Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Talking Toxic! This time around we’re chatting with Electro/Solo/Homo artist Rainbow Down, Nottingham resident, beat pirate and purveyor of all things 8 bit.
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
electro for sad homos. gloom pop. macabre rave. spooks and clicks. it’s all throat, keys and machines and you should love it!
You’ve stuck to a very lo-fi method of production so far, making use of equipment as it becomes available and making records with a DIY approach. Has this been a conscious decision for you and if so how has this affected your work?
It’s not been intentional, i have worked with a producer in the past which was so very valuable for my progression as a solo artist finding their feet, as i learnt a lot about the mastering process and what goes on behind the scenes. but he was a mate doing it out of kindness and not always easy to get a hold of, so i started teaching myself more tricks and methods to produce my own stuff. it’s a lot easier not having to wait for someone else, especially when i’m experimenting with different ways to master my vocals to fit the music i write, but i would never be opposed to working with more experienced producers if the opportunity came along.
You have described yourself as an electro/homo/solo artist, how do you perceive your sexuality in terms of your artistic work?
I think my sexuality and my art go hand in hand. not to say it’s entirely relevant to my music but it’s something i would never hide. i don’t shove the fact i’m queer down anyone’s throat like it’s some incredible or profound message but i wouldn’t keep it secret either; for instance, i would never write a romantic love song to a woman, because that would be a lie. it’s important that a person can express themselves honestly in their art as well as owning the priviledge of creating fantasy and illusion. y’know, i have often questioned whether i’m isolating myself with that tagline especially as in all honesty, it started off as a joke, but i’m so attached to it now… plus, not only is it succinct, but it also rhymes. that’s a double win right there.
Do you think it’s harder for openly gay alternative acts to break out?
Well, if i have a think about who we can think about here first; Patrick Wolf, Kele, Jonsi of Sigur Ros all came out after they were established, but Perfume Genius was out from day one as was gay NYC rapper Cazwell. however, Perfume Genius and Cazwell are nowhere near as recognised, but their music doesn’t have the same mainstream appeal. some can use it as an advantage to acquire a fanbase and cover several spectrums though, whereas others seem to keep it to themselves before they get somewhere. it’s a really tough call to make as to whether it makes breaking out harder or not, but regardless of whether it’s harder or not i do think it’s ever so important that no one ever, ever makes the mistake of staying “in,” because then what happens when you come out? unless you get the chance to explain yourself, everyone’s going to think you were ashamed. so i don’t have a straight answer for that one, no pun intended. maybe ask me in 5 years when i’m still playing the Pride/Toilet Circuit!
You, like many other musicians, have been utilising social networking technology to keep in touch with your fans. The impact this discourse has had for musicians has been tremendous for contemporary performers such as Amanda Palmer, how do you feel it has benefitted yourself?
I think Amanda Palmer wrote the book on how to use twitter and iTunes to your personal advantage! but back to me, yes networking has helped. not as much as i might like, but i find it hard to adopt it as enough of a modern day religion perhaps. of late i’ve got some gigs just through fishing around on facebook though, so that’s something. soundclound and facebook have been my favourite mediums as far as publicity is concerned, but as a musician you kind of find yourself signing up to absolutely everything and trying to get as much coverage as possible but then you end up drowning a little and can’t tell if any of it’s really working. my advice? try to get as many as possible to link together. tumblr updates facebook updates twitter. and try your best to mourn the death of myspace, ’cause it’s just over, OK? it’s over.
Your album Primary was fantastic, I was glad to see you road-testing new material when I was last in Nottingham at the DirtyFilthySexy tent, how is work going on your next record?
Thank you! i forget about that collection of ditties, it feels like it was so long ago. the new material? it’s really, really good if i do say so myself. i’ve discovered a sound i’m really excited about and it’s been worth the wait and the constant writing to achieve it. i’ve also found a new recording space to use so expect new official releases very soon. it’s hard recording vocals in my house sometimes because the walls are so thin. hearing nextdoor running up and downstairs and the cars in the street is quite offputting, and i’m sure they lose their patience with me bellowing and wailing my way through takes too. but i have a lot of new and old material so i figured i’m going to maybe release a trilogy of EP’s over the course of the next few months that maybe tell a little story… while simultaneously getting as much of my material out in the ether as i can of course!
You’ve been performing a great deal recently, where can we see your gorgeous face next? Nothing lined up at the moment but absolutely anywhere you’d like to. i travel light. if you book me, i will come.
You can check out Rainbow Down at all these lovely places online: http://www.rainbowdown.co.uk/
Don’t forget, tomorrow is not one but TWO things!!!! Psycho:Drama is hosting its spooktacular Asylum party @ the Hatchet: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/426600570732837/
And… Beacons Icons and Dykons are hosting a night at the arnolfini and all attendees get into Psycho:Drama free: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/183826541742511/?fref=ts
Once again, a massive thank you to the lovely Rainbow Down!!! Make sure you check him out!
See you all tomorrow i’m sure
Buboes and Blasphemy