Brooke Candy on her “Sexorcism” creative process

Brooke Candy’s long-anticipated debut album, SEXORCISM, finally came out after parting ways with RCA Records in 2017, and it includes a European tour set to kick off in Berlin in February 2020. KALTBLUT caught up with the rapper in New York to talk about her new body of work, plans for the next year, and – why not? – climate change. 

KALTBLUT: Hey Brooke! How are you?

Brooke: I’m good. I’m in New York. I live in New York now and it snowed yesterday. It’s just so cold. It’s like the heat is blasting at my house and I’m still just like aching and so cold. When does it start snowing there?

KALTBLUT: Sometimes in February but it’s not very common anymore.

Brooke: Oh yeah? It’s crazy.

KALTBLUT: We’re all going to die from climate change.

Brooke: We really are. I mean, global warming is really fucking real. It’s crazy. I’m from L.A., and I’m used to warmer temperatures but just being in New York and feeling the seasons and how harsh they are, you really understand how crucial it is to give a shit about the environment. If you live in L.A. you’re kind of in a bubble. It’s always seventy-five degrees, it’s always nice. You don’t really know what’s going on… Then moving to a place that has an actual winter is just brutal. We need to fix this. I don’t know if it’s fixable. I don’t think it’s fixable.

KALTBLUT: I don’t think it is. I mean, it’s not reversible anymore which is scary enough.

Brooke: I think we had a moment maybe four or five years ago where we could have, if everyone was diligent and really took the time to stop, think about what they were doing and stop mindlessly consuming. We could have possibly stopped the effects but now it’s just… There’s no turning back. You’re right.

KALTBLUT: Scary. Very positive topic to start this interview.

Brooke: I like talking about this. It’s rare that people want to fucking talk about it. You know, people are so desensitized. No one wants to talk about anything, they want to be distracted but I’m always in that space. So I’m thinking about things that are really depressing. I don’t know if that’s good or not.

KALTBLUT: Especially having heard SEXORCISM… You do try and make a change. That’s more than you can say about most people really.

Brooke: That’s true. Especially nowadays… I don’t know really what music is any more or what anything is anymore. It’s like a cultural collapse.

KALTBLUT: I love that.

Brooke: Cultural collapse? Yeah, it’s like culture and pop culture, or anything that is kind of mainstream serves no purpose and there aren’t even subgenres anymore. It’s like everyone has given up on doing anything or making anything that is subversive or thought-provoking or different. I feel like maybe everyone’s too nervous to do it because being an artist nowadays also is like one, no one’s saying anything but two, if you do say something you’re immediately guillotined. Everyone just hates you. You know? It’s really hard. We’re living in a very fucking weird time.

KALTBLUT: What is music to you personally? If you had to define what it means to you.

Brooke: Music to me is just a form of escape. It’s therapy. It’s like a universal language. It’s a way for me to escape my daily stresses and my daily despair, a way for me to express myself. The music that I make is bizarre. It’s very niche. It’s like it’s understood universally. Everyone knows that it’s something that makes them feel good. And I think that’s so amazing. It’s like the only form of art that is truly collaborative and can be understood in different playing fields. You can play a song and everyone can understand it. Not everyone is able to go to a gallery and see a painting and understand what it means. Music is just across borders, it’s just understood.

KALTBLUT: It is truly universal. That’s a good point. And how would you like the music industry to be, ideally? I know you’ve left your label and I’ve been thinking of ways to ask you about it that wouldn’t be repetitive! So how would the ideal music industry be for you?

Brooke: You know what I think? The music industry is obsessed with pushing specific narratives and they’re more obsessed with the narrative of an artist rather than the art they create and the music that they create. And it just makes for watered down garbage. I wish the music industry would give more space for artists who don’t fit into the mould. Artists who are truly creating their own lane. Like I feel like 30, 40 years ago that was so normal. People appreciated that artists that were different, that were creating their own worlds, their own fantasy. Now it’s so homogenized. You have to fit into this idea or this narrative that suits what mass consumers are going to want or are going to relate to. But I don’t know if that makes for the best art. I wish it [the music industry] was a bit more open and I wish it was more nurturing to an odd, bizarre mind. I don’t know if it is. I don’t really pay attention anymore to music. I don’t know what’s going on. It just seems dark and I don’t know… There’s like an ominous feeling to everything that’s coming out now, it feels sad. Not sad like R.E.M-beautiful-sad, sad like… I don’t know.

KALTBLUT: Disappointing?

Brooke: Yes, disappointing. Like Nine Inch Nails made sad music. “Hurt” is one of my favourite songs ever. But it was really weird and it was really unique and it was cool. Now I don’t vibe with anything, I can’t relate to anything. I don’t know what to look for. But maybe I’m just out of the loop, maybe I’m so withdrawn that it just doesn’t make sense.

KALTBLUT: There seem to be very few people who are actually making challenging music. That’s what impresses me the most about your work and your art.

Brooke: Thank you. There are some artists… Grimes is an artist who makes really fucking good music. Her music reminds me of Kate Bush or something. It’s so good. There are artists that exist, but they don’t create enough work. The few artists that are doing something that’s really different and really thought-provoking and really bizarre and subversive should be praised a lot more. But we’re praising the wrong artists I think.

KALTBLUT: Why do you think we’re doing that? Because it’s easy?

