Bianca Casady on CocoRosie and her new project, The C.i.A.

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As ethereal as they come, Bianca Casady makes you wonder if the word was created just to describe her—just another of many instances in which the artist and musician begs of her audience to question the landscapes that lay out ahead, behind, on top of and underneath them. She’s one-half of the famed freak-folk project CocoRosie (the other, her sister Sierra), and she’s an unstoppable force that creation oozes out of.

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Bianca pushes the boundaries of gender and sexuality through the lens of music and performance, allowing her to capture the attention of a swath of the world that often isn’t listening and throttle them into her dystopic reality. CocoRosie released their sixth studio album, Heartache City, in September, and now Bianca is back with a mixed media collaborative project she’s calling the C.i.A., who just finished an ambitious 22-date European tour. The tour was a show called Porno Thietor, exploring the light and even more-so the dark of performance and the associated rituals within.

Back from the road, Bianca is gearing up for the release of the C.i.A’s LP, Oscar Hocks, on January 22nd. I caught up with the incredibly busy and absolutely insatiable artist to gain some insight on how she manages to do it all, and maybe figure out how we can, too.

 

AfterElle.com: Why is it important for you to have separate projects?

Bianca Casady: To allow the work in flow out in whatever forms it may need. I have always worked alone and also had a number of other collaborators. I like to do many things simultaneously.

 

AE: How do you express yourself differently in this project than CocoRosie?

BC: CocoRosie is very much shaped by a kind of oppositional tension. Here I don’t have to negotiate with anyone but the ghosts of the characters I’m writing about.

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AE: Having just released Heartache City with CocoRosie how do you manage your time between these two projects creating side by side?

BC: There feels like time for everything somehow and also my solo work has always fed CocoRosie and the other way around. It’s all a kind of continuation. 

 

AE: What has been your experience working with the C.i.A.?

BC: A lot of unpredictable and broken music. I have been exploring anti-entertainment by singing in the shadows often with my back to the audience.

AE: How did you all come together?

BC: I just dragged them in from here and there. The C.i.A will continue to morph and change in formation. I am already building a new band for my next show. 

 

AE: With Oscar Hocks, is the album intended to read like a book or a series of short stories?

BC: Yes, but not so much from an intellectual place, it’s more of a closed eyes kind of experience of disorientation. 

Bianca Casady - art vinyl 

AE: What exactly is the Porno Thietor and what does it mean to you?

BC: It’s a place where taboos are made into spectacles and the lines between ritual and performance are crossed.

 

AE: Gender and sexuality have factored into your art in myriad ways over the last decade, how do you think it’s changed and evolved?

BC: I recently started painting vaginas on male figures. It’s hard for me to paint female bodies or it hasn’t been interesting to me. I did an exhibition titled “daisy chain” where naked male figures had wildflower bouquets instead of phalluses. I’m often deconstructing forms and rebuilding them in a kind of paper-doll-monster-act.

 

AE: Why do you think it’s important to push and open up those boundaries?

BC: To create space for new revelations and personal truths. We are all so programmed, it’s a colossal work to try to undo our ill-teachings.   

 

AE: As an influential figure and feminist icon what advice do you have for your audience?

BC: Look within. Don’t censor yourself.  Dismantle vanity. Take risks. Learn to love yourself.

 Bianca Casady - Oscar H red

AE: After having been part of the public consciousness for a while and having done a couple of interviews with us here at AfterEllen what’s one thing we wouldn’t be able to find out about you through an internet lurk?

BC: How I used to sell flowers on street corners when I was nine years old. 

For more on Bianca Casady and the C.i.A. check out their Facebook, or you can see what she and Sierra are up to over at CocoRosie.

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