Mx Blouse in Full Bloom
CSA: The first time I heard of your musical endeavours was on a nondescript night at Kitchener’s in Braam. You casually told me to listen to your SoundCloud and give M(x) Blouse a listen. You mentioned that a mutual friend, Joni Blud, had produced the track and that peaked my interest even more. The song was WTF (Squared) and the time was last year. At this point had you decided to pursue music as a career or were you merely testing the waters with a singular creative work?
To be honest, Believe the Bloom is a collection of songs about proving to myself first that this is real and not a joke. I wasn’t going for a particular sound, it just so happens that the EP has a lot of production from Joni, which probably gives it some sort of sonic direction. So, more than anything it was an introduction to Mx Blouse, and what I would certainly love for whomever is listening to take away is a little bit about who I am, my politics, my humour and all the things that make me me as an artist; things that I hope to expand on in future projects. The one thing I definitely do hope for is that the EP sounds like no one that you’ve heard before.
Believe the Bloom is the name of your debut EP and I would imagine a personal statement about your transformation into M(x) Blouse. What part of this journey/transformation has been the most exciting?
Certainly. To be honest, the most exciting part has been running into people I’ve known for ages, and many comment on what some have called a “reinvention”. Ha! I like that. I’ve grown in so many ways over a short period of time. If you’d met me three or four years ago you would have met a totally different person, and I totally credit this creative endeavour for that. It has made me so much more aware and comfortable with myself, and hyper aware of the spaces, as well as the dynamics that govern the spaces I inhabit. I think that’s largely because I am so aware of the things that come out of my own and other people’s mouths, and I like finding meaning in just about everything. It’s both an advantage and disadvantage because it also means I tend to overthink.
“I would certainly love for whomever is listening to take away a little bit about who I am, my politics, my humour and all the things that make me as an artist”
It really was just about reaching out, and I am very grateful for the friends I have. Super talented, and quite honestly some of the best at what they do. Lucky for me, they also believe in what I do, and it’s very encouraging to be able to work with people who believe in you. That said, I really do try my best to put out work I can be proud of. Obviously, I am still learning a lot about the music aspect specifically. I’m very new at it, and I know there’s plenty room for improvement, and trust me, the full bloom will be something spectacular. Keep watching this space 😉
That, too. Definitely. The odds are stacked against you if you’re not a straight identifying male in rap. It’s a boys’ club, just like most things in life. Will they book you? Will they want to be associated with a queer person? There are all sorts of questions. But it’s not just the boys club you’re worried about. There’s also a whole community of queer people you suddenly represent by virtue of being out and queer yourself. You kind of just don’t know how you’re going to be received. How should I present myself? Am I alienating folk by being myself? Should I assume a less obviously weird aesthetic? Am I too femme? Am I too masculine? These are all questions that went through my mind, for sure.
Masculinity is a fragile thing, period! Black masculinity, specifically, has mad crazy levels of fragility. And it’s no coincident; it’s by design. The whole race project depends on a weak black male’s existence. Unfortunately, as blacks, we bought into this religious colonial bullshit, and we hold it so dearly with it’s super misogynistic, hella crazy stupid ideas, and such. It’s killing us. I don’t get why the fuck it bothers anyone who the next person is sleeping with. You can call it what you want, I see it as weakness because it tells me you are afraid of something, and that’s your issue, stop making it mine, type-thing! I address this in a song titled ‘Can’t Walk the Streets’: “All of this fragility that niggers think is power/ Fucking stand-up comics, I laugh at you for hours!”
On a collab level, I don’t see myself as exclusively hip-hop, and in that sense, there are several collaborations under discussion. It’s just a matter of finding the time.
I’d love it so much if I could just make music and not constantly be judged on who I am having sex with because essentially, that’s what it is. At the same time, it makes me incredibly proud having the opportunity to shatter stereotypes.
“I’d love it so much if I could just make music and not constantly be judged on who I am having sex with”
I don’t know, man. South Africans can be fucking weird. The fact that it took becoming a thing in Europe before Gqom was a thing here is shameful, but it’s a sign that things do change, and sometimes that change is forced on us by external factors. People used to call it tavern music, now everyone is dancing to it. I’m not too sure what it will take for the industry to become more inclusive, but I am not waiting around for it. I am doing this, and it’s being done. I’ll give everyone else time to catch up.
Releasing Believe the Bloom was an amazing thing because it took so long for me to do it, and the reception exceeded my expectations by far. Opening the Afropunk stage at Basha Uhuru was also completely unexpected and incredible in every way. There was the Mail & Guardian Friday cover recently, and generally chatting to people on the streets who seem genuinely interested, and like, why are you not on the radio? Also me, I don’t know. I’ve tried. Booking a tour in Germany is also just like “whoa, this is real”.
Photography: Aart Verrips
Makeup: Orli Meiri