Bug Bat: Interview with Aeon Fux, Serpentine Sound Master

You know what the world needs? A good taking over. If I had to trust someone to do the job right, it would be Aeon Fux. I was pulled in to discovering this being of another planet – who also goes by the name Elytra – through the otherworldly groundedness of her work. Keeping with the now in word, they detach from the present in theme and sound. Listening to their tracks feels like entering another dimension of extraterrestrial insects talking about Earth while sipping Long Island Ice Teas on a hot summer day. With a fascination for herpetology and entomology, Aeon Fux builds a safe space for the strange in sight and mind. All here for that! I ran up to this beautiful bug of a Bat to catch some wise words:tumblr_ns5qg361cv1tbzwx3o3_540

How would you describe your sounds?

I once had a friend describe my sound as “honey dripping from the mouth of a cosmic lizard” and I am perfectly okay with that description. I also tend to give the short description “the sound of a beetle’s wings”, but to go more in depth with that, I’d like to think that my music is heavy, droning, and hypnotic. I try to create soundscapes that are comparable to getting lost in the woods, and having bugs lead you to safety.

When did you first get into music?

As generic as an answer as it is, pretty much all of my life. I’ve always been involved in choir, and was in marching band for a short while. I even sang Evanesence’s My Immortal for the 8th grade talent show, haha! I went to an art school for some of high school and my main focuses were vocal music and writing, and took some classical training early in college. Despite all of this, I never really considered myself a musical person until I was an adult, because it was always a hobby for me. I was pretty set on majoring in environmental science, but now I’m majoring in Music and African American studies, and I go to a weird hippy college so I’m able to say I’m getting a degree in Afrofuturism!

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What other mediums do you express yourself through?

I would definitely have to say fashion! I’ve gone through a lot of changes when it comes to cultivating my personal style, but I often like to build outfits that would go with a scenario, like “satanic magical girl” or “futuristic tennis barbie” for example. As a fat person, being able to express myself through what I wear is kind of on hard mode due to limited options, but I do love a challenge!  Writing is also definitely a huge component in how I express myself, whether it be through my lyrics or my blog posts. It’s cathartic, and helps me sort out my thoughts a little easier.

Can you give us a rundown of your creative process? What steps do you go through to compose a song?

My creative process is pretty varied. Sometimes I’ll compose a melody before I write lyrics, sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes they both happen at the same time! Usually I’ll be thinking intently about a subject/people and events in my life, and I’ll associate them together. I like to write music that is both literal and figuratively, ‘liminal’ if you will. I like to watch videos on youtube or read about different organisms and I often drawn inspiration from them. When I make a capella beats I like to include organic sounds that I feel match the tone of the subject matter.

Has anyone ever influenced your style/been a major source of inspiration to you in any way?

to be honest I don’t think anyone in particular has really influenced my style directly, I like to take different elements from different sources of inspiration and compile them together. I draw influence more from the overall aura of people or things rather than their actual sounds or style elements. I’m really inspired by my peers who are doing some amazing creative work right now, but also the likes of visionaries like Poly Styrene from X Ray Spex, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones, Nina Simone, and on the other end of the spectrum, Japanese pop duos from the 70’s/80s like Pink Lady and Wink! Another huge inspiration for me is the metal genre in general, metal is actually what inspired me to pursue music professionally and I feel that some of my darker lyrics kind of reflect that.

Reptiles and insects seem to be a recurring theme within your work. Do they have a special significance to you?

Absolutely! They happen to be some of my favorite organisms on Earth, as well as sea creatures. I was pretty involved in the local reptile community for a while, as I’ve been a reptile owner for a number of years and was seeing someone who was a professional reptile handler. I have a pet blue tongued skink who means the world to me, and I used to have a pet hissing cockroach! I think that it’s interesting how far removed a lot of people are from these creatures, when there’s so much we can learn from them. For a long while growing up I was repulsed by insects, but as I got older I realized that, biologically, they play a far more significant role in maintaining our ecosystem than we could ever hope to. We owe a lot to insects and they get such a bad rep! I was finding beauty in insects around the same time that I started to find beauty within myself, and I think that plays a huge role in how I see them (and me)! I initially came to school for environmental studies, and my focuses were entomology, parasitology, and herpetology. For a while I volunteered at an aquarium, and I had a general hobby of “natural history” and collected all kinds of items, ranging from bones to ethical taxidermy to bugs under glass. I even ran an oddities/natural history blog before I started posting my music online! My goal was to work at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, and who knows! I might end up there someday.

Was there a particular moment in your life when music played an essential role? Did it ever help you overcome something?

