By Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly
From touring at Pride festivals worldwide to appearing on the L Word, musicians God Des and She have spent almost a decade building a dedicated and passionate fanbase with their catchy, conscious hip-hop. To hype their Portland show tonight at Crush, we present some samples of the duo's work and a few outtakes from their forthcoming interview with PQ, hitting the streets this Thursday:
PQ: I understand that yâ€™all met up initially in Wisconsin, which really has a criminally underrated music scene â€” I think of folks like Zola Jesus in Madison, Bon Iver in Au Claire, and even before that the Violent Femmes, Les Paul, so many people. What is it about Wisconsin that breeds such good music? God Des: Like Iâ€™ve said, all the soul comes from the Midwest! [Laughs]â€¦ I think music is very influenced by the climate and the culture youâ€™re in, and us in Wisconsin, because itâ€™s really cold, have a lot of time indoors to write great music. Itâ€™s funny how the place youâ€™re in influences you stylistically â€” in the Carribean youâ€™re writing upbeat tropical music, in Seattle youâ€™re getting rained on and writing depressing grunge music. Great music comes from anywhere and everywhere, though. PQ: Along those lines, what new musical artists and albums are you excited about these days? God Des: Iâ€™m really excited by a lot of the indie rock thatâ€™s getting on the radio these days! I was a fan of the Eighties and before, when the sound and the artists were really diverse â€” you didnâ€™t have to be a super good-looking person, it was really about the sound. That said, Iâ€™m really excited about Imagine Dragons, Florence and the Machine, the Lumineers. I love Lupe Fiasco and Kâ€™naan! â€¦Weâ€™re both really excited that Adele, whoâ€™s definitely not anorexic â€” sheâ€™s a bit thick â€” can be the best-selling artist of the last year. Weâ€™re hoping that things are changing, and that it wonâ€™t just be about the manufactured Britney Spears machine anymore.
PQ: Over the years you've played alongside and collaborated with some really interesting folks â€” Sia, Lady Gaga, Salt 'n Peppa. Who would be your dream collaborators to work with? She: As far as record producers, I've always wanted to work with Rick Rubin â€” I think he totally gets us, and that we'd make the best record in the history of the world. Rick, holler at your girl. I think if we made a record with Prince or Missy Elliot, it would be insane. I personally would love to sing with Alicia Keys, Mary J. [Blige], Bonnie Rait... there's a lot of people that I'd love to work with. God Des: My dream collaboration would be a record where we worked with a different artist for each song. Sting and Prince probably have my two favorite voices, I love Bonnie Rait's voice, Bob Seger... As far as hip-hop, I'd love to work with Lupe Fiasco, K'naan, I really like what Mackelmore's doing right now, Kendrick Lamar. We love music and there are so many talented musicians out there. She: We're really all over the place with it. We bump Journey in the car all the time! We really love it all. Seriously, though, Rick Rubin should produce our record. He'd seriously bring things out of us that we didn't even know we had.
PQ: I'd like to do a little word association with you â€” just say the very first thing that comes to mind when you hear this, okay? God Des: [Hesitant laugh] Alright... PQ: Alice Walker. God Des: Feminist. PQ: Marriage Equality. God Des: 2013. PQ: Lesbian separatism. God Des: That's a good one... I understand it. I hope that we can move beyond it. I think that when we separate ourselves, we can't really create change, because we need to educate people who don't agree with what we're doing or who we are, but I understand why some lesbians wouldn't want to be in that situation [of educating] until they're comfortable. PQ: Portland, Oregon. God Des: Coffee! PQ: Mormons. God Des: [Cracks up!] I'm completely impartial! I don't care what religion someone is. PQ: President Barack Obama. God Des: Love him! PQ: Ellen Degeneres. God Des: Funny as hell! PQ: Republicans. God Des: Boo, sir! PQ: Born In Flames. God Des: What was that!? PQ: Born in Flames! It's this feminist post-apocalyptic film from the mid-1980's from the director Lizzie Borden, it's quite crazy and amazing. God Des: I haven't seen it! I remember reading about it, though. PQ: Oh my gosh, you have to see it! God Des: I'll definitely watch it as soon as I can! PQ: You're seriously going to love it. I can imagine your next album being God Des and She: Born In Flames after you see it. God Des: That's awesome! I'm so going to watch it as soon as I step through the door at home. PQ: Cool... okay, two more. Georgia O'Keefe. God Des: Beautiful. PQ: Woman. God Des: Strong.God Des and She play Crush (1400 SE Morrison Street, Portland) tonight; doors open at 8 PM, tickets are $5 at the door, 21+ only. Be sure to read PQ's full interview with God Des and She and hear them give their take on the modern state of music, feminism, spirituality, queer rights â€” and the horror that is Ann Coulter â€” in the February/March issue of PQ Monthly, in print and online this Thursday. Will we be seeing you at the show tonight, readers?