Kate Nyx

maker. musician. faerie. feminist.

Kate Nyx, "The Stripologist",  is a showgirl, songwriter, and seamstress from Philadelphia, PA. 

"I'm exorcising demons"; The New Title of the New Record

After discovering that "Devil Makes Three" is not only my favorite lyric in a folk song, but also a wildly popular folk band, I made the decision to change the title of my record. Originally, I was in the "no big deal, right?" camp, but I'm already sharing a name with an amazing singer songwriter [we're cool, we've been sharing the name for a decade or so now without much overlap] and I decided I didn't need more potential to be confused with other people, especially after some of my fans thought that the record was going to include said wildly popular folk band. So, I set out on finding a new name for my new record.

I've always been a fan of naming things. My phone is Edie, my laptop is Sedgwick, my ukuleles are Marilyn and Marlene, my sewing machines are Lily and Lorelei, my guitar is Yoko Ono, my Dodge Caravan was Darlene. Anything important to me has a name, and gets inevitably personified and talked to like a baby or pet. My records tend to go through naming phases; they're named something for a long period of time and then, last minute, they get changed to something entirely different. I thought this record would be different, what with the Kickstarter saying it is named something and all, but it turns out it is only an outlier in being renamed before the last week of production.

My first record, soliloquy, which I was then calling my second record because I counted the 10 song demo I made in my freshman year of highschool as my first record, was originally titled "Goblin Princess." I had recently discovered the movie the Labyrinth and I was obsessed with Jareth the Goblin King, so I figured I would call myself the Goblin Princess and that's what I would name my record. The album was recorded in a period of a couple months by myself and my ex-boyfriend Zac Anger, who is one of the most talented people I have ever met and has had to put up with more shit from me over the past decade than probably anyone else in my life besides my mother. The recording process was exactly was dramatic as the record turned out; I ended up cheating on my long distance boyfriend with Zac in the vocal booth, having several panic attacks, and my mother and stepfather had to have the "should we send her to a hospital" conversation after a very difficult weekend involving an emergency Ativan prescription. At the end of production, I renamed the record "soliloquy", inspired by the Bard and my desire to proclaim "BY ME, ABOUT ME."

My second record, "...idiot child.", was recorded over a period of about a week and a half in the basement of the first house I ever signed a lease for, about two weeks before I broke the agreement on that lease and started living in my van. I recorded it entirely by myself, with very little input from other people, which is why the mixing kind of goes to shit the last few tracks. I had planned on naming that record "the last word." and even had a cover for years before I started recording. I even have some of the demos for it saved under that album name still. It was a rib at an ex of mine who said I always had to have the last word. The final name, "idiot child", came out of nowhere right at the end of me recording. I don't even really like it. I don't have any reason why I named it that. I came up a with reasons later [that my heart was the "idiot child"] I just renamed it out of nowhere.

"Devil Makes Three" was going to be named as such because it's my third record, it's a line from a favorite folk song of mine, and some of the songs on the record mention theology and demonology. The new title has far more meaning. 

It's far more of an imagery based idea than DM3, but also relates to the healing powers inherent in music for me. This, I hope, will be the last record I write about Mr. Domestic Rhapsody. Producing it is like burning sage for me; I'm cleaning out my brain of his presence, but also the presence of my anxiety and depression now voiced by him in my head. "Silver bullets", because one; I'm very about cowboy/outlaw imagery and I always imagine silver bullets coming from fancy six shooters, and two; it's what you use to kill demons and other monsters, again, personifying my anxiety as a being that I have to exorcise and slay.

Love always,

Hayley Jane

lollirot: rebooting the franchise

WARNING: There is a lot of raw honesty in this blog. I'm not starting off with light updates over here. If you want fluff, head over to my Facebook and get acquainted. We're about to delve into some deep shit.

Over the past 6 or 7 months, my depression has gotten worse and worse. Despite my burlesque career going pretty damn well, being engaged to a fantastic human, and having a super great group of friends, I found myself having out of body experiences. It used to be I was my best self when in the spotlight. By August of 2014, I was Hayley Jane off stage and some facsimile of what I thought the ideal burlesque dancer should be when I got on stage, or at the very least, a fasimile of myself. I was a copy of a copy of a copy of what I thought people wanted me to be.

