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Love is noticing everything
Lucy Dacus comes thru talkin' DESIGNER GENIUS and lavishing attention onto the fire FLOTSAM & JETSAM… of life !!
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Lucy Dacus — she puts out POPPING ALBUM AFTER POPPING ALBUM … and even though her breakthrough, 2018’s Historian, was a widely praised big-gas slapper, somehow her brand-new joint Home Video is an EVEN BIGGER-GAS TRIUMPH??
Much like Blackbird SpyFriend Phoebe Bridgers — Lucy’s buddy and Boygenius bandmate — Lucy has a beautiful voice, she freaks pop structures subtly & shrewdly, and she is MEAN WITH THE MOTHERF**KING PEN, writing lyrics that if I were a music critic circa 2007 I might call “sneakily funny, sharply evocative and — at moments — quietly devastating,” baby!!
Also: Lucy is a JAWN CONNOISSEUR with an advanced & expansive sense of what a fire jawn can be … She f**ks with Issey Miyake and Alexander McQueen and she knits her own HANDSOME SWEATERS, but she also cherishes the sorts of seemingly worthless EPHEMERA, DETRITUS, FLOTSAM and JETSAM that can actually constitute MUCH OF LIFE’S MEANING…
Blackbird Spyplane has a reputation to uphold as the no. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon,” so it was necessary that we bang Lucy’s line to talk about all of the above….
Blackbird Spyplane: I read about how you used to put on “fashion shows” as a kid, modeling clothes u copped at Kohl’s… Then you renounced material possessions on some Young Monastic s**t … But THEN you saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met and decided that “there’s room everywhere for beauty — it doesn’t have to be rooted in capitalism or consumerism.” That’s the sweet spot we try to aim for here at BBSP, so I’m curious to hear more about that epiphany …
Lucy Dacus: “As a kid I was always attracted to material possessions, because I didn’t shop that much — my parents were really careful with money, so yeah, I’d go shopping at Kohl’s, wear everything with the tags still on, then bring it back. It was a way to have this experience in the material realm that wasn’t permanent, and I think it actually made me pay more attention to these things that I could touch but couldn’t possess.
“Years later, going to that McQueen show opened a different room of possibility in my brain — here was someone who was thinking about things in a way I never had, and it reawakened this latent love of material things that I’d put aside out of, like, religious thinking and being disgusted with capitalism in general. Since then I’ve realized that you can make things beautiful by imbuing meaning into them, and that’s extremely powerful. Like, McQueen made this one dress out of hundreds of medical slides — the little plastic rectangles you might put under a microscope. I like people who can see the potential for beauty in something that way.
“McQueen’s creativity, it wasn’t solely about fashion. It was about connecting dots that other people can’t. Susan Sontag had this quote where she’s like, ‘Love is noticing everything.’ I’m probably getting the quote wrong, but that’s one of the best types of love — noticing things that other people can’t.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Yes! Doing these interviews, ppl tend to tell me about things that might be worth nothing on the “open market” — but love and attention make them wildly valuable...
Lucy Dacus: “Whenever I go to people’s houses and they have lots of knickknacks, or they’ve repaired s**t over and over again, or every plate in the kitchen is different and they can tell me about every plate? That’s my favorite s**t. I aspire to that — I want to be able to look in any direction at home and have meaning attach to everything around me. Not just ‘Oh, a set of IKEA plates.’”
Blackbird Spyplane: Who are some other designers you’re into?
Lucy Dacus: “Most of the stuff in my closet is hand-me-downs from my grandma or friends. That’s been my M.O. Recently, though, Simone Rocha let me wear some stuff for shoots, and I really want to go to something that’s fancy enough to wear a Molly Goddard dress — one of the big tulle puffy ones. I’ve been lucky to wear some things from Issey Miyake lately, too — they’ve sent things for shoots. Like, pleated pants and this cool dress that’s very sculptural and hard to describe. They’re so kind, and they have inclusive sizing. I like their more experimental pieces but also the normal pants are great.”
“I hadn’t really worn designer stuff before, but then you put it on and you’re like, ‘Oh, it is different.’ Clothes that actually fit will change you!”
Blackbird Spyplane: Truer words never spoken! So, you sent over a bunch of pictures of these scrapbooks full of ephemera you’ve taped to your bedroom walls over the years…. What’s the deal?
