Macy Rodman is a living legend. You can often find her walking around Brooklyn in ribbons of pink silk and her tallest heels, perhaps humming a light tune beneath her breath. At thirty-one, Rodman is one of the most unique pop stars out there. A hand-drawn star. Her sound is sparkling vomit, vulnerable confessions, and energetic hooks that stick themselves to the walls of your brain.
Sometimes Rodman is a manic songbird, while other times, often within the very next line, her voice seems as though it were made only to mourn. Her first album The Lake, released in 2017, offered fans a moody, sensual batch of songs that seemed to pulse like bodies in the nightlife. Her following sophomore effort Endless Kindness was a more upbeat, club soundtrack powered by droning synths and punchy vocals soaked in bravado.
Now, her third album Unbelievable Animals is nearly upon us. It hovers on the horizon. In preparation for the release, we had the wondrous opportunity to speak with Rodman about her hometown of Juneau, Alaska, David Lynch, and the next album. Check out the “Love Me!” music video and read our conversation below.
How did you get started in music?
I moved to New York for fashion school but I dropped out because I really didn’t like the job prospects, so I was trying to figure out what to do. I’d always kind of mess around with music with my sibling, who knows how to play every instrument and after I dropped out of school, my friend taught me how to use Garageband. That really made it click for me because I was never able to read sheet music or anything. None of that ever connected with me. But when I figured out how to create music digitally that really topped off for me, so I just kept doing it.
Who inspires you and your aesthetic?
I had a very weird, eclectic taste in music growing up in Alaska because there’s not really a scene to speak of. So it was whatever pop culture detritus happened to be on the radio. A lot of early 2000s pop and hip hop. That’s what I listened to then and as I got older I started digging into Prince’s discography and PJ Harvey, Marianne Faithful, Courtney Love. It’s a huge mixture of influences. As far as stuff I want to write about, I have always been a huge fan of films, so the exciting aspect about writing is being able to create some kind of world and narrative around the music.
Can you describe what Alaska is like beyond what we see on television?
I’m from Juneau, which is the capital. It is very removed. It’s water on one side, mountains on the other and you can’t drive in or out of it. You have to take an airplane. I haven’t gone back a whole lot. This is actually my second time back in over a decade. So, my memories of it are that it was very isolating. I just remember avoiding playing sports. It’s a weird space, a weird spot. It’s hard to describe.
It must have been strange to move from a place like Alaska where the environment dictates how you live your daily life to New York where modern machinery takes the forefront. Was there a moment where you reflected on how vast the difference was as you left Alaska? Or did you mostly feel relief?
Mainly, I was relieved. And over the years I’ve had pangs of wanting to come back but it’s so hard to get here. Especially as a broke, young person, you can’t really cough up $800 for a plane ticket, right? But I haven’t regretted leaving. Every time I feel homesick or think about coming back, I’m reminded of the lack of any kind of opportunities. Though they actually do have a lot of support there. A lot of public art. But probably not for blasphemous transexuals. You can only really get that from living in a place like New York.
What message do you want to bring to the new generation of trans youth?
They don’t really need any advice from me. The kids are rocking it. More important than I ever was, more energized than I ever was at that age. I’m honestly gobsmacked by the stuff that Gen Z is doing. They are so invested in innovation. But I think my advice would be to remember to be happy.
I noticed themes of fading out and inadequacy on the newest album. As a pop star, how do you approach those sorts of feelings?
I think you have to be willing to go there during the writing process. To address those feelings and not push them away because that is what’s so great about pop music. Whether you’re too excited or too insecure or too horny or whatever, pop music lets you express that. What is appealing about the format is you can explore these things that make you uncomfortable and slap something fun and shiny on top. So, I don’t want to avoid those feelings in songwriting.
Someone commented on the video for “Ugly Bitch,” that you’re the new David Lynch. And I feel the same way. There’s such a surrealistic, absurd quality to your work. Where does this come from?
I like playing with expectations. There’s so much I love about pop music and pop stars, the showbiz of it all. One of my favorite things about people like Britney, Gaga, Rihanna, and Beyonce is the element of surprise. The gag, you know? Whether it’s how beautiful she is or something crazy happens in the video. I want to be able to deliver that feeling. I love including humor in my work, playing with weird concepts for videos. It’s exciting to play with the format of an era. I always think the music is kind of tongue in cheek, so it’s fun to tie everything together.
What can we expect from the new album?
It is a break-up album and it is also a love letter to radio pop songs that I grew up with. So, The Cardigans, Garbage, Liz Phair, Janet Jackson, and Shania Twain. It also deals with a breakdown through the language of pop music.
Macy Rodman will be releasing Unimaginable Animals on Aug 27 on Shamir’s Accidental Popstar Records.
Interview by Jasmine Ledesma
Photos by Pvssyheaven