California's queer community is being painted—or slathered—scarlet red by Love Bailey and her queer troupe of performers, which she's aptly titled the "Slather Factory." Bailey's colorful, outlandish collection of LGBTQ exhibitionists, from fashion stars to dancers and musicians, aims to spread love and create safe spaces wherever they travel. An inclusive assembly, where personal liberation takes center stage, the Slather Factory notably includes gender-queer musician Bebe Huxley and underground DJ Edward Vigiletti, both of whom are prepping full-length albums.
Vigiletti is previously known for impersonating Lady Gaga and going viral when the Joanne singer replaced her Twitter profile picture with one of his own. Though the Los Angeles musician rode out his reputation among crazed Little Monsters—dressing in Pleaser platforms and donning platinum blonde wigs—Vigiletti more recently shifted focus to hone his production skills. His debut five-track EP, xsc8pism, is an unhinged dose of electronic with throbbing metallic beats and sinister sounds—the official soundtrack to all Slather Factory events.
The EP's powerful opener, "AM I Wild," plays loudly during the finale of the Factory's breakout film, Slather It Up, which will officially premiere at Outfest this year. Equally sexy and symbolic, Vigiletti's track holds special meaning to Bailey, who says she'd dream of how it'd sound in the film, which took several years to finish, while the red-haired dancer lived inside a dusty garage. Now, Slather It Up is finally complete, Bailey happily resides on the Slather Ranch in Temecula and Vigiletti is spreading his sounds internationally.
Before the two traveled to Vienna for Life Ball this weekend, OUT asked Bailey to chat with Vigiletti about xsc8pism—an interview that quickly developed into a sublime conversation about making your wildest fantasies a reality.
Love Bailey: Mr. Vigiletti, can you talk a little bit about your EP, titled xsc8pism. Can you describe how you chose this?
Edward Vigiletti: It’s all about escaping the norm, you know what I mean? Escaping something, and I feel like the whole point of the EP and the whole point of where I’m at right now is just taking what is the norm and fucking with it. xsc8pism is just my take on fucking with the mainstream.
Bailey: You’re trying to escape. You’re into this fantasy world, this other realm…
Vigiletti: I’m not necessarily trying to escape my reality, I think I’m trying to escape the idea that fantasy isn’t reality. It’s kind of like a parallel—an opposite, you know what I mean?
Bailey: You’re creating your own fantasy through your reality.
Vigiletti: Exactly, and by creating my fantasy, I’m living my reality. My reality is my fantasy.
Love Bailey & Edward Vigiletti
Bailey: I love that you’re on this music path. When I met you, you were sort of a Lady Gaga impersonator, and Gaga saw you and made a whole big thing about you. People would fly you all over to impersonate her. Why did you choose music as your path?
Vigiletti: Music was what I know. and I grew up with it from a little boy playing instruments to being in a family that’s fully encompassed in show biz. For me, dressing up was more a form of self-discovery as opposed to just flat out expression. That’s even where the name of the record comes into play. I think I feel like I had to dress up a bit to feel how I truly felt inside. Dressing up was a way of feeling like a superstar and for me, I’ve really been working on feeling like a superstar every day throughout my daily life, whether I have eight-inch shoes on or couture on.
Bailey: Or a baseball cap.
Vigiletti: I love it. I’ll never not do it, but I will obviously never be one to do it just to do it. That’s where I’m at now. Unless there is purpose behind the experience, it just doesn’t do much for me anymore and that’s the honest truth.
Bailey: Let’s talk about your grandmother because I think there’s a lot of parallels between our families, my grandmother being a showgirl and your grandmother being a belly dancer. It’s a beautiful thing and I think that’s why we connect in a weird cosmic way. Can you talk a bit about your grandmother and what she does?
Vigiletti: My grandmother is a world-renowned belly dancer. She has and still is teaching classes five days a week and does tours around the world. But it’s interesting, my grandmother is definitely one of the women in my life that gave me the courage of just constant expression and freedom. She always let me know that there was no reason to ever make excuses for who I actually am and always gave me the mediums to be able to create whoever I felt like I was.
Bailey: I feel like that medium you chose, music, has been your path of escapism and that’s exactly why you titled the EP that.
Vigiletti: Music for me is more up my ally in regards to my personality. I’ve definitely accepted that I’m not as eccentric as many people in our community are and I think I struggled with that for a bit because I am much more quiet and I’m more of an observer. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like I’m fully involved in the experience.
