In 2007 duo Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker released their album Lovers and Crypts, a queer electro-hip-hop with the dolled up femme frontwoman (Bunny) wearing tutus and carrying parasols while rapping about black eyes and tattooed teardrops. Her then partner Black Cracker produced the beats as they left their home of Brooklyn to tour around the world, playing to a dedicated fanbase of queers, feminists, punks and art students. Their unapologetically out there stage performances and songs like “Pussy Queen” and “Saddle Up” were as challenging as they were good raunchy fun.
The duo eventually went their separate ways and in the past seven years Bunny (now called Bunny Michael) has learned how to produce her own tracks while also creating in other ways. Most recently she covered the Daddy Yankee hit “Gasolina,” including a trippy video in which she plays both her physical being and her spiritual being, one more feminine while the other is decidedly masculine.
“I just really want people to know that I’m interested in inspiring more art, but also that I”m interested in expanding consciousness expansion and how artists can be very useful tools,” Bunny said. “I’m also super about inclusion. I definitely think the time for being exclusive about things in the art world is over. I think we need to include everybody in what we do because when you limit other people from access, you’re limiting yourself. I basically want to be completely open.”
We asked Bunny about changing up her stage name, how she came up with the idea for Nature Slut, and what we can expect from her live show.
AE: I’ve been a fan of yours since you were Bunny Rabbit. Can you tell me why you decided to switch your name up and what it means to be Bunny Michael instead?
BM: Bunny Rabbit was more of a collaboration because back then I didn’t produce my own music. I worked with Black Cracker, who produced the songs. After we stopped working together, I felt like a completely new person, once I learned how to produce music. And I just felt like I needed to have a rebirthing of my identity as an artist, that was more about what I wanted to do.
AE: It seems like more so now than ever you incorporate different parts of art into your performance. What has changed since your last record almost ten years ago that has made you more of an artist?
BM: I definitely think my goals changed. Whereas before what I wanted was to make music art, which I did, but my goals were more about being able to tour, being able to make money to sustain myself. I went through this realization that my ego was getting in the way of accomplishing my dreams and I realized that actually my goal isn’t — my goal became to inspire people, the way in which I’ve been inspired, like other artists inspire me. And once I realized that that was what was most important to me, creating became a lot easier because it wasn’t for me, necessarily. And I’ve had a lot of power from that realization. A lot of it spurred more inspiration. I carry that with me in everything I do so I’m able to create very easily now.
AE: So many of the things you do are experimental in a way that makes me feel like you are unafraid. Do you ever experience self-doubt, like when it comes to what certain people might put their money behind?
BM: Oh yeah! Like before I used to be really really worried about that. And I think that’s why I wasn’t very happy before. But I definitely know that, of course those feelings still come up sometimes. But I know that once I have any feeling of fear I have to stop what i’m doing, because the energy I put into anything I create is the energy I’m going to get back and I want that energy to be free and fearless. That’s what I’m trying to instill in other people. They can be fearless in their own self-expression as well.
AE: Can you tell me a little bit about your zine Nature Slut?
BM: The concept came to me about a year ago when I was writing this poem called “Nature Slut.” It was about wanting to make love to a beautiful woman in nature and as I was thinking about it, I realized that the beautiful woman I wanted to make love to was myself. It was sort of the version of myself that is stripped away of all of the material possessions and toxic things that we’ve created in our humanity. So Nature Slut is being able to transcend into your natural being and that’s being free with sexual expression. I do believe that feeling free in that natural state can provide some transcendence. So yeah, it’s really just about making love with your natural being, your pure beauty.
AE: I love that idea. How does something like that connect for you with “Gasolina?” Is the video a continuation?
BM: Oh yeah. The concept was my spirit connecting to my earthly, the person I am in this physical dimension and them having a relationship together and exploring how, when I do make art, I’m connecting to something beyond this world. And being able to go beyond this world and bring that spirit back here is something I think about a lot, it’s something I try to practice doing. So basically “Gasolina” is a fun little adventure that my spirit and human form are having together, which is represented in a very masculine and feminine way.
AE: I love that element to the video. Is your masculine side something you are trying to exploring more?
BM: I mean, I think that I realize it’s something I do have within me. It’s not always apparent. Maybe other people can’t see it necessarily but I definitely feel that way. I’m a gay woman and I know I have two sides to me. I feel like sexuality is, for me, very open and I can channel different parts of myself. It’s a complex world and it’s not just black and white. I like bringing out different aspects of myself and exploring it. I realize I have the freedom to explore every side of my sexuality where before I felt very much in a box because of how I look. So I’ve been very much like, “You know what? It all doesn’t matter. I can express myself sexually anyway I choose. Whatever feels good to me.”
AE: What can you tell me about the songs you chose to put on Rainbow Licker?
BM: All the songs started as freestyles in a time period that I was having all these sexual — but at the same time I wrote that “Nature Slut” poem was the same time I wrote the freestyles for all of these songs. I made about 10 songs in a period of two weeks. I just barfed it out, this stuff I needed to see. It was very free and I didn’t think I was going to do anything with it, and then I just was like, “Well, I might as well make an EP.” It’s four songs. “Gasolina” couldn’t go on it because it’s not cleared for samples but then I just made another song with Bruno from Light Asylum. We just finished it like three days ago so that’s going on the EP now and I’m really excited. So there’s one song that’s a collaboration with him. We’ve known each other for years, like since the beginning of Bunny Rabbit.
AE: What is the difference for you now in putting out music that you also produced?
BM: Oh it’s night and day! Completely different. It feels — I have so much to learn still as far as music production. Endless learning! But it’s very freeing to know I don’t need anybody to make a song. I think that it’s really cool to work with other producers. I know a lot of women work with producers and I still want to, too, but I think this was so important for me as a musician and an artist, to know how to produce music. Then you know you’re making the choices that you want to make and I think it was just so important.
AE: Will you be touring around the EP?
BM: I’m definitely going to plan on touring Europe and the States. I don’t have any solid dates formed yet but everything has been happening super fast. I’m producing so much and I’m putting out this web zine series of Nature Slut that we just filmed the other day. So I’m basically just still in the zone of creating a lot of things, and then I’ll work on the tour.
AE: What will your performance of the new music be like?
BM: The performance is going to be very real. [laughs] In a sense of, I feel I’m really inspired by more performance art type things but bringing it into a party-type atmosphere. I did that with Bunny Rabbit, too, but I really want to connect with the audience and withdraw the wall between us. And that doesn’t mean, like, going into the audience, but I’m really interested in bringing it back to a time when it was more improvisational and more of an experience that included everybody; to where the artist didn’t feel untouchable.
AE: What’s an ideal venue for you? What’s the perfect place for your type of art?
BM: As long as there’s people there, any kind of person who identifies as anything, then it’s going to be an amazing experience for both of us. Because I’m going to grow from it and I believe whoever is willing to receive me will grow from it too. I definitely want to be in a space that allows the boundaries of music and art to be mixed in.
And now, the premiere of Bunny Michael’s new video for “Holy Holy.”