Adult film aficionados would have clocked a familiar face stomping down the catwalk of Shayne Oliver’s much-anticipated debut for Helmut Lang last autumn. Decked in a black coat, tight black briefs and a must-have bondage-gear ensemble, it was none other than gay porn star Brody Blomqvist. But Brody isn’t particularly interested in porn – it’s a job, it pays the rent – and would much rather talk about his music, comic books and chaos magic. Like many of us, he just wants the time and space to work on his own projects; some of us flip burgers, some of us write copy for ASOS, some of us suck cock. It’s all a means to an end. Let’s meet the real Brody… Interviewed by Jam Steward. Photographed by Darren Black. Styling and Art Direction by Brody Blomqvist JAM STEWARD: I want to let you introduce yourself, as I feel like previously with situations like this you may have been labelled as something that doesn’t really resonate with you. BRODY BLOMQVIST: Well… it’s really difficult to know what to say in such a transitional period. I’m in this place where I feel like I’m in purgatory, I’m in-between a lot of projects, when I just feel like a dud. But I think everyone is kind of in this state of ‘in-between’. It feels like we’re stuck on the brink of something, just waiting to happen. That being said, a lot of people pin me as a porn star who has walked in one fashion show, which is kind of ridiculous as obviously there is much more to me than that. I make music, and that’s how I spend most of my time as I’m putting a lot of energy into really trying to make it work for me. As well as working on other creative projects with other people around me. JS: With the music that you’ve been putting out it is, in a way, transcendent of genre -

 

BB: To be fair a lot of the things that I have put out are just a little tiny keyhole to see what is actually there. I guess it’s transcendent in the way that it isn’t really music, but then again music doesn’t really exist – it’s just the decay or the appearance of sound. An expression of sorts. JS: You can really hear that in some of your music. Like ‘Food’, which features an audio sample of some pissed-off guy telling the listener to ‘shut the fuck up’, followed by your vocals, starting with sultry tones, which descend into crying for escape from confinement. Is there a specific story that you’re relaying in each of your songs, as it seems to come from a place of such sincerity? BB: With most of my songs it’s a lot of things mixed together. In the way that it is a collection of emotions or experiences combined. Like there’s a track called ‘Episode 1’, which is based off on a cyborg experiencing an update, and relaying a registry of events, and how revisiting those events can be very bittersweet. For the outsider it seems as if this being is traveling through hell, when in reality there is no good or evil. I don’t really believe in these ideas of good or evil, I believe the concept of evil is just the unknown. We fear what we don’t understand. In a lot of my subject matter I’m flirting with debauchery and other sides of life, in the song “Zelda” the lyrics are “Small talk, extended in the hotel lobby, bump up his nose, he smiles and kicks back into space” / “Small bump going over the hills and through the valley, low ride, pick up on me daddy, pick up on me daddy”, which are just small parts of events that I have catalogued and put together. Like from the time I was hooking in LA, or sleeping in random guys’ houses just because I didn’t have a place to stay. Or just being a good-looking kid that people will take care of and what that experience was like for me. Privileges of being a sexy white faggot. But also reflecting on how I reacted to these things, as I have been super inferior and I have bit the hand that feeds me in these scenarios. Which leads me to want things like self-sufficiency. I’m really angry in a lot of the things that I do. Most of the time as I’m freaking out I feel like there are so many things that urgently need to be addressed. But in the same way I’m not trying to be that person that’s going to police everyone. I think there are plenty of things that people should be paying more attention to. JS: And what are those things? BB: Well for a start I think we, as a public, should study more on hormones, and understand what affect they have on you as you develop and what oestrogen and testosterone are. Teach men and young boys not to rape. Or even the idea that the world is much more resilient that the human race, and it doesn’t really matter what we do to her. But we as humans will be the first ones to go, she will outlive us. Meaning we still need to take care of her, more than ever. In the same way I think it’s important to realise that I am just like you and everyone else around me. We are all just a bundle of experiences. JS: Do you believe in this idea of primordial soup - that we have all come from the same original matter and that is what we will eventually return to?
