NOLA Musician & Inventor Quintron: “The joy is in the creation.”

Original photo: Jonathan Traviesa. Handmade mixed-media by B.

Here at Gimmie we’re big fans of Quintron and Miss Pussycat! The New Orleans-based creatives have recently released new album Goblin Alert, a rollicking good time of organ-driven electronic rock n roll done as only they can do. For this record they ditched the drum machine in favor of including musicians Sam Yoger (Babes, AJ Davilla) on drum kit and Danny Clifton (Room 13, Jane Jane Pollock) on hollow body guitar. Gimmie interviewed both Quintron and Miss Pussycat; today we share our chat with Quintron, with Miss P’s chat coming next week.

QUINTRON: I released a new product of this invention I’ve been working on all through the Covid times called ‘The Bath Buddy’ it’s a water conservation device. I just put an infomercial out for that.

What inspired you to create The Bath Buddy?

Q: Check out the informercial. There’s a website for it bathbuddy.space. I don’t know what that ‘space’ is all about but it’s the cheapest website I could buy.

In our house we have three or four people and no showers, only bath tubs ‘cause it’s New Orleans and everybody has those big clawfoot tubs. They take a while to fill up, you turn the water on and you go check your email or do something and you forget about it then the water goes into the overflow drain and you start wasting tons of water; we’ve left them on for way to long sometimes and flooded the house downstairs a couple of times. I was like, why isn’t there this thing that alerts you to when your water is at just the right level that you want it? I invented this thing for us and our roommates, I made us put them on all of the tubs and it totally worked. Our water bill started going down, a lot! I thought it would probably be something that other people would be interested in so I built some, letting people check ‘em out. Farmers and people who have livestock, horses especially, where you’re filling up these giant metal tubs of water, hundreds of gallons. You put the hose in it and leave it for a while. I was talking to people that would forget overnight and they’d really waste thousands of gallons of water; those people are into what I made too.

What is it that interests you about making things?

Q: That one was to solve a problem. As long as mankind has ever and shall ever exist there will always be gaps between problems and solutions, there’ll be voids there and that’s usually what interests me in making something. Usually, it’s that there’s a thing I want to do or problem I want to solve and there’s nothing that I know of that’s available to solve it or do that thing.

In the case of the Drum Buddy, it was a musical thing where I mostly play by myself one-man band style and I wanted to do something with my right hand that made a certain type of sounds like cylinders, like scratching a record but playing an analogue synth at the same time, where I could still play with my left hand with the organ, that’s how that project got started.

You’ve been making things your whole life; what’s something valuable that you’ve come to know about creativity that you could share with us?

Q: It’s something that everybody kind of knows but it’s that nothing is ever done, at no point will civilization be able to kick up their feet and say, ‘Alright, we got it licked’ and read magazines and play video games for the rest of eternity. There’s always going to be whatever you’ve built to solve whatever problems is going to become obsolete in that it’s not sustainable anymore; it is suddenly in the world wasteful or too expensive to operate or too big or heavy or whatever. The main thing that occurs to me over and over is that everything is a prototype, everything is just getting ready for the next, for Mach 20.

The first track on your new album Goblin Alert is called ‘Teenagers Don’t Know Shit’; what were you like as a teenager?

Q: I didn’t know shit! [laughs]. I was a pretty lonely, insecure, confused teenager, that probably describes most teenagers but some hide it better than others. I was super-duper insular, brooding, moody and private; not confident, not good in school, not a good relationship with my parents, pretty unhappy honestly. The song is by no means a diss on teenagers either or some political statement at all, it’s something else though, I hope it doesn’t come off like that.

No, I don’t think it does. How did you first discover music?

Q: Everybody discovers music by living in a musical world, it’s all around us, especially growing up in the South. I think people are surrounded by music, no matter what culture or no matter where you are.

Who were the first bands or artists that really spoke to you?

Q: There’s like your childhood musical curiosities. Children’s music is really special in its own thing. Then music turns into this thing where it represents the type of person that you’d like to become or the dream that you would like to dream or the fantasy that you want to perpetually have or the escape pod that you want to get into. A lot of the music I liked when I was really little were these dramatic… I was really into story songs like ‘Dark Lady’ by Cher and ‘Half Breed’; songs that were little mini-movies. Then the energy and the excitement of punk rock, like every other person that got into that [laughs].

