"Currently" with Claire Rousay
For our new "Currently" series, we send an artist five open-ended questions to answer, and when responding, they can elaborate as much or as little as desired. The questions are intended to capture a snapshot moment - what an artist is grappling with, appreciates, and dreams about for the future. Responses are posted verbatim, as soon as they are submitted, so as to provide a platform free of editorial skew.
Our fourth "Currently" entry is from Claire Rousay, an experimental artist based in San Antonio, Texas. According to her Bandcamp profile, Rousay's "performances and recordings explore queerness, human relationships, and self perception through the use of physical objects and their potential sounds." Her art is varied, as far as medium, and emotes real dimension and depth, qualities also reflected in her thoughtful responses below. Rousay has so much in the works, as you will see, and is an exciting voice in the experimental scene.
First, a note from the artist:
Before I answer any of these questions I would like to take the time and space to say that these current moments, as well as the indefinite future, should be used as a time to reflect on and fight against the systemic racism and oppression that is prevalent in the united states as well as the rest of the world. As a white woman I believe it is my job to help tear down the oppressive systems that I helped build. Anything outside of a direct action to dismantle this system that is killing the Black People in this country can be put on the back-burner.
Black Lives Matter.
Black Trans Lives Matter.
Abolish The Police.
- What creative project(s) are you working on?
I am currently gearing up for the release (August 28th) of my solo LP “Both” on Second Editions. This will be my first solo LP and I am very excited about it. A lot of my day-to-day activity has been related to press, creating promotional materials, etc. for the album. Besides the release of “Both” I am working on a myriad of projects. Some of them are collaborative and some are more solo work.
- I am working on a collaborative recording and visual art project with Dani Toral. This will most likely “hit the shelves” in early 2021.
- I have a mixtape of electronic/song material coming out with more eaze on our imprint New Computer Girls Ltd. sometime this summer.
- There is a late 2020 release that I am way behind on but it involves myself, Abby Lee Tee, and tsss tapes.
- I have a duo percussion album coming out in October with the fabulous multi-instrumentalist Lisa Cameron.
- And then there are a few performance projects lined up for the rest of 2020. Those will remain a secret for right now.
- What topics, ideas, or movements interest you?
As I type this, I am basically cooking my organs with an electric heating pad set on High. This is a movement I support 100% for anyone with lower back pain.
I am obsessed with Mid Century Modern furniture/design. I am constantly on the search for new midcentury pieces to incorporate into my home. I love rearranging my living spaces and trying out new (to me) pieces of furniture. If you look in the right places you can find some nice stuff for fairly cheap. I am a sucker for a good deal.
Another thing I am interested in are the routines of various creative individuals. Routine has always been a motivational tool for me as well as something that I find fun to experiment with. I love changing up my diet, flipping my sleeping schedule, working on music in different environments, etc. For the same reason, I love artist biographies.
- What music, art, or words do you feel drawn to?
I have been all over the place with my listening habits. I really dislike the idea that artists cannot create or contribute to more than one type of music. I feel like so many musicians are stuck in this way of thinking that they have to operate in a certain “aesthetic” and that stepping outside of it is some sort of betrayal. Humans are so lucky to be these complex, nuanced, and fucked up creatures. Why not embrace it? The other day I listened to the new Dreamcycles EP, Britney Spears’ “Blackout”, and then a Carman Moore album all back to back. I’m not doing a DJ set. I am just trying to enjoy myself.
I’ve always loved Joe McPhee’s “jack of all trades and master of none” mantra. There seems to be a peace in that way of thinking.
I recently have been reading a ton of Simon Morris. Honestly, everything on Amphetamine Sulphate is superb but there is a certain rawness to Simon’s writing that I rarely find elsewhere. I highly recommend buying his book Civil War.
As far as visual art goes - my friend Alex Cunningham has been making a ton of work lately and I am fortunate enough to be able to see it progress as he works on it. He’s creating custom 7” lathes right now and all the custom art for those kick ass.
- What self-care practices are you finding helpful?
My relationship with self-care is complicated. I think there are many misconceptions that self-care can be used as an alternative for medical care. If you have a mental illness, an ambient playlist and a bath isn’t gonna cut it.
BUT, if I am gonna “go there” exercise is a good one. I’ve never been good at keeping up an exercise routine. When I AM on a health kick it helps calm me down. I have really intense (diagnosed) anxiety and panic disorders so physical activity, healthy eating and routine helps with that.
Less healthy but still helpful indulgences include wine, cigarettes, and french fries.
- What do you dream about, for days ahead?
The ability to play music in the same room as other people. There is nothing that feels better to me than in-person, live collaboration. Also having the ability to hug and kiss my friends again would be great too.
You can find links to much of Claire Rousay's work through her Bandcamp page (but also hit those links above), and a sample of her recent collaborative work is embedded below. Cover picture as well as both photos in the article provided by the artist.