“Fuck a Day Job”: Sematary Takes the Proust Questionnaire


Sematary, photographed by Wyatt Winfrey.

In late February, my friend Scott asked if he could come to my house in the mountains with the rapper Sematary and bring my other friend named Wyatt who would take some photos of Sematary around my property. I said something like, “Yes, sure bro” and then I forgot about it. A few weeks later, I was in the middle of nowhere in West Texas and Scott said something like “Yooo what’s the address for Saturday?” And I said something like, “What? I am in West Texas.” Turns out the whole thing was considered confirmed and Sematary was in New York to make it happen. Luckily, he was able to switch his flight from Sunday to Monday and I called my wife and said the witch-house rapper is coming over and probably some other guys and Wyatt. My wife said something like “Okay, are they sleeping over?” I said I sure hope not. 

What I knew about Sematary before our fateful meeting on Sunday was fairly minimal. I knew that he rapped over dark beats and said things about haunted houses and hayrides and slaughterhouses. I knew that Sematary had a generally spooky vibe and I knew that he had a rabid fanbase like Drain Gang, except maybe even scarier and younger. Luckily, on Saturday, I had some errands to run (including going to the dump and dropping off my leather bag for repairs at the shoe store, which is only open for four hours a week every Saturday), and I could take this time in the truck to get familiar with Sematary’s discography. My first reaction was that Sematary’s music sounded like a lot of things that I grew up listening to put in a blender and ground all together. My second reaction was that if I was about ten years younger, I would be going crazy for it. The appeal was evident, but how could I get to the core of the man behind the magic? The answer was obvious: turn to Proust.


WALT JOHN PEARCE: Okay, let’s crush some questions. Do you know the writer [Marcel] Proust? 

SEMATARY: Proust? I don’t really know a lot of writers. You’re like, the one writer I know. I know [J.R.R.] Tolkien. I rap about Tolkien shit a lot. 

PEARCE: He was a French novelist and he had a parlor game. The idea was that with these 35 questions, you could get to the fundamental essence of someone’s being. So it’s like we’re at a dinner party.

SEMATARY: Okay. So you’re hitting me with that. 

PEARCE: Yeah, you’re getting hit with that. Number one: what is your idea of perfect happiness? 

SEMATARY: Being able to do whatever you want to do and pay rent and be happy with the people you love. 

PEARCE: What’s your greatest fear? 

SEMATARY: Fuck. Not being able to do what you want to do and pay rent, I’d say. 

PEARCE: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 

SEMATARY: These are some real-ass questions. Give me a second. What is it again?

PEARCE: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 

SEMATARY: Pride, probably. But pride can be good. Sometimes I need to chill.

PEARCE: Yeah, you can get ahead of yourself. 

SEMATARY: It’s a balance though. You’ve gotta have pride if you’re a fucking musician in this world. If you don’t have pride, they’ll shit all over you.


PEARCE: What trait do you deplore in others? 

SEMATARY: Trait I deplore in others… definitely greed, I’d say. Major label motherfuckers, all that type of shit. Fucking each other over, people using each other. Like Adam22, that’s a good example. Culture vulture, straight greed

PEARCE: Well, now he does cuckold porn with his wife, so karma might have come around. What living person do you admire the most? 

SEMATARY: Yung Lean. 

PEARCE: When he was first putting out music, I was like that same age. It was a fun experience. 

SEMATARY: That’s fire. I saw him on the Warlord Tour when I was 15. I was like, “Yeah, I need to do this with my life.”

PEARCE: What is your greatest extravagance? 

SEMATARY: Some crazy questions. I’d say clothes. 

PEARCE: What’s your current state of mind? 

SEMATARY: Exhaustion.

PEARCE: Do you rest?

SEMATARY: I’m about to after this tour for the first time in five years.

PEARCE: How long are you going to take off, you think? 

SEMATARY: Probably a month, two months.

PEARCE: You should go somewhere.

SEMATARY: Nah, that’s exhausting to me. I need to stay in my room and just not be a human.


PEARCE: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? 

SEMATARY: Overrated virtue? 

PEARCE: Yeah, like something that people think is very important but it’s not actually. 

SEMATARY: I don’t think this deeply about human beings. I don’t know. [Pause] I’d say like, views and streams don’t necessarily correlate to shows. I know people that have 9,000 followers, which isn’t like shit in the wider world, that put on crazier shows than I put on. 

PEARCE:Your fans are rabid in almost like a Harry Styles type of—

SEMATARY: Like cult shit.

PEARCE: On what occasion do you lie? 

SEMATARY: I try not to lie ever.

PEARCE: That’s good. 

SEMATARY: I’m not a big believer in lying even if it hurts motherfuckers feelings. Like, if I did some shit you’re not going to like and you asked me straight up, I would tell you.

PEARCE: What do you dislike most about your appearance? 

SEMATARY: Um, I’ve worked very hard to like how I look. It’s been a long, long road. So now I’m pretty happy with how I look. I hated myself until about two years ago. 

PEARCE: What changed, do you think? 

SEMATARY: Just confidence. 

PEARCE: People accepting you how you were? 

SEMATARY: Me accepting how I am, I’d say.


PEARCE: Is there a living person you most despise? 

SEMATARY: No personal beefs that need to be on record. I’m not rocking with [REDACTED]. I’m not rocking with fucking alt-right shit in the underground. That’s the best I can offer. They need to not make music anymore. If I could, I’d make sure he wasn’t around.

PEARCE: You’d take it into your own hands. 

SEMATARY: Yeah. When I see those fools, it’s on.

