Gender Stories

Singing Our Gender: Interview with Rascal Miles

October 17, 2022 Alex Iantaffi Season 4 Episode 52
Gender Stories
Singing Our Gender: Interview with Rascal Miles
Show Notes Transcript

Trans/Non-Binary artist Rascal Miles is part of a new wave and generation of artists emerging into the music scene who are well familiar with challenge and adversity but who are excelling because of it and not being defined by it. Rascal has been working towards the release of music that is personal and elevated and sets them on the path of the next stage in their music journey. That day is almost here as Rascal prepares to release new song 'Tailor Made', which deals with the experience of top surgery.

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Rascal Miles

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Hosted by Alex Iantaffi
Music by Maxwell von Raven
Logo by Lior Allen

Musical Intro:

There's a whole lotta things I want to tell you about. Adventures dangerous and queer. Some you could guess and some I've only hinted at, so please lend me your ear.

Narrator:

Everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to Gender stories with your host, Dr. Alex Iantaffi.

Alex Iantaffi:

So hello, and welcome to another episode of gender stories. Dear listeners, it's been a while since we talked about voice and singing and music. And so I am so excited to introduce you to rascal miles is a singer songwriter has got a wonderful new video out that just came out baby baby has got a whole album tailor made that you can find on Spotify, I think and don't worry. In the episode description, you'll have the link to read all the wonderful places where you can find this music and where you can follow them. For now, welcome to Gender stories. It's so good to have you here rascal.

Rascal Miles:

Oh, wow, it's so good to be here. Thank you.

Alex Iantaffi:

So maybe let's talk about the video that just came out, you know, that literally just came out on Friday. And it's Monday today, so it's really fresh.

Unknown:

Wow. I feel like it's been three weeks since Friday. But yeah,

Alex Iantaffi:

I feel like that's all of 2021 days is three weeks. Is it free? Months? Who knows? Yes.

Unknown:

I have no idea. No idea how to keep track of time anymore.

Alex Iantaffi:

So yeah, tell me like about what's you know, let's talk to the listeners about what's the video at bow? What's the song about what inspired you to kind of release the single into the world?

Unknown:

Yeah, I actually wrote Baby Baby about a year ago when I started chatting with my now Partner of the Year. And yeah, the pandemic had been happening for a couple of months at that point. And I was living alone in a basement studio apartment. And, you know, just just making music non stop. And I have these like sound panels that I had built that I put in my windows. So if I didn't literally walk outside my door, I didn't see sunlight. And so it was just such a weird isolated experience. And yeah, then I started, you know, chatting with this person. And I just had this explosive energy that I didn't know what to do with like, my, my knees were bouncing all the time. I was like, just like a little kid again, you know, just so much energy and enthusiasm and eagerness and I just, I yeah, I just picked up the guitar one day and channeled all that energy into what is now the song Baby, baby. And yeah, I don't think I stopped playing that song until it was done being written, which was probably like, six hours later, but I just I just kept going. I was like, What is what's the most clever way that I can think of to say these really cliche, like, feelings, you know, that that you tend to hear in the same ways over and over again, and typical love songs. And so I don't know, I just wanted to find a way to make it fun again. And yeah, so that's, that's how that got written.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love the song. And I feel like a lot of the imagery in the song feels very queer to me, it feels like a queer and love song, you know? And yeah, and I wonder if that was part of your intention? Because like you said that it definitely has that new relationship energy feel, and how you say things that have been said a million times, right? But there is like also like a queer love energy to the sound. So was that very intentional? Did that just spontaneously sparkle out of you? How did that happen?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think the spontaneous sparkle was definitely there. I I don't know. I tend to write music, but that's pretty, pretty sad. Or, you know, comes from trying to transform pain into something else that's like maybe empowering or something. And so this was my little song of like, being free from all that. And just like, harnessing that joy from it was all from this this like queer romance? And yeah, I just, I don't know how I felt almost like a little pop star. You know, it was so fun. I was like, just bouncing around and I just like I couldn't help it. And then as soon as I as soon as I finished writing it, I went to my practice space where I had my drum set up, and that's when I was like, Alright, I gotta, I gotta have a beat that goes up this that feels just a really, really like, kick. Chi and so

Alex Iantaffi:

I love it. And it's very catchy. It is very pop song, which I was like, Yeah, this is just such a sweet queer puppy love song. And in a way, it is a little bit different from your previous album tailor made. So maybe let's talk about that album, because that album feels like it's part of a very personal journey in a lot of ways.

