Located south of Los Angeles, a group of queer artists have found their oasis.
Located south of Los Angeles, a group of queer artists have found their oasis.
Text: Love Bailey
Located south of Los Angeles, in the desert town of Temecula, a group of queer artists have found their oasis. Savage Ranch is a safe space and artist’s retreat that houses a creative community free of gender and sexual discrimination. Love Bailey, artist and performer, established this commune as a hub for other artists, activists and queer youth. Bailey has an open door policy for those in need of refuge, hope, and creative inspiration. Bailey sat down to speak with some members of the Ranch about their artistic endeavors and experience living in this unique community.
Read the full interview, below.
Love Bailey: Terry tell us a little about your background in music, did you have music in the family growing up? Who are your musical inspirations?
Terry Lovette: I grew up in close proximity to music innovation and technology. By the time I was born my mother had worked at two major record labels, My grandmother Beverly Lias was the VP of Motown New York and my dad's career as the lead singer of GUY had just kicked off. I spent my formative years watching black women shattering glass ceilings and black men with high top fades creating music with the latest in sound tech.There was always music around.
I'm inspired by audacity. I believe that's what makes an Icon. I'm attracted to that and musically It drives me to take more risks and be more vulnerable.
LB: You call yourself Woman or World, can you explain how you chose that name?
TL: Woman or World? is a question I asked myself 5 years ago that helped me think about how I relate to being a woman and the potentials that lay within me. I made it my pen name and social media identity to inspire other womxn to ask themselves the same question. I love hearing womxn say it while simultaneously asking themselves if they could maybe more than what they thought they were.
LB: What was it like coming to the ranch for the first time? How is it different than NYC?
TL: The Ranch is a magical place. It's the land, it's the mountains, it's the horses and the ravens, It's Love and her infamous laugh. It's waking up to a white wolf rapping at the door, it's freedom and really endless creative possibility. All your ideas are totally supported by Love who lends her resources to you and connects you to the right people. In NY, it's getting harder and harder to see the sky and feel the sun. It's a magical place for connections but distracting for me artistically. The mountain air and support from love helped me create more authentically.
LB: How was your stay at the Savage Ranch, what did you create while you were here?
TL: My stay at Savage Ranch was an unforgettable series of cinematic moments. In January, my first week there, I celebrated my birthday and laid down vocals for 2 tracks on Love's forthcoming album. We shot the editorial for V the first week of Feb and after that, Supernature came and it was all about creating the Garden of Sheden, a 12hr rave celebrating the groundbreaking of the new residency building. We shot so much content in that time too. I'll be blogging about the experience in the coming weeks.
LB: What are your plans for the future? Do you plan on making an album?
TL: As a vocalist and transmedia artist I'm interested in transforming spaces with sound and technology.- creating concept worlds for people to connect in. I'm excited about creating my debut album and connecting with people in those spaces.
LB: If you could create your dream collaboration (example lady marmalade) Who would you wish to see create together?
TL: I'd LOVE to see Labelle reunite, pull out their badass afro-futuristic costumes from the 70's and shock the world with a Lady Marmalade anniversary collab with Missy, Lil Kim, Pink, Mya, and Christina Aguilera.
LB: Why is the ranch important to you and for the world?
TL: One of my favorite things about the ranch is how quickly your ideas become reality. There's almost no latency from thought to fruition. The support that Love offered me is invaluable and I think the support is really important for both emerging and established artists.
LB: Louis, tell us a little about your background in music. Who are your musical influences?
Louis Shreds: I was raised in a musically eclectic household. My whole history has informed my approach to production and writing. If I had to name-drop though, off-top, I’d say Frank, twigs, and Radiohead have probably been most important to forging my current, personal sound. Prince, Funkadelic, Nina Simone, and Bowie come to mind as influences for my work thus far with Love Bailey.
LB: How did you develop the Louis Shreds persona?
