Last week I caught up with Cazwell who was chilling in his New York apartment before heading off on tour. We catch up and discuss Latino boys, celebrities who should just come out already, (yes Latifah we are looking atchu, gurl) and the whole Pussy Riot situation.
Hi Cazwell, where are you? Set the scene…
Right now I’m in my apartment, looking at my dog and it’s raining. I leave tomorrow for a gig so I’ve just got to organise my stuff and clean my apartment. I’m stuck inside….
What’s up next?
I am going to be doing some extensive travelling! I will be in the UK for Summer Rites. I am excited about that. I love London. It’s been awhile since I’ve been there so I don’t know what is hot there but I want to check out Room Service. I am good friends with Jodie.
Do you feel there’s a real emerging global queer scene, now more than ever?
I am really noticing it within hip hop music at the moment. Artists like Sissy Nobby, Nicky Da B who has been working with Diplo. Of course there’s Ab Soto too and a bunch of other people but yes, It definitely makes me happy that a lot of these artists are well known, coming out and extremely talented.
Why is it happening now do you think?
The timing is right - especially with the internet. People are seeing gay people every day. They are not just controlled with what they see in a magazine or TV but now you can log on and see a 5 year-old lipsyncing to Beyonce while doing all the choreography. It’s becoming more obvious that being gay is natural.
Gay people are putting out really great entertainment and people are seeing it online. I think it’s great. When I started people weren’t really using the internet the way they use Youtube now. When I first started I would make a video and hope people would play it in their club. Now it’s like ‘How many YouTube hits have you had?’ I think it’s amazing.
Did the US kick it off?
Ultimately I think what kick started it is the idea of having some unique video to go with a song. People won’t even think of dropping a track now without a video to go with it - even if it is just a static image. I don’t know how it started other than gay people are becoming more obvious - it’s becoming more obvious to me anyway.
I think the most frustrating thing is when a gay celebrity who is obviously gay denies it. It’s like it’s the most fucked up thing to me. It really struck me as being wrong when Queen Latifah is anti-bullying but at the same time she is not coming out. I’m like ‘Girl, do you realise that by not coming out you are part of the reason as to why the bullying happens?’ It’s making it acceptable. If you can just treat it like it won’t be a problem then it won’t be a problem. That’s the point of view more and more people are having. They are not making a big statement. They are not going to lead a Pride parade because they just came out, they are just going to be like ‘Ok, yeah, I’m gay.’
What are your thoughts on the Pussy Riot situation?
I mean let’s just say it ‘Russia is a fucked up place.’ That’s really fucking fucked up. I definitely take the freedome I have here for granted. I can’t believe the amount of control government will push down on people. I hope all this gets resolved. I hope they get out soon. I think it is making people in Russia really think about it too.
How’s the next album coming along?
Hard to be Fresh. It’s taken a while as nothing is simple if for example you are making one song with four different people in four different places. I really want to love every song on the album and to test the songs in clubs before releasing them. There’s much more of a hip hop vibe than the last album and it’s important my fans like that. One of my new singles is called ‘Sneaky’ and I’m making the video next month. It’s about shady people, people you can trust and people you can’t. It’s got a really bouncy beat. It’s a little darker, more sinister.
Will your boys be in the video?
Well I like to get new guys in there but as long as people aren’t like ‘Oh Cazwell, he’s just a one trick pony with his guys, etc…’
Are Latino guys your favourite?
I like variety. I do like guys with brown eyes it’s true. New York is infested with hot Latin dudes. I was like ‘Oh I want to do a song like Missy Elliot.’ I wanted to make something slow like ‘The Rain.’ The producer Jesse Novak and I just came up with this beat, then immediately the lyrics came to me and we recorded them. Then it became a case of ‘Why don’t we write a song about hot Latin guys.’
Is there a goal with your music?
I think I just like to keep a theme running throughout my music. I like those albums where someone has worked in the studio for two months with the same people and it flows. But ultimately the goal is to make something people can play in a bar, a club…I don’t want to do too many sad songs.
'Rice and Beans is out now.
Cazwell will be performing at Summer Rites in London on 2nd September.
Find out more information at http://www.cazwell.com