Unknown:

Yeah, totally. Yeah. So so these are both, they're gonna end up being on the same album, but so far, I'm just putting out like, one single at a time every few weeks, basically. So I'm just kind of teasing people like, alright,

Alex Iantaffi:

I see what you're doing. Yeah. So,

Unknown:

which I've never done this approach before with how to release singles. So it's, it's new to me. But yeah, that basically the tailor made, the album is going to be like, a timeline of my life, starting from, like, there's a prequel song, and that it starts with, like, my birth. And then it just goes throughout, like adolescence into my adulthood, and, you know, transforming all of the, the feelings and experiences associated with gender. And so with that content, most of it is pretty serious. And so I don't know, it's just, it was just fun to me to be like, well, having a happy love song like this is it's an act of rebellion. You know, it's like revolutionary to be able to just say, like, Alright, in this moment, I am myself, and I don't have to have it have anything to do with anything else, except being me. So,

Alex Iantaffi:

and I love that I love that there's that moment of joy and romance, right? I know that when I work with a lot of trans youth for trans adults, even people have all this doubts of like, will my kid be loved? Will I be loved if I, you know, don't conform to this rigid ideas of the gender binary, right? Yeah. Even more than queerness I think that anything that doesn't fit into kind of a more rigid gender binary, feels almost like a threat to our capacity or ability to be loved or to be lovable. And so it's so wonderful that there is this little pop the new relationship energy explosion of baby baby. And I don't know if you've ever encountered those feelings, either within yourself or other people around you, or? Yeah,

Unknown:

yeah, definitely. Yeah, I grew up in a small town, in a conservative state. And, yeah, I mean, I went to youth group I, I was very much so taught by society and the people I was around that being queer, trans, any anything was anything outside of the binary was just a ticket to hell, basically. It took a long time for me to be able to find that acceptance not only socially, but like within myself. Yeah, I think there's just a lot of a lot of stuff that that you are taught to bury from a very early age, that it takes a lot of unlearning to actually be able to apply inward. I find it's a lot easier to apply that acceptance to anyone else, but like to unlearn those things that are just so deep rooted. That so making the song was just like, Haha, yeah, I've done it. Exactly. Yeah, it's just so freeing, you know?

Alex Iantaffi:

It's like, not only, you know, there was love, There's love in the pandemic, where a lot of people were feeling really lonely, which is amazing. What was it? I mean, I want to get back to gender. But what was it like to have this romance blossom right in the middle of a pandemic?

Unknown:

I can't even tell you. It was like such a gift. I don't know. I was feeling pretty down before that, which I'm sure so many people can relate to. But yeah, I was. I was feeling down. I was also just really bored and really lonely. And yeah, I mean, we met on Tinder, I mostly was just looking for people to chat with, because, you know, wasn't really trying to go meet anybody. But I guess they say when you're not looking for it is when? When it happens, right. So yeah, I mean, my partner was in Texas at the time visiting family. And so we basically just would send each other audio messages like using the Voice Memos app, which is my favorite app, ever. But yeah, we got to know each other Slowly, through just hearing our voices, it was almost like leaving messages. But in this other way where, I don't know, it's like really cute, like, we would send each other two or three minute long messages. And then I realized later, we were both taking notes, while we were listening to the messages so that we can like not miss any little thing. And like, we just had this enthusiasm for each other right off the bat that just, it just, it just kept going. And I remember we had our first date was a zoom call. And I was so nervous, I called my sister beforehand, and I was freaking out. I was like, I don't know what to wear. Like, this is gonna be so awkward. I've never met anyone, you know, quote, unquote, meeting for the first time for a date over a zoom call, it was so strange. But I put on my shark onesie. Because I thought, you know, this will make me feel comfortable and be funny. And it worked great. So