Bailey: You like to be in the captain’s chair with your headphones on and a monitor or performance in front of you. That’s where you feel safe.
Vigiletti: I’ve been trying to get myself out of my usual and make myself a little bit uncomfortable to explore that contrast. I want to be more vulnerable. That’s always the goal, to be more vulnerable with myself and that will transcend into the music and visually whatever I attach it to because I feel like it’s all-encompassing.
Bailey: You’re doing it, and I feel like I’m dragging you along the way. I’m taking you to Vienna for Life Ball with 40 queens with inflated egos and bags of couture and wigs. How do you feel about that experience?
Vigiletti: I think Vienna is going to be the holiday that I’ve needed and in terms of just like, getting out of Los Angeles. I admire everyone’s talent, stamina and effort, and it’s going to be a really fun experience to be around like-minded people that want to just be in the moment. I want to go and hopefully have some new ventures come into my way of creating. I want to create and I feel this is going to be a trip that jump starts many fun collaborations.
Bailey: It’s like the Olympics of drag, that’s what I’m calling it. (Laughs)
Vigiletti: I can see that. I’m ready and I can tell you, I have been, in my opinion, not really giving what I feel like I could give, but for some reason this inspired the shit out of me and say, “If there’s ever a time to pull the fucking heels out of the casket, let’s do it.” I’m having fun with it now.
Bailey: Going back to your EP, there’s a song on there, called “Am I Wild.” That’s really the birth of the Slather film. This song got me through a really hard time when I was living in a garage. You stood by my side when a lot of people dropped out of making the film because in order to create a short film of any length, it takes a couple years or so. It’s hard to find people that are committed to the vision and fantasy, and I feel like you have been committed since day one.
That beat… I would dream on it, meditate on it and look forward to the day that we had a finale for the film. That day of shooting the finale, we had talked about it for years and you saw it come to life. I remember you breaking down in tears. For me, that was the most beautiful moment of the experience, you seeing these people performing it. You were in the projector room with me and I was holding you and saying, “Look at what we can achieve together.” For me, that was a revelation.
Vigiletti: When I first started making music, it was a selfish hobby, and I think as time has gone on, I’ve grown and understood that it’s now become a selfless way of communicating with people in ways I don't know how to verbally. It doesn’t have vocals in it. A lot of it is just a beat and instrumentals, but I make it with the intent of hoping somebody somewhere feels better while listening to it. I’ve always wanted to feel safe and wanted people to feel like there was a reason to be here—a reason to keep going. Somebody recently asked me, “Would you want to live forever?” and I initially thought, maybe. But then I thought, if you lived forever, there’d be no point to get out of bed there’d be no point to do anything.
Bailey: There’s a time stamp.
Vigiletti: We’re here and we’ve got to make the effort, and with making music I’m only making it now with the intention for people, along with myself, to get out their feelings— to feel whatever it is that they need to feel while listening to it.
The Slather Factory
Bailey: It’s really exciting seeing snapchat videos of all our queer babies jamming out to your songs. It’s so liberating seeing that. It was a small little moment in a shower-less garage and now these people are living for it.
Vigiletti: I put this EP out because I have a full record made. The EP is like a predecessor, and I’m ready to make my Fame Monster version of the fucking shit. I’m just really excited about making music and I’m happy to see people happy. I’m all about the idea of full circle love, where it’s continuously going around and around, and everyone feels good and everyone’s inspired to make shit and inspiring other people. That’s what xsc8pism is. It’s not the idea of escaping reality, it’s the idea of making your fantasy a reality. For me, my fantasy is this idea of full circle love and full circle inclusion and expression. I want to make music to have other people feel good, so they can go create shit for themselves and put that out in the world, so other kids feel good cause that’s what inspired me.
Bailey: It’s reminds me… this metaphor came to me, while you were saying that. At the ranch, there’s this machine and it’s like a merry go round. It takes four people to sit in it and you have to push and pull make this thing spin. When you’re inside this machine… when you’re both spinning and locking eyes, nothing else matters. It’s almost like you exist in this bubble time continuum, like a beautiful vortex. That’s the world we want to create, where we’re not escaping, but physically manifesting this magic to happen with each other. It takes us pushing and pulling that wheel over and over again to make this beautiful world exist.
Photography: Adam Reyna