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August 12, 2013 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Randa is Rad

Many a fine musician can be found amidst the depths of Bandcamp and SoundCloud, yet the feeling of elation when one discovers a truly incredible artist on these websites is surely comparable to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. This was the emotion elicited during my first listening of Randa’s single ‘Orange Juice’, and then over and over again as I heard each of the tracks listed on her Lunchbox EP. The milieu of jingly piano riffs, syncopated beats, Friends references and fluorescent sportswear combine to distinguish Randa as an old soul making music from a decade long since dead.

When interviewing the Auckland rap artist, Maynard (ima call her Maynard, because we totally reached first-name basis) initially appeared to be a shy girl swamped in an oversize jacket and just barely peeping out from behind her Buddy Holly frames. But soon after my over-enthusiasm to become BFFLs was made clear, we eased into the kind of sober, friendly chatting that you wish would last until dawn.

Elise: Which artists are you inspired by?

Maynard: Well, in the beginning, I was really inspired by all the alternative rap, especially stuff coming out of LA and San Francisco, like Odd Future. I think it was the end of 2011, that was when I started getting into heavier stuff. It was like the whole Kreayshawn, Danny Brown, Das Racist thing.

E: So pretty aggressive stuff would you say?

M: I think some of it, but I remember there was this track called ‘McDonalds’ by Hodgy Beats and he was talking about his dream. He said “blue is purple is purple is pink” or something; it was really weird and it wasn’t even super-catchy or anything, it was just really different. It felt like listening stuff, like it didn’t even make me wanna dance, it was just cool and exciting. [Srsly guiz, check out that song. You can really hear how her music developed out of that style.]

E: Your connection in Wellington is Totems, so do you plan on working with him again?

M: Yeah, I guess if anything comes up. That was kind of how it was with the ‘Frankenstein’ track; it was really chill. I had met him a couple of times and he said, “Feel free to use any of my beats.” So I made a demo and he was really nice about it, so I put the song out on SoundCloud in January and it was good!

[Totems enters, I ask him for a comment]

E: How was it working with Randa on various tracks?

TOTEMS: Awesome, it was real awesome; ten out of ten.

[Back to Randa]

E: Your lyrics and your whole vibe and visual appearance is very nostalgic of our childhood and the ‘90s in general. What is it about that time period that draws you to it?   

M: When I was younger I was really into ‘80s movies, when I was about nine, ten or 11. When I was growing up I was always… I don’t know if this is going too deep into it, but especially in my teen years I’ve just always been really uncomfortable in my skin. I mean, being born female and not feeling female, so I just constantly wanted to escape and the ‘90s to me felt safe. When I was a kid, what I didn’t have was worries and concerns that I had when I was 15 to 17. So I think a lot of it’s that, and it’s just a really colourful and attractive era in general. It’s not super-progressive but it’s still kind of… I dunno haha.

E: Based on your last comment, do you work closely with LGBT communities?

M: I’m not super-out publically, just because it’s a tricky situation putting music out. Especially recently, because it’s been really fresh and it’s like there is a whole new audience and I’d be worried about… I don’t know how to say it. I do identify as trans*, like female to male I feel like I’m transitioning, but it’s all quite recent too. So I’m kind of exploring gender and trying to find where I fit. It’s been pretty trippy this year. But music helps. Writing is part of what helped me get to that point in my mind where I started to understand things.

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