You started making your own music when you were a teenager?

Q: Yeah. I started building instruments. I started out as a drummer. I built trashcan woodblock kits in the garage. I was always fooling around with tools, my dad’s an engineer so I always had toolkits and wood to build stuff and I had a garage because I was a suburban nobody kid. I was building big junky homemade trashcan drumkits in the garage.

What drew you to making your own music?

Q: I sort of did right away as a pretty young teenager started having bands and playing covers of songs that we could learn and stuff. It was something to do that I was kind of good at.

Do you think making music and inventions helped you with your confidence?

Q: Yeah, for sure, fooor sure. If you’re a creative kid or an artsy kind you might try a bunch of different things and I did. I tried Art class because I liked the art teachers and I liked the other kids who were into art.  I liked Drama because I liked the drama teacher and the other kids that were into drama. I thought I liked them but then they were just so outgoing and something else that wasn’t my thing and then I found the brooding, angry behind-the-dumpster music kids and was like, okay! I’m good at this thing and I like those kids better [laughs].

Why did you feel it was time to make a new Quintron and Miss Pussycat album?

Q: Well, to be perfectly honest, we had the songs, a good batch that were mostly, except for a couple, that were road-tested. We hadn’t made an album for a while where… a lot of bands get stuck in a rut where the first album is really great because it’s road-tested and the lyrics, it’s your life on the page, then you make another one and you start recording it and maybe it’s half-baked. We didn’t make one for a really long time because we wanted the next one to be baked fully. We spent a real long time baking it and it was time to put it out and we had a great opportunity to go into this new recording studio in Gainesville, Florida; one street from Tom Petty’s boyhood home! We were the guinea pig band for this very fancy new tape studio called Pulp Arts. They let us have almost free recording and the engineers got to learn their way around a tape machine, the new equipment and the room. It was a great situation.

How do you capture your energy on record?

Q: I think most of the time we’ve failed to be honest [laughs]. This album gets pretty close. We had a live drummer and live bass player; we’ve never had that before, that makes a living breathing human musical experience a lot easier to capture. Being a first-time thing for us, it was really exciting. We’ve never toured with a live drummer, so it was all new and the excitement of the new keeps everything popping for everybody. For the most part though, I would say that we’ve always been better live than anything we’ve put out on record, with the exception of the more abstract experimental records that are made to be on record, those stand on their own. As far as capturing the Q & P live experience, I’d say it’s more misses than hits.

I know that you like to invent your own sounds and that your music often comes from hundreds of hours of experimenting; what experimenting did you try with this batch of songs?

Q: I had a new Mellotron at my disposal, so there was lots of messing around with that. I just made a solo Mellotron record and I’ve really been getting into that instrument, I’ve been exploring what it can do, playing it through other things and using it with a Talkbox. It’s usually finding new pathways through new sounds and new instruments and the fun of going into a big fancy recording studio and they’ll have amps and weird stuff laying around, your ideas come from the things around you, also the people you’re with.

Do you and Miss Pussycat work on the lyrics together?

Q: Sometimes yes and sometimes no. There’s definitely songs where it’s all me written, I have all the lyrics and I’ll present them to Miss P and she’ll be like “I don’t like that word, why don’t you change it to this” and it will explode my head in a whole new direction! I’ll change a word here and there; she’s like a final look editor sometimes.

Then there’s songs that she writes completely. I’ve pretty much been the one that writes all the music but sometimes she comes with a set of lyrics and it always has to do with puppetry or some crazy story that she has. With ‘Goblin Alert’ we sat down at the kitchen table while we were in the studio and wrote the lyrics together.  

Were any songs a challenge to write?

Q: ‘Goblin Alert’ was the biggest challenge because it was so last minute. I’m not the fastest draw in the west when it comes to organ, I’m more of a slow, nod-your-head- jamming kind of guy; that song was really fast! Getting the riffs down the way I wanted to, I had to do a lot of takes, it was really hard. We were stuck on the lyrics almost to the last day of recording and we had some brainstorm epiphany between the producer Greg Cartwright and me and Miss P sitting down to write the lyrics. That was a tough one.

