Nicole Kali (9/22/21)




NK: #BRU brings you our 24th #BRUTalk and we are all abuzz about our guest: the Boston-based musician, mynameisblueskye! Thank you for joining us! How are you?

mynameisblueskye: As long as I have a proper amount of food in my belly and a good amount of sleep, I will always be alright. Thank you for having me. It's truly a pleasure. :-)

NK: This is long overdue as your artistry encompasses so much within itself: all lo-fi and extremely multifaceted.

mynameisblueskye: I would like to say that the lo-fi grain is simply a product of making music out of necessity (my setup is VERY simple. Just a few keyboards, a laptop and an android for my vocals), but I kind of like the challenge of trying to make something golden regardless of your setup.

Back in the mid-2000s, there used to be a lo-fi scene featuring artists like The Mountain Goats, Sebadoh, Neutral Milk Hotel, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (a personal favorite) and The Microphones. The two sides of lo-fi were that some were making it out of necessity, and some make lo-fi rock or pop due to the intriguing aesthetics that come out of not having your music be so clean.

My take on it is no different than Black Moth Super Rainbow: it still sounds pretty lo-fi compared to the cleanest studio recording, but I also learned to work within the perimeters just enough to still be able to knock out a good tune. That, and I have a lowkey fascination with music that is a little bit junky and distorted in some respects.


NK: When did mynameisblueskye first emerge and blend this electronic shoegaze, new-wave rock sounds?

mynameisblueskye: This is going to be a long one, but I'll try not to make the details too boring. TL;DR version? The two came at separate times, and didn't coalesce and truly form till 2017. The long version?

It has honestly always been there, but the seriousness of it didn't emerge until around Proletariat Pop EP, which was merely a collection of songs I had written while I was attending community college on my Casio SA-79. This was back when I was Lightning Pill (a name I lowkey regret having to grow out of). The concept I had for being under the name Lightning Pill wrapped around making music that was glam folk.

Electronic yet "primitive" as far as the arrangements of the music and the way it is recorded complete with me putting on more of a show. Unfortunately, the glam part never showed up as far as my performances and the songs I was writing, so I decided to drop the name and christen myself with a name I had when I was in another college at 21, 22. I named myself mynameisblueskye (a Xanga name from back when I used to blog a LOT in my 20s).

The logic behind using my old blog name was "no more conceptual characters". (Ha!) Just writing honest songs. As for electronic shoegaze and new wave, it has always been a style I love. I love space rock, I love shoegaze, I love psychedelic pop, and I love new wave simply because it is like an electronic version of alternative music.

There is a much different swagger to new wave or darkwave than there is to regular rock music. The supposed cheapness and mechanical nature adds more to that aesthetic I love, and is also done with necessity as the drums came from sampling all of the keyboard drums I used. An actual drum machine would do me crazy good.

NK: Was it Your Boy Is Growing Up or earlier in life that you began releasing music?

mynameisblueskye: I began releasing music when I was around 20 (so, 2010). I was hella fucking nervous about being able to sing, but it didn't stop me from recording from time to time. At the time, I just made music as Negative Vision (proto-blank videotapes), and recorded ambient music or spacemusic.

I would have loved to sing lyrics, but my performance anxiety was fierce as all hell. If I gave you an explanation of what I hated about my voice, you would be glad that I got myself out of that shit when I did. The first ever real album was Nirvana in the Age of Paranoia, which was about me trying to temper worldly tension by trying to go into Buddhism and using music as a form of meditation.

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Unfortunately, I don't think the spacemusic genre paid many pizza bills, and even if it did, I knew next to nothing about the music business or how to even get involved. My first real singer-songwriter demo Your Boy is Growing Up didn't come until maybe 2013 when I was finally able to get over my performance anxiety enough to start writing and singing songs with lyrics, hence the title.

As confusing as this may sound, even THAT wasn't the first project. Awkward Stage is. So, you can say that Awkward Stage was an EP where I tried to write songs getting over my performance anxiety, and YBIGU was an album where I ACTUALLY did it. I am sure plenty of people probably want to hear it, but to do so, I would advise that you subscribe to my Bandcamp.


NK: I am Black, I am autistic, and I am LGBT, and I love music,” you set the record straight at Terezifest in May. The power in that statement is real! Live your truth.

mynameisblueskye: We live in a time right now where we can't really run away from who we are, but the world wants nothing more than for you to do just that. Black people getting killed, harassed and looked down on everyday, unless they betray their people and their nature somehow.

LGBT people getting disrespected, sexually discriminated, kicked out, used and ignored all the time. Autistic people facing constant disrespect, threats of eugenics, autism parents speaking over grown autistics, etc. Nobody who actually counts themselves amongst the marginalized is looking to be killed and disrespected all their lives, so what people like me do is I work hard using music, media, writing and whatever to build a name big enough for it to not matter.

You know how people look at Frank Ocean? He came out as bisexual, but his music is so highly enjoyed that no one gave a shit. People like me work everyday to get that kind of safety where our talent steps in the way of us not being like the status quo.

Unfortunately, people in my position don't have the privilege of Frank Ocean, and even if I did, I wouldn't want them to ignore who I was just so they can maintain a sense of comfort because no one looks at people like me with actual respect when the doors are closed. With this sinking into me after every post made by the same cissies who claimed that my Black Life Mattered a literal year ago, I spell it out as a means to weed out those very people.

I'm not interested in having people who don't like me for what I am liking my music because once I actually get around to writing gay and autistic songs more often, it will be quite the awakening.