Making music in general has helped my social anxiety more than anything else has. There was a point in my life where I became extremely agoraphobic, and was posting my music online from the safety of my apartment but feared performing anywhere else. Though I had been involved in music in various ways throughout my life it always filled me with a sense of dread and anxiety, my performance anxiety was so bad at one point that if I ever had a solo in choir, I’d have to go home and cry afterwards. It really does just take patience and practice. I’m at a point now where being on stage makes me feel good and energizes me. I’m still not the most socially graceful person but I can now have conversations with strangers thanks to music bridging that gap, and feeling far less anxious about it than I would have a few years ago. It improves every day, I just started playing live this year and I can already see a huge change in myself and the way that I perceive others.

How do you respond to bigotry?

It depends on what kind honestly. I get hate for various reasons, for being black, being fat, being queer, being mentally ill, or a combination of those things. People often try to invalidate my existence in various ways but I always try to remind myself that I deserve to be here. I’ve worked hard to get to the point I am at, I’ve struggled through a lot of my life and I deserve to be proud of my achievements, who I am and what I do. If someone doesn’t like me for the above reasons, there’s nothing I can do to change their minds, and it’s not worth my energy to do so. I’m trying to focus more on the people that support me, who inspire me, and who I can hope to inspire. Building a safe, loving community of people who care about your well being is important when a lot of people out there want to invalidate you.

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Can you tell us about your Terry Richardson song? What do you believe his presence in the fashion industry says about our society?

I’ve always had a vendetta against him and at some point past 3am one morning I realized I could express that in my preferred medium. I had no idea how many people shared my sentiments considering how often I see his photography on my tumblr dashboard or on the internet in general. The accounts given by some of the models who have had the displeasure of working with him are truly horrifying, and the idea that this mediocre photographer has used his power and status to take advantage of VERY young women disgusts me. His ‘nsfw’ photo series is nothing short of gross, exhibitionist garbage and anyone who thinks he is ‘brilliant’ just wants to stay in his good graces and his many famous connections. Terry Richardson is a perfect example of white mediocrity being blown up into something it’s not, his amateurish photographs are considered ‘stylized’ whereas if he were nonwhite/didn’t have the connections he has they’d be considered less than average. Combine that with the allegations against him and it’s just a tasteless mess. I hate him and he can still catch these hands.

What do you hope to inspire through your sounds?

I hope to inspire a sense of belonging to people who feel they don’t fit into any particular space or niche. The theme of liminality is something I go back to a lot, the idea of being in between who you once were and who you are trying to be. I hope to inspire people to think more about the life around them and how it can relate to them and help them in times of need. We live in a very scary, dark world, and it’s important to hold the things we find beautiful close to us and in high regard. I want people who feel both human and inhuman to know that there is hope and understanding waiting for them out there.

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“We live in a very scary, dark world, and it’s important to hold the things we find beautiful close to us and in high regard

If you could say anything to your younger self, what would it be?

I would tell myself that I am beautiful, first and foremost. It’s not something I heard a lot of growing up, and it really shaped how I viewed myself even as an adult. I would tell myself that I will grow to be confident, talented, and that I believe in myself and that people will believe in me. I’d tell myself that my depression wasn’t my fault, and that there’s no shame in getting the help I need and deserve. I’d tell myself that it’s okay to not feel like a girl every day, and that those feelings were valid. I try to live as a person that my younger self would want to meet and be proud of, and I’d like to think that I’m really beginning to do that.

How do you see the future of soul?

The future of soul is bright, but also ever evolving. I don’t think it will ever die, but I think that it will be reborn in various incarnations across time. As long as there are black people, there will be new, innovative ways of expressing soul music, and what defines it as such. It has been great to see how it meshes with other genres, and how it can be stretched to encompass so many subjects and feelings. I think the future of soul lies in learning from its progenitors but not letting them define it for ourselves.

Between me, you and our Rabid Readers, in what ways do you plan to take over the world?

I’d like to make the world a safer place to express yourself as who you truly are, and for the authentic self to take precedence over anything else. Living authentically is so important, but we still live in a time where it is dangerous for many people to do that. I hope to see the world change for the people whose lives that affects, but it is going to take time, and a huge group effort. I would also like to push for The Fat Agenda, for our bodies to be more visible in the media without ridicule; to be seen as a multifaceted person with a lot to offer to the world instead of an “angry fat black bitch” as I am often referred to as. We have a lot of work to do. But I think that myself, along with my alien bug army and wonderful supporters, are making steps towards making that happen and I am hoping that those changes continue to happen.

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Listen on Bandcamp and Souncloud. Which is your favorite track? Comment!

Photography: [1] Marz Eliza, [2] Lord Photog, [gifs] Sofia Lee.

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