Alex Iantaffi:

obviously, it worked. Yeah. I love that I love that the message in there and also in the song is very much like, just if you're relaxed, and you're yourself that there will be somebody that you can connect well, from that really authentic place in a way,

Unknown:

right? Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Alex Iantaffi:

What a beautiful queer love story. Going back to the old concept of tailor made, and that's kind of the story of your life in a lot of way, but also through the lens of gender, right? Does it feel like writing the songs is also well, unlearning all those internalized messages about who you should have been or should be, and really kind of finding who you are. Is that part of that process for you? Or?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. I don't know if I really knew that when I started it. But after listening to these songs over and over again, with getting the production just right, and as I'm typing out promotional emails to people, and, you know, I have to sum up these songs in a few short sentences that are going to catch people, I'm realizing like how much they've actually meant to me, and really just helped me. Like, zoom out of my own experience, enough to make sense of what I've been through. It's really been quite healing and empowering. And I think to do it, in this way, where each song is a different phase of my life, like a different age bracket, if you will. It's been great. I mean, it's been difficult, but going back to childhood memories, and trying to make sense of those and how I just, I mean, I have things from that time that still affect how I interact with people today. And so, you know, being able to see, to see just what I've been through and be able to find ways to love that little kid who had no idea that it was like, I don't know, I just I didn't, I didn't come out until so much later in life. And yeah, it's just, it's just been really powerful. For me, I feel like I've been able to, like I said earlier, just take all of all of these things I didn't understand at the time. And then, in making this album, I'm, I'm like, transforming all of that. And all the pain associated with it, all of the challenges and the struggles that like, I just couldn't make sense of, like, why things were so hard for me. And then transform them into like, Hey, hi, this is who I am. And I'm really proud of it.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that, in a way feels like almost you being able to take a time machine, right? Yeah, and be able to really revisit those moments in your life. And I wonder if there are messages in the songs that you've written that you wish, that little kid like you said that the little kid or the teenager had at different points in your life? And if so, what are some of those messages that you really kind of sewn into the songs that you wish you had when you were younger?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think um, just just validation is one of them. Just the, even the the younger songs, being able to say like, these are the things I was thinking at that time that I didn't tell anybody. Like, you know, like, just being able to just say them now, to be able to like say, like, I locked myself in the bathroom, and I got a pair of scissors and like cut my hair short. And this is why I wanted to do that. You know, like at the time I was six years old and I didn't really like have any on Understanding of gender or anything, and I just knew I wanted to be Peter Pan and that was it like

Alex Iantaffi:

a short hair and just so you can hear her.

Unknown:

Yeah, exactly. But yeah, messages for younger kids just, yeah, be yourself like, it's just the life and society and your, your peers or, you know, just going out into the world, oftentimes it that tries to put you into the boxes that it wants you to be in. And basically spend a whole bunch of time doing that, and fighting with like who you are on the inside versus how you're supposed to perform, right? It's all a performance and in that such a strain, and it makes it so you don't know how to trust yourself. You don't have confidence in in knowing what you want. And that really messes with your head. So like, I don't know, I just feel feel like me, at eight years old, I knew exactly who I was. And that's who I've come back to after like, you know, 25 years have gone by. So I just, there's hope out there. There are other places where you can you can find to be yourself, even if you're not there yet. So, yeah, finally, finally, that's giving you space and hang on to that in the meantime, that would be my advice.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that. I love that find that art that gives you the space and it sounds like music is the art for you. Giving you the space to explore. That's okay. That's just your job. That's all good.

Unknown:

Yeah, she's very. She's like the cutest dog ever. She was in the music video.

Alex Iantaffi:

That's right isn't the same dog? Yes. Yes. Look at that I got a coffee delivery. I know, I was gonna say there was a coffee delivery as well that

Unknown:

I was not expecting that.