There’s a song on the album called ‘Where’s Karen?’ that was written about a girl the went missing at Mardi Gras.

Q: It was actually a friend of ours. It was a friend who… it was Mardi Gras day and he was off in his own world, if you know what I mean being Mardi Gras and everything, and he kept talking about this girl named Karen that he was worried abut and where she was. We didn’t know what or who he was talking about and we had to go out. It’s how the song describes it; it was freezing rain. We went out into the day and we locked him in this apartment so he wouldn’t hurt himself but I left the tape recorder in there recording to see if he was going to spill the beans on who this Karen was. That inspired the fantasy of the song, it’s not a direct from life narrative telling.

So, you kind of made a field recording of him?

Q: Yeah, and the whole day walking around Mardi Gras I was thinking this is going to be a song. When we get back, he’s going to tell us what he is talking about and we’ll find out who this is. It’s such a great line for a song, this was way before the stupid meme, it was way before that was a thing that this was going to be the name of the song.

One of my favourites on the album is ‘Block The Comet’.

Q: That’s a collaboration on lyrics between me and Miss P.

What’s something that you’ve learnt from Miss P? Last time I spoke with her she told me that one of the best things you’ve taught her was to make a marshmallow casserole.

Q: A marshmallow peanut casserole!

What I’ve learnt from her is how to be happy, honestly, that’s the god’s honest truth. How to ignore other people’s negativity and to be happy, to walk through life in a dream of your own making, how to make that purposeful and helpful. That’s kind of oblique but that’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt from her. Miss P is just one of those people that… it’s scary sometimes when the world kind of cracks through the shell, sometimes it does for everyone and it’s like, hey, the devil is out here and sometimes the sky is falling and sometimes people die. When you’re so intent on just being happy and spreading joy, sometimes those are the people that get hurt the most when that bubble gets cracked a little bit, which can worry me but I have seen it’s a better way to be than to be constantly aware of that and ultimately playing to it, it’s more cynical.  

What drives you to create so much? You have the Weather Warlock invention, you put out a book, lots of different kinds of records. You always seem to be making things.

Q: I don’t know. Anything I could say would sound corny. It’s just to keep from going crazy, I suppose. I get ideas and I become obsessed with them becoming reality.

Is it satisfying once you make it reality?

Q: It is! I’m not one of those people that are depressed when a record come out. I like results. I like finishing things. I like putting the stamp on it and putting it in the mail, saying that is done, that is ready for primetime! Then moving on to the next thing. Really the joy is in the creation. I’m proud of having records out and it’s nice when people say they like them, but the real joy in life and the most time that you spend as a living organism is in doing the actual things, that’s just fun, right?

Totally!

Q: It’s not saying thank you very much and taking a bow—it’s doing stuff.

Yeah, it’s the process, those moments and it’s the connections you make with yourself or with someone else you’re working with, it’s an experience you’ve had together.

Q: Yeah, that’s the essence of friendship and relationships. In order for me to become intimate with somebody or become friends even with somebody, we have to work together or we are just not on the same page, it’s not going to happen. Everybody that I really end up spending a lot of time with or becoming friends with or having relationships with, it’s only through work. That’s when your facade is gone, that’s when your ego is gone, that’s when you’re chipping away at something that is not you. It’s the only way to produce a really truthful communication between people.

Do you learn things about yourself when making songs?

Q: I can’t say I’ve ever stopped and said, hey, Quintron, that’s not your real name is it? No. Did you learn something about yourself today? [laughs].

I read an interview with you in Popular Science magazine and it said your name was David.

Q: Ah-ha. I’m named after my father. I’m a III. Even my dad calls me Quintron. It’s been a nickname for so long. It just sort of happened because the first album is under that name, it’s something that people just started doing and journalist started doing because they thought that’s what I wanted to be called or that it was my real name or something. It’s been so long and I think it amuses my family enough that they have adopted that.

That’s nice.

Q: Yeah, when your parents participate in your rejection of reality! [laughs].

Please check out: QUINTRON & MISS PUSSYCAT. Goblin Alert out now on Goner Records; get it HERE and HERE.

Alli Logout of NOLA punk band Special Interest on their forthcoming LP The Passion Of…: “Moving forward with love is what the album is all about”

Original photo by Alex Kress. Handmade collage by B.