I can't exactly say what possessed me to want to create another record. Maybe it's because I was starting to hate myself for commodifying my body and face and sexuality...I felt like a shell. I felt like people only wanted the shell. As Jack Off Jill once sang; "We are all candy covered on the outside; peel away the shell and we're rotten on the inside."

I was rotten on the inside. I was starting to hate myself even more than I already did, and I will tell you, for as much as I preached loving yourself as the teen queen of Formspring.me, I am the most self-defeating and self-deprecating piece of crap you will ever meet if you get me in a situation where I feel I can be honest. I might even say it in a place where I can't be honest, but it would be taken as a joke. My audience that I gained through and only desired my work in the sex industry and as a burlesque dancer fed into that; I might be pretty, but I would never be smart or talented or anything of worth. I was just fuckable, and I was great at it, and that makes me terrible. [Side note; you can say that burlesque is more than fuckability all you want, but as a size 6 blonde with D cup boobs, it doesn't really MATTER if I'm good at the game, what matters is how tiny my uniform is. I didn't get a chance to break boundaries because there's nothing avant garde about a conventionally pretty cisgender white girl in her early twenties doing striptease. It breaks exactly zero boundaries.]

So, part of why I want to do this next record is to prove to myself I'm worth more than my hip measurement and DSLs. The other part, honestly, is to show that to others.

It's difficult, getting back in the music game after taking over 18 months off of regular gigs and releases. 18 months is ages in internet time, and I'm at the independent level where that break combined with the fact I moved away from the home base where I was starting to get some name value for my work as a musician essentially means that I'm starting all over again. Philadelphia has no fucking clue who I am when it comes to music, and they were only JUST starting to recognize me as a stripteuse. I can't make anything easy apparently. I remember when I announced my hiatus from music [pretty violently via Facebook, after an incredibly disappointing gig where a total of three people showed up], how some folks expressed their concern, and how mad it had made me...how can you expect me to keep making something you wouldn't support in the first place? It's been over 3 years since the release of "idiot child", the total is now at 93 sales on Bandcamp, with 130 having downloaded it free. When all you have is Facebook comments and statistics to judge your success by, it's hard not to focus on that as a failure.

The Kickstarter for the new record was a way for me to gauge whether or not my audience was ready for me to delve into music again, or as some of them saw it, for the first time. The most common reaction to the Kickstarter was "I didn't know you had one album/played music", which proved that I am very good at distracting people with my butt, and also made me really sad. With how little my last record had sold, I was so nervous about asking for money, especially after my previous pretty-much-failed attempts at crowdfunding. For a while, it looked like Amazon wasn't going to verify me and I'd have had to use IndieGoGo, which I know wouldn't have been as successful. That name value of Kickstarter, how official people perceive that brand of crowdfunding engine, I was counting on it to give my project an extra air of legitimacy.

I figured the only way to ask for money was to be entirely honest about where it was going. I went back and forth dozens of times about what I wanted the final amount to be. I budgeted over and over again, and while there was a draft where the record would have cost me less money, it wouldn't have been the way I wanted it. $3,333 was settled on, I got the project approved, and I crossed my fingers. By the end of the campaign, I had raised $5,359.

This album still doesn't feel like it's happening. Rehearsing with musicians we're bringing in feels...huge to me. This is so big. This is so much bigger than I've ever gone. Sitting across from Brian Viglione in the studio didn't feel real. Though my friends, fans, family, and even my producer say things about how they "think this is going to go somewhere", I am sitting here, horrified about my future and convinced that everyone will get their Kickstarter packages, listen to the record, and then just...never speak about it again. That I'll plateau, and nothing will change. That I'll be a nobody forever.

Deep down, what I want is for enough people to tell me I'm good at something that I finally believe it, because every day is a struggle to feel like I am enough. I want to make this record and I want to help people and I want them to feel less lonely when they hear me sing. I want to connect with people again. I want to feel that electricity from singing to a live crowd again, from starting with an audience that doesn't know what to expect and having them leave fans. This record could be my chance to get that feeling again.

With sage and silver bullets,

Hayley Jane