Carrie Stacks wants her music to be more gay
“It’s only recently that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a female singer.”
“Ms Carrie Stacks is an extension of myself, whoever that self is,” says the London nightlife icon, DJ and musician. “I don’t do tattoos, but it’s like a tattoo almost, a reminder to keep going. To carry on stacking. I think when you struggle with identity and gender issues, you don’t have much self-belief. I’ve always had this thing where I don’t care about spending money, but as I’m growing, I’m trying to force myself to.”
You likely already know Carrie from her involvement in the infamous queer club night PDA, which she founded alongside Mischa Mafia and Akinola Davies, or the wild DJ sets that she describes as “dramatic, destructive, messy as hell and very fun”. Although an interest in fashion lead to a detour via Central Saint Martins, it was always about music for Carrie. “My older sister, Deborah – she’s my whole life, I live for her – she used to play a lot of jungle tapes in her room and I’d hear it through the wall,” she remembers. “She’d always be listening to something fab, but when we were living in Camberwell, her tapes and CDs all got burgled. She was heartbroken.”
With a pastor father, Carrie grew up playing piano in church, though she wasn’t really supposed to be listening to music outside of gospel. Naturally, she developed something of complex. “Deep down, I knew I wanted to do it, I just never thought I’d be able to make music outside of a church setting, because for me, that’s what it was all wrapped up in.” Post fashion degree, she fell in with the PDA lot, began DJing and slowly started to make music on the sly. 2017 saw the Londoner self-release her 5 Sad Songs EP, an emotional handful of work that helped her through a very tough time. “Things were really heavy for me at that time. I felt like something was wrong; I wasn’t able to get out of bed or do anything, because nothing was adding up. I didn’t even know what I was in the middle of, but I was coming to terms with who I wanted to be.”
One of the EP tracks, I Gotta Pick Myself Up, was written as a motivational message to herself but also her sister in the room next door. “Once I saw myself fully in drag singing that song, I felt like I’d never ever seen myself before,” she remembers. “It’s only recently that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a female singer. And so singing in a male shape, it didn’t really work very well, but I had to go through that.” Now though, the music Carrie’s working on seems to be heading down a different route. “I’ve realised that it doesn’t have to be that deep,” she says. “I want my music to be gayer. I want my music to be cunty and dramatic too. What’s coming out right now is very soft, but that’s because of the mood that I’m in, you know? I wanna break down lots of music rules.”
As for the current state of PDA, Carrie’s got plans to grab the baton and take it forward in a new direction with her AQEM project. “I’m starting the Association of Queer Ethnic Minorities with a few friends,” she explains. “We’re trying to bring everyone together by putting physical and non-physical roofs over the whole thing. I wanna create a multi-functional creative hub with sewing machines and shit tons of fabric in one room, a dance studio in another, then a photography studio, and another with couches and a projector so we can watch Shirley Bassey and Big Brother Season 5. It’s a space where we can be and also educate ourselves. It’ll become like a school almost… like queer X-Men.” And you’d better believe it doesn’t stop there. “I want to make that into a film too, real lo-fi, Nollywood meets gritty London sci-fi like Misfits. Because we all have powers, I think. I shouldn’t say too much though – I don’t want anyone to steal it! If I manifest it good enough, it might just happen.”
Photography Josh Olins Styling Max Clark
Hair Cim Mahony at LGA Management.
Make-up Ciara O’Shea at LGA Management using Fenty Beauty.
Nail technician Trish Lomax at JAQ Management using Cnd.
Set design Max Bellhouse at The Magnet Agency.
Photography assistance Jeremy Young.
Digital technician Brian Cleaver.
Styling assistance Giovanni Beda, Joe Palmer, Monica Armario and Gal Klein.
Hair assistance Tarik Bennafla and Rohmarra Kerr.
Make-up assistance Jade Smith.
Set design assistance Miranda Latimer.
Production Etty Bellhouse.
Production assistance Molly Senior.
Carrie wears tank Aries. Jeans Levi's. Jewellery model's own. Shoes Martine Rose.