The curation of my personal soundtrack is reflective of my practice of beliefs. Channeling the angst and anger of punk, and the perception of rap, highlights the importance I place on my politic. My politic: anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and against xenophobia, homophobia, ableism--and y’all get the point, I’m against bigotry. Along with prioritizing my individual capacity for action, I also believe in the power of celebration. My movie soundtrack follows a protagonist dedicated to mutual care in the face of systemic grieving, as well as committed to love, kinship, and pleasure in order to combat the disconnect and numbness of the state, corporate institutions, and the bootleggers defending the bourgeoisie.
Coming up as a baby-gay in 2014, under the impression that every gay knows how to dance, I assume by proxy, I know how to dance. In addition to being gay, I also overestimate my ability to keep in rhythm because of my Latinidad. At 18, driving down Halsted St. in Chicago, and sneaking into my first gay bar, I realize how wrong, so-so-so-so very wrong, I am about my dancing abilities. It’s only 11PM and a man is holding my hips in place, keeping my body from falling to the level of my two-left feet.
“Feeling Gay in Spanish” contains songs I keep on repeat, songs I spend hours practicing simple dance moves and adding choreography to. This playlist reminds me of my clunky youth, full of moments I should have, or should be, embarrassed about. But I’m not. I admire people who dance, giving zero-fucks about “looking-weird” or feeling “out-of-place.” Chances are, you’re not.
With a guitar in hand, I am a one-person cover band with a repertoire of early 2000s rock music at my disposal. “Cover This!” is dedicated to the creators and viewers of cover songs! I love looking back to YouTube’s early days—when searching for the latest pop ballad meant receiving pages of people’s shoddy acoustic covers before ever finding a recording of the original artist being searched. Shit, I was responsible for a handful of Foo Fighters and Lana Del Rey acoustic covers. Were they any good? Fuck no. But, imitation is the best form of practice. “Cover This” is keeping on with the tradition of imitation. The artists included mix different genre elements to the original lyrics and rhythm of the cover song to create fresh musicality, bringing forth a new mood, style, and even rethinking the meaning of the original song.