A music extraordinaire, camp and fashion freak are only some of the attributes that describe this musician from the south shores of the UK. Hailing from one of the most creative scenes out there, this Brighton artist certainly knows how to create out of the box tunes! We got to see them perform at the House of Grand Parade Halloween Show, where they debuted their upcoming single to a frenzied audience – and of course, we had to grab! Read on for our interview with Psycho Fag – we talk Apocalypsync (out on Nov. 8th!), the music process, life in the Brighton scene, ideal festival line up and much, much more …
DA: Hi, Psycho Fag! Can you introduce yourself a little bit to our readers? Where are you from, how did you come up with your stage name and how would your friends describe you in three words?
Psycho Fag: Hiyerrr! So I am a music producer and drag artiste de la mer, originally from Portsmouth but been based in Brighton for the last (cough) 12 years. I originally started music production in my teens and was channeling a lot of rage, feeling despondent over a lack of authentic queer visibility in media, and felt like I wanted to grab people’s attention with how fucking angry I was with a provocative name. Very teen angst. That’s how I came up with Psycho Fag and it’s just sort of stuck. How would my friends describe me in 3 words? Totally. Fucking. Cancerian.
DA: Do you have a specific style and look you create for Psycho Fag? And what qualities does your stage persona have that you would love to incorporate into your daily life or are you the same on and off stage?
Psycho Fag: I’m a massive fan of post-human and creature inspired drag, so my looks are influenced by artists such as Salvjiia and Fecal Matter however I’m a big old musical theatre lovey at heart so my aesthetic is much more costumey and caricatured. That’s where I feel I fit – fashion, but make it stupid. My onstage persona is just an excited, campy and silly version of me; I’m always ever so thrilled to share what I do with an audience so the creepy look vs the hyped up stage school energy results in some batshit demon theatre child with backing dancers. Once I’m onstage I feel at my most confident because you can just bare your soul, that’s what you’re there to do. One thing I’d like to take from my onstage persona is allowing myself to live as authentically off-stage; currently still in cahoots with my inner saboteur. She’s called Brenda and she’s a fucking bitch.
DA: Time go get into the music! Let‘s say you had to play someone a Psycho Fag song to introduce them to you, which song would you pick and why? Who would you say are Psycho Fag’s biggest musical influences?
Psycho Fag: I think I’d have to pick my song “Acid Tung”. It represents the daft onstage side of me through the ridiculous lyrics and my abilities as a songwriter and producer due to it’s catchy hooks and commercial nature (if I do say so myself!). However I guess my songs “Doggy Bowl” and “Elephant” both illustrate the darker and saucier side of my character; she’s very complex and multifaceted is Psycho Fag. (laughs) I’d have to say my core musical influences will always be those that inspired me when I was younger, so artists such as Peaches, Le Tigre, Chicks on Speed, Limp Wrist; a lot of good old fashioned angry queercore. But now I’m getting so much inspo from digital pop like Slayyyter, Danny L Harle, Shygirl, COBRAH and Christeene, so many bangers popping up all over the place and getting in me ears its bloody marvellous.
DA: Which songs can’t be missing on a pre-show playlist for you? If you got to create your own festival who would you have on the line up and what would the set theme/vibe be? Which name would you choose?
Psycho Fag: So when I’m getting ready I’ve got a playlist that includes “On the Regular” by Shamir, “Lipslap” by Kero Kero Bonito and “Smack my Orinoco Flows Up” which is the most beautiful Prodigy/Enya bootleg and gives me stupid amounts of life. The line up for my festival would include Bjork, Riton, Enya, Peaches, Lizzo, SOPHIE, a group of welsh ladies singing Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus. The theme would be “Drag Sleuths” and everybody would have to dress up as their favourite TV drama detectives because I LOVE myself a murder mystery. I’ve actually written (in me head) lyrics to most of the TV murder mystery theme tunes because why not. My favourite is Poirot so I’ll be going as him, sorry lads. The festival would be called “FAGATHA CHRISTIE”….(cheque is in the post Coleen).