Punk rock is something that is always evolving, it’s exciting and foundation shaking, and its next evolution is here now, in the form of band Special Interest. Combining elements of no-wave, glam and industrial their forthcoming sophomore record The Passion Of… is electrifying! Vocalist Alli Logout is on fire, delivering an impassioned and at times vulnerable performance; when Alli sings and screams, vocally struts and huh huhs—you believe it! The sentiments and attitude hit straight to the heart. You can’t help but want to shimmy and shake to the angular yet danceable tracks, the band is sounding as focused and tight as ever. We spoke to Alli to find out more.

How are you feeling today?

ALLI: [Laughs] I’m feeling all sorts of things today. I’m currently in the woods. We were in the UK whenever the border closures were happening so we had to get out of there. We flew into New York and New York was closing, somebody was in my room in New Orleans so I decided to go to a land project in Tennessee and I’ve been stuck here with my tour bag; it’s the best place that I could be. I’m doing fine. I had to go to Walmart today and buy an extra pair of panties and socks [laughs].

Nice!

ALLI: My tour bag just has clothes in it, leather and latex and plastic. I’m literally in the woods now [laughs] and can’t go home, it’s funny.

How did you first come to performance?

ALLI: I had a little friend in high school, his name is Patrick, I loved him; he got me into punk. He was trying to start bands, he wanted to front bands and was really bad. One day I would watch them practice, whenever he went to the bathroom I would play. I did the thing and they were like, “Whoa!” I was like, ‘Yeah, I want to do this! I need to beat Patrick at something’ [laughs].

I saw a kid with a Bad Brains t-shirt at a Waffle House and said ‘I want to be in a band!’ He was like “I have boys that want to be in a band”. I was like, cool, then I bragged to Patrick that I had a band now and he was like, “Fine. I have a show for you in a week”. I started my first band and we played that show in Austin, Texas; it was really funny.

How did you discover your voice? When did you start singing?

ALLI: I grew up really religious. I grew up in a religion that only believes in using your voice to glorify the Lord. The ceremonies were very vocally influenced, church hymns. I liked signing in church, so I guess that’s where I started singing. I like a lot of gospel hymns. I like the way they’re composed and the vocal structures of them. That’s where I first started singing.

What helped you develop your confidence?

ALLI: I’m just kind of a bitch. Especially when I was younger, I just thought everybody was stupid all the time because I was around really stupid white punks all the time. They were stupid and I was like, I’m just better at everything! [laughs]. I know it’s awful but, I was just around really awful white teen punk boys for a very long time. I spent a good majority of my life really wanting to fit in and finally I just came to a point that, there’s nothing I can do ‘cause y’all are trash. That’s pretty much how all of my musical projects started [laughs].

What was it like for you growing up as a POC in Texas? I ask because for me growing up here in Australia, I also felt that no matter what I was involved in, or even just school, I was pretty much the only brown person, which was really hard; racism, not seeing yourself represented anywhere, being treated differently to the white kids, stuff like that.

ALLI: Yeah. Also being Aboriginal in Australia, that has such a wild history! Growing up in Texas was really hard, very, very racist, very blatant racism everywhere, constantly rebel flags everywhere, getting moved to places in a restaurant where people can’t see you. I had a white mother, she’s half-Indigenous, we found that out all recently ‘cause she was adopted. It was really, really rough. Things were still pretty segregated, all the places I grew up, because they were just small Texas towns. It was really rough, very deeply segregated. I went to a mixture of predominately black schools and predominately white schools. I’ve always been pretty bad at reading and spelling. I was thinking about the very first time that someone called me ignorant and it was a white teacher that called me ignorant, I was the only black kid in that class. I don’t remember what it was for but, I just remember crying and being like; what does that mean? School was always hard for me, especially because of racial segregation stuff. It’s funny because reading was so hard for me they put me in an English as a second language class, there was a lot of kids from Mexico.

Wow!

ALLI: Yeah. It’s so cuckoo, my whole education experience was miserable and teachers consistently called me stupid. It just made me so insecure with myself constantly, that’s still something that I very much carry, it’s still playing out today; it’s been on my mind a lot lately. White authority figures are always really, really miserable to me, and every black kid and every Hispanic kid in our school. It was really, really awful. I’ll leave it at—awful! [laughs].

