SThe traces of hygirl are, for lack of a better word, dirty. The 28-year-old musician’s text describes sexual exploitation and disposable partners. “I like to skate, I skate,” is not ice dancing. This week, it releases BDE, a collaboration with Northampton rapper Slowthai, and with it less tail, more intoxicating mix of crumpled and slashed commands over the ominous production. This is sex as a chaotic training, and if in the end it irritates the listener, the artist has achieved her goal. “I love when I’m embarrassed by art because I have to re-examine where it’s from,” she says. “How can something like that affect my balance? I want to influence the balance of other people. “
Her dominant musical personality in the worlds is far from the chatty, pleasant woman I meet at a bar outside the Union University of Cambridge, where she has just held a conversation about her art and approach to creative industries. About a quarter of our time was spent laughing; sharp introspections of owning one’s own narrative as a public figure come as easily as self-denying stories of recording furious vocal notes about previous partners. It’s easy to see why she’s increasingly seen as a fashion force: after the recent Burberry campaign and soundtracks for Thierry Mugler, she stands out magnificently with her orange hair, useful baby dress and eye-catching Telfar Clemens boots noticed by students with wide open eyes. near us.
Her ethos is more philosophical than her unprintable texts sometimes suggest. It’s not just the case that you love sex, she explains, but communicating power dynamics and disrupting them. “I’m talking about frustration,” she says. “I do a lot of things by reversing situations and bringing myself into the position of aggressor or user, when in fact I was used. I’m bringing back something I couldn’t claim at the moment, saying: by hook or deception, I’ll get what I want. “
The lyrics still do not differ much from her more common sexually positive female peers such as Megan Thee Stallion and Lil ‘Kim, but the envelope is pushed by her sounds. Her vocals sit on top of erratic, Eurotrance-colored rhythms revolving over aliens, produced by producers such as Sega Bodega and the late Sophie, and her sound is regularly classified under the recent label “hyperpop” (although she is “wary of new genres”) along with pop outliers like Charli XCX, 100 Gecs and PC Music maverick AG Cook. “There’s a fantasy that club music speaks to and the euphoria it provides, a space where anything can happen,” she says – the perfect canvas for the avant-garde, erotic worlds she builds in her songs and her homage to the club as a “Space for Pleasure.”
Real name Blane Muise, the artist was born in south London and moved around as a child with her parents. Her grandfather was occasionally the bassist of Aces, supporting a group of reggae singer Desmond Decker, and her father introduced her to eclectic pop music as a young teenager – Craig David Björku – throwing CDs on her bed to pick up through a nightclub job.
The decisive moment was watching Carl Andre’s equivalent VIII in Tate Modern at the age of 13: an ultra-minimalist installation of white bricks laid in rows on the floor. “It simply came to my notice then. Everyone was walking around these bricks, and I said: these are some bricks! “She was thrilled.” I thought, I want to do it – people think I’m some shit because I said [something] there. ‘”
She became a professional musician at the age of 23, collaborating with friends she met on the city club scene, and DJs in venues like the queer London PDA club night. She identifies as a queer – “I’ll steal your girlfriend, not just your men,” which she tweeted last year – and attributes it to queer communities that empowered her to talk about sex as a woman. She is eager to give them something back with her music, including many trance fans. “Even inside [queer] community, being a trans is such a hard done position. I know so many close trans friends that the born family left upside down and found the family in us; I am so protective of that. ”
Her sincere lyricism is more than just a titling: she cathartically launches stereotypes and sexualization back into the world. “I’ve been sexualized since I was 12,” she says. “Creating this music, this is what I find a comfortable space in what I’m already sitting in. Like, why deny how they perceive you? You can’t hide from that. Instead, I accepted it and transcribed it for myself. “
She argues that for black women, “there are new ways the world throws things at you every day” – namely, misogyny (a combination of anti-black racism and sexism) that informs how black women are perceived, and how stereotypes limit us in the wider world. “How else could we escape these experiences if we don’t talk about them? If you fit into the slot they expect from you, then you are giving them what they want. I’d rather do something unexpected. ”