DA: A lot of musicians have recently talked about how streaming services pay very little to featured artists on their platform – what is your take on the situation? And what is the best way to support an artist in this digital age?
Psycho Fag: I think art in most mediums is difficult to turn into something profitable. However, if somebody has a strong, marketable concept, then they should be rewarded for bringing an audience to that platform. Without the artist, there is no audience. Best way to support an artist? Share! Share! Share! Credit them. Pay them properly. Most people will have to work a full time job to support their art, so respect the amount of time and effort that goes into it outside of just having to survive like anybody else. Also, especially amongst LGBTQIA+ artists, lift each other up, share each other’s work and kill the world with pozzy vibes.
DA: You debuted your new single during Brightons House Of Grand Parade, which went down a storm. What inspired that particular song and how can we imagine you during a songwriting session? How do you come up with lyrics and the vibe of your songs? What is your favourite part of the music process, do you have a set sound idea when going in to record?
Psycho Fag: Thank you! The song is called Apocalypsync and is really a celebration of how much fabulous queerness there is in our media, art, literature etc. It’s kind of a satirical take on the end of heteronormativity and binary that has oppressed queer people for like, forever. If you subscribe to heteronormativity as a LGBTQIA+ person, that’s fine, you do you hun, but it ain’t for me and it ain’t for a lot of people. And oh god, a songwriting session usually starts of with me creativing a beat/hook and then recording gobbledegook vocals on top which is hilarious for my housemates because the weirdest sounds must come from my bedroom. I do that to help create a rhythm for the lyrics and then actually, the lyrical content of the song comes last. Controversial eh? My favourite part of the process is coming up with the initial hook and getting excited when it slaps. My process is EXTREMELY experimental; I’ve had no formal training in music production so I just play in me hook, create a drum beat and twiddle A LOT of knobs till the job is done.
DA: Brighton is renowned for being full of creative artists, why do you think the city is home to such a diverse scene? Can you recommend us some fellow artists we should definitely keep an eye out for?
Psycho Fag: I guess Brighton has always been known for having a big LGBTQIA+ population and an art scene, so people are drawn to it. That’s certainly why I came here. Being small it’s also a great place to meet other artists. We have fabulous events such as Fat Cabaret and Tayris Mongardi’s Chocolate Box which both celebrate diversity within the scene, and brilliant club nights like Polyglamorous to come along and turn a look at.
In answer to your question about people to look out for, along with Brighton Royalty such as Lydia L’Scabies, Arran Shurvinton, Joe Black, Rococo Chanel and Alfie Ordinary, I’d have to say Daphne (@cool.daph). For me, she is a star. She is truly one of the best entertainers I’ve ever seen. She has comedy in her bones and her references are so beyond her years that although she defines herself as a silly goose (and her performances are just that), there is an incredible amount of intelligence in her process. She really knows what she’s doing and if she doesn’t make a career out of being on a stage I will eat my wig.
DA: What can we see next from you? Where can we follow you on social media and maybe even see you live?
Psycho Fag: My new single “Apocalypsync” is out on Friday 8th November and will be available on all major streaming platforms, along with all my other tracks. You can follow me on instagram @psychofagxx – my next live show in Brighton is Queer Prom does Camp Christmas at The Old Market on Dec 6th (https://www.theoldmarket.com/shows/queer-prom), then I’m doing Wimp at The Yard in Hackney, London Dec 13th and more dates in London and Bristol into the New Year.
DA: Last question – Since we‘re nearing the end of 2019 – are there any projects you want to accomplish next year that you can already give us a sneak peak into?
Psycho Fag: An album. Music videos. An hour long live show. It’s all in the pipeline. Boom.
Be sure to follow the fabulous Pyscho Fag on all the following Social Medias:
Facebook: @ psychofagxx
New single Apocalypsync is out Friday 8th November available on all platforms!