brooke candy is back!
We speak to the rapper-singer-cyborg about her new single "Happy Days," working with Sia, and the problems with way women are presented in the music industry.
We first swooned at the sounds of California rapper Brooke Candy thanks to 2012's riotous "Das Me," a track in which she reclaimed the word "slut" and rapped about how amazing her breasts were. She followed that with, among other tracks, "I Wanna Fuck Right Now," asserting herself as an artist who was ardently provocative, brilliantly irreverent, and -- at times -- a little incoherent. Yet there was a distinct thread to Candy's occasionally unpredictable oeuvre: this genderless, queer, transhuman cyborg was consistently interesting, raising more questions than she could answer, but nonetheless challenging the notions of sexuality, gender and genre as frequently as she changed her hairstyle.
A former stripper who once lived out of her car, Candy's dad was CFO at Hustler, so she grew up around Larry Flynt and was once Rachel Zöe's assistant. A paradox, in other words. This duality in story as well as sound, words and style has attracted many fans including Grimes, Charli XCX, Nicola Formichetti, Diplo, Steven Klein and more recently, Sia, who is executive producing Candy's debut album. Sia x Brooke feels like the perfect creative combination. Sia too floats above the normal world, yet manages to translate her extraterrestrial notions to a more conventional ear. And it's time for Candy to do the same.
It's all very well having these awesome ideas and confrontational concepts, but what's the point if you're preaching only to the converted? Candy's new single, "Happy Days," firmly plants the rapper-turned-singer in a much more mainstream world, albeit on her own terms. Despite initial appearances, this isn't a straightforward pop offering; the tongue, it seems, is firmly in cheek -- nowhere more so than the single's Xanax-featuring artwork.
With the release of the "Happy Days" video, we caught up with Candy to spend some time in the mind of an avant-garde artist who could just be about to significantly burst pop's bubble…
You're no stranger to i-D. We've seen you through a number of stages, from sad to shouty to renouncing the shaming of sluts. Where do we find Brooke Candy in 2016? All of the above? None of the above?
Like Divine with a Britney Spears mask on. I am also more centered this time around.
You've returned with the single "Happy Days." Why did you choose to mark your return with that track in particular?
I think constant change and evolution is the key to exploring your capabilities. I have spent the last years years rapping and I feel that reintroducing myself in 2016 with "Happy Days" shows new angles of myself that are being reflected through different dimensions of sonic soundscapes. In the very recent past I have been undergoing endless transformations through different states of being and this song is just one reflection of that process. The song is so relevant to my journey through my entire life - born trying to find happy days.
You're not rapping on "Happy Days." What's up with that? Are you done with rhyming? If so, why so?
Fair play. From what we've heard of your new album, you're writing from a much more 'pop' point of view. Why was this an area you wanted to explore, given how experimental -- sonically and lyrically -- you have been until now?
I think we are in an era where a lot of the connotations commonly associated with "pop" are out the window. Pop is more subversive than ever. With that being said, I am exploring sounds that have a little more of a polished sheen and are more digestible to reach a broader audience. When that happens, the real fun begins.
The sound might be pop-focused, but there's still a darkness to your lyrics. What comment is "Happy Days" making about our lives?
Most of us spend our entire lives trying to achieve "happy days," which usually is some amalgamation of fulfillment or satisfaction or comfort. We also live in a society that markets to that emotional deficit in the human experience by selling external supplements intended to provide that sense of fulfillment -- or rather, ignore it. This song addresses the struggle I've had looking for "happy days" in every possible easy way, only to find out that you can't short cut the constantly on-going process of finding your version of happiness.
Talk us through the video, which was released today.
The video is an interpretation of the song and the various states of exploring different states of "happiness." We are introduced to a precocious Brooke Candy in a natural and unaltered state of happiness, which is often synonymous with innocence. She is then fragmented in increasingly uninhibited altered states of consciousness as she progresses through fame while searching for fulfillment amongst the bullshit.
What's been the happiest day of your life so far?
Can anyone really answer that genuinely?
What three things would make the world a happier place?
1. Everyone needs to stop taking everything, mainly themselves, so seriously.
2. Women need to be in charge.
3. Wildlife appreciation and conservation.
You reclaimed the word 'slut' a couple of years back. What are your views on the way women in the music industry are represented in 2016?
I'm loving all the sluts on the radio these days. But seriously though, I think there are always more ways for women to be represented in music beyond what is given mass exposure. If you think we are entering a new era of social consciousness, an increasing agency amongst female performers will accompany that. The future is female for real. Musically and aesthetically, I am ready to see a female Ozzy Osbourne, a female Danzig, or things that feel distinctly human in the most unhuman way.
Who are you into right now?
I've been watching a box set of Pee Wee Herman's Playhouse on repeat. I'm also obsessed with Broad City -- it's the funniest show in existence. I'm currently reading various Manly P. Hall lecture notes and my fave comic book, Batman.
How is the album shaping up? Who are you working with? What is the record about?
It's been a slow and steady process and I can't wait to share it. I've worked with Greg Kurstin, Jack Antonoff, Sia... the list goes on.
Are you into Snapchat? Do you follow Rick Ross or DJ Khaled? If not, why not.
I would only follow DJ Khaled because he kind of looks like a cute hamster. I would definitely follow him if he acted like one on Snapchat all day.
Do you have any plans for Valentines Day?
Chocolates, throw a sacrificed goat through the window of PF Changs, hit the Jacuzzi.
What's your favorite Valentines riddim?
Roses are red, violets are blue... shut the fuck up ya stupid bitch.
Cute! Thanks Brooke.
Text Hattie Collins