Big Bang

————————————————————————————————

4. Solipsistic Human

The solipsistic human

Left all of this in ruins

I’m older than I look – I’m younger than I act 

I even once wrote a book about covering my tracks

But I could never just relax, so I never wrote it down

So it’s somewhere in my head where I watch it float around

I take no pride in my process, the ultimate “is what it is”

Since man first took what wasn’t his, I’ve been hunting with

The intent of gathering for distribution 

A little problem, a big solution, less intuition, more institution

Introducing the solipsistic human 

Left all of this in ruins

I gotta tell you- those politicians knew what they were doing, 

recruiting the solipsistic human

Known to exist solely on a feedback loop of

Extremely unlikely and somewhat satisfied 

Finding the courage to tell you he’s courageous in the face of unrelenting cowardice 

While ignoring the mirror’s insistence that the face

Is his own 

I’m the type of dipshit

To use words like solipsistic 

My worldview is so holistic 

Unless I need to be optimistic 

Pessimistic, half full of myself 

But I’ll readily drink your cup of tea

Everyone will just agree (with me) if you leave it up to me

The fucks are free 

But I charge for the blanket and pills

While you sit in a cage made of minimum wage

As the pendulum sways and I’m getting a raise 

To be a cog in the wheel that is crushing you

See, the time and the place for opining on race

Is when I’m in a space for defining what’s safe

So when I get a taste of the violence you face

I escape through policy that abandons you

Climate change my mind – climate keep the change

I think outside the box, but no thoughts outside Tiananmen Square

Stare – drifting through my ipad 

Where my amygdala gets hijacked

Til I take on personas so do me the honor

Of applying my performative eye black

Limiting opportunity – to guarantee an outcome

Karl Friedman, Milton Marx alchemizing 

Until one intolerant and intolerable jackass is given the press room

Eagerly selling fear as a precursor to… protection

————————————————————————————————

5. They’re All Lying To You, Some Are Just Honest About It

Seeking out a challenge for the thrill, the kill

The credit – it’s not worth it, I get it

But I let it get to me and I wanna fix your facelift (face it, you’re faceless)

Conservatives’ll shapeshift, liberals’ll race grift

A stasis of plaintiffs content to watch the paint drip

No longer satisfied with the product or its placement

Makeshift patriarch- the dad shop is out of stock

For all our mommy issues, we’re all ticks without a tock 

Can’t be out of time if you die around the clock

Can’t be out of line if the line’s around the block

In the blink of an eye, the link will be live

It’ll sync to your mind as you wink your disguise

You may think you decide, but when you think of divide

Do you think of your side… (or the other side?)

There are no sides to a circle, yet we have an Earthfull

Of tribes who collide when supplied with a virtue

To signal, the symbol of simian circuitry 

No longer serving its role in survival

The truth will set you on fire, the lie will set you to sleep

So when you see everything burning returning the promises

They couldn’t keep

To the lenders who send us a bill for belief

In the building of bridges, the business of

Sheltering trolls underneath an emotional speech

Given while swimming in guilt then spilled

In the tide now brimming with regrets we inherit

Where we hide our misgivings in the dead that we’ve buried

And reside in the prison of the debt that we carry

Til we lie for a living like a press secretary

It’s a what, it’s a what- it’s a newscycle scam

And it gets its ideas from the truth when it can

When it can’t, it’s a fig leaf cut from whole cloth

At no cost to the audience it blows off

Rolls off the tongue to rise from the grave

The election was stolen, the laptop was fake

The bias to buy us is harmless without it  

They’re all lying to you 

Some are just honest about it

Pride will kill more heroes than villains

Cause villains know pride isn’t real

By the time the hero comes to their senses

The defense has filed an emotional appeal

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