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The Future of Performing: Avatar Addition | Λ°C (Lambda Celsius)

AC is a visual and musical performing artist under the avatar Λ°C (Lambda Celsius). They perform and produce all of their own music and design their own costumes for performances. Oh, and Amazon’s Alexa is their DJ (she’s seriously the best). You can find them on Instagram,  SoundCloud, and Spotify.

How did you get your start in music?

In truth? I was making beats in MyCoke Studios—a chatroom platform where youwould design your own hangout space and share tracks in those spaces. You were the DJ at your own party! I don’t know about you, but I tend to gravitate towards creating the playlists when I’m at parties—you get to create the atmosphere. But these chatrooms I frequented happened between 3rd to 5th grade. It wasn’t till I was 17 that I started playing bass guitar, which I taught myself, learning songs like "Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads and “Rock Lobster” by The B-52’s. “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson is a great song on bass too.

How would you describe the music you create?

I’m definitely influenced by 80’s post-punk, 90’s industrial music, and 1930’s cabaret, particularly from Berlin, which really helped cultivate a queer art scene. I feel that a lot of the post-punk I gravitate towards has similarities—Soft Cell is a good example.

Do you ever coordinate specific makeup looks with specific performances?

Right now my character in Lambda Celsius is Ana Echo, ahysteric womanwho sings her way out of sexual trauma. Her look takes the tropes of female sexiness turned on its head, the red lips being on an orange-haired-queer-music-producer-type. Perhaps a positive nod to Debbie Harry though. However, there is a change coming in my stage performance. I’m splitting my personality as myself (avatar namepending) and my other self (DJ.53), and we are going to collaborate on a new album. Me/he is going to produce everything and I’m going to focus on the singing and songwriting.;)

Photography: Dana Kalachnik (@hipdanichka)
Model: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Styling: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Makeup Artist: (@subtle.knife) 

Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/ethnicity/otherwise) and the work you make?

I’m constantly thinking about gender and sexual identity when I am writing lyrics or designing garments. I want to break stereotypes and disrupt ideas of what I can and cannot do or wear because of who I am. Society has so much anxiety around de-categorization. I find it a strength.

Do you think that you being such a versatile artist, between music, designing, writing and more, puts you at an advantage?

Sometimes I think it puts me at a disadvantage!  And that’s because there seems to beno specificity, or at least that’s how I’ve been critiqued. Clearly, that has made an impression on me, but I try not to listen to that anymore. I’m thankful to have many different outlets to express and investigate ideas, I can move about in ways that become unexpected; finding bridges between seemingly disparate terrains.

Do you think that there is a negative stigma between gender and music nowadays?

I think that depends on which areas of music we are aiming our attention. I’ve dealt with sexism in the past, but that was in a scene that I don’t need. I still see it played out and the fight isn’t over, but I want to focus on the positive forces here where it does seem that there are more opportunities for people to truly be themselves without backlash. I would say though, still—it’s hard being female, gender non-conforming, and queer in the South where I’m constantly having to negotiate myself in space.  But there are definitely communities I can turn to.

Photography: Dana Kalachnik (@hipdanichka)
Model: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Styling: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Makeup Artist: (@subtle.knife) 

When it comes to creating your art and music, where do you usually grab inspiration from?

Gosh! Well, I’ve been reading these texts on queerness and karaoke and that has been transformative in my understanding of what I do, but I turn towards the 80’s post-punk, David Bowie (obviously - especially when he collaborated with Trent Reznor), Grace Jones, The Associates, Thick Pigeon (amazing songwriting) - contemporary artists like Jennifer Vanilla (a dream), and Hannah Hiassen (they are an amazing artist!). I’m also inspired by my contemporaries and friends. In addition to it all, I really love 1920’s style. Oh—cyberpunk for life; I’m kinda feel split into a lot of different areas.  “RENT” also changed my life when I was a kid.

What has been the most exciting part of your career so far?

Wow - well 2018 was such a good year, but perhaps 3 highlights are: Releasing my 3rd album “Ana Echo and the Beauty of Indifference” online through Scorpion Beach and as a thong/micro-cassette through Banana Tapes in Nashville, TN, then performing at “Big Ears Festival” for the “12 Hour Drone” and “Athens Popfest”, and designing a jumpsuit and cape for Jennifer Vanilla for her performance at PS1. It feels exciting to know that I’ve, in my own way,shown at a space like that.

What is one impact you hope to make with your music?

To show that if you want to make music as a girl you can do it all yourself!  I stand for gender equality, and I want to be an inspiration for other queer persons to pursue their creative goals.

Tell us about an exciting and/or new work/project/thing you’re working on; how did it originate? How is it related to other work you’ve done?

I have curated a festival called "Ad•verse Fest which will give a platform for solo and duo performers across genre. There will be vocalists, producers, DJs, rappers, electronic artists, drag performers, and stage designers. Very much in the vain of the variety show. Welcome to the Cabaret everyone!

Photography: Dana Kalachnik (@hipdanichka)
Model: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Styling: Lambda Celsius (@lambda_celsius)
Makeup Artist: (@subtle.knife) 

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