Brooklyn-based dark synth pop blows boundaries open
"I wanted to portray myself in a light nobody had ever seen before," L'FREAQ, aka Lia Cappelli, tells SFR ahead of her upcoming show at Tumbleroot. Before moving to NYC at age 20, Cappelli says she was performing "Nora Jones-y stuff;" sweet, maybe a little shy—definitely not freaky.
Brooklyn changes folks, though, and Cappelli started experimenting with darker, more synth- and bass-based sounds.
"I wanted to push more boundaries. I moved … and had my mind blown," she says.
It wasn't just the music of freak-pop extraordinaires like FKA Twigs, BANKS and David Bowie that pushed her toward a newer, sultrier sound, but also a community of LGBTQIA2+ friends who showed her it's okay to be less than "normal."
On first glance at the cover of L'FREAQ's debut EP, Weird Awakenings, one notices the hair, the jeweled snakes and the eye makeup, and then, around her neck, a coarse rope bondage collar. Her first single, Moonlight, features her hanging from the ceiling in a much more elaborate bondage set-up, so SFR had to ask: what's up with that, ya li'l freak?
"It's, like, the epitome of what's left of normal," she says. "When I was in school I always felt more like a man … when I moved, I started to become more comfortable with my femininity, and I liked the idea of wrapping it up in coarse rope."
L'FREAQ's music comes from the same place of self-exploration and self-creation; when she sings Weird Awakenings' title track, "Follow me deeper, baby / I'm only human but the halls are made up," it's as if she's challenging her younger self to become as authentic a person as she can muster.
She hopes to help other people break out of their boxes, too.
"We're in a society where people are supressed, oppressed … music brings people together. Being different is ok—I want people to feel through the show that they can do anything," Cappelli explains.
Thursday, Oct. 17. 8pm. Free.
Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery,
2791 Agua Fria St.
"Proclaiming Earth to be a misogynistic dystopia, the art-pop super duo known as Princess prepares a rocket ship to find a better world." So reads the text at the beginning of Princess' brand new video/album project Out There, a piece that uses animation, oddball photography and weirdo jamz to explore the role men should be playing today. It's great stuff, really, a little bit of synth pop melded with elements of indie rock, hip-hop and throwback pop for an aurally pleasing concept album with humorous and fashionable videos. Appropriately, the band comes to SITE Santa Fe this week with its cutting edge amalgamation of artistry and music. SITE's been pretty much killing it with unexpected shows the last few years (OK, always), and this one will surely not disappoint. (Alex De Vore)
Sound and Spectacle: Out There:
7 pm Friday Oct. 18. $5-$10.
SITE Santa Fe,
1606 Paseo de Peralta,
More Than a Thousand Words
With CENTER's upcoming 19th Annual Review Santa Fe Photo Festival looming on the horizon, it's no wonder little photograph events are popping up around town, and the Drury Plaza Hotel hosts a doozy this weekend. Enter John Jacob, a curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Diane Arbus superfan with works spanning the iconic photographer's career. Arbus was, of course, known as a champion of the marginalized and downtrodden, a constant shooter of the lesser-known aspects of society (in her time, anyway) and a precursor to the likes of Joel-Peter Witkin. Arbus' work was powerful and way ahead of its time and, ask anyone, a major milestone for representation. Find Jacob and a whole bunch of snaps come Sunday. (ADV)
A Box of 10 Photographs: The Odyssey of Diane Arbus:
11 am Sunday Oct. 20. Free.
Drury Plaza Hotel,
828 Paseo de Peralta,
Paul Gaugin was kind of the prototype for ditching a stifling life to pursue art, and even if he wound up a syphilitic shell of a man who left behind a career and family, his move to the lush paradise of Tahiti yielded some of the finest post-impressionist works the world has ever seen. To be fair, scientists began questioning the whole syphilis thing by examining Gaugin's teeth in 2014, and generations have benefited from his works—but whatever else happened, his chapter remains one of the most fascinating and semi-inspirational in art history. Are we suggesting you ditch your five kids and run off to the tropics? Probably not, but while you're learning about the life of the French master at a screening of the documentary Gaugin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost, maybe think about carving out some you-time. (ADV)
Great Art on Screen: Gaugin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost:
7 pm Monday Oct. 21. $15.
Lensic Performing Arts Center,
211 W San Francisco St.,