Heavy rock and metal isn’t normally a genre that you associate with gay men, but Andi Phoenix and Desasterkids are showing why the passion and power of this music is something to which we should all be paying attention.
Andi Phoeni sat down with Torsten Schwick — Editor-in-Chief of Boner Magazine — to talk about stereotypes, music, and men.
You describe your music as ‘post-hardcore’ and ‘metal-core’ — what do those terms mean?
This style of music is a branch of rock and metal. The music is much harder, and usually not radio-friendly. But there are so many different bands playing this style of music, and there’s so many different influences, that you can’t confine them to a specific style of music. For example, we play songs that could be compared to Nickelback, but we also play songs that could have come from the pen of Slipknot.
In simple terms, we scream a lot, sing loud, and there’s a lot of guitar.
What’s your creative process?
My guitarist, Iain Duncan, and I write the songs together. He writes and arranges the music, I write the lyrics, and together we find the melodies and rhythms for the vocals.
Do you enjoy playing live?
We live for the live shows! Only at a concert can you really experience the energy of our songs. It’s music that you have to hear loud in order to feel it.
I love playing at open air concerts — the crowds are usually very relaxed and everyone can enjoy the weather.
We’re playing lots of festivals this year, and we’re headlining our own tour through Germany in September.
What music are you currently listening to?
It’s a real mix of pop, RnB, rock, and metal. Everything from Katy Perry to The Weeknd, via rap like NF and Nothing, Nowhere, and on to Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Top of my playlist at the moment is Post Malone, and also Chase Atlantic.
What’s it like being a gay man in this genre of music?
It’s definitely difficult to convince people that I really am gay. I don’t make any secret of it, but I don’t push it on anyone like a newly-converted vegan.
But, once people get their head around it, there’s no issue. That’s what hardcore music is all about — cohesion and versatility. I haven’t had any trouble with anyone in the music scene so far. Most people are curious and ask me about everything, because sometimes I represent the first gay person in their lives.
What are you looking for in a guy?
For the first date, thick biceps and a great ass is enough. However, for the second date, he has to have a certain amount of self-assurance and confidence. I like people who know exactly what they want and where they want to go. I’m always working on lots of different projects, and I travel a lot with my music, so I need someone who can support me with that.
Good relationships take communication, compromise, acceptance, and freedom. No relationship is perfect because no one is perfect. But once you understand that and accept your partner with all his flaws, it feels perfect.
I met my first great love in 2012. We’re still together after six adventurous years in love, and now we’re planning to get married.
Desasterkids 2018 festival dates
- 7 July — Halver, Hardcore Help Foundation
- 7 August — Münster, Sputnikcafé (Support für Northlane)
- 11 August — Herzogenrath, Rodarock
Desasterkids tour dates 2018
- 31 August — Kaiserslautern, Kammgarn
- 1 September — Markneukirchen, ReeveLand Music Festival
- 6 September — Dresden, GrooveStation
- 7 September — Leipzig, Naumanns
- 8 September — Koblenz, Circus Maximus
- 9 September — Osnabrück, Bastad Club
- 13 September — Stuttgart, JuHa West
- 14 September — München, Backstage
- 15 September — Köln, Tsunami Club
- 16 September — Hamburg, MarX
- 26 September 2018 — Hannover, LUX
- 27 September 2018 — Wiesbaden, Schlachthof
- 29 September 2018 — Berlin, Musik & Frieden
Desasterkids release their album Superhuman on 3 August 2018
We want to hear your opinion
“In a fictional universe I would wield magic”
I caught up with artist Stefano Junior to talk art, illustration, and super-powers.
When did you start to explore your passion for illustration and art?
I’ve been drawing as far back as I can remember. According to my parents, I drew a very convincing female figure from my imagination at about three or four years old. From then on, when I wasn’t at school, watching cartoons, or voraciously reading comic books, I’d be drawing. My parents eventually enrolled me in a fine arts weekend program at a local college — I studied there for several years while going through grammar and middle school.
What is it about superheroes that appeals to you?
In hindsight, apart from the obvious colourful allure of superhero adventures, it was the transformative nature that is the basis of most superhero narratives. As a child, in suburban 80s America, with my penchant for the arts, girls toys, and a foreign name, I was bullied extensively — superheroes provided a means to escape, I could imagine that I might one day extricate myself from that oppression.
Books like Chris Claremont’s X-Men, which were ripe with soap-opera-like drama, reassured me that my ‘latent’ powers weren’t things to be ashamed of. Roger Stern’s run on Superman affirmed my beliefs that though people could be cruel and misguided, it didn’t mean that I should have to sacrifice my ethics and sense of what’s right. George Pérez’s Wonder Woman — that she was an immigrant appealed to me as a first-generation Italian, and she never lost her compassion for even her greatest foes.
Growing up with older sisters and a strong Italian matriarch may have influenced me gravitating to female heroes. But there was also the allure of the outrageous 80s feminine glamour of heroes like She-Ra, or the many fantastic mutant women of the X-universe who all played such pivotal roles in the series while donning fantastic costumes created by amazing artists like Paul Smith, Arthur Adams, and Marc Silvestri.
I love your drawings of Sorceror Stefano — is that an alter ego?
I’ve been developing an illustrated version of myself over the years. I’m currently studying cartooning at the School of Visual Arts — comic legend Phil Jimenez was one of my instructors my sophomore year. Our mid-term assignment was to create a fictionalised life drawing of ourselves in a turnaround. So I photographed myself, and further developed the design of my Sorcerer self. As an artist, the process of creation feels like sorcery, so were I to exist in a fictional universe, I would definitely wield magic. I’d also like to be physically invulnerable.
Who are some of your art heroes or inspirations?
My inspirations are pretty vast. From the art world it includes Bernini, Gabriel Rosetti, and Waterhouse. From comics it includes Esteban Maroto, Garcia Lopez, Marc Silvestri, Brian Bolland, George Perez, Phil Jimenez, Adam Hughes, Colleen Doran, Art Adams, and especially Alan Davis — both for the aesthetic beauty and elegance of his art, and as a draughtsman and storyteller.
If you could do a life drawing of a male super-hero, who would you choose?
Henry Cavill as Superman.
Your moustache game is pretty strong — what does your moustache say about you?
At its most base, it’s a homage to the machismo of the 1980s — particularly my hero, Tom Selleck as Magnum PI. He’s the epitome of masculine idealisation.
I grow it and shave it constantly — it’s spawned its own cartoon of my creation. You can follow the exploits of me and my moustache — Mr. Mustardo — on Instagram. It’s absolutely vain, but it allows for me to be humorous in a single panel cartoon form that deviates from the more representative work and superhero storytelling that I’ve primarily been focused on.
What are some of your goals and ambitions for the months ahead?
I hope to further develop an original comic that I started in the Fall, that centres around a complex heroine and a magical discovery. Plus there’s some newer humorous cartoons that Id like to serialise online somehow — one that follows the exploits of a majordomo in an early 20th century hotel, another that follows a boy through multiple mediums and circumstances that end badly.
- Follow Stefano Junior on Instagram
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