Festus has got the talent to talk about serious issues without ever losing the smile on his face. After his political awakening he had to reflect on his life so far and reconsider every bit of media he consumed. Movies, music, tv shows, everything faced a higher standard. Whether we like it or not, everything is political, and we should treat it as such. However, when everything has such a heavy weight, it is important to keep a safe space where you can drop it all and just have a rest.
Enter Q initiative. Although it originally started as a way for activists to fight for rights and legal issues, Festus is considering taking it more towards a safe space for queer people. In different local communities Q is an environment where queer folks in rural Kenya can be creative and me themselves. Potentially they might accidentally create a local scene of indie musicians in the process.
Once you’re done with your sexuality, then you’ll start with your gender. Or at least, that’s what they say. Unfortunately, most love songs are too heteronormative so they don’t offer a lot of help when it comes to figuring out any gender identity. However, sometimes that doesn’t matter. Sometimes you just got to let it be and figure it out along the way.
Flashback Track: Koffie Olomide – Andrada Queer Artist Spotlight: Lil Nas X – Montero (Call me By Your Name) Best Live Experience: Common – Glory feat. John Legend Most Recent Discovery: Noel Nderitu – Your Name feat. Lisa Odour-Noah
Even though it’s not particularly gender affirming, Finch enjoys making their money though online sex work. Although different types of digital sex work bring different types of joy, it’s still a valid way of paying the bills. Hopefully, this episode will help destigmatise this brand of profession a little bit. Let’s get all doubts out of the way: when this podcast advocates for workers’ rights, that includes sex workers’ rights!
In order to cater to a possible audience when camming, Finch feels like they need to turn down the queerness and upscale the femininity. Where there are people who are going to objectify femme presenting people anyway, then they might as well pay for it right? What are your thoughts on the matter? Get it touch though the QueerSounds socials or the contact page on the website.
Camming comes with a more femme mask, during another of Finch’s favourite past times he wears a more masc mask. Larping might be closest to digital anonymity that’s available in the outside world. However, in Finch’s experience, it’s not nearly as toxic and horrible.
CW: misogyny, queerphobia, and a lot of sexual content
This was a difficult episode to edit. As Yildiz from KAOS GL shares the highs and lows of Queer life in Turkey, on one hand there were some detailed descriptions of the way people mistreat queer folks I decided to cut. On the other hand, their energy is so optimistic and fun it’s been an absolute delight to talk to them. Check out the content warnings below to see if this episode right for you.
KAOS GL is the oldest queer rights group in Turkey, founded in 1994. Their effort is only outdated by individuals who made it big and used their platform to advocate for queer rights. Now, there aren’t a lot of examples out there, but we’re gonna talk about one quite extensively.
As a little extra music recommendation from your trusty podcast host: Check out Gaye Su Akyol. Their combination of traditional Turkish music, film scores and Queer activism would have made her the perfect person to talk about on the show, but to be honest, it just kinda slipped my mind. In case this sounds like something you would enjoy, get in touch and let me know what you think!
Sarya was born in the United States. For a large part they grew up in Taiwan before they eventually moved to Edinburgh to go to uni there. In the meantime, they got to know a whole bunch of stereotypes. In the end they proudly became one. Spoken word, music, theatre, Sarya can do all the arts.
Let’s lean into our stereotypes, shall we? Sarya loved the arts and theatre and as a result they would regularly get cast into genderbending creative type roles. In hindsight though, it’s hard to tell how much of this was actually an act. We could spiral into how much of gender is performative but let’s leave that for another time. Are there any stereotypes you like to lean into? Reach out through the contact form below.
Performative or not, Sarya’s issues with femininity are real. Although they are pretty comfortable presenting femme of centre, the traditional idea of what “feminine” even is, is hard to shake. Especially in combination with their Asian heritage. Therefore, it’s all the more appropriate to end with a song in which they praise their mom, and sings about how cool, hot, and intimidating women can be.
Paulina Vo can tell you like no other how strongly the time and place can influence a person, including what music you listen to. Throughout her life she moved a lot and thus she experienced first-hand how the music she listens to has changed over the different locations and eras in her life.
While editing this show I noticed again how hesitant Paulina was talking about her queer experience. Of course, not everyone is as vocal about their own queerness. But then I noticed how much the conversation fired up when talking about race. In hindsight, I think some questions were left unanswered about whether she feels the need to choose between her queer identity or her Asian identity. I guess there’s a time and place for all those unanswered questions too.
Without reading into it too much, there might be parallels with her musical preferences. When she lived in a white environment she had to deal with some nasty remarks. Both because she’s Asian and because she listens to hip-hop. Now, where one is breaking out in an activist manner, Paulina pushes the other ever so slightly into the background. Is she conditioned to downplay her love for hip-hop? Am I reading too much into it? Let me know though the contact form below.
Flashback Track: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – The Crossroads Queer Artist Spotlight: The Japanese House – Something has to Change Best Live Experience: Phoenix – Lasso Recent Discovery: Chika – Cinderella pt. 2
When a band consists of a couple, people usually expect things to go south, but Hey, King! is here to prove them wrong. They just released a wonderfully queer album which covers deeply personal subjects. This includes the meta subject of a couple being in a band together.