Alex Iantaffi:

Coffee delivery. I love it. So in a way kind of music has been the place for you to find yourself and that space where you could be yourself. Right? When did you start making music or writing songs or having that space for your art? Like how old were you? And how did you find that space?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. I love this question. It's so fun for me to again like to look back and realize like what music why music is such a thing. For me. It's just always been the one thing that I've been drawn to. And yeah, I started singing when I was six. I was in first grade. Yeah, we I remember being in music class. And I was so shy, I got made fun of constantly on a, you know, because of the haircut. And I had these huge glasses. And so it was just, yeah, my mom was a teacher at my elementary school there was like, no winning for me, right? And, and so yeah, my music teacher just had all the kids one by one sing this line for this solo for for a play a school play. And I was dreading it. I wanted to run out of the room because I didn't want to have to do the, the audition or whatever. Well, it got to be my turn and like the entire room just kind of fell, fell silent. And everybody looked at me like what the heck, like, you can do that. And I had no idea what good singing really meant, you know. So it was a surprise to me too, that I got such a positive response. And so from a very early age that sort of became my, my one thing that I had respect for. And so singing lessons, music lessons piano happened. And then I would say when I was 10 I finally convinced my parents to let me get an electric guitar. It was like the best day ever. I was so happy. I took lessons for a year. And then I just started writing songs after that that was kind of it. I didn't really understand processing feelings or emotions very much for a really long time. Actually, I think I'm still kind of learning how to do that. But yeah, I think that music and being able to both write words that then went with, you know, playing guitar and singing it just it was a way for me to make sense of what I was feeling because I could I could make these sounds and then oftentimes that would happen before I really understood what it was even about. It was like the song would happen and then I would listen back to it and be like, Oh, that's what I'm feeling. So yeah, Yeah, that's just always been my outlet.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that it's such an embodied way of processing, right. It's like, externalize it through the music through the sound and then going, Oh, now that makes sense, right? That's part of your process very much. Yeah. Yeah. No, some trans and queer musicians have a lot of worries about kind of being pigeon holed, or being seen as the trans end or queer musician, right, and you are working on this album that is really about this journey. And gender is a big part of that journey. How do you feel about that? That issue that's often brought up with trans artists and queer artists?

Unknown:

Yeah, I definitely get it. I think that currently, with this album, I'm like, my goal is for it to be about that. I mean, it's just, it's the subject matter, I'm, I'm getting these messages out on purpose, you know, I'm doing this because I'm hoping that there will be kids in other places who can accidentally find it, or, you know, whatever. And then it can be a safe space for them to go with or like somebody who can validate their, their innermost feelings that they can't talk to anybody about yet. That's, that's why I'm doing it. Um, so I don't mind being pigeonholed for this particular album, though, I will say that, you know, so much of, of the art that I make isn't just about that. So I think for future projects, I am not going to be marketing it as I'm a trans musician, I'll be like, No, I made this new album. It's about this, you know, maybe it'll be about climate change, maybe it'll be about whatever. And that will be the thing that I I target. But it is a huge part of who I am. And I'm really proud of it. So, you know, to be to be pigeonholed or typecast, so to speak is if I'm the one in charge of that. That's one thing, you know, but if that's all people are giving me attention for, and it's not because of this album, then that's another thing.

Alex Iantaffi:

No, absolutely. That makes sense. Are there other themes that are recurring in your music? I mean, you've been writing music for a very long time, since you were like in middle school or something. So are there recurring themes that come up in your, in your music or things you like to explore for your songs?

Unknown:

Yeah, absolutely. I think I'm thinking about that a lot more these days, because I do have a lot of newer songs that I can't wait to record and put out, just, you know, I've been working on this album for over a year now. So I'm, I'm like, so ready to do new stuff. But I think a lot of it is about capitalism. And just these systems that exist that a lot of the time we don't even question or pay attention to. So that's, that's a big one. I usually weave that in. I don't even know I'm doing it sometimes. And then I'm like, Oh, yep, there it is. There's that thing that's always present. But yeah, climate stuff is definitely going to be a focus moving forward. And I think just just feeling emotions, just, you know, any kind of emotions, like, longing, or, you know, any of that, or like, also the element of home, figuring out what your home is, that's a big one. Yeah, feeling comfortable in your skin, it doesn't have to just be because of gender. You know, it's fine finding out how to love yourself. That's a it's a journey that I've been on for a long time. So I think it's coming out quite a bit.

