mykki blanco came to me via the internet. his cute lisp and the trippy background of brittle beats got my attention. i loved the relaxed way he gender bends his way in the super macho world of 2013 hip hop. he seamlessly shifts from boy to girl and back, and both personae are both just as believable and hot.
the concert was chaos: raw and contagious. i pulled my friends to the front and obeyed the intoxicating energy. he did a mix of hits and a cappella rapping, swift, minimal wardrobe changes and a general being one with the crowd. do you expect a mosh pit during a hip hop concert? he did it. do you expect the concert to end with as many fans onstage as possible? he did that, too.
modern club is a relaxed hipster venue. everybody looked like they scored big at their local thrift store. imagine the type of outlandish outfits bred by being broke. sequin shirts worn beneath tracksuit jackets. lots of glitter. etc, you get the picture. but mr. blanco himself described himself as being fabulously broke. so, he was the right person in the right place. after the gig, he mingled with the crowd. he got the occasional hug and had to pose with fans. but i believe it all felt rather flattering than annoying.
i got my interview in the back of the wardrobe, standing on the first step of the stairs so that i could be more at his eye level. we did it short and sweet. read it below!
can you please talk about your sources of inspiration? music-wise, i mean.
i’m really influenced by industrial music, like depeche mode, siouxie and the banshees, post-punk stuff. but i’m also into old school hip hop. like wu tang clan, missy elliott, timbaland, busta rhymes, eminem.
i think those elements combined helped me find my own angle on music and culture when i was a teenager. so, there are many places that i draw inspiration from and, now, i’m trying to start my own musical journey. i’m working with different producers in order to find out which sound better fits my style.
you credited marilyn manson as an inspiration. was it more musically or the show?
he wasn’t so much inspiration as much as someone i grew up watching, i was only 11 or 12 when he was performing. i was watching music videos of bjork or tricky or of anybody i thought was a really strong performer. i would say he was in a way inspiring or perhaps more just somebody that i think i learned from watching on stage as a kid.
what about your alter-egos? i found at least three.
i guess you can call them alter-egos, but i don’t think of them as such. i think that lately that word has been thrown around a lot but i really see them as characters. as a rapper, i tell stories.
i tell stories that are based on my own life. stories that are made-up and stories that help create the mykki blanco mythology. because a lot of my favourite rappers that i love and respect were able to tell stories in a way that really drew the listener in. and then, a couple of songs later, they were able to reference that story. so that really helps create a whole theatrical experience. for mykki blanco, there’s always a character like betty rebel who is the sassy, tough-talking side of mykki blanco. then there’s the illuminate prince who is a goth, the shock rock part of mykki. there’s also a mykki blanco who does the black sailor moon and the cosmic angel. so i think they’re not alter-egos. they just help me build a mythology; they help me create sub-stories for the raps that i tell.
i just grew up with it. i was growing up in america when it began. so for me it is not a big deal, it’s like pressing a button. the nature of being an entertainer, the kind of entertainer that i am, i just don’t see myself as a celebrity. i just have a personality that likes to share, I kinda have a big personality. so i use social media because in a way it doesn’t affect the way i end up doing business.
i heard you have no manager or publicist. is that still true?
no, that was a long time ago.
so tonight you had some of the tracks and some of them were poems? is this how the gig goes?
i actually did not perform any poems from the book tonight, but i did this some other raps a cappella so that people could real hear them, there would be no backing track and i would be performing them like poetry, like theater.
so nothing from the book?
nothing from the book right now.
but you use it sometimes.
actually a lot of the times now i have a lot of new songs. but i usually perform some poems from the book if i perform in an art gallery or if it’s more of a reading type of thing. i used to insert more of them into the set but now i have more new music so…i kinda like doing more of the clubby stuff
how was the touring because …. tonight was the last show of the european tour, right?
this was the last show. i fucking loved the show. we’ve been across 12 countries, we had 26 shows. it’s been amazing and this is my second european tour and first big tour ever!
was it difficult?
honestly, my agent organized it. so it was really good, everything was super structured, and it actually wasn’t that difficult. there were some times that were more difficult but i think that comes from having to travel every single day… tomorrow, i’ll be in london shooting music videos.
cool, ok! so how was the show tonight?
honestly, like no bullshiting, people told me that when we go east, we will have a really good time and that’s exactly true. the audience tonight it was sooo….
you called people onstage at the end of the gig. years ago, that’s exactly how tricky ended his bucharest concert.
really? i did not know that! tricky is a great inspiration.
where are your favourite places in the world?
i love lisbon, i really had a good time here in bucharest. i like berlin. i like brighton, outside of london. it’s this seaside town, quiet and really cool. oh, and i love russia.
oh, really, so they loved you there?
they loved me. i spent 4 days in russia, not on this tour, but we’re gonna go there when we come back. i just looove russia!
what’s on your playlist right now?
i’m listening to a guy called gerald, fleetwood mac and some techno stuff from my friends’ band, ink. it’s a really good band, they just came out with a release and they’re super good.
shooting 2 music videos over a 4-day period in london. one is the initiation and the other one is a brand new song that i have leaked last week called feeling special. i’ll have a week off when i get back to the states and then i start a 30-show tour in canada/us/mexico. and then, at the end of march, my ep comes out, 9 new songs, the initiation.
and i will be back in europe between may and august and do all of the festivals.
thank you, mykki blanco! i hope your affirmations will come true!
check out the music of mykki blanco on his website. and be prepared. this is just the beginning!
photo credits: roger deckker, alexandru constantin, little aesthete
video credits: miruna boruzescu, mykki blanco