LS: Louis Shreds is a fantasy. Any great fantasy though, is based on reality, cause there’s no reality show more lit than the one we’re in. My given name is Luis Emilio, and I’ll probably release art under that name. However, I don’t feel like “Luis Emilio” when I’m cooking certain flavors in the studio. I feel like Louis Shreds when I’m shredding on my guitar. Louis Shreds is shredded. And, Louis Shreds can shred the baggage of a life in which people expect you to be something you’re not, and creating becomes impossible. Plus, the two words slip off the tongue in a very sexy way.
LB: Do you remember your first visit to the ranch? Do you think such a space for creativity is important right now in today’s often repressive society?
LS: I remember it clearly. When you begin to drive into those country roads in the desert, you almost feel like you’re going into another dimension, on the brink of being lost.
The ranch is special, but also highlights how important it is to create inclusive, intersectional spaces. While it is primarily a locale for queer artists, and recognizes the need for safe spaces, it welcomes all people with love, generosity, and creativity in their heart, willing to learn. We’re not a post-racial or post-homophobic society by any means, but ultimately the ranch, to me, represents the inclusive and emancipated society that could be, free of stigma or judgement. The artist residency sees strength in diversity.
LB: What are you personally working on in music right now & can you give us a little preview of what you’ve been creating on the ranch?
LS: I’m mostly working on my debut singles. My personal projects intersect r&b and alternative genres, but through working with Love, I’ve been able to explore my rock and roll, jazz, and cinematic sensibilities. Love is a visionary and works to infuse her progressive pop music with the raw, organic emotion of soul, jazz, and rock and roll. At the ranch, I’ve been advising for and co-producing a few of the songs and interludes on Love’s debut. Love and I together are primarily working on the album’s break-up anthem, Scarlet Rose. It’s developing beautifully, and Terry’s been an invaluable help.
LB: How has music transformed your life, and how would you like the power of music to transform others’ lives?
LS: Music is inherently transformative. When I was a child, music was a magical, mysterious, and almost untouchable experience. It’s still magical to me, but now I feel more akin to a medium, or alchemist in training. With time and experience, I can better guide my subconscious to create magic, even I don’t fully understand it. Music transforms emotions and individual experience into something greater; in that sense, all great music is soul music. I hope my music is emancipatory for others, whether it reflects struggle or celebration alike.
LB: How would you describe your music, who & what influenced you growing up?
Bonavega: I would describe my music as Glam Porn. I try to take all the sexiest parts of my favorite music from the 80s (Def Leppard, Queen, David Bowie) and then try to add an authentic modern twist.
LB: Your self titled album Bonavega is a mix of 80’s glam rock and horny gender bending fantasies, How has the freedom to express your sexuality informed your music? Do you see the music industry moving in this direction?
B: Music is very sexual by nature. Rhythms, sounds, movement, it’s a very sexy thing. Performing live can be very intimate as well. There’s something very exciting about shredding on the guitar in my underwear in front of a live crowd. I think the music industry has always promoted and profited off of sexuality and I don’t think it’s gonna stop anytime soon. Not if I have anything to do with it.
LB: You recently shot a music video to my favorite track of yours “Pain & Pleasure” What was it like shooting this video and when can the fans see it?
B: It was so fun! I got so many incredible people to collaborate with me and I think we made something really special. We plan to premiere it by the end of March!
LB: What was your experience like at the Ranch? Do you see yourself coming back to create music there anytime soon?
B: The ranch was wild! Definitely a cool place to create. I’m always down to collaborate and would be curious to hear what would come out of a session at the ranch.
LB: Lastly, the girls wanna know...how do you identify your sexuality? In your performances there is a lot of sexually charged gay references, is being queer just a performance or does it come from a real place?
B: I don’t identify as anything in particular. Sexuality is so complex and I think trying to box myself in with a label is very repressive. It’s 2020 baby! Anything goes.
View the Savage Ranch Artist Residency images and video below.
FULL LOOK: HARRY HALIM[/caption]
ON TERRY: Afffair by Rufat İsmayil[/caption]
DRESS: HOUSE OF CB
HEELS: SAINT LAURENT
HOUSE OF EMMANUELE
DRESS: HOUSE OF CB
HOUSE OF EMMANUELE[/caption]