claire rousay is not a bad person

photo by Dani Toral

claire rousay is everywhere right now. I half expect to see the cover of her new opus, a softer focus, on a billboard when driving home from work. I’m kidding, but seeing her work get such widespread recognition is something that gives me hope. claire does not make music that’s easily accessible or easy to digest, so seeing her work get the praise it so deserves is a good thing.

claire and I chatted for almost three hours one evening in mid-March. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but we talked about a lot of things I normally don’t talk about with people which seems quite appropriate when I consider the scope and impact of her work. This is a small piece of that conversation. (I’m sad I didn’t have space to leave in our talk about Rancid and pop punk or the genius of Joe McPhee. Next time). a softer focus is out now on American Dreams.


The first question that I like to ask about is what are your earliest memories related to music? Whether it’s listening to music or starting to play music or whatever.

It’s one of those things where there’s a couple of them. I feel I have a pretty good memory. I have two memories that stand out. The first one is that my mom’s a piano teacher. So she taught me how to play piano when I was a kid. So I remember I was probably four or five and she was just starting to teach me. I was kind of into it for a little bit, but then we moved up to this harder piano piece and I was not having it. Because if you’re four or five, if you can’t do something pretty quickly, you’re just like, “Fuck it. I’ll never be able to do this.” So I was throwing a tantrum, basically, at the piano, and the punishment was I had to learn how to play the piece. So I couldn’t leave the piano bench until I figured it out, and I was just sitting there, throwing a fit.

That’s intense.

Yeah. I mean, I think my parents were more strict when I was younger. My mom’s family is Mennonite. It’s a whole kind of thing. So I think that kind of informed her parenting style until a certain age.

My mom’s dad was an evangelical preacher his whole life so I relate to that.

It changes the way you think about stuff. You parent differently for sure, depending on what you believe. So that’s the first memory that’s really stuck with me. And then the other really early memory I have is, I had this drum. It’s so funny that I actually learned how to play drums when I was probably two or three. There’s a picture I remember – I’ll try to find it so I can send it to you – It’s me wearing, I think, Toy Story pajamas with this one drum that has a little screen on it and it has these sticks that are connected to it. And I’m wearing a cowboy hat. It’s super good. It’s a really cute picture. I’m probably three or four in that, and I definitely remember it. I would take that drum with me everywhere. One time we were at a  restaurant – some sort of Applebee’s or a place like it, and it’s a Friday night kind of situation where there’s an extended family get together thing happening. I would go in a corner booth and I brought the drum with me and I always wanted to play a song. So I played a song for the whole section of people. I was just playing the drums and singing, and people really lost it. That was probably the first experience I had performing, too, where I was thought, “This feels good.”

That’s amazing. When did you realize, then, that you wanted to play music and perform and create and all of that?

There’s that moment when you realize it means something more to you than the other thing and that it holds more weight to you than whatever else. My dad also forced me to do sports when I was a kid because he wanted me to be manly and also to learn teamwork. I didn’t really… I played music really casually and he really wanted me to get into sports. Between the ages of five and 12, those two things kind of switched spots because he realized that I could learn how to work with other people playing music since it’s such a collaborative thing. It’s just not super masculine. I was probably 10 years old, maybe nine, when I decided that’s what I was going to do.

I think it’s really interesting when a kid has their own ideas of what they want to do. My mom made me learn piano, but my whole thing was when I was probably eight or nine or 10 years old, around then I really started asking for a drum set. It’s a beautiful thing that your kid can find this thing that is not in your house that they’re interested in; they have an independent experience from their parents. So that already creates a sense of independence, and then being so convinced that that’s what they’re really passionate about, so much so that they realize, “I’m going to have to do chores or something to earn a drum set,” and just the amount of work and time and stuff that goes into that. At least for me personally, getting a drum set and promising I have to practice was a huge experience for me.

My mom’s whole thing was I had to get good enough at piano where I could sight read certain music, and then I could play drums because it didn’t have notes. They were just misguided and she’s a brilliant piano performer. She knows. But she also knows that I wanted to play rock music or whatever. So yeah, it was awesome. Then, at 10 years old, I knew I wanted to play this instrument and wanted to get really good at it. And I thought, “I’m going to prove to everybody that this is my thing and everybody’s going to know me for being a drummer.” And that kind of happened, which is cool!

