Forced into femininity interview orlando music
Image

Forced Into Femininity: Fighting Corruption with Crazy

It isn’t too often that a show really surprises me — having spent countless nights at music venues, sometimes I think I’ve seen it all. But last week, I was thrown in truly undisturbed waters when Chicago avant-garde musician Forced Into Feminity turned Spacebar upside down. The music itself, semi-dancey electronic bangs, wasn’t too out-of-the-ordinary; it was the performance that left everyone looking around like, “WTF is happening?!” The set began with a pre-taped warning that cautioned anyone who was uncomfortable being touched, yelled at, or hearing lyrics about discrimination against transgendered people and other potentially triggering topics.

Jill Flanagan, the energetic bomb behind FIF, bounced around the audience screaming in people’s faces, giving piggy-back rides, climbing on top of the bar, and (in one case) stuffing a patron’s red beard into her mouth. And that was only when things were going according to plan. At one point the music and mic cut off, but Jill didn’t even blink. She proceeded to go outside (we all followed), climb onto the roof of Spacebar and start lecturing from up there. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to get into the head of this person. Enjoy.

Photos by Harryson T Photography & matthew warhol.


Forced into femininity interview orlando music

(I start recording in the middle of a conversation about Andy Warhol.)

Forced Into Femininity: I have this book he wrote about parties.

matthew warhol: Which one?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s just called Parties.

matthew warhol: Parties?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, it’s just about parties. He interviewed all these different party promoters in the ‘80s. It’s a really interesting book.

matthew warhol: That’s aweseome. I’ve only read A to B and Back Again which is just his sprawlings.

Forced Into Femininity: Oh I love that.

matthew warhol: Really? You’ve read that one?

Forced Into Femininity: That’s his biography, right?

matthew warhol: Yeah, I would say it’s kind of like an autobiography.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: The Philosophy of Andy Warhol. It’s hilarious.

matthew warhol: So, for me, that’s the kind of writing I like to do. I’m just very — especially with the interviews — I keep it really real. So I’m recording now. How’s tour been?

Forced Into Femininity: Great, yeah it’s been really long.

matthew warhol: You’re from Chicago right?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I’m from Chicago. I’ve lived their most of life. I lived in Oakland for a couple of years, but mostly in Chicago.

matthew warhol: How long have you been doing Forced Into Feminity?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s been like seven years … seven or eight years.

matthew warhol: And what was the initial idea behind it? Did you make similar music before?

Forced Into Femininity: Well, it was different. I mean, I was mostly in bands. This was the first thing I did that was digital — like on a laptop or editing sounds. I’ve been in bands since, but the band at the time … my band broke up and I was really trying like, to do music and stay motivated. And just make music out of a laptop, because I’d never done that. I hadn’t really made anything specifically about being trans, ya know? I had done stuff that had touched on that but like …

matthew warhol: You hadn’t done something that was fully about you?

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: No, fully me, but I felt like I wanted to focus more on being trans. because it’s a big part of my identity and I hadn’t really talked about it.

matthew warhol: Has it changed over the last seven years?

Forced Into Femininity: It changes a lot. I mean, musically, it’s changed a lot because I’ve learned how to make music on the computer. And what I’ve wanted to do is changing a lot — I don’t know. At one time it was more dance-based, but I still dance a lot when I’m performing. Yeah, it’s come through a lot of different iterations. It’s kind of like whatever I want to do, so I’ll just change it sometimes. Maybe just play keyboards and sing.

matthew warhol: That’s really interesting to me. I was just talking to one of my friends earlier tonight about how a lot people are leaving bands and doing it more by themselves. Because they can — the technology is there. And like, you’re more … like, not waiting on anyone else. Do you find that you’re more productive? Is it easier?

Forced Into Femininity: It’s not easier. I mean, it’s just different playing in bands. It’s like, you don’t really know a lot of times, when you do things, if it’s like, “Oh, is this good?” I don’t know. I don’t know until I play the songs for people, then I’m like, “Okay, this is good.” You don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or to cover your mistakes.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: And so like, how often, when you’re playing, does what happened tonight with [the sound going out] happen? Because at that point it’s really out of your hands to a certain extent. You can obviously adapt to it, which you did. But are you prepared for that?

