Strength and vulnerability takes on a space of conflicting identities whilst we also have to frame them as a form of collaborative essences. For Saturn Risin9 the warrior and the defenseless are framed in a way which supports a stern level of wise austerity whilst the childlike semblance of hedonism still surfaces and is embraced. Within Saturn’s work their placements at 4am downtown after parties are just as vital as their performances at the Getty and the spaces in between, as such their ongoing party at the Soho House. At first glance the last time I saw the enigma at their event they wore a casual 2 piece cardigan set akin to the prep chic of Cher and Dion’s perfection, though when the black light flickered the tones went from muted to a sharp green offering up a wonderful reaction. We got to speak with the artist and musician about the EP Venus Virgo: Expansion Pack, the extensive community that they have fostered and charity.
What is the mythology of Saturn Risin9, there’s an air of zen-like wisdom juxtaposed with all the nightlife brutalism and sensuality.
BRUTALISM. There’s something very “born this way” about that lol – I’m a lot more erotica. but i’ve definitely been affected by nightlife. It changed my life in the best ways. Most of my family is because of late nights getting rid of anxiety. I am undefined by it still though, like I really think so much of my life is still silly and goofy and I know how silly that sounds after everything but it really is. I am a hardworking gal from a strong family on both sides who’s found a way to sustain herself. so far so good. I’m definitely independent and excited to build on it.
I’ve been through the trenches before I entered nightlife.
What is your involvement in LA’s art and nightlife scene, who else are your contemporaries in this space? What are thoughts on the current state of nightlife?
Hmmm nightlife? Well I am an icon. I guess that’s my relationship to it. like I think in my community – I’ve always offered grace and warmth as a part of the privilege of being visible. I’ve brought so many people into it as a way of supporting oneself financially AND internally. like nightlife has helped me visualize myself and who I wanted to be. I’ve done in humbly in a space where attention can be scary. within it there’s a lot of people i love. Melahn, Karen, Alex, – my contemporaries, Ahmerahsu, Baebae, Kita, Mez, ummmmm I love nightlife. I’ve been turnt out by it. nightlife and art. there’s an art to nightlife. and a nightlife for art. I currently like it intimate. A night of fashion forward luminaries. The worst nights are nights that aren’t intellectual. I love to just banter on the world and life with my friends. It’s the best time. stimulated and divine.
You jump through many genres in blending tones and styles. How did you process the sonic mood? How did you go about the producers you have collaborated with?
I just hit people up. If you’re my friend and we get to talking about music, what’s to discuss? let’s have a session. I mean – I might be too shy and have to mumble in the corner and melodize alone like that my vibe. If we’re not fucking or on stage, I’m protecting and giving the best to myself. But in the meeting of a session I’m just pushing you to your greatness aka my vision. Every collaboration on this album was organic. I don’t know how I’ll process this in the future going forward but this album is all of my friends processing sound through and with me.
Who made the piece that you are wearing in the images, it’s a touch of Poison Ivy 2053. What is the story behind the green focus of this era?
AZZMMA made the piece. They’re a mexican designer. we’ve been in collaboration since 2018 during my first trip to CDMX for tracion NYE. The vision was Kylie Minogue Fever. me with my work, the doll diva, showgirl, confessions. It’s kind of my base image. Like if people have to perceive me, this is now. I’m really proud of it and the work Sam Cannon, Malcom Marquez, Pia the Doll and Jaime creates put into it. it was our long term way over due baby. ive had that piece since 2021 and new it was the album cover early 2022,. we shot last july. and you’re getting the rest of it now. its really our kardashian fenty minaj baby, you don’t need to know his name. I feel like venus virgo is her middle name and expansion -pak is her last name. I used to go to school with a Sunny Pak. Yeah. I’m keeping her name. but she ate. she likes to eat.
For “Perfect Ending II” was your focus on adjusting the self or would you say it is a matter of a one way change?