Yes, totally! The whole idea of finding this thing or this experience that’s totally outside of what your parents think or want you to do, it’s so important. I think I was 10 when I knew I wanted a guitar and it was kind of the same thing. I had to work for it. So I would just sit in my room and play and play. I think they started to kind of regret it when I’d be sitting in my room for hours on end playing my guitar through my shitty little amp, cranking it as loud as it’d go.

Exactly. And your parents are thinking, “Oh, well, I don’t know if I want to get you a guitar and pay for lessons.” And then all of a sudden you’re just obsessed with it and practicing all the time and all of a sudden they think, “Oh my God, they’re getting pretty good!”

Yeah! It’s such a formative thing, too, realizing that you can do this thing completely separate – or mostly separate – from them, and just… I don’t know, make those choices for yourself? It’s kind of amazing. Honestly, I think it got to the point for me that my parents were thinking, “What the hell have we done?” because I was playing in bands, making terrible recordings and mailing tapes across the country, making zines and getting kicked out of school when I was 15. It was a lot. They rolled with it as best they could, I think, but it was a lot.

Wow. That’s a crazy feeling. I totally get it though. I quit high school when I was 15.

Why’d you quit?

I started cutting class when I got my permit because I couldn’t drive. The only reason I went to school was so I wouldn’t piss my parents off and I could get my license and get a car. But then I stopped going. I just thought it was stupid. I was really self-centered and had really high ideas about myself I guess. I thought I was way too smart for it, that kind of thing. I just started cutting class a lot, and it became one of those things where I had missed so many days that regardless of what grade I got, I still had to repeat the grade.

That’s exactly how I dropped out of college.

My grades were amazing. I was in the top 2% of my school, which in Texas after 2005, I think, basically you get an automatic acceptance to any state university. If you graduate within that percentage you also get a scholarship. I could have gotten into a good school and all that. And I had perfect grades, but I missed two thirds of the year. I’d always be at school on Saturdays because I was skipping school Monday through Friday. It was cool. I really liked it. I would usually show up in the morning, and I had that early lunch because I was not a senior, and I would usually just ditch school at lunch, just smoking cigarettes across the street from school or something like that. Then I’d just show back up at three whatever to catch the bus to go home.

I can’t remember where I was going with this… Oh yeah! I quit school and that was really a defining moment of what I wanted to do with my life. I wasn’t in school so I thought, “What the fuck am I going to do?” At that point, the only thing I really knew about people who are professional drummers was Zach Hill from Hella. I thought, “Oh well fuck this guy can play so fast and everybody wants them to play with their band. Maybe I could do something like that too. I’ll be so fucking good that everybody wants that sound on their record!” I thought I was better than I was for sure. But I also think not having any other plans kind of made that happen because eventually I finished school using the computer and then going to some sort of Catholic school once a week. But at that point I was already touring in bands and stuff. So I was 15 or 16 and all of my friends were 25. They’d pick me up and take me out of the state to play shows, and then they’d drop me back off at my parents’ house. It was pretty crazy.

Wow. So my dad was a computer programmer, so we were online very early. I remember getting on America Online when I was 12 or 13. And they didn’t really pay much attention, they just let me get on the internet and do whatever. It’s kind of amazing something terrible didn’t happen. I was even flying out to meet people when I was 16 or so. It’s bananas. But it also totally changed my life, hanging out in a chat room called ‘punk chat’ and learning about so much music and meeting people that really set me on this path. It was especially important because in Tulsa, there was nothing going on really. It was a desert.

Yeah, that’s crazy. I mean I love social media for that reason. I’ve met so many people that even as an adult where they’ve become important friends. Also the internet’s hella different than it was, but it’s still kind of the same thing. You almost meet somebody on social media and then they fly you out to play a gig that they put together. Really the same thing.

I got in the van at 15. I didn’t get out until now.

So totally going in a different direction here, but keeping on the theme with connections with people and all that… One of the things I really wanted to talk about is the collaborative aspect of a softer focus that you did with Dani Toral. How did the whole idea and concept for it come about?