BB: Well I think that is true for sure. I don’t believe in any afterlife, I’m not really much of a spiritual person in the sense of any grand narratives. I’m much more concerned with the spirituality of existing right here and now, and focusing on my time on this earth which I have now, rather than what I might have after it. I’m very much about responsibility and being a caretaker, and I feel like a lot of the people I’m obsessed with musically have the same outlook. In the way your role of an artist is not just that of an artist, for some people it’s that they’re a magician or an activist. For me I consider my role as an artist is that of a caretaker or folk storyteller - to provoke thought among people, in whatever way that may be. JS: Who are some of your musical obsessions that you think hold these values? BB: People like Bjork, and ANOHNI. Right now I keep finding myself retracing through ANHONI’s anthologies. Also people like Buffy Sainte-Marie, who’s this amazing folk singer that I think everyone should know about. A lot of my understanding of music comes from artists/bands who are very simple sonically but extremely clever in the way that they use noise and delivery - The Slits for example. But the ruling forces of how I develop my music or who I learn from is very matriarchal, it’s all feminized to some degree. Although saying that there are people like Chuck Berry, who for me was very influential early on. JS: What was the first song you ever made? BB: It was actually a Chuck Berry song! The first time I ever wanted to make music, I was fucking around in art school. I was basically just handing in whatever I wanted, but was using all of the facilities that they had to just make my own shit. Whether it was a video project or a performance, and all they would tell me is that “This doesn’t follow any guidelines, so you have to fail. But this is also really good”. So I think they were just struggling to know what to do with me, but through all of that I came to this point where I felt like I should just make music. I don’t know why I felt like that, but I’d always been playing around with the idea. I was fucking around in punk bands, screaming in weird art house shows, I had a mullet and in reality I was delusional and embarrassing myself. But I was taking this one class, which was about understanding audio in film. We had to do a project which was to recreate the sound scape of a scene in a film. I picked this scene from Pulp Fiction, because I thought I was such a ‘cool art bro’. But I chose the scene with Vincent and Mia where they’re dancing at the diner, and the Chuck Berry song comes on. So I basically just did a cover of the song. JS: So... you cheated? BB: Completely. There were some people in the class who were hiring Taxi drivers to make tires squeal, and they were doing whatever they could to do the assignment ‘correctly’. But I just took it as an opportunity to record a song, and after that I just taught myself as much as I could, and eventually dropped out of school. I took it as a chance to rediscover my sexuality, as I had so much built up anger towards my own identity, which I put upon the people around me.
JS: I guess it’s safe to say that coming from a very secluded town in Michigan can take its toll on your identity. BB: Oh definitely, scenically it might be one of the most beautiful places in the world but it was just a very white trash redneck secluded land… and it wasn’t the place to be a seedy faggot or for me to whore out my sexuality. It was scary; I had the shit beaten out of me for whatever made me different. But… I was a stubborn motherfucker and I guess I’m also a big boy; so I fought back and did a lot of stupid shit. Like getting into drugs, because I thought it was my one way to show off to all of the straight boys, so they would leave me alone. All of that being said, just the same happens in the city now. With the society that we have built for ourselves that is so shame driven, especially when it comes to our attitudes towards sex. JS: I can definitely relate to that and I think so can a lot of queer and gay people who grew up in small towns and then moved to the city. In the way that we exchange one oppression of isolation surrounded by nature for another in the city. As a child I found some kind of solace in the queerness of nature, but now in the city I have to find that solace within other people. BB: For sure, and that is something that I have had to deal with on my own in a way, because I’m kind of a hermit. I spend a lot of my time on my own, and I work in isolation for long periods. I mean I love people, I think the human race is cool - I guess - but I also think we’re just a bunch of maggots, who are looking for someone to lead them. For me being in the woods I didn’t have anyone leading me. There would be times where at the start of the day I would walk into the woods away from my house, I would fall asleep on mulch piles, run around and hang in trees and re-emerge from the woods right before it got too dark. But there is something about nature that is queer, in the way there’s nothing gender specific about it. JS: There’s definitely something about the freeness of nature that allows identities to be queer outside of these conceived ideas “civilised” or binary structures that we have created for ourselves within cities. BB: The city is of course cruel, cold, and we’re all stacked on top of each other. Literally and metaphorically in these boxes. There are people in the same spot as me directly above and below me, doing the same crap as everyone else in this city day in and out. So nature is probably where I find my spirituality, and vice versa. That’s also my demonstration for why I like music so much because they’re somewhat hymnals to nature, and how nature is inside us as beings, and we then in turn exist inside this natural world. It’s like the inner-verse and the outer-verse: everything is in a constant state of infinity. All of this type of thinking probably comes from my love of comic books - JS: I was just about to say that this is a comic book or an anime waiting to be written.