In my experience I was always not black enough to hang out with the black kids and not white enough to hang out with the white kids – my mother is white and part Chinese, she was adopted too – so I’m kind of caught in the middle of everything.

ALLI: Yeah, that’s an evil mixed-kid nuances that we float in and it’s a really weird place to be ‘cause – I think that is an experience of anyone that’s mixed race – you don’t really fit in anywhere. That definitely was a big part of my life, of definitely feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere, specifically the white side, it was so violent and miserable what they did to kids. It was really awful.

Through doing creative things and through creativity, do you kind of in a way then get to make yourself, to be whoever you are or want to be? You create your own world.

ALLI: I guess so. I feel like the way that my creativity works is, I’ve been very influenced a lot of my life because of my awful life experiences and experiences in school. I’ve been very influenced by spite, wanting to prove people wrong, that has worked out in really good ways but also in really bad ways. Like, the only reason that I went to school was to prove people wrong, everybody I know came from shit and I always knew that I was going to be shit! That’s the same way that I got into punk, wanting to prove my friend wrong, that I could be better at it than him [laughs]. I create because I literally have to, because the world that I live in is not a world that I want to live in. I tried to create so that we can all figure out how to be together. And… to just have fun!

Special Interest have a new album coming out?

ALLI: Mhhmm. We just literally had a meeting on Houseparty and figured out the date we’re going to release it, so that’s exciting!

Yaaaayyyyyy!!

ALLI: Yeah! I’m really, really excited about it. I think it’s my personal best work in music thus far in my life. We put a lot of time and effort into this album. It’s been almost two years since our last album [Spiraling] came out. We all just have really ridiculous lives and everybody works a bunch, but whenever we come together to create, it’s unlike any musical collaboration that I have ever had in my life—that’s why I love the band so much. It’s so much fun and it’s so easy, that’s what’s great about us, it’s so easy for us to be together and make stuff, it comes out really well.

The first album was kind of predominately improv in the studio with a lot of my lyrics. ‘Young, Gifted…’ was improv’d, I wrote some other things that day of. I only did this once with the new album but, I spent a lot of time writing the lyrics and thinking about them and describing what was going on around me and how I’m feeling. It was very cathartic. I’m very happy that it’s going to come out soon too.

I can’t wait! I’m so excited. What kind of moods and emotions were you writing from?

ALLI: Oh my god! I have so many moods and emotions [laughs]. A lot of this album is very much based on the nuances, in the in-betweens, of feeling and knowing that we need to be better but also being consumed by queer party culture [laughs]. A lot of my lyrics are kind of satirical but not as much this album, they’re a lot more straight forward. I wanted this album to be urgent and to be towards something, to be something that can propel us forward in a way that makes us seen and heard. But, also fun and also knowing that we want everything to blow up in the process and know that our people are being taken care of. I wrote a lot from that place, from the fun times to the intense times, to questioning everything around me in my own reality that consistently plays tricks on me. Also, the relationships I’ve been in and the ways that I learning about myself and my own obsessive behaviour. Writing about co-dependency and how consuming it is; how much it hurts to be in those patterns consistently. I wanted the album to have that emotion to it but, also moving us forward. Moving forward with love is what the album is all about.

Was there a song on the new record that was hard for you to write?

ALLI: Oh my god! Two of them… a few of them… actually they all were! The very last song called ‘With Love’ it took me weeks to write. I went my friend’s house and there’s people coming in and out of there all day, they’re all the people that I love and that are consistently inspiring me. I worked in a room in my friend’s house while everybody was hanging out. I’d drink a lot of matcha and write what was coming to me, it ended up being really beautiful, but it’s very wordy, very much a poem. Whenever I hear that song, I look back and feel what I was feeling, that feeling of being around people that you love.

‘All Tomorrow’s Carry’ was… easy to write.

‘A Depravity Such As This’ was the only one I wrote in the studio with Maria [Elena Delgado; bassist]. Maria was like, “what’s this song about?” I’m like, a girl. And she’s like “uhh… they’re always about a girl!” [laughs]. She’s like, “we don’t have a song about the city” and I’m like; what if I write a song about the city that sounds like it’s about a girl? [laughs]. That was improv’d in the studio and it’s one of my favourite on the album.