PEARCE: What quality do you most like in a man? 

SEMATARY: Loyalty. 

PEARCE: And for a woman? 

SEMATARY: Loyalty. That’s the most important thing. 

PEARCE: Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 

SEMATARY: “Fuck the world.” By far.

PEARCE: What or who is the greatest love of your life? 

SEMATARY: Um, I don’t know. This shit I do, this art that I do every day, the music I do every day.

PEARCE: When and where were you the happiest? 

SEMATARY: Um, that changes every day. Sometimes that will be the new happiest moment. Like, if I’m with my girl and feeling good, I’m really high. That can be the new happiest moment. I’m always chasing that.

PEARCE: What talent would you most like to have? If you think there’s something you’re lacking. 

SEMATARY: I wish that I could make songs faster. 

PEARCE: Faster? You’re fairly prolific.

SEMATARY: Yeah, but it’s really hard. I’m tapped out. I’m, like, at my limit. I did a whole bunch of drugs to get this last tape done.

PEARCE: Do you want to slow down? 


PEARCE: What’s your output looking like now? Like, how many tapes do you put out a year? 

SEMATARY: It’s been two, roughly. Last year it was a tape and an EP. And then this year I think it’s going to be a tape and an EP again.

PEARCE: You need a break, it sounds like. 

SEMATARY: I’m going to lose it. I need to back off for a little bit and just come up with new artistic ideas.

PEARCE: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

SEMATARY: Fuck, I don’t know. Can anyone answer that? 

PEARCE: I don’t know. That’s a good question. 

SEMATARY: It is a good question. But there’s no point in thinking like that. I don’t know.

PEARCE: That’s an answer. What is your greatest achievement? You’ve touched on this already: the Keef feature, and that you’re able to tour with your boys.

SEMATARY: And like, I’m somewhat respected, I guess. Fools understand the world I’ve built. That’s my greatest achievement by far, not any one thing. Except maybe the Chief Keef feature. That’s a good milestone.

PEARCE: If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? 

SEMATARY: I don’t know, a fucking grizzly bear? It’d be fire.

PEARCE: I admire the quickness of that.

SEMATARY: I’ve thought about that a lot. Just in the woods, just fucking banging hella foods, like, murking shit. 

PEARCE: Where would you most like to live? 

SEMATARY: I don’t know, I can kind of go anywhere I want with this shit, so various places. I’ll just move around probably over a couple years.

PEARCE: Is it true about living in the…what do you live in? A slaughterhouse? 

SEMATARY: Yeah, I live in a decommissioned butcher house from 1901, which is really old for California. It’s hard, because you can smoke in it.

PEARCE: Is it, like, upkept?


PEARCE: Do you own it? 

SEMATARY: No, it’s rent right now. The roof collapsed in my room last year on all my shit. But he fixed it, the landlord.

PEARCE: Shout out. 

SEMATARY: Yeah, shout out. He’s a chill-ass landlord. Like, the most chillest landlord ever. He lets me smoke cigs and blast music because there’s no neighbors, so it’s pretty ideal.

PEARCE: What is your most treasured possession? 

SEMATARY: This [Shows Pearce his Haunted Mound chain necklace] It’s, like, iced out. I worked my ass off for it.

PEARCE: Heavy. 

SEMATARY: I ain’t got the chain iced out yet, but I will. 

PEARCE: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

SEMATARY: Fuck, I don’t know. If you just fucking aren’t living for yourself and are just living for what other people tell you.

PEARCE: What is your favorite occupation? I feel like you’re doing your favorite occupation, but what would you do if you could just choose a day job?

SEMATARY: Fuck a day job. I worked at a grocery store for a year when I was trying to get this started and that shit sucked. I’ve worked very hard to be my own boss. 

PEARCE: What’s your most marked characteristic? 

SEMATARY: Um, probably my drive, I would guess. I’m pretty sure most people don’t have a drive like me. Rick Owens probably has drive like me. Not to sound like a dickhead, but just keeping it 100.

PEARCE: What do you value in your friends? 

SEMATARY: Loyalty.

PEARCE: I knew you were going to say that.

SEMATARY: I’m predictable. 

PEARCE: Who are your favorite writers? You said Tolkien. 

SEMATARY: Tolkien. C.S Lewis, but also not. I don’t agree with Christianity. 

PEARCE: I’m Christian, but I don’t take offense. Who is your hero of fiction? 

SEMATARY: Ash Williams from Evil Dead. A lot of Nicholas Cage characters. He is a big hero. 

PEARCE: I like Liam Neeson. I would watch Taken 12 if they made that many. What historical figure do you most identify with? 

SEMATARY: Fuck. Um… Napoleon. The wratch, the rage. I’m like, fueled by hatred. 

PEARCE: I do think that you’re angry. 

SEMATARY: I’m a little less angry than I used to be.

PEARCE: What are your favorite names? 


PEARCE: I guess something you would name your kid or whatever. 

SEMATARY: I’m not going to make that public. 

PEARCE: What is it you most dislike? 

SEMATARY: Weak shit? I’ll keep it general. 

PEARCE: What is your greatest regret?

SEMATARY: Be selective with what music you put out in the beginning. 

PEARCE: How would you like to die? 

SEMATARY: Age 69, with a whole bunch of money and a big ass house and badass bitch and I’m high. 

PEARCE: I think you’ll last longer than 69. 

SEMATARY: 69 is just what I always say because it’s funny.

PEARCE: Last one. What is your motto? 

SEMATARY: Go hard or go home.