Curated by Quinn Barbour
Photographed by Amani Minter
"Unapologetically existing as a black person in a community and being yourself and being clear of who you are. That is what makes me and lots of others interesting."
Expressing themselves through music, dance and performance art, Creatrx unveils dirt. honey. glitter. water – an EP of six eclectic, exuberant tracks exploring life as a Black non-binary person in modern society.
Marked by the singles “RUN”, the sex-positive “sunday” and non-binary anthem “experience”, dirt. honey. glitter. water is an otherworldly journey weaving layers of distorted synths, percussive electronic drum beats and powerful lyrics.
Citing Kelis, Santigold and M.I.A. as their “holy trinity” alongside funk icon Betty Davis and OutKast as well as punk and Black house music, Creatrx’s EP forms itself as a unique melting pot of genres, ideas and messages, born from a diverse wealth of influences and life experience – helmed by Creatrx with EZRA OST and teddy NBD.
The title dirt. honey. glitter. water derives from the core elements used in African religions and African magic and is explored during the opening number “primordial”, where Creatrx also outlines the backstory of the EP’s universe: “the world wasn’t working for us, so we created our own… for outcasts and queers, for misunderstood Black girls.”
“experience” is the artist’s explosively bold proclamations of self-identity: “Decolonizing and reindiginizing this clit… ‘that bitch’ seems to be the only pronoun that fits… Not a boy, not a girl, baby I’m an experience,” they proudly declare over booming bass kicks and trap snares before launching into “RUN”, an unflinching punk-blues banger addressing frustrations of capitalism on Black bodies and imaginations.
dirt. honey. glitter. water explores a softer sonic style on “prebaptism”, which merges bright and sweeping pads over a bouncy beat and naturally flows into the wavy, oscillating synth drones and half-time groove of “sunday”: “We sex positive, baby! I was born on a Sunday, which many religions regard as a holy day. I wanted to play with the idea of what’s holy. I know that honouring all choices women and femmes make; celibacy or polyamory or sex work, etc., is putting the HO in HOly. I’m here for that.”
Offering a final message of hope for the future is the EP’s closing track “seeds”, serving as a moment to remember and have reverence for the wisdom and love of ancestors that believed in Black futurity, even when it seemed futile to do so, as well as “a moment to have reverence for the seeds that survived alongside us.”
Creatrx made the following statement about the EP: “I make music for Black people, especially Black LGBTQ+ folks. I want to tell our stories, talk about our sorrows, things that bring us joy, and the things that move us. I hope to add to this canon of Black music that moves and create joys and healing in this time when it feels like everything in the world is trying to take it from us. This work takes back the power from the institutions and ideas that have not served me and looks into recognizing the power from Earth’s elements and within myself. They are potent magic tools I use almost daily in my own spiritual practice and performance. In my life, my relationships, my art, and basically all I do, I am surrounded by and support Black queer people – by the very people who make the culture. I value and honor the culture and the people who make it.”
Hailing from Atlanta and now based in LA after spending seven years in NYC, Creatrx is also a member of the band Gang Box and is also currently establishing the WAVMAKERS podcast; an archive, toolkit and community resource that highlights Black, Latinx, queer and trans underground artists to help navigate their art, careers and life.
With dirt. honey. glitter. water. emerging as a daring and solid body of work, Creatrx plants themselves as one of the most interesting and meaningful artists coming up right now who is using music as a vehicle to push forward a vastly underrepresented community.
via a press release
How do you feel your artistic sound has evolved with moving from ATL to NYC to LA?
Well this is my first project and it was made before moving to LA, So really the main places were Atlanta and New York. Those places are where I got most of my inspiration from. This is the first project like this that I am sharing so its an infusion of both of those places.
If you could give an important piece of advice to your younger self or people of this younger generation, what would it be?
So I really like the journey that I’ve been on and I am happy with where I’m at so I try to be fully present and experience that. So being mindful and trusting your intuition and your inner voice because there’s so much noise around us. It’s something that I am still working on but I have a really great support system and I’m thankful for that energy. Also my own spiritual practices help as well.
You mention that you plant yourself as one of the most interesting and meaningful artist coming up. Tell us more about what puts you in these two powerful categories?
I think I am interesting in the way that a lot of black girls or a lot of LGBT people are interesting. Very extraordinary but also regular. Unapologetically existing as a black person in a community and being yourself and being clear of who you are. That is what makes me and lots of others interesting. Especially in the kind of way of knowing we have something important to say, just like other people. We all have our place and our purpose. I do know there is a special thing with artist where they’re held up to this high standard and I do think part of that is a societal thing, and i am special but so are so many other black girls I know or so many other people in general that i know who are smart and passionate.
