Friday, June 5, 2015

Get your nails dirty | An interview with Actually Huizenga

Photo © Zoey Grossman

Musician, Video Artist, Model, Badass Babe.. What can't you do?

Kill myself. Everyone's always doing that.

 I read an article about you where the journalist described as "Mae West meets Laura Palmer meets Courtney Love meets Marina Abramovic".. How would you describe yourself?

I feel like Mae West meets Laura Palmer... But not so much the other two.
I try and let others describe me from my work. I don't like to spend too much time analyzing myself. I have too much work to do.

Photo © Socrates Mitsios

Do you see yourself as "Actually" 24/7 or is there a public and private persona?

Actually. Always and in all ways (unless I'm at the DMV or getting arrested... Those people aren't in the mood),

Your music is a kind of electro synth oestrogen sleaze..fuelled with provocative lyrics and high energy sexuality. What is it about sexuality and sensuality that you are most fascinated with? And how does it shape the ethos that is ACTUALLY?

Sex is a great way to revert to the meaning of being an animal. It's important to feel more animalistic as a human in this age of the screen- succubus.

Photo © Zoey Grossman

The ideas of lust, passion, seduction and the female form are rampant in your lyrics but when it comes to performance they are very much apart of the whole ACTUALLY experience as well. You often perform at strip clubs as well as music venues. How did that come about?

I have really have only performed at Cheetah's Gentleman's Club in Hollywood. The owner is really nice and he agreed to let me do a monthly there with bands I like (and me doing a different themed performance each time with my band).

But maybe it started when I filmed at this one really crazy amazing strip club in London for my song "Driving." I was able to secure that location by going in for an audition, but convincing the guy to let me film there in exchange for doing an event...

It had a pole two stories high - going through two floors, a harem room with sand on the floor, and a small room behind plexiglass with hoses, soap and a fake car...Oh and the basement had piles of stripper heels 2 feet deep, all under the vanity mirrors (sooo many amazing kinds with crazy lights, fish, dollars in the heels, etc).

Anyhow, you have to get your nails dirty if you want to experience the underground.

Photo © Zoey Grossman

You come across as very honest and upfront about your sexuality and theres no doubt that you are in touch with yourself and your body. But was this always the case? How did you get to the place you are now with your sexuality?

I think I was more sexual in pre-school than I am now. It wasn't until I was told that it was wrong, that I began to feel ashamed... 

I'm trying to get back to that true- innocently- deviant purity that I felt as a small child, centuries ago. 

 You often discuss or explore taboo topics in your songs and videos. Is it important for you to push the boundaries in that sense? And when you started did you stop and think hey, this is something not many other artists out there are attempting?

That is so sweet of you to say! 

I'm just making film and music that makes me feel good. The 'good' is a mix of brutality, humor, gluttonous excess... It's just me living my life. Like I said, I have always been this 'thing' and the music and the films are an extension of myself... The self that I don't over- analyze (although over-analyzing and comparisons are the spine of fine art apparently. Haha).

As for caring about what other people "think", I am a polite enough person to listen. 
I appreciate opinions, but in the end, I'm not masturbating to someone else's fantasy. 

Photo © Cat Roif

 Your music videos are sort of loud bright quirky b grade short films that have a real fun DIY aesthetic and dare I say a real old school John Water's feel to them. Where do you come up with the ideas and how do you go from thought to filming?

I suppose this answer relates to the one I gave above .... Ya know, me being me...and selfishly doing whatever I want with the tools available to me. 

I write, produce, direct and edit all of my videos/ films. I think that even if I got a huge industry- standard budget, I would still keep my style ... That "DIY thing" that you are seeing. I'd spend all the money on amazing props and life- like puppets. I'd love to get a little bit more Jim Henson-esque.

When creating one of my videos/films, I'm usually inspired by an experience, alcohol or an intense fantasy which I then make a song of and then do extensive "research" into... Like books, older films, architecture, stories revolving around relationships in any time period.... Mixing up the centuries ...mixing up the blood-types.  Then I make a script. Always something just barely out of reach, and I attempt to re- create that script with whatever materials and amazing people I can gather within a self- inflicted deadline.

It's all very reward based. And very painful. But that's what I like. If it was easy, it wouldn't be any good.

Photo © Socrates Mitsios

You recently just finished up a new video. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

Well, it started out as a video for a new song called "Heavenly Sin," with a little bit of dialogue before the song started, but then I started writing a script around it and now it has turned into a 30 minute film. I'm still shooting it.

That film will come out after I release my album "Predator Romantic." Haha I figure I should stick that promo in here... My Album.

Sometimes people are confused about what I do... Well, the music leaks into the films, and the music is written with moving images always in mind.

Photo © Rebecca Smeyne

Where do you personally draw your inspirations and influences from when it comes to music, fashion, life..?

I suppose I'm inspired by humans. There are so many great ones. I'm inspired by non- human and non-animal things as well, of course/ we all are. Like landscapes and rocks and water, etc. But animals, mostly mammals, mostly humans, are just easier -sometimes- to relate to. 

Real hate only happens with a human and that is powerful and inspirational. I wouldn't say that I personally hate anyone, but a lot of the things that come out of that are very interesting. It makes you really appreciate those moments of true happiness with others. A comfortable happiness that could be Love.

If I want to relax, I look to non-human things but when I want to be stimulated it's definitely all about the human. Despite all of our horrifying evolutions and evil- instincts, we are an amazing species.

Photo © Socrates Mitsios

When it comes to ACTUALLY, what is the most important thing you want viewers/listeners to come away with?

I want people to feel stimulated, turned on, relaxed, frightened, happy.

I dream of high school goth kids listening to my music while putting on or wiping off their makeup... with a poster of me above their bed (reflected in the mirror).

Whats next for ACTUALLY in 2015?

I have to make a feature film. And I was thinking of accompanying Anthony Bourdain on his next trip to Australia.