Alex Iantaffi:

And I think, in a lot of ways for those things are connected, right? I mean, it's like, capitalism doesn't want us to love ourselves. If we love ourselves, we don't buy anything. So there's a vested interest in people not actually loving themselves under capitalism. And of course, you know, there's so much more to say about how it's linked to climate change. It's linked to like Trans and Queer experiences, but also Brady to, right, so, so much. Yeah. So how would you track that thread of like, capitalism, like, when was the first song that you wrote? And then you were like, that is actually that is about this big topic of capitalism. But because often we write, you know, we write poems or songs or books, and then we're like, oh, this is what I was exploring all along. That process that you described.

Unknown:

I can't really think of the first one

Alex Iantaffi:

or one of the first that comes to mind. Yeah,

Unknown:

I gotta think about that. I'm sorry. No, it's okay. It's, I don't know, I can tell you about a recent one where it happened. And it surprised me. Okay. There's a so so last October, I wrote a little EP, in like two weeks time, and I recorded it, and I put it out. And it's called songs for the graveyard. And it's yeah, it's just got like, six Halloween songs on there, which you could listen to. And if you didn't look at the titles, you wouldn't necessarily know they were Halloween songs. But, uh, yeah, it was kind of funny. It was like a skeleton one. And then there was another song that I haven't released yet, that I have been working on since then. And at first, it was about how I have a hard time relating to people. Like if I'm at a party, or, you know, some are even just going to a show or something like I, I get significant social anxiety that I used to just manage with alcohol. But since I'm now not drinking anymore, which has been great, but it does mean that anxiety is almost like a brand new thing I have to learn to handle. And so that's how I started writing this song about and then by the end of it, I just, I was like, Oh, my God, it's so much bigger than that. It ended up being all about capitalism. And yeah, I mean, how you're just not. I don't know, being an artist too, like, it's really hard to, to convince yourself that you have value when you're in a system that does not value art. So that comes out a lot, too. I don't know if I answered your question. But

Alex Iantaffi:

I think you did. And I think that's everything right? Trying to survive under capitalism, when you're just creating content, it's pretty much impossible. In my experience, sometimes we're like, oh, you've got books out. And I was like, yesterday, you, you get paid very little from the publisher on your book out, and you can sell 1000s of copies and get like, you know, maybe a couple of $1,000 If you're lucky, you know, yeah, it's more like hundreds and royalties often, right? And I think folks don't know just how little kind of artists of any kind kind of can rely on their art for survival. And what's it like for you to kind of manage surviving under capitalism, and being the prolific singer songwriter that I think you are, you have quite a bit of music out there.

Unknown:

Yeah. I mean, before the pandemic, I had a day job, since I was, you know, probably 15 With a couple, couple moments of a break, like when I was in college, but besides that, I've pretty much had a day job the whole time. And then the pandemic happened. And I, the timing worked out, for me in terms of unemployment and creativity. So I basically just just have been working nonstop at my music so that I can hopefully, you know, build enough to hit the ground running. Because, you know, now things are opening again, so I'm like, Alright, cool. Hopefully, I can book enough of the right types of shows, and also make enough merch and sell the merch. And it's all that but then it's also like, I don't know, getting used to being performative, again, is, is exhausting. And it's also like, the marketing aspect of things just reminds me of consumer culture. And so it's like, it's, it's really challenging. You know, you talked about content earlier. And a big part of how people find music these days is through the internet, and through social media platforms, which I've done a lot of research on, and I've pushed myself to, to get better at. But I don't enjoy it. Not even one little bit, do I enjoy it? And it's just, it's really difficult. It's difficult to keep up all those other aspects of things. And then by the time I get those things accomplished, I, I have a hard time tapping into my creative energy again, and so it's, there's a lot of times when I think, wow, like, Would it be easier to have a day job, but I don't know. It often feels like it's hard to win, you know, but I just I just love music so much. It's all I want to do all the time. I'd rather eat PB and J sandwiches like for a month than have to do anything else. So So, you know, I'm gonna do what I gotta do.

