Coming off a Saturday night of double parties with an 8am turn in, my first question to Los Angeles noise/performance artist Kawaiietly Please is: What is the perfect rave?
“Oh my gosh, wow, I can’t believe I don’t have this in a little black book already. The perfect rave. Bzzzzzrp… I think the water is boiling. Do you want coffee?”
We drink coffee spiked with honey, cream and mine with whiskey I sly from the Kawaiietly cabinet. Coffee is a staple of this Lolita’s daily and nightly intake, perhaps one could say it’s the fuel of this quaintly packaged raving robot noise machine doll. Unique and convicted, the visual and aural aesthetics of Miss Kawaii continue to clash with, escalate and refine the noisecore/rave resurgence happening in Los Angeles.
Marianne: So… why noise?
Kawaiietly Please: I was playing bass in a lot of bands and became fascinated with small noises, like when you plug a quarter inch cable into an amp that’s turned on. I started playing the end of my cables with my thumbs, making beats out of the sound of the electricity. A few years after that I started doing performances.
Marianne Williams: Watching you perform can be hazardous. Your set is more like a PLURd out punk show than your typical noise event.
Kawaiietly Please: A lot of noise artists hover over their tables, some actually turn away from the audience, but I have to interact with the crowd. I throw stuffed animals or fight people, trying to get everyone to scream with me. Breaking that barrier into the audience opened my understanding of feedback and the possibilities of using the entire room as the sonic space. It started as a way to jump around and get people roudy but it ended up changing my sound.
Marianne Williams: What about Happy Hardcore?
Kawaiietly Please: Shhhhhhhhhhh, yea, that’s probably the biggest influence right now. Happy Gabber and 90s Techno revival, like the sound of a giant trampoline bouncing off at 200bpm.
Marianne Williams: So people still go to raves?
Kawaiietly Please: Rave didn’t die, it just grew a beard and spent too much time in its bedroom for a couple of years. And now, the whole mustache thing- not cool, guys. But, yea, every weekend in LA there is techno going on in warehouses til 5 am. That’s a rave. But, the big raves right now, well, it’s refreshing to go to an event with 7000 people and everyone is dancing. A song like “Sweet Dreams” will come on, a song so saturated in culture that as soon as it hits, 5000 people throw their hands in the air. It’s exciting. Raving is on a decade loop, a cultural loop, but it didn’t really go anywhere.
Marianne Williams: What’s the state of the LA rave?
Kawaiietly Please: Dubstep seems to be everywhere, with more women djs throwing down the hard Drum and Bass. It’s like the boys have done that and chilled out, and the girls are just getting started. Plus, yea, they look cute while throwing down these really mean beats.
Marianne Williams: Has Dubstep influenced your sound?
Kawaiietly Please: I’ve explored some of the ultra low frequencies and the ability to feel the music, instead of just hearing it, but that’s about as far as it goes. I go to a lot of hardcore electronic parties and there’s always this group of deaf guys I run into. In my terrible sign language we manage to tell each other our names, but they go there because they can feel the beat through the low kick drum. The idea of appealing to an audience that can’t even hear, that possibility to a musician is really amazing.
Marianne Williams: You’re from Alaska. Any trace of your upbringing in your current sonic preferences?
Kawaiietly Please: Yea, I was playing my mother all this happy hardcore and she said “Oh that sounds like my drum,” referring to her traditional Tlingit Indian drum. I used to hear the drum played at these native events and I always thought it was too slow. The beat was four on the floor, they had the sound, they just need to speed it up.
Marianne Williams: Your mother is a fantastic tailor and designer, and you have an amazing collection of custom Lolita dresses. How does fashion play into performance and your day to day life?
Kawaiietly Please: I really enjoy being able to take a good hour or so getting ready in the morning. I know some people will vomit at that, but I feel kind of worse if I don’t dress up. A lot of people ask about the noise-lolita cross over. Well, it’s pleasant to look it but it is also like armor, especially one piece outfits. If it’s a skirt and a shirt, there’s a chink in the armor. If it’s one giant piece, it’s like wings at your sides. Definitely Lolita armor.
Marianne Williams: Plans for the future?
Kawaiietly Please: I just did a tour with Vampire Pussy and Birth that was a learning experience about the slippery slope to how circuses get formed. You learn the hard way to start bringing everything you need with you.
Marianne Williams: To make the noiserave more and more perfect?
Kawaiietly Please: If the noise scene stops being a basement scene with 6 or 10 people and starts coming through your town as a giant rainbow rave noise circus, you can blame that on me. There’s a carnival down the street and I see the rides, haunted houses, people playing games and spinning in giant tea cups, and I’m like- why isn’t there happy hardcore and noise going on right here? There’s already bright lights and noisy machines, can’t we update this carnival music?
Find Kawaiietly Please at http://www.myspace.com/kawaiietlyplease