I first saw AppleCat at Rifflandia in 2016, almost completely by accident – a beautiful, cosmically tremendous accident – and was taken in right away. Her mesmerizing, supple bass was more warming than anything else I'd ever heard that could be called “dubstep.” It made me groove and dance, but there was something else that I hadn't heard in my electronic music up until that point. It was soothing in a way that I hadn't experienced the genre before, oozing with new ideas and an energy that I hadn't felt in that setting. That night in the red-brick-embrace of Lucky Bar, I realized how few female/feminine Djs I had in my diet. I had got lazy and hadn't dug much. In such a male-dominated landscape, feminine voices often get drowned or pushed to the side. It takes sometimes takes energy to find this stuff on your own. So I started putting energy there. I started looking at festival rosters differently, started seeking out new voices in my bass adventures. AppleCat set that off inside of me. To top off my own journey with her music, she won over a whole new set of friends at this years Rifflandia. I was lucky enough to get some of her time in between her seemingly endless musical output, shows and her involvement with the incredible multi-platform media project Amplify Her, which you should 100% check out and support. (You'll notice a couple of extra questions on the docket today and that's because she answered my stuff so eloquently, it felt a shame to cut up her words.)
How did you get involved with Amplify Her? How has that process been? What's been the most surprising part of the experience for you?
I was the initial inspiration to the Documentary Amplify Her. I met the film's co-director Ian Mackenzie at Burning Man in 2012. He experienced me perform live for the first time and was apparently struck. What he experienced was a weaving, a tapestry of sound set to bring the audience on a journey from start to finish. He mentioned to me something about a film he wanted to make and the Dark Feminine's Unique offering to the world of music; and honestly I kind of shrugged it off. Clearly he was serious. Five years later the film, the graphic novel and the animation are being released and I am kind of awash in bewilderment - So where will this take me and the other Women involved in the film? I have absolutely no idea. With such vulnerable parts of my personal life exposed, I cannot help but feel bashful - yet more empowered than I have ever been. What would it mean to be transparent with our stories? and thus have our greatest wounds be transmuted to our greatest gifts. As David Bowie said, "I don't know where I'm going from here, but i promise it won't be boring"
How long have been creating music? What has creating music taught you about yourself?
I have been writing songs and performing music since I was 17 and sneaking into bars to perform. Music is something that has always been with me, kept me grounded and never abandoned me even in times where it felt like everything else did. That said pre AppleCat it was a pretty solo venture, and for the most part I sang with my eyes closed, too scared to let anyone in. I have been performing as an electronic artist since early 2011. Stepping into my AppleCat project has allowed me the space to tell the deep primal sensual stories that live inside of all of us. It has taught me about the intimacy of tending to a crowd, the connection to the fans and loved ones that arises as I guide their experience (and they mine). It is absolutely integral to the person I have become. I would not be so attentive, inspired, creative, empathic and unabashedly myself should I have not taken this route.
1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?
Yes and I am inclined to lie, but wont. I remember it could be one of three CDs: the Sailor Moon soundtrack, Aqua - Aquarium, or The Crow soundtrack. That said, I am pretty sure it was the Sailor Moon Soundtrack, and yes I can still recall a fair amount of the song lyrics. (♪ fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight ♪......)
2. If you could spend a day with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
I'm going to go against the rules and choose two people.
LIVING PERSON: Bjork - I would absolutely love to go to Iceland and spend a day making music, nerding out and just generally basking in the fucking extraordinariness that is Bjork. This Woman since the 90s has been paving the way not just for Lady Electronic Artists, but for all electronic artists. I would absolutely love to talk multimedia collaborations and pick her vast landscape of a mind over a variant of topics.
DEAD PERSON: Oscar Wilde - I have always found a special place in my heart and soul for this flamboyant irish poet. I recently visited his monument outside his childhood home in Dublin and I swear I have never seen a smugger marble statue. It was the most alive and sassy sculpture I have ever seen. I would adore the chance to set up shop in an old pub with him, drink too much wine, write poetry, philosophize, contemplate our modern culture, then likely argue a lot, make up and start it all over again.
3. If you had one hope/wish for bass culture over the next year, what would that wish be?
Safer spaces for Female identified peoples.
I think along with mandatory First-Aid tents and Sanctuaries that "Red Tents" should be a necessity at music festivals. A “Red Tent” or “Women’s Dome” is a safe quiet space for women to come together. As much as it's nice to pretend we live in a sweet little new paradigm rave bubble of safety, we do not. Attacks happen, and we as Women are conditioned to constantly be on alert. It's a gross truth but its one that sits deep in our culture and Women's genetic memory. "Watch out Girl, there are wolves in the woods"
Envision Festival has a beautiful Red Tent area as a refuge for female identified peoples to sit decompress and feel at ease - this made a whole world of difference. (They also had a special "moon toilet" for ladies who were experiencing that time of the month, which by the way at a festival SUCKS! So to have it honoured in such a beautiful way was a game changer. It was like a throne room in there). Blessed Coast Festival has a sanctuary tent for Women, for Men and a tent for Multi genders/Non-Binary. To this extent I understand that this cannot always be done but its a great idea and if I were to run a festival I would for sure offer this as an opinion. Everyone is entitled and worthy of a space to exhale in peace.
Everyone deserves to feel safe, and a world that is safe for Women is also a world that is safe for Men. Equality starts with supporting the historically oppressed in feeling safe and held. One day we may not need these measures, but today is not that day.
4. When is the last time you did something for the first time?
Recently I had a hot fudge sundae for the first time. It was like at least 4 or 5 gods were orgasming in my mouth at once. Consensually of course. This also made me realize that as a child and up to this recent date I have been horribly neglected in the realms of dessert. I'll be having a stern talk with my Mother soon, likely at an Ice Cream shop. "Come on, no hot fudge sundaes? That's Bullshit Mom, B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T."
5. Have you ever seen or felt a ghost/ghost-like/spiritual presence?
Yes, always - since I was a little girl. They kept me company and I always felt bad that everyone seemed to be ignoring them. In particular I remember often seeing ghost cats, I still see ghost cats. God damn I love cats, even dead ghosty ones.
6. So, I get the last person I interviewed to leave a question for the next person. This question is from Justin (Makemdef) from CHUURCH... Which piece of fine art inspires you most?
I've always been drawn to Van Gogh's "Starry Night". I couldn't tell you why it just makes me happy to look at.