Like the legendary singer Luther Vandross, I believe that there is nothing more beautiful that the voice of the black feminine bodied person. But then I also had to rethink: Any person who is of color, whether presented as a man or a womyn, that manifests the feminine energy in their vocals has the most beautiful voice in the universe. It’s something instantly poetic and provoking about the black feminine voice whether it’s the gospels of Mahalia Jackson or the chants of Sylvester or the whispers of Sade. Why is that? I often think about how much the black feminine bodied person who is innately celestial has endured not just in the United States, but everywhere in this world. And because of enduring so much affliction on themselves and their children, by default, they are the most resilient and powerful beings that ever existed in this world.
Aeon Fux is a singer based in Olympia, Washington who embodies that strength, power, and skill just through their voice alone. Their music encompasses the epitome of afrofuturism, with a jazzy flow and doo wap attitude. Fux is one of my favorite contemporary singers on the internet and I had the honor of performing on the stage with them and heard it for myself IRL. Of course, I was lifted off in another universe as they took the stage like a black anime heroine and gave magical vocals and ambiance. Their presence was fierce and unapologetic, while their eyes and hand gestures comforted me as to say everything is going to be alright. They were just as amazing to see as they were to hear. They have been featured on Noisey and become one of the most desireable voices of the Pacific Northwest.
Let me get this out the way. I find it ironic and very peculiar that your aesthetic is future as fuck yet your music is throwback and feels like old doo-wop/jazz. I do believe that time is fake, though. Do you do this sort of paradox on purpose or nah?
Aeon Fux: I agree with that sentiment, time is totally fake! I often refer to things as being in ‘insect time’; bugs have no concept of clocks and operate purely through biological function and I like to think about what it would be like to live like that. Much as I believe that time is paradoxical, music carries many of the same qualities. The universal language of music is one that should be played with far more often! It’s easy to restrict yourself to a genre and to play it your whole life but my influences and interests are vast and I like to experiment with how I express that.
There's plenty of conversation about queer male cis folk, but I don't feel like there's much conversation about queer womyn or nonbinary folk. What are your feelings about that?
My feelings about the current state of visibility in the queer community are complex. I have a hard time believing that non-binary representation is anywhere on the horizon, and I rarely hear it discussed outside of the internet and my peer groups. I’m still at a point where I often resign myself to ‘she’ pronouns, because explaining ’they’ is more effort than I have the energy to deal with. But my issues pale in comparison to those that many of my friends have to deal with. Whereas the issues that affect me are more an annoyance than anything, for others it is an issue of immediate survival. Too many trans women are being murdered for there to not be active discussions about what can be done in the community and outside of it. Too many young people are killing themselves because they are so afraid of the futures they have to look forward to. When someone misgenders me it doesn’t put me in danger. I have the privilege of not suffering from dysphoria, but it’s something that a lot of people deal with that can make navigating this space even more difficult. What I’m getting at is that we still have a very long way to go. Representation and conversation of one group does not protect the people that need protecting the most. I wish that there was more solidarity among queer folks, and that those of us that have more visibility and opportunities to speak out on these issues do so. I wish that the people that have these lived experiences had more opportunities to do so instead of having people speak for them, when many of these people aren’t truly listening.
What is your identity and how has your identity empowered you and also how has it affected navigating through this world, western world, Washington, Olympia, etc?
My identity is an amalgamation of my lived experiences, internal and external. Every path on my journey, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, has contributed to my identity in some way. I believe that soul and identity are intrinsically linked, both are these very liminal places between body and mind and I think they may inhabit the same space. I can easily identify as many things. I’m black, sometimes a woman, mostly non binary, queer, fat, mentally ill, a survivor, a musician, left handed, I could go on almost infinitely. It is easy to attach your identity to aspects of yourself, and to let them become your identity. Sometimes you can’t control what becomes part of your identity. My blackness is apart of my identity whether I like it or not, because it’s something I can’t change and I am reminded of it every day. The way I am treated and perceived by others is affected by my blackness. But it has also shaped who I am in a way that I can’t compare to anything else. My experience is so unique to me and yet many aspects of my life have resonated in others, and vice versa. I sometimes think that we over complicate identity with a very human need for categorization. To get into specifics, I was often an outsider among my peers, as many black people in areas like the PNW have experienced. My predominately white peer group influenced a lot of the culture I was exposed to up through my late teens. I think the term “woke” is hideously overused, but there was definitely a point in my life where I realized what it meant to me to be black, and that it began to empower me and make me proud.
How does your identity come into context when creating your music?
I think my identity has manifested itself in interesting ways through my music. My current obsessions are always obvious through my lyrical content and subject matter, but when I write about experiential things I try to touch on universal feelings that anyone in the human experience can relate to. I want people to feel some type of way connecting with the imagery I evoke. I like to think about feelings that are deeper than feelings; I attempt to make music that speaks to parts of us that we are afraid to feed, in fear of being consumed by them in turn.
Side note: Do you feel like it's a challenge being musician working outside of NYC, LA, ATL, major cities and, if so, why or why not? I feel like it's mad talent all over and with the internet you'd think gatekeepers (journalists, booking agencies, labels, etc.) would be more about putting on artists everywhere. What are your thoughts about that?
Oh for sure, it’s definitely a challenge. It’s less so for DIY artists, and there’s a good number of places to play live locally, but if you’re trying to pursue music professionally it can get pretty stagnant. Despite the importance of local press, it is extremely difficult to get recognized on a national level even through the internet. Honestly, I think a big factor that plays into it is laziness. A lot of people in major cities have opportunities to make these connections in person, and a performance is easier to sell than a soundcloud link. Artists that are easily accessible in places that are hubs for entertainment can be charismatic in person. Admittedly, this is sometimes harder; the image you cultivate for yourself online can also be what holds people’s interest, but if you’re trying to make a transition from URL to IRL I don’t always think that’s a good thing. So much of this industry relies on word of mouth and who you know, and obviously the more people there are, the better chance you have of your name reaching someone you’d like to connect with. I don’t really think my thoughts on it matter, because I can’t currently change my situation. I’m just doing the best with the resources that I have and I encourage others to do the same. Don’t be afraid to send out demos and always give your best during a performance because you never know who could be watching.
Society definitely has issues with understanding queer/gay/trans folk but don't have a clue or know how to approach folk who are non binary or non gender conforming. What are the struggles with that identity and navigating through the world? What do you think people should know about that identity.
I touched on a bit of this in previous answers, but I think that nonbinary/gender nonconforming identities are complex, just like people are. People need to be treated like individuals because you never know what aspects of someone’s identity are most important to them. Let people speak for themselves and be a good listener. There is such a huge lack of understanding of what it means to be non-binary, collectively people still seem to be stuck on the issue of whether or not ‘they’ is grammatically correct. There are days when I wake up and I feel neither like a man or a woman. I tend to present as pretty femme, but I don’t think that clothing has a gender and I just dress in a way that makes me comfortable. Often times I don’t feel particularly ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’, I just am. I realized that it was okay to exist outside of that binary, and that it was just another form of identity that people use as a signifier. In a world of black and white, for me non-binary is less gray and more whatever color you feel like painting with. I think it’s important for me to say ‘for me’, because I think the experience is different for everyone.
Anything else you wanna explore? Also what are you working on?
I’ve been pretty busy with school so I kind of got caught up in being a student for a hot minute. But I’m playing live more this year and I’ve got some new material in the works! I’m still planning on dropping a mixtape in the near future, and I’ve got some merch planned out. I’ve got a pretty neat project in mind that I hope to see come to fruition this year, but I want to keep quiet about it until I get the ball rolling a bit more.