Closegood | The Trip-Hop Trans Duo That's Taking Over
“We like the line of separation from LA and the Inland Empire,” says NYFE and Amada as they arrived to our Hollywood office after a lengthy journey in the car. For trans-duo and trip-hop wunderkind’s that is closegood, a line of separation has been a seemingly crucial aspect to their success.
The 22 year olds found collaborative companionship after walking the line of separation from the rest of their peers. Meeting in a small college town, the two had little to do but create an experimental music masterpiece, resulting in their 9 track album filled to the brim with personality and psychedelia.
“We’re both very naturally creative. There were often times where we would hang out and we would just be like ‘I’m going to make something just for fun,’ and then that turned into making our art together.” says Amada, 1/2 of the duo who speaks through a genuine smile and has safety pins sparkling through their ears.
“Everything we were interested in we tried to throw in one pot,” says NYFE, the poet at heart who’s voice dazzles even more than their Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife highlighted cheekbone (yes, I asked what highlight they were using.) “I think it feels good to be in an area of art where we can express ourselves without being forced to put things into one specific medium. It allows ourselves room to experiment with what the music or tone or story wants, and just letting it inform you how to take its shape rather than imposing shape onto it”.
Both NYFE and Amada have personal styles that cannot be mirrored. They spoke about a love for the contrast between hard and soft when it comes to style as well as attitude.
“I think my own personal style is related a lot to what I think of my mom. My mom has this strength that I call ‘scary strength’… I think she carries herself in a way that shows that she's aware of how hard the world is and she's aware of how hard she has to work, but it doesn't stop her from being compassionate and soft and all the things that great nurtures are” NYFE explains. “There are a lot fo defense mechanisms that you have to have as a marginalized person in the world just to be practical about your own survival, but you can still have space to be as soft as you want to be and as vulnerable as you want to be”.
Amada adds a little quote that I know we all feel- “You want to be a little bit scary to keep the people away, but you also just want to be hugged.”
Not only does closegood's music speak to themes of race, sexuality and gender, but their haunting and trippy visual music videos keep their narratives fresh and furthers a personal connection for fans.
“The next video that’s coming out is a tone shift from the other ones,” Amada explains. “It’s a lot more visual and abstract in the way that we constructed it, and I think that comes through in the music too. I think we like making surreal, psychedelic, trippy sounds as it is what resonates with us most of the time. And I just think experimenting with sound and making things sound weird is cool”.
The duo does not try to fit into any one kind of style or genre, but trip-hop as whole does embody what they are really about.
“I always loved pop music, and being a kid I always loved writing positive melody lines and found things that got stuck in peoples heads to be such an art and I wanted to be able to do that. But, as I got older I’ve been way more interested in deconstructing that and making it darker and experimenting with those same catchy melody lines and finding new ways to do it” says NYFE. “A lot of Chicago rap too, like NONAME has influenced me 100 times over. I really like Earl Sweatshirt as far as lyrics as well. Those are people who have unparalleled writing ability,” they add.
Their process of writing new songs or coming up with creative idea was essentially described as raising a baby together.
“It’s less sitting down and planning a process and more like a linear thing” NYFE explained with Amada adding, “It’s like endless remixes until exactly what we want it to be”.
The groups shared instagram bio is “sad music you can dance to,” which is very representative of their sound both literally and symbolically.
NYFE puts this beautifully: “Whenever I make things artistically, I think with the nature of being a black person and a queer person and a trans person, your existence can be inherently politicized even when you don’t want it to be. Even in the ways that I celebrate my joy and the way that I articulate myself whether it be self expression or healing sake, I always find politics in it. So, I think for me its about finding ways to talk about things that will always be present in my life and always be heavy in ways that don’t depress me. If its a daily conversation, then I need it to be uplifting and I need it to not take energy from me but give it to me.”
“We’re doing all the music stuff everyday and were sharing the music and showing it to everyone, and we don’t want it to be dragging us down. We want it to kind of embody that healing energy and have it be recharging for us” Amada furthers.
Their new album has been in the works for 3 years now, and it is reflective of so many journeys the two have made the trek through.
“I think this project specifically is more of a lesson in self awareness. Just starting to see your own patterns and looking at the way that you deal with things and the way other people see you, and being the most honest about that. I think what makes it easier and makes you able to overcome things is being able to look at it objectively and be like “okay, maybe I feel like this right now but that has no larger implication about my worth as a person or whats going to happen for me in the future. It’s a critique in self awareness and being able to talk yourself down” says NYFE. “Im just so excited about the project. It’s probably the longest time I’ve ever spent on something in my life, so getting to the point of sharing it the world and appreciating all of the feedback people give us about how it related and connected to them makes me really excited to make even more stuff. It can be really interesting talking about topics that you were experiencing 3 years ago and trying to put yourself back there. Im happy that its feeling like a natural conclusion”.
Photos by Nikki Neumann