 NK: How did your last live performance feel, expressing these identities artistically?

mynameisblueskye: It feels good doing it every other night, but it may be because I am amongst company that share the same characteristics and social openmindedness as I do. I thrive mostly in the scene of bedroom pop and indie where being autistic and being LGBT is our social and creative passkey and it is not much of a burden as long as, again, your music is good enough for it to not matter.

Being black and alternative is a whole other can of worms that me and multiple other alternative and avantgarde tackled together just last year. Frankly, I don't write enough songs about being autistic and LGBT for people to really care.

I want someone to hear my songs, and say that they think it is something relatable to them. My superpower as a singer-songwriter is to write about things not often observed and explored.

When I wrote "Revolution on Paper", I thought about all of the people who wrote rap and R&B songs about police brutality and being black in America and how almost NOBODY called out the hypocrisy of them giving a shit and turning around to condemn black LGBTs behind closed doors.

That alone is why I became a songwriter, and even wrote a lo-fi album ABOUT having Asperger's Syndrome...which I told myself I would one day write better when the time comes. I don't hear a lot of songs about what having Asperger's syndrome is like, and if there are, none that I can really relate to that much.


NK: One great aspect about creative jams is their organic nature, right? Though I totally get criticisms when electronic music sounds overly produced.

mynameisblueskye: It can be. I am as mesmerized by a performance by Lisa Bella Donna and Russell E.L. Butler as I am an eclectiDaedelus DJ set.

My thing is this: I have two bits of criteria for enjoying music made with electronics. 1) it sounds good of course, 2) it follows this unwritten ethos of trying to create the future, which fully feeds my fascination surrounding adventurous music.

If you keep your head in the electronic music scene long enough, you will notice that every artist in the underground winds up creating something new and entirely their own. Some of it being very avant-garde for the scene, some of it being more poppy, but electronica always finds artists who want nothing more than to explore the sound of whatever is next.

If not that, then just having them explore their own musical language within or regardless of genre. As a kid who loved rock music, that is one of the reasons why electronic music stole my heart: it sounded like a constant reinvention of everything I thought I knew about music and sought to be a bionic version of everything we thought we knew about music.

What does the future sound like musically? Hell, now that rock is supposed to be on its way back, what does rock sound like if it was focused on creating a future?

NK: Which instruments and sounds resonate with you nowadays?

mynameisblueskye: I want so hard to say "not guitar" since my one rule on making music is to not involve the guitar, but it's not all the way true.

I say anything that allows for musical adventure and invention of new ideas. Hell, keyboards may be one of the most common instrument, but it is an instrument that allows for constant ideas and sounds to emerge.

Growing up, I heard people from Nick Valensi of The Strokes and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez reinvent what playing the guitar sounded like, but even in an interview, Steven Wilson laments the amount of adventure that was dragged out of playing guitar, To find a future for rock is to see what else there is to explore sound-wise and songwriting-wise.

For keyboards? 500 presets all allowing you to write about 500 songs, if you wanted to. No song has to sound the same, and you can take any direction you want. So, that is why not only does keyboard resonate, but also the omnichords (I like how it sounds like a cheap mixture of a xylophone and an electric piano), analog synthesizers, keytar, anything electronic.

Hell, even a regular piano. As for my "no guitars" rule? It wasn't till I made an album called Maintenance Man that I found that writing songs on the guitar (acoustic) was no longer interesting to me. (This comes with a long separate story.) I was watching artists like Joanna Newsom play the harp and Owen Pallett playing the violin.

I wanted to write songs, but on the terms that you don't HAVE to use the guitar all the time just to make it kickass. Hell, my dad left me a clarinet. One day, I just might see if I can make music with that or using anything else in my grasp.


NK: There is so much you contribute, not just to indie. The stage is yours for any upcoming projects and fun stuff in the works.

mynameisblueskye: Well, currently, I am working on a new album and a new podcast. First, the podcast.

I have been tossing back and forth the idea of a podcast for a year or two now, but what made me hold onto the idea is this: people are currently getting back to doing shows now, but it doesn't quite fix problems surrounding those who are too disabled to leave the house or even be an audience member.

Let's say the person wanted to see your show, but your venues don't allow wheelchairs, or the performer can't get on stage. Say the people who want to see you play are bedridden. What ideas do you have to bring live shows to them? (Thankfully, this is also a good reason why Tiny Desks and KEXP live performances are a thing.)

This is one of the reasons why I embraced doing livestreams and didn't mind if it was all that we did. I can do a show in my bedroom, and people who usually get left out as audience members can have live performances brought to them.

A podcast means I can discuss my situations and interests, current events, talk to those either disabled or talk to those on the autism spectrum specifically, and in the end, I can perform a new or old song. Mix my performance skills with my interest in being a professional, motivational speaker one day.

But till I work out the script for that, I am still working on making a new album that is supposed to have more of an energetic and wild feel, but we will see what emerges at the end of it all. Stay tuned for that!

NK: It’s been a pleasure to rock with mynameisblueskye! #BRU crew, thanks again!

mynameisblueskye: Thank YOU. All my love to Black Rockers United, and those still fighting to be able to rock in public. We are all fighting to not be that constantly ignored alternative black individual. Lord knows I have been fighting that fight all my damn life. One day, this will be the norm, and we will not be an anomaly to anyone.

mynameisblueskye is on , ,   and their additional project is blank videotapes.

Stay tuned for the upcoming podcast! We will update this page then. #SupportTheScene.