As I get older, the new slang starts to become more and more foreign to me. Me saying “on fleek” sounds as normal as my mom insisting on using “da bomb”…in 2017. However, basic – that’s a word I can and will use, but it’s far from what’d I’d use to describe the likes of wrtch.
One of the most interesting artists I’ve come across in recent years, wrtch is experimental in her work. Taking the ambiance of the darkness and shining a light on it with her own personal thoughts and experiences. It was as much an adventure to listen to her latest release, Rabbit Holes [andotherexits], as it was to hear about it in her own words. Now it’s your turn to hear about the album, her hospital stays and more.
Kendra: When you were growing up, were you attracted to the sounds you wound up making a career out of?
wrtch: I spent a lot of my childhood in states of disassociation, which wrtch became an outlet for now that I’m an adult, for sure. As far as musical influences from childhood, I’m sure my mom could tell you a few embarrassing stories about the full costume interpretive dance performances I would give her to entire albums by Grace Jones, The Talking Heads, and Enigma when I was just 4 or 5 years old.
Kendra: Rabbit Holes is your latest release, and of course minds wander to Alice in Wonderland. Is that where you were going when you came up with the title? A sort of fantasy, twisted land?
wrtch: Actually, no – I mean, Alice certainly was an afterthought among many, but I felt more connected to rabbits being these fertile, life-giving creatures who wander above and below. There are plethora creation myths involving rabbits, and they are often used as totems when wanting to communicate with death or process mourning. When I was putting Rabbit Holes together, I was in the hospital after a heart attack and a trip to the void. Rabbit Holes (and other exits) just made sense to me.
Kendra: If you had the chance to enter one Disney movie, would it be Alice or would you choose another?
wrtch: Is Watership Down a Disney movie? I think that’s more my rabbit theme.
Kendra: On the album, the song titles run together. Again, was there a deeper meaning to that or did you just like the way it looked?
wrtch: I try to be intentionally ambiguous or misleading with words. Repeat them til they become meaningless. Let them redefine themselves in awkward arrangements. Some of the titles have a rhythm to them that I enjoy, and an anxiety that mimics the anxiety and tension of the album.
Kendra: Not music related at all, but what food is a must for anyone heading to Chicago?
wrtch: Unless you’re into tots and cheap beer, I’m not much help in that department.
Kendra: You’ve spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals as of late. Did those stays influence any of the music you created for Rabbit Holes?
wrtch: Absolutely. I have this mystery illness and sensory loss going on that to me just feels symptomatic of our culture. Sympathy for the Creator (2016) was similarly influenced, in the way that I was trying to tap into whatever I might perceive as empathy for the earth and existence to create that album.
Rabbit Holes is a little more introspective and self-centered, and I spent a lot of time thinking about Jado – a Rromani illness which affects Rromani peoples when we are disconnected from our culture and spend too much time in the Gadje (non-rromani) world. The body slowly loses life force when separated from it’s own – but on a modern and diasporic level, I have never been connected to my heritage or culture in the first place.
I think a lot about how our collective disconnection affects our collective wellness and will to be here, in varying levels for different intersections of people – especially in relation to the Normalcy Bias of Whiteness (something from which I benefit as a white presenting person, but also have conflict with as a non-white person) as a predominant culture.
Kendra: Did those stays affect your outlook on life overall?
wrtch: I daydream a lot more about building a nationwide class action lawsuit against the medical industry, and using that force to create systems of trauma-informed preventative and holistic care, especially for underserved communities. The lack of agency granted to people over their bodies while seeking medical care and healing (especially anyone deviating even slightly from white, fit, young cis male) is killing us.
Kendra: New album is out, now are you going to head out on tour?
wrtch: Yes! I’ve been on tour since the end of May actually. I’ll be out through July, and probably taking August and September off to recoup and start work on the next project…
6/21 @ The Knockout in San Francisco, CA
6.24 @ Hare and Arrow Arts in Oakland, CA
6/28 @ Coaxial Arts in Los Angeles, CA
6/30 @ Thirst for Light IV near Chehalis, WA
Plus a few through the Midwest with Yardsss (PDX) that are tba, a show with Zenmother (Sea) at The Hideout in Chicago July 18th and a set for Comfort Station’s series Gathering July 22nd, also in Chicago.
Kendra: Going back to where we started, if you had to make a mixtape all about who you were at 15 and what was influencing your…what five songs would have to be on it?
wrtch: PURELY from the perspective of 15-year-old train hopping drug addict punk me (and literally straight off a mixtape I still have floating around):