If poppy new wave and contemporary radically inclusive queer politics had twin babies and they came out as a spandex clad fat genderqueer femme and an LHB (stands for Long Hair Butch), that’s GAYmous. GAYmous‘ sound is reminiscent of all of the magic I loved in the 80s. Do you like You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive? Or What Have I Done to Deserve This by Pet Shop Boys? Or Venus by Bananarama? You should give GAYmous a try!
Femme on Femme is important fat, queer art that gives us representations of fat queer femmes, including femmes of lots of gender presentations including genderqueerdo femmes, femmes of different abilities and racial diversity that is missing in a lot of media representations of queers. Its also full of crystals, glitter, bondage, great outfits (shout out to Size Queen Clothing), pizza tattoos, a queer porn star I recognized from Trouble Films, lingerie, garters, witchcraft, and the Collective Tarot. And an LHB on keyboards and servicing with popcorn and standing to the side while a femme coven does a cake bondage ritual.
I’ve written extensively about Femme on Femme action before and am super excited to see it come alive on screen in this fun and beautiful way!
Queer synth pop duo GAYmous takes you to the magical femme disco witch sex coven of your dreams as singer Pizza Cupcake seduces a sexy new witch recruit with spells, choreographed dances, and kinky rituals.
I took the opportunity to interview the genius duo about art, values and fat queer utopia.
What are your values as a band/queer artists?
Pizza Cupcake:GAYmous values unabashed queerness. We also want to create music and visuals where (gender) queer and fat people can feel seen and celebrated. We also worship at the altar of the synthesizer.
FX Boi:We want to make music that is political, sexy, and embodying. Something that opens up a dance floor. That makes people feel good, feel heard, feel sexy, and music that is very specifically queer.
What inspires you to make art?
Pizza Cupcake:I studied classical music for most of my life and even went to undergrad for vocal performance. I loved the drama of operatic singing but something was missing. I felt like I couldn’t be myself and there wasn’t space for a gender weird fat kinky queer femme in classical music. Starting GAYmous was a happy accident and I will be forever grateful to FX Boi for getting me out of my choir boy shell. It was so liberating collaborating to write original songs instead of singing German Lieder by an old dead white guy.
These days I am inspired by my friends, lovers, and community. I love taking an inside joke and turning it into a kinky queer vocabulary lesson for the masses. I was certainly inspired by your Queer Lexicon posts on your blog. I think I’m always creating art for younger me, a fat, closeted, suburban homo who was hungry for any representation.
FX Boi:I’ve been writing songs since I was 12. To me, it’s just a part of my life, always has been. It’s actually a bit of a compulsion. When I was a young rural queer, it was definitely my lifeline. I felt really isolated and would spend hours behind closed doors writing songs and attempting to create a multitrack recorder with two tape decks because I wanted to write many parts, not just vocals and guitar. Let me tell you, some of these songs were downright terrible, but they were all exercises and therapy for me. I’ve been in bands and done solo music all my life – indie rock bands, metal bands, math rock, punk bands, and now electronic music for the past decade or so after I fell in love with synthesizers and realized my palette could expand from a 5-piece rock band to an infinite number of sounds, shapes, textures and moods.
In reference to GAYmous, it’s about creating queer-specific pop music, by queers, for queers and creating spaces at shows that are specifically for queer people and queerdos. In my own solo project, Sapphic Lasers, I write songs about all sorts of things – alternative masculinities, radical butch-femme love songs, kink, celestial bodies, interrogating whiteness, being a small town country boi and jaded romantic at heart, etc.
Pizza Cupcake:I’m a Gemini so I naturally get super excited about projects and then leave them all half done in tiny piles. I’ve been trying to curb this tendency my whole life and GAYmous has helped me figure out time management like a boss. I’m constantly jotting down ideas in a journal, leaving voice memos on my phone, and humming to myself. A lot of these ideas get crystallized together so I make band practice after my day job a priority. I’m also a big fan of those artist way type activities like morning pages to get all my ideas out.
FX Boi:I’m an Aries, which means I have a lot of gusto and energy. I’m very busy and time-challenged, but I make sure to make “art dates” with myself where I will work on editing, songwriting, creating. I also have found that I don’t feel balanced or healthy without carving out this time. Sometimes I squeeze in an hour or so of songwriting in between things (which often makes me late) or I dedicate a whole night or afternoon to working on things. A lot of songwriting actually happens in my head. Melodies or ideas will come to me and I’ll record them walking down the street into my phone and often get weird looks. My ridiculously talented friend, Nomy Lamm, and I actually compared voice notes on our phone once – it turns out she does the same thing! We thought it might be fun to trade phones and finish writing each other’s songs or do a compilation of these funny, fragmented voice notes. Writing GAYmous songs is usually pretty fun and seamless and collaborative with Pizza Cupcake. Whereas I often get more stuck on songs I’m writing for myself. Sometimes I just chew on a song I’m working on in my mind for a while and take it in different directions.
What would be your idea of utopia?
Pizza Cupcake:No one ever says the phrase “good fatty” and the only trolls live under bridges. Touring internationally is cheap and easy. All the gym bros have gone missing. Dating scarcity feels doesn’t exist. Everything good feels abundant. Breakfast tacos are found everywhere not just in Texas. Femmes reign supreme. All plus size clothing is cute.
FX Boi:Capitalism, white supremacy, ableism, patriarchy, queerphobia, transphobia, fatphobia, classism, etc. comes crashing down; we destroy all clocks and use their remains to make art projects and have tons of “leisure” time to work on our passions, grow things, cook things, eat things, love people, fuck, lounge, swim, explore, feel sun on our cheeks, lay in grass, try new things, read, sleep, make things, collaborate. It’s like one, big long, eternal queer potluck/skillshare/sex and pool party. And everyone brings stuff like mac n cheese and cookies instead of kale salad. Oh and utopia has no bosses. Except #femmebosses.
I am on News 12 New York in a piece about businesses with gay employees that offer health insurance. Re/Dress was selected and as an employee who is gay and has health insurance, the newscaster asked me "Will you and your partner be getting married?" And I said "I want News 12 viewers to know I am single."
Anyway, they said in the report, "Bevin Branlandingham, who is single, doesn't want to get married for insurance." And then I talk about how getting divorced is expensive so you shouldn't get married for health insurance.
Last month Damien started getting a bunch of packages and I was wondering what they were. She casually said, Ariel [Speedwagon] and I were thinking of creating a handbell butt choir. I responded, "Oh, really?" But didn't get to all of my questions about it. Which were many. How are you going to get the handbells to stay in the butt? Do you know how to play the handbells? (Damien has churchy origins so I figured some time in a youth handbell choir was likely.)
Then the night came when Ariel was over (and Lizxnn) and the handbells were opened and I could hear them in my bedroom... clear as a bell. And this was clearly a thing that happened.
So much work went into this choir. Figuring out the mechanics of making butt plugs out of handbell handles. Casting the bell ringers--finding people who were okay with Christmas stuff, playing a handbell with their butt, and at lease slightly musically inclined, plus the more difficult aspect, whether their schedule permitted both performance dates and a couple of rehearsals. Artists in NYC are busy, especially during the holidays! Click to read the whole article--and see the video of the performance!
“in Beth Ditto…I saw an out, queer fat femme owning her sexuality and hotness and never apologizing for it. Seeing someone else do it who was younger than me only inspired me to hurry up and get through my fat shame and start making something of myself. As she’s gotten more media exposure, I’ve seen Beth challenge notions of ‘cute’, ‘pretty’ and ‘fashionable’ in really hysterical ways. She’s a brave and amazing artist.”