In Conversation with Lorenzo of SAGA Universe
UCL student Lorenzo (@lorenzooku) is the founder of SAGA Universe, a creative platform for artistic, forward-thinking sonic storytelling. Each episode is a carefully crafted embodiment of its one or two curators; an insight into the mind of someone you don’t know (or, more accurately put, Lorenzo, or someone he knows). The personalised playlists are spliced with naturalistic snippets from day-to-day conversations that are covertly recorded, a style which is reminiscent of the finale to Blonde by Frank Ocean. SAGA Universe is newly born but growing; recently, Lava La Rue, West London rapper and founder of NiNE8 collective, was a special feature on Episode 6, just after her attention-grabbing appearance on COLORS. This is the result of Lorenzo’s sheer force of real-world networking – a skill he sees as fundamental to the success of SAGA Universe and its future.
What’s the idea behind SAGA Universe?
It’s an embodiment of me. It speaks to my passions, it represents me and what I want to do. But it’s a community thing. I don’t want to make it about me; I’m not trying to brand it as “Lorenzo’s Show” …I’m just the architect. Other people have curated episodes, been voice-recorded, [and] influenced me.
Why did you make a radio show and not…I don’t know…join Spanish Club?
I like Language and Culture, I chose to study it for a reason. But I’m in the same boat as a lot of people where we don’t know exactly what we’re doing in our lives, so we just went to uni to ‘waste’ 27K and stay in the safety zone of education. Which some people might call stupid…I could have not gone to uni and done this full time…but I still think uni is valuable and I’m very glad that I’ve gone to uni. It’s facilitated SAGA in a sense; with the studio and such.
Does the fact that you know so many people help the show?
Probably. I have quite an eclectic circle. I try and be progressive and liberal with my tastes so even if [someone I know shows me] some shit I don’t directly know, I’m inclined…it makes for an eclectic show. Tomorrow we’re recording some ambient noise episode, our first deviance from the slightly more mainstream or ‘palatable’ sounds we’ve explored so far.
Tell me about the other contributors.
Episode 4 was created by Remi (@remis.room) who is big into music, his speciality being RnB, and Kehn (@kehn9), who really knows current music and always keeps his ear to the streets. They made a mood playlist of sorts. They called it ‘PM’, because it’s best played at night. There’s another meaning as well, but we don’t want to give that away too much. *laughter* [Episode 4] is probably the least voice clip heavy…but there’s nothing wrong with that…if it serves the purpose. If the purpose is to enjoy with your significant other…I don’t think you want to hear my voice. Episode 5 was by Ade Coker (@adecokercola). Extremely dope and eclectic music taste. It was a new perspective. Episode 6 was [a special feature with] Lava [La Rue] (@lavalarue). We had a conversation, she came through and premiered an unreleased track.
I saw you recently on a panel of young creatives for Crossing Cultures, the community-building event run by Studio Saucy(@studiosaucy), the Amsterdam-based artist liaison brand. You discussed the Social Media Generation. I liked your point about the potential absolution of Instagram – how, as culture and technology progress, the platform could become irrelevant. What would SAGA Universe be without Instagram?
The point was about doingthings rather than just appearingto do things. I could take strategic pictures in the studio to look like I’m doing things but… *shrugs*
As long as you do things and interact with people in real life. But what would it be without Instagram? Nothing. Because this is the tool of the time.
How important is networking?
You don’t just get things by sitting in your room and being good. It’s easier to get connections online, but you’ll always have to refer back to real life. Networking is vital, just doing in general.
I noticed that you already knew a bunch of the other young creatives at Studio Saucy– what connects you all?
It’s a conglomerate. There’s no name, but we look out for each other. We’re a network. Promoting and uplifting people will definitely pay off more than hating; trust me on that. If you do that, people appreciate that…it will come back to do good in the end. If you promote someone or show love. But a lot of people in these positions of power have done dark things…or moved in a certain way, where they’ve had to prioritise themselves a lot. I have a conflict in my head about being selfless, loving everyone and uplifting everyone, and being selfish; they’re not mutually exclusive, they co-exist. They’re different sides to the same thing.
What is the plan going forward?
I’m planning on expanding the dimensions of the brand. Doing merch, creating photography concepts, more than just pictures of people in clothes…something unconventional, something different. Not just…cool person, cool location in London…it’s cool people, but it’s more about the energy, the diversity of the people.
Be sure to check out the SAGA Episode 7, curated by UCL student @sideshowremi, here:https://soundcloud.com/sagauniverse/saga7