BB: Well it kind of already has been. This comic called ‘The Invisibles’ - which is probably the coolest thing in the entire world. It’s very socially conscious. It was written by Grant Morrison, who is a chaos magician, and since I’ve been reading his stuff I’ve been getting more into chaos magic. Mostly in the way I don’t believe in anything that’s too ‘hard’, and I believe that I’m completely in control of my own destiny. JS: So with your magic are you trying to form your own destiny? BB: I’m definitely trying to, as I think I can only really affect what’s happening in my life, I can’t really affect what’s going on in other people’s. I want to be a storyteller, but I don’t really wanna push it past that as I think it’s too dangerous to be too influenced. Especially when you’re spouting out shit. That’s why fame can be so scary: if you’re an opinionated person, it can get out of hand. People can listen to every single word you are saying. So even the things that I believe, I would want someone else to question me on it. Even what I’m saying now I’m questioning myself, thinking fuck… what am I saying? Everything is ever-changing, they’re never concrete, and stability is only fleeting. JS: Obviously magic and witchcraft are very personal things that are usually done in isolation, which is often the same case with digital creativity; does this idea play into how you make music? BB: Without question, in a way I see it as condensed alchemy. In the way that live instruments, in analogue form, are the equivalent of a caveman slamming two rocks together. But now I’ve not only been given matches but I’ve got a lighter, torch, gas, and rockets. Lets see how much shit I can set on fire. So if the role of the alchemist is to have the power of 5 men, I feel the same way when I put on my headphones and just work in complete isolation on Ableton. Listening to the same beat over and over again for hours/days, I just get in to this state of spell making. JS: I like the kind of dichotomy that’s there in the ideas of traditional and the modern/futurist ways of creating. BB: I love that juxtaposition, of future tech and traditional methods; I want to be the first pop star to use holograms as backing dancers or something like that. JS: I hate to break it to you but someone has already done it… BB: What! Who has hologram backing dancers?! JS: There’s this Japanese singer Hatsune Miku, who’s not actually a real person - she’s a hologram made by a group of guys who use a computer generated voice to make her sing. BB: OH, Wow. I’m obsessed with J-pop, I love how everything is so futurist - JS: Were you into anime and manga as a kid?
BB: Yes! Anime and manga were like the first things I was masturbating to when I was young. I was so into Dragon Ball Z, like Piccolo - even though he was a green alien, he was so hot! I also used to have a pillow case with Goku shirtless on it when I was a kid. Who gives that to a child and expects them not to turn out gay? JS: I think we all felt the same… BB: Anime and manga are probably where a lot of the influences for the aesthetics of what I want to do come from. Things like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, Aeon Flux and The Fullmetal Alchemist, which might have something to do with this idea of alchemy I was talking about. But yeah, I love the aesthetic language of anime, futurism and ideas of robot sex workers and the outsourcing of sex to post human beings. That in particular is something that really interests me as a concept. JS: It’s interesting how Artificial Intelligence, and how even cyborgs and robots are subjected to the same sexism and lack of representation, just due to the small amount of people who are creating these beings. Same kind of thing can be said for the porn industry. How was your experience working from within that? BB: It’s horrible to say but it’s mostly about markets, and profitability. Within porn it’s mostly rich white dudes and straight Malibu housewives, they are the ones who are benefiting the studios by actually buying the subscriptions, material, and videos. Unfortunately these rich white dudes basically want to see nothing but white twinks or white muscle queens getting fucked, plain and simple. So a lot of the studios are producing material to cater to them, as they know that’s what sells. I never really interacted much with that scene, other than on camera. I wasn’t there because I wanted to be - I was there for a paycheck. I just did it for the money as I was a poor kid, who just wanted to sit and make music and wanted to be able to buy expensive food I couldn’t afford. I never really needed porn; it was a means of survival to do what I wanted creatively. But the whole system of it is pretty fucked, like when you do interracial porn you’ll usually get paid less money, and/or the POC actor will definitely be paid less than their white scene partner. Or even the fact that a lot of these guys are straight and just gay-for-pay, so they are in no way a real representation. JS: Well at least you acknowledge these problems, which is much more than a lot of people who have worked in the industry have done. BB: I’ve been as vocal as I possibly could about these kind of things, which has usually led me to being dropped, and people not wanting to sign me to their studios. As they think ‘he’s not gonna do anything for us, other than judge us for being racist and misogynistic’, which is kinda true - but also a lot of them are just making really boring material. Don’t get me wrong, some of the scenes I’ve done are really beautiful and well shot. I recently worked with Mr Pam, who is pretty amazing, she’s really pushing advocacy for queer porn with the way she’s twisting peoples ideas of gender roles and also making political, anti-fascist porn. So there is hope there, it is moving slowly forward. A lot of it comes down to the public’s comfortability. But I’m not trying to change the world with what I’m doing in the porn industry, like I said it’s a paycheck. Although it is always more fun to work with people who actually care about these kind of issues, and don’t treat models like nothing but bodies. JS: So what is next for you? BB: Well like I said I’m focusing a lot on refining my music, I have a lot of finished demos. I just need to work out which ones I want to go into the world right now. I’m releasing things slowly online which feels naughty in a way, as it kind of turns me on because I get really scared of the idea of it just being out there. Just because what I’m making means a lot to me, as I’m not doing it for anyone else. But all of this will eventually lead to something bigger like an LP, when the time is right, and I’ve got the right people that I want to work with.