Forced Into Femininity: I had this tour once where I played two shows where there was no P.A. or like all the power went out. So like, I learned from that. I like improvising and just talking, so I prepare like lectures and things I want to talk about.

matthew warhol: Does it change from night to night? Do you build on an idea? Like you have a topic and it evolves?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, a lot of times I’ll say things and they’ll get more developed and I’ll turn them into lyrics, or I’ll stop saying them. But I have a lot of material that I’ve built up and fall back on. When I don’t know what to do, I try doing something old again.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: And does it happen a lot, where something will come unplugged and you’ll have to react to it?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, if something goes wrong, instead of trying to fix it, I’m like, “fuck that, we’ll just roll with it.” And we’ll have silence, or I’ll do something else. Because it can be anything, if you’re too focused on it being one way, then it gets stifled.

matthew warhol: Does that keep it exciting for you?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, definitely. Sometimes I enjoy not doing the songs more. Because it’s fresh. Because I can do whatever I want. Where as, since it’s electronic, the music is always going to be the same music. It’s nice to have freedom.

matthew warhol: That made me think of the interview I recently did with J.A.S.O.N., who’s the singer from Shania Pain. I did a story on him, and he was telling me about the reason he improvises. It’s because he gets really bored. Would you feel that way too, if it were to be the same thing over and again?

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I have a short attention span.

matthew warhol: That’s exactly what he said.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, I have a short attention span so a lot of times I’m like … “yeah, yeah, okay I gotta …” This time I’ve been … well, I’ve been on tour for four and a half months so I try different techniques to keep it fresh. Trying different songs, or now I have two different sets I play.

matthew warhol: What’s like, one of the craziest reactions someone has had to your performance?

Forced Into Femininity: I don’t know. I’ve had a bunch of weird shows. I had a show in a coffee house in Alabama where everyone got really upset and I had to stop. Yeah, everyone got upset. They were mad because there were children there and they got scared. So that was going on and there were angry parents and it was in a coffee shop, so they were more uptight about me climbing on tables, licking people.

matthew warhol: I mean, you have the warning at the beginning.

Forced Into Femininity: I have a warning, yeah but people are going to get mad. That’s what I realized about the warning, like if people are going to be offended, they’re still going to be offended. Like this guy the last time I played in Orlando, he was really mad that I licked him. And he wanted to fight me. And he was all mad because I didn’t mention it in the statement. He was like, “I heard touching! I didn’t hear anything about licking people!” I should make everyone sign a waiver.

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

matthew warhol: So like, what was something that was sticking with you tonight? Was there something specific in your head?

Forced Into Femininity: Well, I wanted to talk about the drag show in Key West that was really problematic. Yeah, there’s always a lot of things to talk about but I usually draw a blank when I’m up there. But I wanted to toss in a lot of things about that. It made me think about getting a dollar bill from the audience. Because, symbolically, you’re getting money and that money buys approval. And the drag queens that are less passing or more heavy-set usually don’t get as many people watching them, or they get a pity dollar. It’s kind of like a system of capital approval.

matthew warhol: Thanks for sharing that.

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah sure.

matthew warhol:  It was really nice talking to you.

Forced Into Femininity: Yeah, nice talking to you.

read our last intereview

hear new local music

Follow The Vinyl Warhol : Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Forced into femininity interview orlando music

Fishwife & i_like_dog_face – “I Like Welcome”

Fishwife & i_like_dog_face – “I Like Welcome”

Literally, this song had been uploaded two minutes before I came to Soundcloud looking for something, and I’m thankful I stopped and listened. My interest in Sarasota experimental noise artist i_like_dog_face began at last year’s International Noise Conference in Miami. I was documenting Me Chinese’s tour at the time, who seemed like outliers amongst the eccentric sounds of INC. While wading through the three stages of weird, I was transfixed by a single person wailing and moaning into a microphone, wearing Christmas lights in an otherwise pitch-black room. The music beneath these outcries was just as hectic. Large, industrial pulses clashed against static fuzz. I was witnessing performance art and music and madness concurrently.