Alex Iantaffi:

That makes sense. And that's the thing, right? Doing all that social media hustle. It's like, so different than creating your art rather than making music and like, it's, it's, it is a job and it is exhausting. And then you need to do so much upkeep. It's not it's not easy at all. And it's not as simple as like, and just put your content out there and people find it. I think people have this notion that it's that easy. I'm like, No, it takes a lot to maintain all your platforms. Yeah, it's

Unknown:

so much work. It really is. I mean, I'm doing the work myself right now that, you know, successful musicians have full teams to do. And I'm doing all of it. myself. I have a mixing engineer and a mastering engineer, and that's it. So it's like, it's so much work. People have no idea. I mean, there's God, I, I work every day, like 1012 hour days, easy. You know, and I love it, I love what I'm doing, except for the social media stuff. But even then it is it is nice to like, interact with other people, it feels like there's a connection aspect where that is enjoyable. So yeah, but

Alex Iantaffi:

manage, it is a lot to manage, and especially with that anxiety piece that you talked about earlier, because you never know what you're gonna find on the social media platform in terms of feedback. Sometimes it's lovely, and nourishing. And there's also just a rising tide, it feels like of hate, especially towards trans folks and trans content creators. And I wonder if you've come across some of that. And if that's partially what makes it so hard that you never know, like, what people are gonna say that it's got nothing to do with your music and more to do with the content, in terms of the wire and talking about things that some folks have a lot of negative feelings about. I don't know if that's happened for you at all, or not so much.

Unknown:

Yeah, I don't, I, I try to have a protective layer. This is something my therapist has been helping me with, but like, you know, I have this little boundary for myself. And it's not easy to keep up all the time. But just with good feedback. And with negative feedback. I can't let that affect what I find, you know, has worth and what I'm doing, like, what I'm creating is good enough, because it's good enough for me. Right? And that's it. And if if there's, if there's some trolls out there who are saying really awful things, you know, screw them, like, I find often people who are really hateful, it's, it's usually because of fear or a lack of education. You know, I can zoom out. I don't need to take those things. Personally, it's not about me. Like it, you know, obviously, people should probably do something more useful with their time or like, read a book or something. But, you know, usually, that comes from just just not really understanding it. Bummer for them, right?

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely. I love that, that sounds so healthy, that kind of zooming out and going. This is not about me, it's about I completely agree. And but also having whatever you talk about which I love that boundary of like, what you're producing is good enough, it's because it's what you're producing. It's I often tell myself, it's not my job, you know, as a writer to judge my own writing, other people can do it. That's what an editor is for. And that's what readers are for. They're either gonna buy or not buy the book, but my job is not to judge my own. I mean, obviously, a certain level of judgment, but not decide if it's good or bad. I was like, That's my job. Job of the people who read whatever I'm writing and,

Unknown:

and like, once you learn to, like release something, it's not yours anymore, right? It becomes something brand new, because it's what you've given, but then it's also combined with someone else's experiences and thoughts and imaginations, right? Like, no one is going to take the same book the same way, right? Or the same song, like the same way as someone else. So it's, it's, I don't know, I love that and something that that my friend has made Patterson said to me one time is she was like, she was like, think about this. When you listen to music that you love, how often do you get to tell that person that you love it? Like never right? So there's probably a lot more people who like your stuff and are even able to tell you so I you know, I've got this like a met and imaginary group of people who are just really loving it all the time, you know,

Alex Iantaffi:

that imaginary group of people is real somewhere on the internet, right? And there are people who are listening to your things and would probably be too anxious even to let you know, on social media to say anything or to and so that group is real, actually, of people who are out there and are loving yourself talking about your listeners, kind of listeners of your music, what is it that you want them to take away from your music the most? Right? What would it be? Like? If somebody was talking about your music and what it meant to them? What would you wish for?

