• The Swamp Issue

    Internet Crushing on Guayaba and Her Newest Release Black Trash/White House

    The Swamp Issue
    Guay2 web

    Photo by Una Blue

    Listen to Guayaba’s newest release Black Trash/White House and read her lyrics, thoughts on conspiracy theories, and what it takes to really thrive.

    Internet Crushing on Guayaba (Aeon Fux)

    I was first introduced to Olivia (now performing as Guayaba) in 2013 through my friends OKCupid profile. She was a dream, I couldn’t believe her profile was real. I used to make fun of my friend, saying he had fallen for an avatar. Each picture on her profile captured a totally different and flawless look. I couldn’t believe the pictures were all of the same person. “You mean to tell me there’s a total babe with a deep knowledge of metal and anime hiding out like a secret planet studying afro-futurism in Olympia, Washington?”  – to which my friend replied “and she’s making a sci-fi space opera!” He then showed me her Soundcloud. I wouldn’t have categorized her music as opera, or in any particulargenre really. I continued to internet stalk her and learned that she had gone viral at a young age for her style, lucid sense of humor, and precious omnichord covers like “Two of Hearts” and the Sailor Moon theme song. At the time I was a promoter and contacted her through Soundcloud to see if she’d be into performing at my next event. We were fast friends and I even got to DJ for her at a few shows. They are so fucking down, intelligent, future thinking, witty, and sweet, not to mention gorgeous.  Follow them on twitter @gorditaguayaba  or Instagram @guavaseason to develop your very own crush. 

    In late 2016 she released Black Trash / White House under the name Guayaba. In her previous incarnations as Princess Neptune and Aeon Fux, she had demonstrated her vocal prowess as a singer with incredible range and fluidity. As Guayaba, we get to hear Olivia rap, and her flow is absolutely un-fuckable-with. You need a lullaby? You need to dance? Scream? She’s here to soundtrack a deep and dynamic range of experience. It’s like she was born with an entire cast of voices, all enticing and magnetic, in order to express the inner dialogue flowing through her – the intersectionality of being a queer Afro-Latina metal Pacific Northwest princess surviving in the throes of late capitalism and all the demons therein. She is a slayer. 

    If you ask me, this new Guayaba album is way underplayed. I often see people who are less talented than Olivia get more props, money, and airtime. I want to live in a culture where artists like Guayaba can thrive – more money, more resources, more opportunity. I demand altars. And just so ya’ll know – She’s very approachable through social media so don’t hesitate to hit her up for soundtracking gigs, (well-paying) shows, DJ tags, you name it – she is down to collaborate. She’s based out of the Seattle area but will be in New York City in early September. Big ups to LUNA GOD on this dreamy production dynamic enough to keep up with Guayaba’s diverse vocal style. It pleases me to create opportunities for people listen to Black Trash/White House (especially for the first time), so without further ado ...

    Basura Negra (excerpt)

    “...And I stay high not because I like the view; 
    but cuz I cry a river every time I watch the news; 
    and living in a world like this has got me so confused if I get this check am I still the stone the builder refused? Feel used?  

    I do, but things are not all that they appear, 
    and I promise that i’m honest and I promise I’m sincere, 
    I’m fucked up in the head and I’m fat and I’m queer, 

    and I am poor and black and may even be ugly but I’m here”

    Brown Recluse (excerpt)

    “I’ve been a black widow and I have been a brown recluse
    I’m weaving beautifully so tell me what is your excuse
    I see you watchin and I see the fire in your eyes so tell me where that passion goes when you’re seein my people die?“

    Starting off with kind of a random question, but it’s a topic I end up talking about at one point or another with most people: Do you have any favorite conspiracy theories? 

    It’s a pretty basic one, but I am pretty into the conspiracy of Tupac still being alive. It’s one of the more positive conspiracies and people are really dedicated to proving its validity. There’s a video on Youtube that’s over half an hour long that compiles evidence, and it’s honestly pretty compelling. There’s also the conspiracy that the moon isn’t real, which is a pretty interesting one. I kind of love the idea of someone just being fully convinced that the moon straight up isn’t real. 

    You listen to an incredibly diverse range of music, and that’s definitely reflected in the music you create. I'm trying to get more into metal and subgenres of metal I might not even know about. I feel like you'd be a good person to talk to about that. Is there anyone popping off right now that you’d recommend we check out?

    Metal in particular is such a great genre because of the wide range of subgenres within it. I’m thoroughly convinced that there’s a metal band out there for everyone. I’ve branched out and think I listen to as much grindcore and powerviolence as I do metal, though recently those lines have been blurring a lot, which I really appreciate. I like music that is very intense, especially vocally. I always recommend Primitive Man, they’re a doom metal band out of Denver that I’m a huge fan of. They’re one of my favorite bands to see live and are all around great dudes, they give me a lot of hope for the genre. Some other projects I’ve been jamming to have been Cloud Rat, The Body, Stimulant, and Pharmakon, which are are pretty noisy. Recently though I’ve been listening to a lot of Arca, Actress, and Spice, I’ve been needing to dance recently so anything that gets me in that space I’m a fan of. It’s hard not to just name your friends when you are performing regularly, but they really are popping off and I listen to them frequently. DoNormaal and Taylar Elizza Beth are two amazing rappers out of Seattle, and Estoc is a producer based in Olympia who people should be listening for.

    I just put on Pharmakon’s No Natural Order per your recommendation and full-screened this image:

    Wow, It’s like you have direct access to my soul and your whispering “Pick a side, cosmic unity won’t help you in this dimension of mortal exactitude.” What’s going on in this picture? Do you remember what you were experiencing in that moment? And considering the album you released right around the time of the 2016 election was titled Black Trash / White House, how does the sentiment of this photo continue to influence you now? 

    This picture was taken during my first trip to the East Coast. I was 11 years old, and it was an EF Explore America tour with my middle school. For whatever reason my aunt decided we’d go and she’d chaperone, it was definitely one of the weirder experiences of my life. Essentially you rush around the East Coast via plane and bus and try to see all of these historical landmarks in a very short amount of time. I didn’t travel frequently at all and got really sick during the trip, so I was just trudging along miserably in 100+-degree weather by the time we got to the White House. I remember that my depression really started manifesting around that time. I spent the majority of the trip feeling isolated, and it just felt like I was inhabiting a parallel universe. I don’t even remember initially posing for the picture. I find it funny that I’m the only one looking directly at the camera. I think I was saying what I couldn’t say out loud, which was “I don’t want to be here, but I am.” It’s definitely a feeling that I still deal with frequently, the isolation and otherness feels really tangible to me in that photo because it parallels the way I experience it now. 

    You definitely seem like you already get it and are over it in this picture. Mask Magazine seeks to amplify that kind of exhaustion with the current system, the ways we cope and survive, as well as envision a future worth living for. I know it’s a huge question but – what in your day-to-day keeps you here? What conditions need to be met for you to not just exist, but really thrive? 

    Honestly, what keeps me here is knowing that it would hurt other people if I opted for the alternative. This world is often too hard to bear being in, and I do tend to dissociate a lot to cope. As cruel as this world can be, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by some truly beautiful souls, and they help to keep me going each day. Knowing that my music is reaching people that need to hear it helps keep me here. People looking out for me and being able to look out for others keeps me here too. I feel like what I want from life isn’t too extravagant. I’d like to not worry about my immediate family being taken care of financially, and to just live in a place with a thriving artist community and more people of color. I’d like to be in a place where I feel a bit more heard, and I’d like to be more on top of my mental and physical health. It’s definitely easy to ignore when you play a lot of shows, but I do know that it’s important. 

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