On this new song, we are joined by Fishwife for the sweetest thing I’ve heard from i_like_dog_face to date. The creepy beat of a blacksmith smashing iron is still here, but these hauntingly beautiful vocals, in what I think is Spanish (sorry, I have a bad ear for that), soak the entire song. They’re actually quite comforting when juxtaposed with aforementioned sounds. The two sing back-and-forth, each line flowing into the next, as the beat slowly drags itself closer and closer. The only other sounds here are faint synths, vibrating in the distance, watching these two forces meet.

Keep an ear open for the split that these two are putting out through Popnihil. Titled Heavy Water, it will feature individual works and two collaborations, “I Like Welcome” being the first. And hey, if you’re in Sarasota, think about going to this Animal Collective tribute show I helped with. There will certainly be plenty of weird sounds.

TONIGHT: Tiger Fawn/Sailor Ripley/The Jellyfish Brothers @ Spacebar

There’s a great show tonight at Spacebar. TVW favorite Tiger Fawn will be sharing her nature sounds; Sailor Ripley plans on making a psychedelic mess all over the concrete floor; and Miami boyz The Jellyfish Brothers will be throwing their no wave sand directly into your eye holes. I’m loving the variety of this line-up. It’s sure to bring a great crowd and is only $5, so do something with your Friday night and stop feeding your Tamagotchi for once! Jesus Christ Deborah he’s using you. Enjoy.

Tiger Fawn

The Endearing Nature Sounds of Tiger Fawn

Check more on Bandcamp.

Sailor Ripley

Check more on Bandcamp.

The Jellyfish Brothers

Check more on Bandcamp.

Indigo People – ‘Glasshouse EP’

Around this time last year, I did a review of an ethereal jazz artist who goes by the moniker Chris Topher. He had just released his fourth EP, Green Machinea release that featured Topher collaborating with Silvia Plath, Carl Sagan, and Jackson Pollock. A year before that, I did my first review of Chris’ music on Introspective. The reason I bring up Chris Topher in the first place is because he has a new moniker, Indigo People. And as Indigo People, he’s expanded the single he released last September into a complete EP. enjoy.

Glasshouse starts with “Daydreamer,” a piece that incorporates a familiar element from Chris Topher/Indigo People, some scholar discussing our universe. These audio clips have always drawn me to his music. They’re thought provoking and really make the aura of these songs. Next is “Silent Film.” This was the single from last year. So far, we’ve got a new name, but not any changes to the music. Let’s continue.

“Passeig de les Aigues” knocked me out. It’s where the new sounds finally emerge. The song starts with a mandolin line, something that I’ve never heard in a prior EP. The direct words of “Daydreamer” are replaced with the singing of birds. It’s very folk-era Zeppelin. A bass line hits that brings thunder into the forest. This is followed by strings and tambourine on the tail end of the song that are some other forrest-y thing. This is a brand new world for this artist. This is Indigo People.

But, Topher’s piano lines are still present, leading us through this new territory. “Keukenhof Gardens” somewhat returns to space, but takes an electric drum kit with it. The outro on this one beautiful; the pianos and guitars delicately bounce off each other. The last song is “Blue Box.” And we’ve got more new elements, glitchy synth and tasteful beat-boxing. “Blue Box” jumps around way more rapidly than the prior pieces. Paino, guitar, kit drums, more glitches, and a funky bassline all enter and exit at leisure. The three-and-a-half minute coda feels long, because we’re hit with so much, so quickly. It’s another large step forward for this artist. As long as he keeps experimenting and his music keeps intriguing me, he can call himself whatever he wants.

Bellows: Linear Abstraction & Christmas Sweaters

Editor’s Note: Since this interview, the members of Bellows changed their name to Someday River

This year, no one is more overcome with holiday spirit than Orlando experimental folk rock trio, Bellows. These sonic sculptors have been at it since 2010; and in 2013, Orlando Weekly named them Best Experimental Act. I sat down with Bellows’ lead architect Greyson Charnock to talk about Orlando music, Bellows’ progression, and Christmas cheer. Later, I was able to encroach on the band’s practice space with TVW Photographer, Karina Curto. Somehow, we ended up helping them out with their Christmas cards. Enjoy.