The band consists of Natalie and Taylor who, as far as I got to know them, show that having a healthy relationship comes with being open and honest with each other. However, they’re not here to give relationship advice. Instead, they’ll sit us down and have us listen to pages from their diary. This brand of honesty does not just apply to their relationship, but more often than not it also forms the base for their lyrics. Throw in a tongue-in-cheek approach to these serious matters and a love for the French horn and you’ll get Hey, King!
Flashback Track: Tori Amos – Take to the Sky Queer Artist Spotlight: Tegan & Sara – Walking with a Ghost Best Live Experience: The Front Bottoms – Twin Size Mattress Episode Special: Hey, King! – Sorry
Anyone who has ever read anything about pop music, knows that Swedish producers write the best songs. From Robyn to ABBA, this country’s track record in pop history is unparalleled. So, it makes absolute sense that the pop artist Jack O’Connor, otherwise known as SNKT, moved to Stockholm to chase his dream.
Out of all Swedish producers Max Martin might be the one with the most impressive resumé, having worked with Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and many more. This pop legend is largely known for his formulaic way he writes songs, this, at first sight strongly, is in strong contrast with Björn from ABBA’s view. He thinks that the music industry should allow young artists to take more risks. Jack is more than happy to share his thoughts on the matter. The first SNKT album comes out in May of 2021.
I’m not quite used to guests who bounce back some questions. I love talking about music as much as anybody else, if not more, it sometimes forces me to show my ignorance. Is there anything I need to know about Frank Ocean or Robyn? Let me know though the contact form below.
Flashback Track: Britney Spears – (You Drive Me) Crazy – The Stop! Remix Queer Artist Spotlight: Frank Ocean – Thinkin Bout You Best Live Experience: Robyn – Honey Recent Discovery: SNKT – Lost in Love
It’s so cool to have a big ol’ nerd as a guest. In this case Harits will run you through the past fifty years of Indonesian History from a queer point of view. As the main guy behind the Queer Indonesian Archive we could have gone a lot further, but in the best case it will be a reason to invite him, or one of his colleagues, again some time.
One of the most wicked stories he pointed out is the tale of Waria spies: A group of trans women who tried to fight an oppressive regime. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any more sources on the tales of these bad-ass folks but in case you come across a link or two, dear listener, you know where to find me. Check out the contact info below.
In recent Indonesian History Queer acceptance took a turn for the worse. However, a bunch of young activists are fighting for more rights. This once again proves how tolerance does not equal acceptance. If this seems broad and vague, listen to the episode to find out more. And to be honest, for someone who works with musicians, we didn’t talk a whole lot about music but fret not. There’s plenty of stories to go around.
CW: Homophobia, Transphobia, Systematic Oppression, Violence and a brief mention of HIV-Aids
Flashback Track: Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood – Storybook Children Queer Artist Spotlight: Guruh Soekarno Putra – Lagu Putih Best Live Experience: Franz Ferdinand – Michael Recent Discovery: Arthur Sharpe – My Only Worry
It’s obvious I’ve been out of the running for a bit. I thought I had my research done right, but Neel kept on proving me wrong. Isn’t it wonderful to have so many international connections who teach you something at every turn? In this case, Neel points out the trans discourse when it comes to cultural differences between trans women and Hijra people in India. And that’s just one example.
Unfortunately, this episode suffers from some audio issues. Don’t worry though, after track number two these will largely be resolved.
Speaking of discourse, I know the women with an x conversation has been firing up lately, but I do think Neel has some good reasons for her to use it. What do you think? Let me know through the contact form or the QS-socials.
Anyway, every now and again we’re tired of the trans discourse ™, but we can miss out on it as well. Me as much as everybody else. This isn’t related to the episode perse, but it is something I wanted to share with you. The limited social interactions I’ve had recently have been disappointingly cis. I’m blessed with a lot of friends but I do miss hanging out with other Queer folks. Relatable? Drop me a line through @Queersoundspod on Twitter or Instagram.
Flashback Track: Imon Chakraborty – Ajo Sakhi Queer Artist Spotlight: Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel Best Live Experience: When Chai Met Toast – Believe Most Recent Discovery: Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness
Maja refuses to deal with any gatekeepers. For too long people around her have been continuously forcing her in uncomfortable positions for a number of reasons. Well, no more. With Queers To The Front she runs a grassroots indie label that prioritises marginalised people and their largely political messages. Gate? What gate?
As someone who operates in a niche within a niche, Maja still needed to cut off some even more obscure personal interests in order to make her business consistent. However, Clever as she is, she managed to create an organisation that hopefully makes the music industry a safer space for trans and otherwise queer people.
The reason this podcast will probably never make it big is, partly, it’s host getting dragged along in big nerdy rabbit holes. In the end I don’t even feel like I made the point I wanted to make. Oh well. Do you have any thoughts about Green Day’s relevance in today’s musical and cultural landscape? Get in touch through the contact link below!