Brooke: I think it’s easy and we’re told what to like, what not to like. There are a few mainstream artists that are really good. I love Lizzo. I worked with Lizzo. She’s fucking amazing. She’s like the only artist right now that is on a mainstream platform that I think it’s doing something really courageous and righteous. She’s filled with light and you can see it – her visuals aren’t dark and ominous. They’re really positive and real and raw and that’s really fucking cool. I wish there were more artists like Lizzo. But in the underground [scene] there are [artists], but they’re not given the same platform that they would have been given in the 70s, 80s, 90s. Like Mykki Blanco’s fucking amazing. Mykki Blanco’s so underground… Imagine if Mykki Blanco had that mainstream platform. Like what kind of change Mykki could create. We need to start merging underground with mass media a bit more.

KALTBLUT: I still have to talk to you about your new album! Are you tired of talking about it or are you still excited?

Brooke: No,  I’m still excited! Yesterday I was dancing because I’m getting ready to perform on Friday in New York at this show called Holy Mountain. I was dancing with some dancers yesterday I was like, man, you know, I put out this album and now what? And they were like dude, it’s just starting for you! My friend is telling me that Miguel put out an album and five years later it blew up. Five years later! It took five years for people to figure it out. I’m like, I put out this body of work, it has crazy features and people are definitely vibing with it, but it’s taking a minute and it’s been getting me down. I feel that in my career that’s been my trajectory. Everything I’ve done. I feel it resonates with people or they understand it like two or three years later. And then by that time I’ve already moved on, it’s frustrating.

KALTBLUT: You’re ahead of your time. That’s what it means.

Brooke: [laughs] It’s a curse!

KALTBLUT: It sounds frustrating.

Brooke: It’s such a curse. I wish that I was in tune with what’s popular. But I’m not. I’m in this weird bubble. The people that I look up to are fucking weird, the way that I create my art – I don’t even know, I can’t explain it. It’s just bizarre. I exist in this space and it’s always out of the path of money and success.

KALTBLUT: It’s integrity, I guess.

Brooke: It is integrity. I hope so. I think integrity is so important.

KALTBLUT: What are you most proud of your new album?

Brooke: I’m proud of the fact that I did it, that I completed it. I did it on my own. I had my friends helping me, but I didn’t have any kind of label, any kind of big corporation backing me or helping me pull it together. I had an idea and then I reached out to people that I knew were talented and we kind of did it on our own. It’s so crazy to me that I created this body of work kind of on a whim. It just happened. I felt this insatiable urge to create something and I did. I followed through with it. And it’s out. I think it’s really cohesive. It’s very bizarre. But I think everything really works. The cover art I shot before I even made the album. And then made the album without even thinking about what the image was, everything just really mesh well together. It’s like fate. I’m just proud of myself for setting my mind to something and doing it. And getting it out because I’m in my head so much that I think it kind of inhibits me. This was made… uninhibited, I guess.

KALTBLUT: I think it’s something that comes across when you listen to it.

Brooke: Thank you. It’s bizarre. I was feeling in that moment. I was feeling hypersexual. I wanted to rap again, I wanted to make shit that was kind of satirical and silly. Nothing about this album is meant to be taken seriously. It’s kind of a joke, but that’s my art. I don’t look at life from a lens of like oh this is so serious, I look at life like nothing fucking matters so I’m just gonna make art. I will make whatever I wanna make and if you vibe with it, you vibe with it; if you don’t, you don’t. But it’s cool that at that moment that’s what I was feeling. I like the hypersexuality and bizarreness. It’s weird.

KALTBLUT: You mentioned that you have a weird or unexplainable creative process. What do you think makes it weird?

Brooke: I don’t know how to answer that. My creativity comes in waves sometimes. Like right now in my life… I put out this album and immediately felt like so uninspired, but I think it was because I used so much creative energy for a year straight to do it, to get into it and to create it and make this magic. Now I don’t feel creative at all. It’s weird that it comes and it goes… When it’s there I don’t really notice it. I’m still trying to understand my process! I don’t know how to answer that.

KALTBLUT: I think you did a great job anyway! Thank you. Last question. Back to climate change, and the state of the world and stuff. What do you expect from 2020? How would you like the world to be or how would you change it?

Brooke: You know I was talking to my friend Betsy the other day… This is on a more positive note! I know that we were talking about how depressing it is that we’re so desensitized and we’re kind of past the point of no return. And while I think we have passed the point of no return and the planet is kind of in shambles or it’s like moving into that space, I think 2020 is about clarity. I think everyone is realizing that we’ve really passed this marker and we can’t turn back. It’s creating an uninhibited atmosphere where everyone is realizing what they want out of life, realizing what’s important which is like being kind, being loving. And focusing on that. 

Whatever we want this next year as a species, we’re gonna rapidly manifest. I think the most important thing is for human beings to go inward. Not chase material shit, not chase money and success and fame in that way, but to really dive inward. Start meditating, do yoga. Figure out how to become the highest vibration as people and we can all evolve in that way. I think 2020 is about clarity and evolution. We have the power to evolve as a species. It’s just a matter of buckling down and doing it.

I know a lot of people right now whose focus has shifted from whatever the fuck they were doing – like garbage art or whatever it was – to focusing on the environment. So many of my friends have just dropped everything that they were doing with their lives to become hardcore environmentalists. I think that’s really cool. I think we’re going to see a lot more of that.

Brooke Candy is playing at Berghain on February 25th, 2020. You can win tickets to her show by emailing and telling us what song you’re most excited to see performed live!