Do you have full creative control over projects or do you have the assistance of a team of like minded people?
It’s me and my producers but I’m sitting there and I’m learning slowly how to work things. I’m learning to play the drums but it is a challenge but I want to do it.
How was it telling family and friends that you wanted to change your pronouns to they/them? Was it something you held on to for a while or the moment you felt it and believed it you told them?
My friends were fine and they understand. For me, its more spiritual. Whether someone calls me she or her, it’s not really that serious to me but I know for some people it is and they are very clear on what their preference is. I prefer they/them, but for me i know how i feel and that doesn’t change depending on how someone refers to me.
Are you looking to be signed to a major label or continue managing yourself?
I would like to have more support. It’s hard being an artist and the person doing the promo, managing, and booking but I’m not sure if i want to be signed in that way. I like having creative control and I wouldn’t be willing to give that up.
What type of performance art have you done?
For a long time I did a work study at an Aerial and Pole studio. I was teaching pole dance and performing and doing sensual floor movement. It’s difficult to still teach with Covid but i’m really focusing on my music right now but what I’ve taught will definitely come into my performances at some point. I’ve also done a choreo poem as well. A lot if is black mythology and futuristic stuff. Very interesting things performing in New York.
How will you/do you handle any backlash you receive from people who don’t agree with who you are?
It’s hard to imagine. I know who I make my music for, i know my path and purpose and that is very clear but i also know that that’s one thing to say when you don’t have so many people who know you in that way. I do think that i have things in place now that will support me at this level and will continue to support me and how my work grows. Then you also remember how insignificant these things are and you move on. I’m very clear on who i do this for and the more clear you are the more people you will upset.
Are you currently working on anything that you can share with us other than your most recent EP?
I have lots of dreams. Right now I have a few people contacting me to work with me, writing and learning the drum. I’m in a space now where I am wanting to explore other ways of making music, not just on the computer. So, I bought a contact mic and i want to start experiment with different type of sounds. I dont want everything to be so digital, i want to do things with my hands and explore that way. I’m looking forward to that and some potential collabs that are on the way.
You have cited Kelis, Santigold and M.I.A. as lyrical and stylistic influences. Please tell us about any particular songs from these artists that have helped to manifest the person that you identify as today?
I definitely know that Santigolds “Creator” is a song that has stuck with me since I heard it in 2008/2009. Just the style of it, I think even in my own music there are certain elements that I like. When I’m working with producers I want the music to sound reminiscent of that song because it really speaks to me. There are certain stylistic choices that appeal to me. That glitchy sound is present in her music and I really like that.
“I don’t care” by Kelis is another song I really like, it was off of her second album that initially wasn’t released in the U.S. It’s this quintessential black girl club song for me where she just screams “i don’t care anymore!” Like what you think about me, what you feel, this is who i am and i love that song for that reason.
How do you feel like your personal struggles and upbringing as a non-binary artist can assist the next generation of budding artists?
The most important thing about music is that someone is speaking directly to you. Thats why I like rap. It has this type of influence and while it has grown into something different, it was initially speaking to a group of folks who were disenfranchised. House did that same thing when it came out of Detroit. All of black music is speaking to a group of people and they are being reflected in that. I think that people are now able to be out and proud of their queerness and how they identify with their gender, they are able to speak directly to others and show them the limitlessness and the possibilities while really helping to show people that not only are we here now but we’ve been here and we will continue to be here and thats all that matters.
How was the name Creatrx birthed?
So it’s not really a real word but when I was in New York i was working on a show called “Dark Girl Chronicales” with this artist, Nia Witherspoon and it was very intense and it was about women who have been in proximity to men that have been killed by the police, focusing on how it affects them when they witness it or hear the tragedy happening in real time. We were doing some experimental theatre things and she just kept calling me “Creatrx” and I really loved it. It just means that you are creative and your just creating and using your imagination.
How do you balance your mental health, being a black non-binary LGBTQ person and your art?
I try to spend a lot of time in nature. I have spiritual practices like being at my alter, meditating. I have a really supportive partner so having that support system is huge and I turn my phone off and give myself social media breaks as well.
Could you tell us more about the WAVMAKERS podcast? What can we expect?
It will be out around September 16th and I’m really excited about it. It’s an archive of all of these really amazing black and latinx artists who have been able to maneuver through the wild music industry. I had the support of people who have helped me find these artists and reach out to them. We are really all we have.
Photographer/Creative Director: Amani Minter