‘Street Pulse Beat’ was the last one I wrote and I couldn’t figure out a vocal pattern for it, it was really hard, but we needed another song on the album. We were like, this one is slow and really glam but, I couldn’t think of anything. I went in and did a take and it was just awful! It was so embarrassing, what I was trying to do. I told the band from the second that we jammed it out that I feel like I need to sing on this track, use my voice and not scream. They were like “no, no, no, don’t sing, maybe try a slow wordy thing”. It was just bad. I went in there one day without everybody else and did a take like, ok, I’m going to try to sing this. I put some time and intention into the lyrics, it was really hard to write because I was in the middle of a breakup, that didn’t need to go as bad as it did; it was just me holding on to something that I shouldn’t. Also, being deeply incompatible with somebody but loving them regardless.

Sometimes the way that I have learned to love has been out of a really awful need of survival and it’s really bad whenever those things play out in a way that ends up hurting you and the other person. I finally figured out what I wanted to write and went in and sung it and they were like “we love it!” I said, I told y’all I need to sing it from the jump! That one was hard and it’s really hard to listen to for me. It’s really glam ad cheesy and fun. I hope that it translates to folks; who knows? That’s just all of my feelings [laughs].

What’s the album going to be called?

ALLI: The Passion Of…

Where’s that come from?

ALLI: I don’t know? We were just like “The Passion Of…” and it just kind of stuck [laughs]. We were having a hard time naming it for a moment but The Passion Of… just stuck. It’s really simple.

As well as making music you also make film?

ALLI: Mhhmm, I do.

Where did your interest in that spark from?

ALLI: I’ve always been really interested in film making. I remember from being very, very little realising the power of being visually moved by something and just knowing that it’s something that has been used from evil that could be used for good; that can really affirm who you are. Cinema changes lives! I’ve always been interested in making films, I’ve always had a lust for life whenever I’m on the upside of a manic episode. I’ve loved to record videos with my friends since I was younger. I realised how much it meant to me to be able to identify with the characters. I wanted to start making my own to show the beautiful world of folks I am around all the time—there’s so many different ways to live. Cinema is what got me around to being a punk and being gay.

You were saying that cinema changes lives; was there a particular thing you saw that changed yours?

ALLI: Yeah. The only thing I really remember from being a kid – I was five – where I watched something that hit me… I watched Schindler’s List.

Wow!

ALLI: Yes, wow! It really obviously set up my perspective of the world really quickly. I didn’t really understand the genocide that happened via slavery and via colonialisation; I didn’t have any context to how that was in my blood as well. I remember being wow! This is how the world works. They want to kill us all for no reason!

There are so many things that have inspired me. One of my favourite films is Amarcord by [Federico] Fellini. The way that he satirises his town of people is something I have always wanted to do about rednecks and the place where I grew up [laughs]. I really loved a lot of the Rocky films when I was younger. I think Nowhere in the Teen Apocalypse Trilogy introduced me to polyamory and also, I knew the concept of being bi, but everyone is very fluid sexually, or dating each other. I was like, oh my god! That’s what I want to be doing. I always struggle when I’m on the spot with this question, I need to write about it more, that’s one of my plans over this quarantine.

Do you do any other types of writing?

ALLI: Just film stuff. I was just inspired by someone that I love recently to start writing, she really encouraged me to start doing poetry. I’ve written a million poems but I have never thought of them as that, or thought of myself as a poet or anything. I did a reading and wrote all these poems specifically for this reading, I chose a thing out of my phone and wrote up what that meant to me. It’s been a really wild and healing process. It’s been a way of processing lots of life events, that’s what I’m using writing for now. It feels really good. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry recently. I started a Signal group of friends because I wanted to read other people’s and get feedback on mine. It’s a really fun group and once a week we submit a poem, that’s trying to keep us a bit creative during the crisis… one of many.

It’s cool how far you’ve come with words, at the beginning of this chat you told me you used to have trouble reading as a kid and now you’re writing all these different things!

