Photo courtesy of Austra’s Katie Stelmanis.
Austra’s third full-length, Future Politics, lives up to its name, setting ruminations on religion and economic disparity to dark, propulsive beats. Here, the Toronto synth-pop project’s queer frontwoman, Katie Stelmanis, reflects on the influences—from Massive Attack to a recent stint in Mexico—that helped bring her vision to life.
“I’d never really listened to their music, but then I saw them play at some little festival in Belgium. It just made me nostalgic. The ’90s were a time when many bands were overtly political. I decided that’s something I wanted to do with this record.”
“I got into a lot of them when I was living in Mexico. Chancha Via Circuito, from Argentina, is one of many producers mixing traditional indigenous music with modern techno beats. I found that really inspiring.”
“I’d never been into writing lyrics, but I decided this time around I wanted to focus on it more, so I started reading a lot of poetry. I was really inspired by how e.e. cummings romanticizes nature, and the spirituality around nature.”
“An accelerationism manifesto inspired this album’s title. It claims that technology will free us from capitalism, because we’ll no longer need human labor. With no need for human labor, there’s no need for money. It’s this idea technology will free us from our oppressors.”
“I felt the colors in the city.Growing up in North America, where everything is bland and gray, and then going to Mexico, where everything is in color, and learning about its cultural history—I feel like it really brought me back to life.”
“In my ideal world the futurist female movement is more about blurring gender lines than the idea of the woman being ‘above.’ I think it’s more significant to eradicate gender binaries. That’s something Judith Butler has always advocated for.”
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