Sound Select: 9th Sage

Written by Waylon O'Day

The Sound Select series continues to roll on with the likes of Yobi Yobz, Kay Illah, and DJ NoLita  as the recent features. As the we keep the balling rolling with putting the spotlight on DJs and how their sound curates their being. One curator of sound who has erupted past the boundaries of Houston has to be 9th Sage. 

Hailing from the depths of Space City, Sage who was known for his work behind the camera. Catering to an audience who appreciates the assets of creativity, he's sprouted his artistry to mixing to complete his palette. As he has climbed up the ranks, he has featured mixes with First Ear, Nang Radio, Artistic Manifesto, Soul Etiquette, and more. 

We recently had a chance to speak to him about his DJ style, his views on not being limited to the Houston sound, favorite era of music and more. 

Read here. 

How did you first get into DJing?

I got into DJ'ing about 4 years ago. I always knew I wanted to do something that involved music but I knew I was no rapper or nothing like that. Dj'Ing is my personal way of sharing music I love & find. Music has always been my first love. I love how there's so much of it & how personal & deep music is. I truly feel that without music this world would be almost meaningless. Dj'Ing helps me share my love for music & spread good vibrations to anyone who needs them. Music is truly a healer, so I'm just happy to be able to do my part in spreading good music.

What inspired your name?

Well, 9 is my favorite number. What it represents as far as numerology goes, the number resonates with my journey. 9 symbolizes completeness, faithfulness, gentleness, love, peace & self-control. I was also born on April 9, 1993, so it just worked. Sage stems from what my middle name, "Malachi," means. The word "sage," to me, resonated with the overall basis of my name with sage meaning "a profoundly wise man." I just felt the name is synonymous to who I am as a person, it's personal.

The first thing I notice about your mixes is they have this jazzy, laidback, occasionally lo-fi feel. Explain how you found that sound?

I just love real music. hip-hop, jazz, blues, etc. there's no genre of music that compare to the feeling true artistry can give you. I feel that people are so caught up in these new sounds, which I'm not saying are bad at all, that they forget to look back at real music. That soul music, that feel-good music, that music with passion & transparency, story-telling, emotion. It'll always be a part of me & I always try to emote that feel when I share music with people.

What is it like for you to be a hip-hop DJ from Houston? Do you feel pressured at all to have more of that “Dirty South” approach to your mixes?

I don't too much worry about being labeled as a "Houston DJ." I've had more notoriety & love stem from many other places in the world way more than I've had in Houston. I love Houston, I love the culture, I love the people but I want people to focus on my individuality rather than associate me with any particular city or anything like that. I've never worried about the pressure of not really giving that "Dirty South" feel to my mixes because it's not really me & I won't pretend it is. I will say you can hear trickles of the slow feel in my mixes at times, but overall no pressure is felt because at the end of the day,  I'm just being myself & doing what I love.

 "I've never worried about the pressure of not really giving that "Dirty South" feel to my mixes because it's not really me & I won't pretend it is. I will say you can hear trickles of the slow feel in my mixes at times, but overall no pressure is felt because at the end of the day,  I'm just being myself & doing what I love."

Is there a city other than Houston that you identify with, musicially? Like Los Angeles? Because your mixes evoke the same sort of feeling that Knxwledge, Flylo, and Madlib seem to have perfected.

I'd say I'm inspired by many different sounds & people. Knxwledge, Flying Lotus, Madlib, are some of those top people. I could even say Houseshoes, Hannah Faith, Tall Black Guy, Joe Kay, and others heavily have an influence on the way I move & do things. I always stay myself, though. I always made sure I always tell myself to study the people & things that inspire you & do it your way. Never try to duplicate anyone else's path.

What is your favorite era of music?

Man. Honestly, the early 90's up to about the early 2000's has to my favorite era of music of all-time. The timelessness that stemmed from that era is so unmatched & undefeated. The creativity & authentic feel of the music back them was beautiful. That feel it gave you man.....there isn't anything like it.

What kind of mood are you trying to set with your mixes?

Honestly, I always let the music take me wherever it takes me when I make my mixes. Overall, I want the listener to feel good. I want to make people feel at ease & happy. Putting people on to the music I listen to & love allows me to do just that. 

What kind of sounds do you find yourself obsessing over?

A lot of lo-fi, a lot of hip-hop, soul, r&b, house, & jazzy sounds. I also have an obsession with 808's when used right. 

How do you feel about the whole Serato DJ v. Vinyl DJ debates?

I honestly feel like the debate shouldn't even be a debate. Let people express themselves musically. However, they choose to. where you're using a mixer or vinyl, it doesn't matter. The music matters. 

What’s your favorite H-Town song? Album?

This is a hard ass question. lol.

Well, one of my favorite Houston albums has to be Scarface's "The Diary" album from 1994. As far as favorite Houston song, I can't even think of just one.I will say one of my favorite Houston songs is definitely "Swang" by Trae, Pimp C & Big Hawk.

Listen to his mix below and follow him here