I (Heather Lynn) do all of the songwriting,
choreography, musicplaying, setbuilding, etc.
Over the past 3 years over 50 of my friends
and acquaintances have performed on stage
with me as backup singers and dancers.
where are you from:
instruments you use:
style of music:
electronic ritual repetition neobaroque ballet
I was in a band called The Capricorns for ten years with my best friend. When we were living in different cities and being in a band together was no longer sustainable I still wanted to make similar music.
Without the on stage presence and support of my incredibly talented best friend, I started relying more on my dance training and interest in maskmaking and ritual to stay confident in what I was doing.
As the project evolved and became more about live performance than music I invited more and more of my friends to join me on stage. Most of the time I feel like a dance company or church masquarading as a band so I will get more shows. What Pure Magical Love has become is a totally unique thing with no rules or parameters. Sometimes I lip sync, sometimes I play live, sometimes I just backup dance and let other people sing. Some say that my show should contain more of a consistent live musical element, but I guess I feel like if people will stand mesmerized while some dude sits in front of a bunch of equipment pushing buttons for 45 minutes, I can do whatever I want.
what’s your message?
I didn't start out with a message, other than that I wanted to share the music I make with my community. But over time my message has evolved from the positive and negative things that happened when I decided to get on stage. I am trying to create a girl space. Boys are welcome at my shows and sometimes perform in them (usually in drag), but I have found Chicago to largely be a boys club and there is a need and desire for a space where girls feel totally safe to be sexy or pissed off or really fucking excited or just be the center of attention. I have also enjoyed incorporating dance, ritual, and stories into my shows. To me these things have always gone together and I like sharing this with an audience who may never have had an opportunity to see a dance performance or a ritual. I also believe in creating your own rituals based on your own experiences, rather than needing to appropriate or mimic the rituals of other cultures or generations. I spent my formative teenage years in the punk scene, it would make sense that I find a sort of magic or communion when I'm on the same stages and in the same basements where I first discovered that feeling.
do you play shows and how do they look like?
So far I have only played shows in my city or nearby cities because setting up requires alot of time and effort. If possible I try to get permission to transform the entire space ahead of time. I build tapestry-like sets that can be hung on walls, and sometimes giant props that can be used onstage. the backup dancers are put in elaborate costumes and masks. sometimes I also have fake keyboard players playing fake keyboards. It just depends on what the mood of the show is and what story I'm trying to tell or what ritual I'll be performing. There is often audience interaction, usually in the form of showering them with glitter or making percussive musical instruments for them to play with us. Often by the end of the show the backup singers and dancers are in the audience. The idea is the make people forget who is on stage, where the music is coming from, why they came there in the first place, and just give in to the ritual.
what was the craziest show you’ve ever played ?
I really couldn't choose one. Some crazy things that have happened: a backup dancer giving herself a concussion because she was dancing so hard and banging her head into things, being banned from spaces for unauthorized nudity or glittering the audience, a bunch of little preteen girls rioting and rushing the stage when we played the girls rock chicago camp (that was on my birthday, the best present ever)
what was the worst and why?
any show at a big club where they were unconcerned with paying me (even though they made a ton of money off drinks and charging at the door), or where the soundguy mocked me for not having live instruments and "just" a bunch of girls dancing, or where they act like it is just such an honor for you to be playing on their stage. just in general i am through playing at big clubs. the house shows and diy venues who know what im about and invite me to play are the most fun, gracious, and accomodating places which just makes the show that much better. and ironically, they are much more likely to compensate me financially than the big clubs. i dont know if its like this in other cities, but its certainly how it is in chicago.
what are your future plans?
keep making art and writing new songs and meeting new people and putting them in my show and it getting bigger and bigger until it is no longer needed, then on to the next thing
are you going for the big deal or are you more the d.i.y. type?
I want anyone who could benefit from what I do to have access to hearing and seeing it. I would one day like to be compensated for all of the work I do on the costumes and setbuilding (a typical show can set me back a couple hundred bucks). Beyond that I don't care about fame or recognition. I just want to keep doing what I've always done.
your 3 favorite bands:
i cant limit it to three, so ill limit it to three categories.
1. my chicago friends bands, because i am constantly amazed at how many fucking awesome people are my friends and talented musicians on fire for the same shit i am, and how lucky i am to live in a city and play shows with them.
bands like: gel set, stacian, zigtebra, toupee, forced into femininity, meat pressure, white mystery, xina xurner, magic key, names divine, brilliant pebbles, yoko homo, bastardgeist, so many more i am forgetting. they are not all one genre, often it is the personal charisma of the musician and getting to watch them do their thing that makes them my favorite.
there are also so many girls around town either DJing or doing computer nerd stuff and doing performance art and just making a really lovely positive presence known that are rockstars to me like maria tz, andicaine, right eye rita, heather marie vernon, sarah weis, robin hustle, i could go on forever 2. old riot grrrl bands forever, because they saved my life. i was especially into the bands that were all teenage girls when i was, like skinned teen, raoooul, lung leg, the electrocutes, etc. hearing 15 year olds make records that were not like prefab shit was so inspiring 3. anything else. no genre, just whatever. abba, the breeders, les georges leningrad, yoko ono, erase errata, ESG, the need, selda, the shangri-las, tracy and the plastics, old commodore 64 and 8bit nintendo songs and on and on and on. i can't pick just 3, please dont make me :)
your 3 favorite colors:
your 3 favorite dishes:
anything with lots of vegetables, lots of chocolate, or lots of garlic
your 3 favorite movies:
i watch alot of tv shows on dvd. right now i am watching the original beverly hills 90210, charmed, and angel.
your 3 favorite books:
again could never choose just 3. love edna st vincent millay, iris murdoch, anna kavan, richard brautigan, david foster wallace, toni morrison, dorothy allison, young adult fiction, my friends blogs, celebrity gossip sites, etc etc
your 3 favorite venues:
my friends houses, anyplace that will let me do what i want and make a mess
your 3 favorite hobbies:
gluing things together, writing manifestos and to-do lists, ecstatic bedroom dancing
your 3 favorite animals:
all sorts of cats. lions, tigers, feral cats, kittens, etc
3 things you totally need on stage:
lots of room for choreography, strobelights, cute boys and girls in the audience
to be able to live in a bunch of cities at the same time, for my show to be able to magically teleport itself anywhere at any time, and for everything in the world that keeps people from doing everything they love to do to just disappear
what do you fight?
boredom, laziness, those who seek to steal my magic, psychic vampires, dudes with god complexes
what’s your best song eva and why?:
i like "majesty", because at this point everyone knows it so well that when the epic chant starts during the bridge it feels like everyone in the audience (in the world) is chanting along with me.