Unknown:

Um, I think that I think I just would would wish that, you know, maybe they would say something about it, making them feel something or be able to relate or, you know, find something that just just made random have this, like, honest kind of connection that they didn't really see coming or something? I? I don't know, I guess it sort of depends on the song. But yeah, I put a lot of emphasis on my lyrics, I think it's been fun to, since I've just started like recording myself. When the pandemic started, it's been fun to do all the instrumentation and all of that, and figure out alright, what what do I sound like, as an artist now? Like, what is my sort of signature stuff that I'm going to try to do? Every time and whatever. So it'd be great if people commented on the music and the arrangement and those types of things that really, really, it's in the poeticism, in the no words on how there's, they're just, they're coming from this raw, vulnerable, honest space. That is really just, I'm just trying to be authentic and like, give other people like the courage to take that space for themselves. So yeah, representation in media, right, like, we need more of it. So

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that I love that kind of authenticity, the vulnerability that, that that's what you know, and I think that's so present in your lyrics even sounds from the graveyard, right? It's like, you'd think that because you're kind of, in the way speaking from different perspectives of different characters, but it still feels so vulnerable. So personal, right. And there's the quality, the in the skill in that, that kind of amazing,

Unknown:

thank you so much. I had the best time writing that album. It was so fun, like, stepping into the other characters kind of it gave it a little bit of separation from just my direct personal life, right? So I got to take the things I was feeling and just be somebody else, which kind of like it, having that distance between me and this, you know, made up character that I was stepping into, and almost made it fun. In a way because I was like, there was an element of pretending but it was like, Oh, cool. I'm not. Yeah, I have no, I love it.

Alex Iantaffi:

I did wonder where the idea came from. It's such a neat idea. And like, how did you even come up with it?

Unknown:

Yeah, I Well, Halloween was it was like, just barely October. And I had planned to do this songwriting challenge with with as my that I mentioned earlier, and she has been, we've been doing like a weekly mentor music mentorship thing for about a year now. And so we every now and then we'll do these songwriting challenges where you write a song every 30 minutes for like, 12 hours. It's, it's a wild ride,

Alex Iantaffi:

but that's amazing. Yeah, we did

Unknown:

that. And I was like, What the heck am I gonna write about? Like, how am I going to do this? I'm gonna come up with like, a new topic every 30 minutes, right? And that's kind of the skill that you're practicing building. But I was like, Oh, what if I, what if I have some kind of a theme to it? And so I just was like, oh my god, Halloween characters. Let's do it. Let's get weird and like silly and I don't know make something different than everything I've done before. And just, I was listening to the cure and like Joy Division a lot. My partner made me this really good, like, post punk New Wave playlist that I was just listening to non stop at the time. So I was like, Oh, I'm gonna get get into my like, silly since sounding stuff and yeah, that was it. I just, I was like, alright, what character haven't I thought of let's just go with it. And then the next day, I was like, I think I came up with some really cool ideas. I'm gonna like finish some of you For me, that was it.

Alex Iantaffi:

That is so awesome. And I think it also speaks to the skill of just owning your art because you're an artist, right? That's one of my friends, Donald angstrom reads talks about being an artist is creating art because you have to, you know, it doesn't matter if nobody sees it or listens to it, or reads it, you just have to just practice your art, right? And I love that. That's the example right there. You were practicing your art and following this challenge. And boom, there's this concept. And here's the all kind of EP that comes out of it.

Unknown:

Yeah, that was kind of like the idea behind it. Because I think there's this myth with artists and musicians and all of them, it's that you, you have to wait until the inspiration strikes. No, no, you don't you. Really, what that is, is just like, your, like self critical stuff, getting in your own way, at least in my case. And for a long time, too, I thought, Oh, well, if I'm not like, you know, if I haven't had enough drinks, I probably won't be able to tap into that. And that is also a huge myth. And so this particular songwriting exercises like, you know, you just have to find anything, any Spark, you just look for it, you're like, Okay, what am i What did I just look at? All right? Well, let's go off of that, whatever. And you just have to, you just go so quickly that you editing brain can't interfere? Because there's no time for it.

Alex Iantaffi:

Exactly. Yeah. You can always criticize it and hone in later. But yeah, it's just the kind of actually the art of creating and practicing that I love it. And I love that that idea of also like, you don't have to be under the influence necessarily, which is very much in the mythology, right? Yeah.

