Crowd Control Q&A | Rat Rios
1. There is a common trend among artists in which we tend to reconstruct the narrative of our lives, trying to trace our influences back to a point of inception in order to gain creative clarity. Looking back, are there moments in your life that have made an indelible mark on your path to becoming an artist?
Ok, so I was one of those kids who was reserved out in public and absolutely nuts in private, battling these two very different personas and legitimately wondering, in those vehemently paranoid ways children wonder, if I was actually mental. I felt such rich, empathic emotions which has only snowballed into the adult I am today and the art I create. I construct things that make me and others tap into those primitive, unfiltered connections we make as a child, so really, my entire childhood is that indelible mark. With all the mediums of the art I use to create, I am consistently obsessed with the dreams we have for ourselves as children and how important it is to harness the good and bad from childhood and use it in a way that makes us more successful at living and finding happiness. This is why much of my art and music is nostalgia-driven. It's an endless fountain to draw water from.
2. How has your background in theater affected your artistic image and thought process as an artist? Are there certain aspects of theater performance that bleed into or inspire you as a musician?
My theater and music are absolutely entwined. From a performance aspect, live music is theatre. Music is simply another powerful tool for storytelling; if I ever find myself struggling to convey a moment of humanity through the words of a script or play, music is almost always the antidote. Something I've learned with theater is the necessity of having a through-line, a clear purpose. If there's no purpose, how can you expect people to care and to connect? Another thing: creating a completely controlled environment (ranging from the lights to the set to even the temperature of the building) helps cultivate this sacred space where you can perform your art truthfully and your audience has been placed into an appropriate headspace (and literal space) to receive it.
3. Your last EP, Pearls of the Particular, came out in 2017. Can you tell us a little bit about the meaning behind the album title?
I found this phrase in the notes section on my phone, not remembering its origins. My songs are pearls to me and those two particularly conveyed a time in my life where nothing seemed adequate enough. The phrase 'pearls of the particular' is an autological phrase itself, which I love! Also, it's a fun phrase to roll around in your mouth, it hits a lot of great consonants. (I then re-read one of my favorite books, House of Leaves, and saw it there. Hurray, mystery solved! Thank you Mark Z. Danielewski for that particular pearl.)
4. What aspects of the artistic process do you enjoy the most?
My favorite moments are the most unglamorous parts of songwriting. I love it when I'm in the zone: it's probably a random time of the day, I smell bad, I have a million other obligations, my tea or coffee has gone cold but I still drink it, and nothing is overriding this lightning strike of inspiration. Those are the golden moments.
5. What impact does your environment have on your creative output? Are there specific spaces you prefer, or need to be in, in order to create?
My home is where I feel most comfortable creating. I have painstakingly catered my home to the outside elements Dallas throws at us--what kind of light hits a specific window at a certain time, where each of my 76 (lol) plants are placed, etc. I was born a PNW baby, so I thrive whenever it rains. Though these conditions are ultimately beneficial to the idea of conception, I don't hold myself prisoner to them, because life does not always go as planned and you don't get the option of calling all the shots. Something that I am NOT great at is 'jamming' with other musicians. That to me is like asking a nun to start dating. I get uncomfortable in that environment, perhaps because songwriting and producing is a deeply personal thing.
6. Do you think DFW is a viable place for electro-pop and related genres to thrive? Why or why not?
DFW is great for EVERY type of music. Before I got into the music scene, I didn't know what to think of the local talent--I figured most of it was probably americana/singer-songwriter, but holy moly, there are bands on every end of the spectrum here. So many shows are billed with unconventionally paired bands, which I find to be utterly delightful. Though there isn't a HUGE number of us electronic artists (in ratio to other genres), the community is accepting and supportive. However, Dallas is what you make of it, as any city is. If you stay true to yourself and your genre (or non-genre if that's your thing), fruition is damn near guaranteed to come no matter where you are.