Digital Divas: Dark Sister Interview

Artwork by Justin Kovacs

Digital Divas is a column written for the internet, by Yung Klout Gang's Lina Abascal, a girl who loves the internet. It's about young women who (similarly to Lina) have created online personas that have attracted thousands of fans and followers. These are spokeswomen for the emoji-speaking Tumblr-dwelling generation, where thousands of miles of distance can be spanned with a few clicks. Musicians, designers, writers, photographers and more make up a community of global tastemakers and cultural commentators representing the famous motto “girl power” on the world wide web.

They're a punk band, they're a nu-metal band, they're a noise band, they're two faux-sisters with synched menstrual cycles who are ready to make you feel weird. Dark Sister moved from Memphis to Bushwick recently, and is busy adjusting to the hectic pace of New York.

Having transitioned from more aggressive and southern hip-hop-inspired sounds to more melodic and dark vocals, their new EP Darkest Lipstick in the Drug Store should be out soon, and proves they’ve adapted to New York. Doing a DIY version of "riot grrl R&B," Tiffany and Jessi of Dark Sister have collaborated with cyberspaces favorite artists from Anamanaguchi to Neuport, and I'm glad to have them as my first twosome on Digital Divas.

You guys are from Tennessee but now live in Brooklyn. How has the transition been? What are your favorite things about each place?
The transition has been pretty brutal, honestly. The pace in New York is so much faster, but it is really good for getting shit done. It took coming here to realize how really southern we both are. For real, we are southern-ass G.R.I.T.S. But New York is great for what we wanna do.

It is sad missing a summer in the south though. We both love being able to be alone…and in nature too. Both things are rare here, so that has been really stressful. Both things are sacred to us. The music that we are writing now is really influenced by our experience here…it's ruff and really exfoliates your soul in the harshest way. In Brooklyn, we stay lurking coffee shops and Mr. Kiwi. We also lurk heavy at Gnostic Tattoo (owned by our manager, Sweet Leaf) and the rest of the Loom. In the south, shit….too many things are our favorite. Fried catfish. Just visit. You'll see. It's sweet there. Like honey. ;)

Tennessee has had some awesome southern rap come out of it, a sound that people might not initially associate with you guys, but how has it influenced you, if at all?
Actually when our first release, Swag Hag (LOL) came out, we got compared to Boo & LaChat on multiple occasions which made us do: <3_<3 ! Koopsta Knicca is our favorite. Tiffany is from Memphis so that is just what came to us naturally, since we were both really familiar with it. Memphis rap has definitely been a platform for us to jump from, but now that influence has blended with lots of other things.

You have a new EP that's set to come out soon. When is that being released? Your sound has changed a lot from rapping to more singing. What direction are you going in now?
We are a punk band. We tell people we are a noise band now. We also tell them we're a nu-metal band. It's whatever you want it to be, or maybe whatever you don't want it to be. Our new junta is called The Darkest Lipstick in the Drugstore and it is overall pretty heavy. It kind of comes from the same place we started from with songs like “Red Velvet,” but with a pinch of Bushwick stench. We like to yell we like to sing. It's really just raw and very slam-danceable.

My column is called Digital Divas and only features girls, because I feel like a lot of press girls get is for the wrong reasons. You guys talk about periods and seem pretty “girl power.” When making music, do you think being a girl and possibly someone who wouldn't be "expected to rap" causes people to judge you? What are the pros and cons of that?
For sure! We are all about getting into people's minds and givin' ‘em a good scramble. We exist to force people out of their old paradigms. All that shit in people's heads that they believe with no reason…that was put there by someone else. The pros are that we are girls so we have the weapons of femininity to wield and draw in attention easily. Then, once you have your claws in, you can really tell them what you need to say. It's annoying sometimes but can be powerful, because people are ready to love or hate what you are doing, just because you are female. The cons of course are not being taken seriously or being underestimated. Our society teaches people to turn down the voices of women.

Do you guys want to transcend the sort of internet-hype and move on towards a bigger audience at any point?
Absolutely. Tiffany actually kind of hates the internet. Jessi is much better at URL activities. The web is a necessary evil. Together we are all bound by the web. It frees and enslaves us at the same damn time. We want to play for as many people as possible because we are really trying to speak truth about the nature of existence in 3D.

Who are your fans? What type of people go to see you?
Juggalos, punx, noise bois, feminists, our friends. It's funny when hip-hop heads come to our shows. Anyone willing to let their freak flag fly ~*

What are some other musicians who you guys are affiliated with or have collaborated with? What niche-genre would you consider yourself a part of?
We got our own niche genre, which goes by many names. Before we have said "riot grrl R&B" but who the fuck knows anymore. We don't believe in genre anyway. No bars no chains. We collab with only kind-hearted and sweet, talented, genius friends who really know what's good. We have collabed with lots of producers and other artists and we are afraid to make a list cuz we don't want to leave anyone out.

Most recently we have done songs with our amazing magical friends LeSphinxx, our four dragon brethren Anamanaguchi, our favorite Laurens CREEP [one of who did a Guilty Five with us – Ed.], and our #1 home dog D.Gookin, who is engineering our EP. We have beats on there from him, Neuport and Cities Aviv, who is Tiffany's boyfriend and she would like the time to shamelessly mention right here. ;)

What is your live show like?
Our live show is very spontaneous and visceral. It is really just catharsis for us. Whatever needs to come out, does. It is like t.A.t.U. but not gay together. We're like two disembodied frontwomen of some kinda gritty hardcore bands who have taken too much horny goat weed from the gas station.

What is it like living here together? What's an average day for you?
We live like 15 min apart, both in Bushwick. Jessi nannies during the week and Tiffany sleeps way too late. We usually meet up for coffees (or dirty chais if we are ballin) and then stomp over to the Loom to bother our manager and then go bump our beats and write songs, then we go record and make gluten free and vegan spaghetti at Gookin's crib. *~ IN NEW YORKKKKKKK CONCRETE JUNGLE WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE OF~*

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