Unknown:

Yeah. It's like stoking a fire, right? You just kind of keep it burning. You just keep, keep trying, you know, you're not supposed to like everything you make. That doesn't happen, right. But if you write 10 songs, you might like one of them. might spark an idea for another one, right? It's just letting it take you somewhere. You don't have to be in control all the time. That's like, such a good message for me. Yeah,

Alex Iantaffi:

absolutely. I feel like I could have this conversation for a long time. But I want to backfill over time. And so one of the questions I was asked towards the end of an episode is, is there anything that I haven't asked you about? Or that we haven't talked about, that you were hoping to kind of cover? Or talk about? or kind of a message that you want to leave the listeners with?

Unknown:

Yeah, um, I don't know. This is such a fun conversation. I'm like, loving it. But uh, yeah, following me on Spotify is always very helpful. Because that's, that's how the music industry works. These days. It's all about streams. And that's, it's changed a lot in the past couple of years. So that's, that's helpful. And then I have an album preorder available now. Turns out vinyl takes a really long time to make, especially right now. So this will really help me know how many people want one when I get it. So yeah, and then I'll help me finish, finish this record and get on to the new stuff that I can't wait to talk about. So

Alex Iantaffi:

I know I love our kind of vinyls and tapes. Back around, I'm old enough. I'm like, I'm 50. And I'm like, my teenager is really into mind all at the moment. And she's got like a little cassette recorder, and I'm like, What is even I

Unknown:

know, I'm gonna make tapes, too. I can't wait to make the tapes.

Alex Iantaffi:

Yeah. And people are really into tapes. And I was like, This is amazing. It's, yeah, we're talking about getting a turntable again, because she really wants to get vitals and like, I got rid of so much fun.

Unknown:

Oh, my God. I know it's such a thing. It's so especially in Portland right now. It's like, there's a really big final culture here. But yeah, make sure you get good speakers for it, though. Oh, yes, absolutely. Otherwise, it's kind of pointless. I think a lot of people miss out on that. They just get like whatever Amazon turntable they can find. It's like well, well the point though. Do like 10 minutes of research on most please. Not, not you but

Alex Iantaffi:

no, I was like, some of the sounds of the 70s or the 80s. And some of those were not great. I was like there's a reason why we didn't just keep listening to vinyl. terms of sound quality? Absolutely. But yeah, pre orders are a big deal. So yes, I definitely encourage listeners to like, check it out on Spotify and YouTube. And then pre order because pre ordering kind of albums is so important. And just like you said, it gives you an idea of what the demand is out there. And right now everything takes longer to make, including vinyl sounds like yeah,

Unknown:

for sure. Yeah.

Alex Iantaffi:

This has been so fun. I'm so grateful. I would love to talk to you about future new and future projects. So please keep gender stories in mind for your future kind of albums. But for now, I'm just so excited about this album. And dear listeners, please go and get Roscoe miles album is going to be so good. preorder it go listen. All the links are in the episode description. But yeah, for now. Thank you so much for joining gender stories today. So I appreciated you.

Unknown:

Thank you so much. You're my new best friend.

Alex Iantaffi:

Excellent. I love that. I feel like this is part of why I do a podcast I get to meet all the cool trans people.

Unknown:

Oh my gosh, I'm like jealous of your job. Now.

Alex Iantaffi:

I know. You shouldn't do a podcast I tell you. It's not that difficult. Like alright.

Unknown:

I do have a few ideas. I'm excited. See,

Alex Iantaffi:

see. You gotten a little bonus there listeners. But you know that it's actually true. I've made so many amazing friends doing this podcast. Hello, I would recommend it.

Unknown:

Awesome. Cool. Hang out with me. Have you ever in Portland?

Alex Iantaffi:

That sounds wonderful. Definitely. I'll stop recording and the endless course thank you again for listening to another episode of gender stories. I appreciate you. And also thank you for your patience throughout the pandemic with the irregularity of episodes released. I'm so grateful that you're all kind of sticking with the podcast and listening to it and recommending it to friends and, and the audience keeps growing. So thank you so much for listening, subscribing, and of course, doing all the things you do to support the podcast including my Patreon supporters. Thank you so much. You're gonna miss that first base. And I really appreciate you