This Saturday, Bellows’ will be playing at Sweater Fest. Come see Orlando’s finest take over The Milk District.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

M: Within the band, do you do most of the songwriting? How does that work?

G: Some of [Bellows’] earlier material was stuff that I had written that we just pieced together and turned into this structural thing. But we’re moving more into like, I might just come up with a little idea and we all just jam on it together. Then we say, “that works, this doesn’t work.” [We] sort of separate it out into a song that’s more grooved-based. Instead of [songs] based solely on transitions, or solely on the vocals, which is something I did a lot in the past.

M: That’s what collaboration does, right?

G: Yeah. We got Sean [Boyle] on drums, and Pat [Dunn] on the bass. And they’ve really helped crystallize the band. We were a two-piece for a while, and I think there’s a lot of being deliberate as a two piece. The idea is so pure. But, now that we have a bassist, I could never go back.

M: You guys have been [playing] for like, five years… almost five?

G: Yeah, five years from our first show is in February.

M: Five years is a long time, especially for a local band.

G: I didn’t have any expectations, honestly. When I first started writing music [after] I moved to college; it took me years to grasp the idea that, “Okay, there’s a next step to this.” Before that, I had no intentions of ever playing for anybody. Even open mics, I never did [those] until Bellows. That was the first time that I ever played live.

M: Really? How did it go?

G: (laughs) It went alright. It takes a long time to get your footing in a community… now it sort of feels like I can just feel the culture building, and it’s kind of cool to be a part of it.

350A8404

M: You guys are playing sweater fest. Are people supposed to wear their sweaters to that?

G: Oh yeah!

M: Okay, okay. I have my own, but it drips glitter every time I move.

G: You leave a trail?

M: Yeah. So I feel like in a pit, everyone is going to have glitter on them and be like, “It was that [asshole].”

G: (laughs) I love it. Yeah, you got to bring a sweater and uh… Christmas vibes.

M: Now, you were talking about how you work at the UCF Art Gallery. How does that passion for visual art merge with music? How do those things collide?

G: I use one thing to fuel the other. A lot of the artwork I’ve been doing in the past couple years has been for the band. And my job at the gallery makes [Bellows] possible.

M: What more traditional artists are you into?

G: I’ll just start by saying I have a huge print in my living room that’s framed. It’s a drawing from Da Vinci. I looked it up and it was like a couple hundred bucks, but I got it for like $12 at a thrift store. But there’s something that my professors would say: your competition isn’t like, the people in this classroom. That’s your immediate competition, but your competition to push yourself is every artist that’s ever lived.

M: Wow. That’s a lot of pressure.

G: Yeah, I guess. But I can’t compare or anything like that, obviously. But I like to keep that drawing up as a reminder like, “that’s your competition.”

M: Do you do the same thing with music?

G: I compare recordings. I try not to get stuck on the style of the music… It doesn’t matter if it’s the same genre, but I try to hold myself to the same level as bands I respect. I don’t want to be like, “I would listen to this all day long, but I wouldn’t listen to my shit.”

350A8524

M: (runs out of questions) So… is there anything you want to talk about?

I love to paint too. Whenever I paint, it’s not about anything. It’s just about color. You know, working with color and blending. I rarely clean my brush. I just continuously mix colors without cleaning. It’s kind of like that with a song where you want everything to be congruent, but kind of reactive and responding to itself.

M: You guys recently put out an EP [Day Changer].

G: It’s going to be an LP. It’s not released yet. I just released a couple songs off [of it]. We’re going to be releasing one or two at a time every couple months, and then we’ll have an LP come out somewhere, probably Spring 2015.

M: How many songs we lookin’ at for the LP?

G: Well, after we filter out everything, probably 10 to 12.

M: Awesome. Well, I appreciate you sitting down.

G: Yeah, thanks for talking to me.