Lucy Dacus: “Basically, starting in middle school, I would tape everything to my walls: I’d go out to see a movie and tape the ticket stub to the wall, or do something fun with friends and tape a receipt from something we bought that day to the wall. I’d get these big spiral notebooks and if I ever had to move — and I’ve moved 6 times since high school — I’d just transfer the things from the walls into the notebooks and jot down notes about what they were.”
Blackbird Spyplane: That’s wild. I know that Home Video was based on a bunch of detailed journals you’ve kept for years. Where do you think your impulse to self-document and self-archive comes from?
Lucy Dacus: “I don’t know exactly why it began, but I’ve been thinking about what I learned from my dad without even noticing I was learning it — like, home videos he’d make, or my mom keeps decades of detailed day planners, or when I was a kid she kept a big calendar in the kitchen where she’d write down what everyone was doing that day, down to the minute.”
“As far as my own impulse to keep all this stuff, I like having physical ephemera from the past, because it makes it feel like it’s my life and not other people’s memories — it’s really easy for me to defer to someone else’s version of a story over my own.”
Blackbird Spyplane: The component pieces here are kind of unremarkable, but in aggregate, and with yr captions, they become absorbing … Like, this succession of 4 concert tickets over 9 months traces the arc of a relationship, culminating with a very deadpan “[REDACTED] suggests stop dating him.”
Lucy Dacus: “Wow, I didn’t even notice — I’ve got to look at that. [REDACTED] was my first love, and they went to college and would come back for concerts, and I was dating this dick at the time, and [REDACTED] was like, ‘Dump this guy…’ You’re right, there are little stories that emerge, even though for me it’s one big story.”
Blackbird Spyplane: What’s up with the comics?
Lucy Dacus: “Whenever I had a dream about someone, I used to wake up and make a comic and try to send it to them. It was this thing where I wanted to tell them about it, in case the dream was some kind of sign.”
“The page that says LOL-UH is from Lollapalooza 2012— the first festival I ever went to, where our parents just dropped us off, like, ‘Have fun!’ Very out of character. For weeks and weeks, leading up to the festival, we listened to every album by every band on the line-up, took polls, ranked all of them, made this schedule, and made a map of the grounds, so we knew when and where we had to run to see what we wanted to see.”
Blackbird Spyplane: Wow, you never care about music as intensely as you do when you’re in your teens…
Lucy Dacus: “It was my first real bout of freedom. On the next page, the one with the photo of the Bean at Millennium Park, there’s a guy’s number I got at the festival. I had a goal to make out with someone different every day of the festival, and I succeeded. I’d just meet people at the sets.
“One day we were leaving and I hadn’t made out with anyone, so I went up to a pedicab dude outside and said, like, ‘Destiny has brought us together, let’s make out for 5 minutes,” and he said, ‘Sure,’ so we stood there kissing with my friends applauding until we had to run and catch the train.”
Blackbird Spyplane: 5 minutes? Go off player!!
Lucy Dacus: “What else? The folded-up paper with the little planes (above left) was a prize from my Russian teacher in High School after I got the best score on a test — it’s a barf bag from a Russian airline. He was a funny guy. He taught us that in Russia they used to have 14 months, not 12, and he put it on our test, then at the end of the semester he admitted it was a lie.
“On the right, there’s a note from a kid named [REDACTED] — I went to prom with him, and he got a girlfriend at the prom. It wasn’t even at my school, so I didn’t know anybody. What a twat.”
Blackbird Spyplane: D*mn. How often do you flip back through these?
Lucy Dacus: “Almost never, because I’m afraid they won’t hit as potently as I remember them, and also because I want my brain to allow people to reintroduce themselves to me — I don’t want to cling too hard to an outdated sense of who they are and how things are.
“The album came out a few weeks ago, and some people I wrote songs about have reached out displeased, so I’m also sensitive about representing people — the guy that ‘Brando’ is about hit me up and said he remembered things differently, and I felt bad. I flipped through these pages and found notes from him, and there was a whole other side of our friendship where he wasn’t being pretentious — there’s nuance everywhere.”
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REAL QUICK: We are TEAM GIANNIS here at Blackbird Spyplane, however, SpyFriend Adam Wray just whipped up a very funny Nalgene in tribute to Suns star Devin Booker and his highly charming personalized “BOOK” water bottle (above) — U can cop one now thru Goslett Shell Company, where 100% of profits “will be donated to the Phoenix Public Library Foundation, whose work supports early literacy programs and life-long learning opportunities.”
It’s Bucks in 6 on this side, but yooo, peace to public libraries, too!!