INTERVIEW MUSIC

The Uncompromising World of Gyna Bootleg

“Some things can’t be described but only felt, and that feeling for me is called Gyna Bootleg.”

In one fell swoop, Gyna Bootleg directly describes the root of everything they do through thru their revolutionarily bold and honest sonic-performance art.

In a world where so many artists calculate, contrive and aim to hit a certain mark, hoping to garner a particular reaction from the crowd… Gyna Bootleg serves as a beacon of antistasis light. They’re a living landmark to the power of being unapologetically, wholly you.

Gyna Bootleg 12.11.2017 @ The Gateway, Brooklyn, NY by Joseph Alfred Mauro

You can tell that’s exactly what live music is to them. An opportunity to transcend, heal, cope with the past, an opportunity to advocate for a better future. Live, Gyna Bootleg is like no other. They refuse to use stage props, all the blood is real. Nothing is a gimmick, but rather a tool to advocate everything bubbling inside them.

Gyna Bootleg, Tamio Shiraishi, Tim Dahl Live at The Glove

“It’s been a constant battle with censors to get my work out to the public, as it’s often viewed as pornographic instead of being seen as stories of deeply layered complexity.” – Gyna Bootleg

Popular culture often sees a ‘femme presenting body’ and immediately moves to debase and sexualize it. Not listening, seeing or inquiring into the messages or intent in which that body is being used. Instead, people are too often caught up in their own lusts and wired hibitions about what’s appropriate for that said body to show, move and how it should express itself.

With such short sided views you’re bound to miss Gyna Bootleg all together.

Gyna has been emoting and using every piece of themselves to advocate where words fail throughout their entire artistic tenure. For 15 years, they’ve combine samplers, contacts mics, collaborations with other musicians – whatever’s available, to transmute their music and ideas.

In Heat 8.9.2018 @ Al Dios No Conocido, Providence, Rhode Island by Joseph Alfred Mauro

Gyna Bootleg’s artistic expressions aren’t held strictly to the musical side of things. Introduced to video and photography through their relationships and collaborations with artist such as Joseph Mauro, Johnny Ray, Frank Difficult and Victory Pearl, (a fetish film company based out of Olneyville, RI), Gyna Bootleg has also birthed a whole world of visual exploration that they can, with no-limits, navigate. It’s a marriage of fetish, passion, boundary pushing art and ideals, conceptualized through their alternate ego Dandy Meringue, while Gyna Bootleg often also wields the helm as director.

Freaks n Beans from Victory Pearl on Vimeo.

foul mouth / artichoke heart from joseph mauro on Vimeo.

Sermon 3 Recordings was lucky enough to be able to catch up with Gyna and have them personally peel back the layers to their story. From what birthed Gyna Bootleg, to how it has evolved, their influential collaborations and what’s next, the candid exchange is a front row opportunity to hear from the daringly honest artist themselves. Check the Full Interview Below:

INTERVIEW

Sermon 3 Recordings: You have years and years of musical, visual, film, solo and collaborative expression online. Where did you first start in all this creatively, the earliest stages on Gyna Bootleg that opened the door to everything?

Gyna Bootleg: Gyna Bootleg is the dream and the nightmare.

Gyna has always been a part of me, they are me, just as much as Dandy Meringue, Gyna’s alter, is. They are the compartmentalization of Ego and the screams from Stephanie’s past. 
I’ve been going to shows since I was a kid, and performance runs in my family, so when I finally got on stage I found it to be a natural fit for my big mouthed psychosis. I found a home in the underground scene in Olneyville and was exposed to a lot of killer shows, bands, venues, and memories which was totally inspiring! When I joined my first touring band, Tinsel Teeth, I took all of the garbage that fed trips to the mental hospital and I would rage on the energy of a detached inner chaos that would drive me to blackout with no concern for anything but the moment, esp at my expense. I would trust it to speak for me when words failed. Some things can’t be described but only felt, and that feeling for me is called Gyna Bootleg.

S3R: Gyna Bootleg is unchained. You viscerally use every part of you, mixed with samplers and contact mics to emote from the inside out. What’s the heart of that project, the spirit behind it that spers in its current state?

Gyna Bootleg: I carried much of my experience with Tinsel Teeth over to my need for individual expression as a solo performer. I was already using the sampler while playing with the band In Heat at the time. I contact mic a lot of personal objects from my experiences /speculum sandpaper razor blades/ and use them as tools of flagellation meant to embolden the flesh to rise above the pain of the past. To be stronger than it. Its important that every part of the performance is real, including the blood, so as not to cheapen the moment. They are memorials for the flesh. 

The body is very central to my work, as is identity. Chronic pain and bad memories are etched into every fiber of a cage that can’t be escaped. There is a sense of detachment from the self and, to an extent the world, that contributes greatly to my overall negligence of the body. It’s like my brain can’t sit still long enough to notice it’s there except when it’s in its own way. My use of nudity is in part a by-product of this detachment, where a lack of self-awareness and worth (and faith), has made the mind numb to the catholic guilt trip of shame. It’s been a constant battle with censors to get my work out to the public, as it’s often viewed as pornographic instead of being seen as stories of deeply layered complexity. The body is art, it is sex, it is trash.

S3R: Dirt Palace is an iconic safe space that holds space for so many like minded experimental producers that identify as femme/female. Can you talk a bit about your relationship/memories with the art space?

Gyna Bootleg: I have great respect for the dirt palace. Pippi Zornoza and Xander Marro have put so much of their time and resources into supporting artists and the community. They were one of the first places to showcase my work in their window gallery back in 2012. Recently, they have been working with a grant to restore a historic building for residencies that has involved so much community support in its restoration called the Wedding Cake House. It was amazing to see the work that has been put into their passion, especially because they worked so hard for it. Currently I’m in a project called Harpy with Pippi Zornoza, who is part owner of the Dirt Palace. I feel like I’ve been reintroduced to the Dirt Palace in a more personal way because of the years that Pippi put into the space. It’s crazy to realize how much history you’re standing in with all the art of shows and resident that have come and gone. And also how many lives it’s affected both inside and around them. I’m just now starting to come to terms with my identity and wish I had taken advantage of the amazing of positivity that comes with the experiences 

S3R: Would you mind peeling back the layers behind your film collaborations, and how it serves as a means of experimental expression for yourself?

Gyna Bootleg: I’m really lucky to have been able to collaborate with so many amazing creators in different mediums over the years. I love to see how working with different people inspires my own work.  I was introduced to video and photography through my collaborations with Johnny Ray and Frank Difficult, as well as my involvement in Victory Pearl, a fetish film group based out of Olneyville, RI, that released a number of short Bootleg films with Dandy Meringue. I was introduced to an appreciation for film through Joseph Mauro, who I also played with in the improv band Fall Risk. My love for working with film continued with friends Amanda Capasso and Dana Archer, whose support has given me a sense of self, esp as it exists within the queer community. 

S3R: What’s currently inspiring you? What are you excited about doing next?

Gyna Bootleg: Currently, I’m in a project called Harpy with Pippi Zornoza that I adore. I collaborate with Tamio Shiraishi and, more recently, Tim Dahl as an improv trio. I’ve also been focusing on shooting and soundtracking with DARLING, a new sound/visual project with Johnny Ray. Hoping to release my first solo album this year. I seriously appreciate everyone’s support along the way. We are nothing without others, and the connections I’ve made throughout the years have been priceless.

Get connected with all of Gyna Bootleg’s work HERE.

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