Tommy Genesis | New Record & Release Party

by Kyle Huewe

Album art, courtesy of Downtown Records

Album art, courtesy of Downtown Records

Sometimes, you hear an artist’s music and you just know: this person is going to be big. And then, you meet them. Sometimes, such interactions detract from the formulations of personality you’ve coined to this person or that, potentially taking an icon and pushing them into perceptions of iconoclast.

However, the reverse can be equally as earth-shattering, and Tommy Genesis was even more vibrant and glowing than I could’ve ever imagined, even in the dimly-lit upstairs of the No Vacancy club in Hollywood, even despite whatever notions I’d conjured about her in my mind. She could’ve been anybody, at least from what you can assume through her music.

What she was, however, was delightful, sipping gin and tonic and rolling a “brbrbrbrbr” off her lips every couple minutes, trying to exercise as much of her voice as possible before she got on stage. The night at No Vacancy was a celebration of the new record, complete with a live performance by Genesis herself, DJ’d by AMRIT.

Genesis radiates: through her style, through her demeanor, and especially through her music. Her self-titled studio album dropped last night, just a few minutes before I started talking to her. “It literally just dropped,” she said. “Which is insane.”

The album, Genesis’ first long-play release since 2015, speaks volumes to which direction the artist intends to move forward with her musical prowess. It’s a mingling of ambiguously-drawn genre lines, incorporating twangs of pop, trap, hip hop, and maybe even a little country. “It goes really crazy sometimes, like waves, and other times it’s just calm, like me. It’s my self-reflection album,” Genesis said with a laugh.

But it’s true: Tommy Genesis marks a pivotal liberation of Genesis’ sound, breaking free of all classifications of style. Genesis makes exactly the type of music she wants to make, and we could feel her passion as she stomped and climbed around that makeshift stage out back of No Vacancy.

Album release party at No Vacancy flier, courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Album release party at No Vacancy flier, courtesy of Sacks & Co.

Check out a selection of our interview with Genesis below, and stream her new record on all platforms now.

Flaunt: What are your thoughts on the new album? What is the overarching feeling thinking back on the process of making it, and now that it’s out, what’s it like?

Tommy Genesis: The overarching feeling I would say is adrenaline mixed in with emotion. The first half is super adrenaline; the transitions and everything cut really close. And then the second half is a little more emotional and vulnerable, but also kind of cheeky. To me, when I think about it, I see a lot of blues with splashes of red. Those were the concept colors. It’s like water. It goes really crazy sometimes, like waves, and other times it’s just calm, like me. It’s my self-reflection album.

F: And you’ve released music that’s borderline pop, you’ve released music that’s borderline trap. What direction did this project go?

TG: I think this album is its own person, and I don’t think it means I’m not going to make another experimental rap song again. It just means that in this phase of my life, these were the sounds, this was the mood. That’s sort of how it was. If this album was something, I feel like it’s a moon. It has that energy of a moon. While most of the music I usually make is fire, volcano, sun. Because it’s a different mood. I never thought of myself in one genre so I’ll just make whatever I feel.

F: Do you think that’s how making music should be?

TG: That’s just how I can make it. I don’t know, there’s not a right or wrong. There’s so many types of music from classical to rock that, any way you want to make it, there’s room for you.

F: So there’s this emotional side of the album, as you said. What were those emotions, and what things have been happening in your life that have led to the music you’ve created?

TG: I’m more of a writer, so it’s not necessarily always situations or things that happen. It’s the feeling when I’m writing a song. Some days I’m feeling really calm and I’ll write a calm song. Other days, I’m feeling cheeky and I’ll write a “fuck you” song. I actually don’t write from my life. For me, I’ll just write a song and be like, “Okay, is this song for me or should I give it to someone else?” I enjoy the process of writing. I think I’m growing as a writer and I think I still have room to grow, but I’m definitely enjoying the process of doing whatever I feel like that day. That’s really how I wake up in the morning. I’ll wake up happy or I’ll wake up grumpy or I’ll wake up sad or I’ll wake up whatever. And, whatever that feeling is that day that’s what the song is. But it could literally be: I didn’t get a good sleep and I make “Tommy.” When I made “Tommy” I was so tired and so grumpy and I was hungry and I was craving pizza and I wanted to go home and Charlie made me stay in the studio, like, “Just finish this one track. We gotta.” I was like, “I am so angry. I am so angry at you, just let me go.” Because we just fight left and right. It’s all love, you know? But he was like, “No stay” and I was like “Fine.” But that was the feeling, just, “fuck everyone,” I made “Tommy.” That feeling, it’s really not that deep. This album isn’t that deep. There’s nothing to read into. Just enjoy it, listen to it, feel the mood of it. But it’s really not that deep.

F: In the past, you’ve made “fetish rap.” Do you think that’s a style you’re continuing to indulge in and continuing to make and is that also something you want to continue to be seen in?

TG: Well, that is a term I just made up one day. It’s so funny though because I literally made it up one day and then I saw people being like, “I make fetish rap!” I was like, “That is fire!” That is fire and I literally concocted it and now you make it.

F: It’s like you invented a genre, almost.

TG: Yeah, a lot of people tell me, “I don’t know what genre you are.” But I think it’s cool, I never really do what people expect, and it’s not because I’m trying to. I just think people expect me to be what I was, when I’m who I am now. People expect to hear songs like “Execute” and songs that I fucking love and I love playing. I will make songs like that again, but then they hear my new album and they’re like, “Oh that’s not what I expected but I like it.” I probably will never be able to give you what you expect. I’m just able to give you what I am currently doing. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.

F: You don’t want to be put in a box.

TG: It isn’t that I don’t want to be. I’m literally not sitting down and thinking about whether or not I want to be in a box. I’m just sitting down and making shit. I wasn’t like, “This album’s going to be like this.” I had no pressure for this album, I had no constraints. I just sat down and made shit and it was just what it was. I really like it. I hope you guys like it!

Photographed by Bailey Root.