Roxiny and the Revolución
How is creating your music and visuals a cathartic experience?
I’m a visual person by nature, so a lot of times when I’m in the studio working on stuff and get blocked, I directly go into visual. But I think it’s just being able to express yourself in a multitude of different ways—being able to get those feelings out feels like catharsis. I think any artist can relate to that, whether it’s a music artist, visual artist, or a trumpet player. There’s no better release.
Can you tell me a little bit about your history with activism and why it’s so important to you?
I’ve been an activist since I can remember. It’s just in my nature. As a kid, I was always plucking things. You’re raised in a society thinking that if you’re a girl, you have to do this or abide by this, and you feel it when you are little. As a kid, I always felt like a “tomboy,” and I’ve always disliked that term because what is that? Is it cause I had all these other characteristics about me, and all of a sudden I was put into this “boy” form? I think everything about me, actually, is quite feminine. My fierceness, my very sensitive moments—all of that is a part of me being feminine, so I think my activism kind of began when I started to realize that.
In addition to that, something that’s an uncomfortable conversation for others and for me at this point—I was sexually abused as a kid, and I think that really put a lot of things into question. What does it mean to be a woman? Does that automatically make you a victim? Does being feminine make you a victim? Do I have to dress a certain way to protect myself? I think all of these things and just a number of conversations and experiences led me to really want to fight for girls. And honestly, at the end of the day I’m always rooting for anybody that’s on the fringes, anybody that’s more vulnerable to not being heard by society. I think that in the perfect world, we’d almost stop judging one another and just live and let live.
Jewelry by Jules Kim
I hope the term “Tomboy” is one of those things that slowly dies out…
Oh my God, I can’t wait. Such bullshit [laughter].
It seems like you seamlessly blend your activism with your music—it’s not like one is more important that the other. What do you have to say to people who say entertainers should “stay out” of politics?
I have to say that if you look at your history, a lot of movements have been either supported or started by creative forces and by the fact that artists are willing to express themselves. This has happened time and time again in history, so shut the fuck up, essentially [laughter].
A lot of the times, people who say that only say that about entertainers who don’t share the same views as them.
Yeah, I mean we have a voice—why shouldn’t we express it?
Obviously it’s a very confusing time in the world right now. Something that’s been on the mind lately is solutions. Something like the Las Vegas shooting will happen and people will tweet about gun control for two or three days, but then it dies out until the next thing happens—it feels unproductive. Do you have any thoughts on how to actually get things done in the age that we live in?
There are so many things that need to get done in the age that we live in. I can’t give advice to the masses because we’re all very different individuals, but I just need to continue fighting for the things that I can handle, the things that I can tackle. I feel like if we all make a concerted effort to fight for the things that we strongly believe in and really not give up until we start to make a dent in the wall, it’ll start to happen. And that’s with anything.
If you feel strongly about XYZ, go and call your representatives. Call your senators. Write letters. Go out and protest. Do what you need to do, whatever you feel is the right thing. Anything in your power to be able to see something from point A to point B, and if that means just ten more steps of progress, that’s ten more steps in the right direction. We’re not all going to see it through to the end, but if we’re able to at least take the next ten steps then you are pushing this force forward.
When it comes to guns, listen—I grew up hunting, you know? I have a father who hunted his whole life, and even he would be, and has been, willing to put it down because it’s essentially a hobby. We’ve seen time and time again that if we just make certain changes and make it more difficult to have access to some weapons—in a civilized society, you and I don’t need to be walking around with a semi-automatic weapon—at some point we’ll get to a place where life will matter more than profit. And that’s what I feel is important. And I could talk about gender equality on the same terms, etc. I’m not a believer in—how do you say this in English—reprimanding? I think you should take action yourself, and that action will ultimately start to reverberate, and you will lead by example.
The concept of “9 Months”—it being a term of pregnancy and also the time it took you to get out of an abusive relationship—is very clever and obviously very personal. Could you tell me a little bit about the process of how this came about, as well as the execution and putting out the content?
I have to say, the fact that nine months actually is the length of a pregnancy term is actually completely coincidental with the fact that this relationship lasted exactly nine months. It was almost a sign. I had to go through that to learn and to be who I am today. So I guess that’s the best way I could deal with understanding why I went through it in many ways—obviously if you could avoid something like that, you should. But it’s something that I went through.
In terms of execution, there was nothing really planned or organized about it. I had been trying to write this song for a very long time, and what became sort of difficult was that I guess I hadn’t really fully understood how I went through something like that, how I put myself in that, or just how I ended up in something like that. Until I was able to understand my experience, I wasn’t able to write about it.
And like I said, the fact that 9 months is the period of gestation and nine is such a powerful number for completing cycles, was just a coincidence. If I want to get all witchy and spiritual with it, we could go there, but..
Do you think that’s how the best songs are written—when it happens all at once?
I think creativity just happens how it’s supposed to happen. It’s almost like trying to predict when your child will be born. How do you do that? It’s your baby, and your baby will be born and you will have to just care for it as much as you can and watch it go out into the world, give it the best home that you can.
You’re very involved with GEMS and just did a show in support of Planned Parenthood. What other organizations or communities are you involved with, and how do you think this plays a part in other aspects of your life?
I’m supporting nine different organizations for the duration of my 9 Months Girls Rising campaign. GEMS is one of them, Insight is one of them, the UN Women’s Fund is one of them… It is nine different organizations that I looked into outside of GEMS, which I am very much physically involved with and I volunteer at a lot. These other organizations I don’t have much involvement with besides just wanting to support them. They’re organizations that I feel are doing a fantastic job at supporting women—mostly women who have been through abusive situations, but also women in general. I just wanted to focus on ones that I really felt were doing a great job, and I say that because I feel like there are organizations out there that I feel like maybe aren’t putting as much into it as they say they do, but I definitely researched all of these and went through the process to make sure that they’re putting their money where their mouth is.
Tell me about your next single “Goliath.”
If “Nine Months” was one astrological sign, “Goliath” would be its direct opposite. “Goliath” is my love song, essentially. It’s very light-hearted, and it’s a song that I wrote for my guy. He’s a feminist, he’s one of the coolest motherfuckers in the world, my best friend and somebody who has supported me throughout this entire journey. So I decided to write him a song.
What can we expect from your debut album Rituals?
A lot of honesty.
Why the name Rituals?
Because I feel like I’ve had to go through many moons and many of my own internal and external rituals to make it through a lot of the things that I was finally able to tap into, and a lot of the things that I was able to honor and talk about. They’ve been there, and they’ve been kind of haunting me. It took my dealing with them and confronting them for me to be able to honor them correctly.