Perfect ending two is about adjusting to a breakup. A need to be number one and the victim, the lover, the better friend, the most desired person in a room. How you can be all those things and still lose. on pe1, I made this grand statement of from here on out I am healed but I encounter moments to heal more everyday. In pe2 the lyric is “i just want to be the one, you just wanna be the one” like at the end of the day i want it my way and you want yours and with admitting that im letting go of control. Which is even funny to think that I have say. When I don’t. I can just adjust to the flow. Like Toni Braxton.. it’s gonna be fine. You just have to play – participate.
What type of books are you reading and has there been a literary slant to your lyrical inspirations?
Books? Lol I just opened the artist way. my producer and mixer, So Drove gave me that to read. it’s pretty good. I already followed the daily prayer guidelines. kinda. my sister @herlolife has a book club I want to join. she got me started on fresh water before the pandemic. I have to finish that. and I read a lot of biographies via nay rob on youtube who reads aloud a lot of celebrity bios. you’ve got to listen the meaning of mariah carey. thats my lifes work. understanding those who have been misunderstood. That likes very tword of me. My stepmom said I learned how to read from pop culture magazines and nothing has changed lol. any recs?
Theres a great feeling of quiet and almost chill down to your track especially the remix of “Waterrrrrrrrr,” what setting did you make this track to?
That remix was all River. We worked on it during early covid. She was in this sonic transition from ambient to harder sounds and she was like “this is my favorite, it reminds me of Janet’s empty. I heard multiple versions & I don’t know which version to make” and I said ‘make em all in one! like do your thing – I wanna hear everything at once. or like a master version of the song. I like to explore – her remix and sulfur kind of built this project. I remember seeing so many people download them on bandcamp. where I had them posted. so I took note and released it.
The song itself, I wrote it in 2016 about my ex Dez, maybe a year before he passed. kinda like, I love you why you playing for? but in reality I didn’t really show him how deeply he needed to see it. In my show it’s kind of like an opening confession. I miss him. I love him. I wrote along with him. He was my backdrop.
Can we talk more about your performance at the Getty as well as your residency at Soho House, and the performances you have had subsequently, you bridge this space between performance art and stage performances, how do you translate each, are they different or similar?
They are the same for me. I mean that’s a great question. I feel like my art is always in conflict with that… how to translate each. The space defines the show. For Getty in particular, I was really ambitious and wanted to perform on the hill in the grass next to the gorgeous architecture.. Quenton and I worked on this piece for about 4 months: exorcism. It’s so beautiful and deep. Well, that’s not really fab for dancing on a hill.. So as beautiful as it was, especially with the duel audiences, it was super challenging. I think I’m adding more practicality to my stage show. Investing in it actually both intentionally and practically. Whatever it takes to convey the piece at its best.
Being an event partner at Soho house has been super rewarding. My party, fully charged, that i produce with my sister, Star Amerasu – feels like a reward for all of my years in nightlife since a tennager. For 2 black trans to hold space in a members only club and open that space to all of our friends and community is really special. Our party is really sexy and glam. It’s kind of the other side of our field because performance is so athletic and endurance based. This is leisure. I would say the two intersect at work. and creation. They are both work spaces but the approach to the party is about creating space for & spotlighting others. My performance is about spotlighting and creating space for myself and my feelings.
You are quite gracious every time I see you in an empathic manner, how have you brought this to light with your charity project, Rings Alliance?
Rings Alliance is my way to pay it forward. For many years, I received a lot of investment in my career. And during the pandemic, I was gifted an opportunity to start a charity that could throw money at people’s way to support their art. Rings specifically wants to help trans and queer people fund their work. It was the hardest thing for me to do and all the help that I received was so beneficial to this moment so I’ve created space to do that for others. We fundraise through selling clothes – most of which are my nightlife looks. My style has been so important to my rise because music and fashion go hand in hand. So why am I using what I used to get ahead, to help others progress. I’m kinda like a record label with no contract or like a super ethical Robinhood lol. We will also be publically fundraising thru events & collaborations as well so please stay tuned to that.
Written by BJ Panda Bear | @bjpandabear
Photography: Sam Cannon | @samcannon
Makeup: Jaime Diaz @jaime.creates