ALLI: Yeah. It really does just take your friends to love and encourage you to start doing a thing. That person that helped encouraged me with poetry also encouraged me to start working on parts of myself that I’ve been too afraid to confront. Also, gave me that gift of being like “you should write, you’re good at this and… la, la, la” it’s something that I’ve realised is something that is important for me. I have come a long way, I need to start giving myself credit for that shit! I’m constantly in a self-deprecating spiral but, I’m really trying not to be that person anymore.

The world can be such a negative, hard, tough place; what things do you do to stay positive or hopeful?

ALLI: You have caught me in one of the most depressed periods of my life. I’m depressed because I’m working on things, on character flaws, that need to be confronted; shit that has needed to be processed and it’s really hard to do that work and bring up all the ways that you have been hurt and abused. To talk about how you have normalised really awful things. I’m in that weird point in my life where I feel I am on the cusp of where I’m about to breakthrough into something healing and feel more deep and ok in myself. I’m extremely depressed, everything just feels so intense. I’m constantly watching my friends get hurt and constantly not being able to pay for things, it’s hard but the things that do keep me positive are the people in my life ‘cause we just have fun! We’re really funny. That’s what keeps me going, being able to talk in here and listen to people and their experiences and what they’re thinking and freaking out about and what they think is funny and how they think about this situation to get through. How you live and take care of each other is by listening, that’s a big lesson that I am learning in my life right now. I need to listen a lot more and think of everybody as a teacher. Hanging out with friends is something that I’m doing to stay positive.

I just started picking up boxing and that’s been really nice. I haven’t been able to do it much in the crisis. I stay positive because I do have a lot of great people in my life who have really brilliant and talented minds. I feel so honoured to know so many people that I do know. Everybody in my life are brilliant and revolutionaries! It’s cool to be in such proximity to people that brilliant.

I feel that way about the people around me too. It’s been said that the people you hang out with are a reflection of yourself so that means you’re pretty brilliant and revolutionary too!

ALLI: [Laughs]. I’m not going to self-deprecat. I’m going to say, yeah, you’re right!

I’ve been through a lot myself in the last year and I’ve had to deal with my own flaws and mental illness and different things, normalising different behaviours and things like what you were talking about earlier, I can really identify with where you’re at. I can say that since I faced everything… the truth of things, which is not always pretty…

ALLI: It is never pretty!

It really sucks! But, when you really do it, it is a breakthrough and my whole life has been changed because of that… sorry I’m getting all teary.

ALLI: Yeah, I’m literally surprised that I haven’t cried this whole time [laughs]. I was crying actually before you called. It’s really painful to be truthful with yourself. It’s hard, I’ve told myself so many lies and normalised so many things because they have been things that have happened to me. It’s really not ok, I have been in such an awful… I feel like I’m about to come to the place where I can accept these things that have happened and try to figure out how to live a life I want to live and to be more honest and to apologise, to not be selfish. It’s really hard to do all of these things. It’s really hard work. I’m trying my best to try to attempt to do that right now.

If I have learned any lesson, it’s that we absolutely need every single one of us here, we actually do, because we’re not going to get through what is happening in his world if we don’t have each other because it’s so small and things are so fucked! We’re constantly in fear of our lives. There was just a really bad drive-by outside of my house a few weeks ago. I watched my neighbour get killed, it was intense. I had been in a spiral but then it sent me into a whole other spiral because I’m just like, this is crazy that I have normalised gun violence! I didn’t think I was affected until I had friends that were like “no, you’re affected” and I was like oh my god, I’m freaking out, I am! This has been my whole life, that was a lesson that I learned very early on, I learned to stay below the widows. That’s something I was taught as a little kid, it’s been normal my whole life. We need all of us! Even the people that I can’t stand, I need them too. We really do need all of us. We have to figure out a way to survive—that’s my main mission right now. A lot of my feelings have been going into the music lately. I’m a ball of emotions right now.

I’m always a ball of emotions! I’m a very sensitive person.

ALL: Yeah dude, me too! [laughs].

Please check out: SPECIAL INTEREST. Alli Logout on Instagram. SIQ FLICKS NOLA – Punk cinema and discussion series uplifting marginalized voices. studiolalalanola – A Black and Trans production studio in New Orleans LA that aims to create space for those who don’t have space. The Passion Of will be out on Thrilling Living and Night School.