New York DIY dance musician SIRPAUL released the superb album Horse on his own label, Controversial Record,s earlier this year.
Windy City Times was first introduced to this handsome artist via Logo's music programs like NewNowNext, where his video "Do U" was in heavy rotation. On top of having multiple albums and EPs, SIRPAUL has remixed "Circus" for Britney Spears and "Bulletproof" for La Roux. He also wrote and produced "Sublime" for RuPaul's Drag Race season-three winner Raja. SIRPAUL recently talked inspirations, being an out musician and hair.
Windy City Times: "Lay It on Me," from Horse, is very pop and shows an '80s influence.
SIRPAUL: "Lay It on Me" is super '80s, like Van Halen's "Jump" with those synths and simple drum beat. I wrote that for my sister. She went from a normal life to having two kids, it was such a change. We have worked on music together. This was something to cheer her up. It was her hey-day in the '80s. She really loves it.
WCT: When I heard "Like a Horse," I thought it could have been recorded by Lenny Kravitz.
SIRPAUL: This is the cornerstone for album with parallels between falling in love and riding a horse. We get knocked down, then get back up again.
WCT: You are very visual. Please elaborate on your collaborations with director Andreas Anastasis.
SIRPAUL: Andreas was one of the first people to really notice my talent, take it and push it. We did my first video, "Thrust," together. I wanted to push some buttons, but we pushed too many and "Thrust" did not air on TV. Both of us are very hypersexual; combine this and we get a really interesting result. I love working with him; he uses real storyboards. It is an inspiration brought to life. The process is very organic.
WCT: You are the founder and president of your own label, Controversial Records. How is it being your own boss?
SIRPAUL: I love it and hate it. Now it is such a well-oiled machine. It would be a piece of cake to work with another label. But they want to place limitations on me. I am not going to dumb down my sexuality or compromise my artistic integrity.
In media, I feel like anyone who is out has to be castrated for mainstream society. I am not comfortable in hiding my sexuality. I do not mean sexual orientation, like Ellen [DeGeneres] making everything jokey or funny. That is not how I am. They ask me, "Can you tone this down?" This is counterproductive and counterintuitive. Compromise means less value [at] the end of the day.
After performing, kids come up to me and say it inspires them to be out in a place where it may not be OK or safe. I get tweets from all over the world thanking me for being inspiring. Because I am on a tiny independent label that is just me, I assume nobody hears what I am doing. So it is a surprise to hear this. I want to think that I made an impact on our younger generation and have them express themselves freely. Suppressing themselves is the most evil thing.
WCT: What benefits do you find in self-releasing work?
SIRPAUL: There are plusses and minuses. I get whatever profit. There is not a lot of money making music, so scratch that one. When I release my own work, I can put it out there exactly how I want it to be.
Anytime I speak with promo companies, they just want to partner you with the trendy remixer of the moment. I really have been blessed to meet and work with those who have remixed my work. They can make any remix they want. I do not give them any limitations. DJ Alex Lauterstein did three interpretations of "Swinger." It was so experimental. I have a side project with him called Simulover, where we get to work with different artists and singers that I would not with my own work.
WCT: Some artists change sound. Throughout your career, your hair has changed a lot.
SIRPAUL: [Laughs] That is my trademark. Both my parents were hairdressers. I have a separate career in the beauty industry, so I have a facility at my fingertips. Everytime we saw Cyndi Lauper, she had something different. I changed my hair for the first time when I was, maybe, 9 years old. I am just having fun with it and I never have same cut twice. It is as if I am hiding from government.
The music and beauty industries are perfectly complementary. It is interesting to work behind camera, because it helps me understand what to deliver in front of the camera. Music videos are when these two personas collide. My parents both did hair and did music. My mom was on Capitol Records; Dad played drums for Ed Sullivan. All of my siblings are creative in food, hair or music. Oddly enough, we are not hippies.
SIRPAUL's Horse is out now digitally. He is working on embarking on a tour, too. Find SIRPAUL on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.