Artist profiles rarely tell the whole story. There are always aspects of an artists’ life and story and viewpoint that have to be edited out or pared down to make them fit into neat essays that fans can read through in one sitting. Tommy Genesis understands that, but she doesn’t have to like it — and she sure doesn’t accept it.
The Canadian artist doesn’t actually like talking about herself in interviews. The bio bits don’t encompass who she is, the stories she wants to tell, or her mindset, quite as well as her music does. She wants to make bold, personal artistic statements, not recount dry, reductive explanations of the marketing-approved version of what she does. She wants you to listen to her new album, Tommy Genesis, and have your own experience, soundtracked by hers.
And while there are parallels between what the glowing profiles of the fast-rising performer write about her and her own perspective — for instance, her reflective musings on dualism send tendrils of connections into her bisexuality and mixed-race heritage — she’d rather gush about how much she loves Aeon Flux and anime, the thought processes that go into her artistic decisions, and unabashedly embracing her own, unique personality traits despite judgments or misconceptions from the wider world.
Which is how, in a call with Tommy, we got to gush about anime, the music we both love and how it informs her creative process, and women empowering themselves through music and art, using new freedom to redefine their relationships to their bodies, their friends, and their cultural environments. We may never get to know the real Tommy Genesis, but with the dazzling, real insights she shared here and the surreal soundscapes of the singles from Tommy Genesis, I can’t wait to dive into her self-titled sophomore album — which came out this past Friday on Downtown Records — and find out more. That’s exactly how she wants it.
The biggest thing I noticed when I listened through Tommy Genesis is that it’s very different from your older music. What was the driving force behind that change?
Life. My other album is a few years old, and this one was just where I was at in the kind of music I was making now. I would say there’re similarities in maybe certain songs, and the writing style, and my voice and stuff like that. But this album is definitely a little bit more poppy, but a little bit more maybe synthesized. But I still feel like it’s me.
Why did you want to go for more of a poppy sound on this album, as opposed to your last one?
I didn’t want to go for anything. I just write everything and make everything, and it was really just where my own head-space was at. I definitely didn’t try to make anything specific, I was just making stuff, and that’s what came out of me.