Wednesday, October 17, 2012
INTERVIEW: Cody Miles on bringing Beautiful Eulogy to Sam Houston State University
I recently caught up with rapper/full-time student Cody Miles via e-mail to discuss his role in bringing Christian hip hop to campus at Sam Houston State University (my alma mater), why he selected Beautiful Eulogy for this week’s show, and whether or not we need to dress like hipsters to enjoy the concert.
Sketch: What most impressed you about Beautiful Eulogy? Why bring them to Huntsville, Texas?
Cody: Honestly, when I get to put on these concerts at Sam Houston State the first question I ask myself is, “Who do I want to meet next?” And then I convince my team and the Dean of Students that all their wildest dreams will come true if they listen to me. So, there’s that.
But really, I’ve been following Braille and Odd Thomas separately since I started college in 2009. They are phenomenal rappers and they’ve impacted my life in so many ways as it is. When they released the Beautiful Eulogy record, they also really filled a hole in a genre that was so needing of them. It’s funny. When I describe their music to people, especially church-kids, I tell them, “It’s kind of like combining abstract worship music and dope hip-hop with a little folk.” It’s just good.
We’re bringing them to Huntsvegas primarily because my team’s focus is on Christian leadership and stimulating conversations about faith. That involves doctrine. I think Beautiful Eulogy is able to communicate the character of Christ as the motif for Christian behavior better than most artists in the genre. Braille is also giving a message about Christ as a leader after they perform. It’s just a great fit for what we want to do on our campus.
Sketch: What’s the biggest challenge of throwing a concert like this?
Cody: Haha, oh man. College students. College students are the freaking worst. We’re in an environment so saturated with events and promotion that it really takes work to get noticed. Besides that, we’re not playing the hottest club hits so students are confused as to what we’re even doing. But, really, does anyone actually like “Gangnam Style”?
This year, we tripled our promotion budget, placed the event on campus and received sponsorship with Monster Energy Drink. I’m opening for Beautiful Eulogy and it’s kind of embarrassing how many times my face is actually plastered in the hall ways and class rooms. We have something like 2,000 flyers floating around and another 50 large posters around campus. So, we’ll see what happens.
Sketch: You’re a public relations major at SHSU. So tell me, how did you put your education to use to promote this show?
Cody: I’ve come to learn that Public Relations can be a very equivocated term. It’s not exactly rocket science. Really, it’s just a game of educated guess and check. In our case, we took some very informal surveys (we definitely didn’t get our research approved by the IRB), confirmed my already-cemented bias for Beautiful Eulogy, and tried to get the attention of college ministries.
In our luck, we’ve teamed up with a nationwide event called Engage24, which serves as a vehicle to encourage all campus ministries to evangelize to a part of the campus for 24 hours. Our event will culminate all of that at the end of the day. Then there is radio and newspapers and blogs. Oh my.
We’ll see how it turns out!
Sketch: You’re a recording artist too, so apart from getting to perform and open the show for these guys, what’s been your favorite part of organizing and promoting concerts like this for Tedashii, Sho Baraka, Freddie Bruno, Playdough, Heath McNease, RedCloud, and now Beautiful Eulogy?
Cody: It’s cool, man. I really live for this stuff. I’m writing the business plan to do it in Austin when I graduate in December. I love seeing progress – having a vision for something and seeing it come to life. I love that people support me in these sometimes retarded ideas. I love that I get to show people how to put these things on so they can carry the vision when I leave. I love that, in some ways, this is a legacy that I get to be part of. Building the Kingdom of Heaven at Sam Houston State University. That’s kind of an honor.
My favorite part is getting to meet the people you listen to on the daily. I got to spend 14 hours in a car with manCHILD one time and while he probably hated every minute of it, I was euphoric. I love hip-hop. I love the culture, the people, the feeling you get when you write a dope line. Meeting my heroes is kind of inspiring and also a little humbling. I remember listening to “Resurrect Me” by Braille when I was going through one of the hardest times in my life. Now, I get to meet the guy that helped me get through it- and I get thank him from the stage.
Sketch: I know the Beautiful Eulogy guys are from Portland, Oregon. Does that mean we all need to be facial-hair-and-plaid-wearing hipsters in order to enjoy the show? Will I be required to put a bird on Austin Hall or anything to attend?
Cody: I love you, Sketch. Citing “Portlandia” made my night. I don’t know what to expect, man. I honestly don’t. Beautiful Eulogy is not your typical hip-hop crew. So, better pull out the plaid and throw away your razor just in case.