Honestly, the biggest thing that kind of helped that happen was Jordan [Reyes from American Dreams] asked me to do a record for American Dreams. And I was like, “American Dreams… what the fuck is this?” Because I had a bunch of mutual friends with Jordan, like Ben Baker, Billington and Ryley Walker and all those Chicago idiot boys. So Jordan asked me to do a record and I was kind of hesitant because I’d just put out an LP and, well, LPs are so expensive and so scary. But then Jordan was telling me, “Well, if you want to do something different, we could do something kind of unique and you could sell it as a physical object and market it as this different kind of thing. It can be what you want.” And I was like, “Damn Jordan you’re a fucken genius. You’re telling me I can operate on my own terms here? Fuck yeah, let’s do a record.”

I’d never really operated like that before. I’ve always kind of been told what to do with tape labels or whatever – especially people who do all the art for their label and it’s basically assigned to you. That’s bullshit. So I had all this freedom which, really, everyone should have. I fucking hate those tape labels where all the covers look the same. And they send you shitty half-assed of art that’s just uniform with everything else, but for no other reason than wanting it to be uniform. Astral Spirits is one of those labels that sort of does that, but actually does it really well and in a way that makes sense. 

Yeah, I mean… I do that with my label, The Jewel Garden, in a way… but it’s also only my stuff that I’m releasing so I get to do whatever I want. And my friend Darryl [Norsen], who does all the art, is amazing and it’s weirdly become this collaborative thing that’s more than just him doing what I ask. I sound like I’m defending myself here [laughs], but honestly I totally agree with what you’re saying. I’ve had experiences in the past where I didn’t have any real say in the art and the end result just sucked.

Right, that’s the thing – there’s a way to do it that can be cool and still collaborative. Hell, sometimes I wouldn’t even care what it looked like, it’s just one of those things where they didn’t even ask me and it feels like there’s not any mutual respect. But Jordan wasn’t doing that because he wanted me to have total control. He told me that we could spend up to a specific amount of money and all this stuff. It’s a good situation.

Anyway, so I asked Dani to collaborate with me because she had been following my music for a while and we were friends as kids, but we kind of dropped off for a while. She went to college and I dropped out of high school. I kind of just fucked my life up for almost a decade, but I’m slowly putting it back together. I got in the van at 15. I didn’t get out until now. But Dani makes a bunch of cool shit. She does a bunch of these layered, kind of abstract painting things. It’s super, super layered and it has this really cool three dimensional element to it. It’s really awesome. I bought a bunch of her art. I’m just so into it. So when I asked her to collaborate, I asked if she was going to do a painting or something for the album, but she said she wanted to explore something new.

 So I told her that I was working in a new way with making music and using different processes and materials, so it really came together. She’d never made digital art before. She got an iPad and the cover art was the second thing she did.

Jesus. That’s amazing.

It’s the best cover art I’ve ever had. It’s just brilliant. She’s a fucking genius. Really, really dedicated. It was really cool to work with her on it.

I love the whistles you all did for the special editions. I think it’s such a cool idea.

It’s a really good idea. They’re really fucking cool, and really well made. I mean, it actually sounds good too! And really, the record just didn’t feel like an equal collaboration, even though we kept calling it that until she suggested that we should do some physical objects with it. And then, with the vinyl, we did an insert where one side has the information about the album and a photo and the other side is just another piece of her art. It’s another print kind of thing, which is awesome. But then she said, “Well, what if we get whistles?” And Jordan asked if she’d also design a t-shirt and then suggested she should direct the music videos and take press photos. So she did everything visual for the record. She did all of it and that made it cohesive. I mean, the only thing I helped with was editing the video. But Dani’s so good. 

That’s really great. I do love how it all ties together. I think that makes it feel more like a bigger experience than just an album, and that extra detail and care feels even more important right now. I mean, it’s been such a weird year.

Yeah. Nothing feels real.

My friend Nathan [Young] and I were talking about that, because people are starting to book shows for the summer and it just seems surreal to me. I don’t know.

It’s surreal and pretty selfish honestly because I don’t think the summer is a good time for shows. Although I’m one to talk because I’m literally booking a European tour for the fall.

Well, that’s the fall. That’s not the summer.

Also by ‘I’m booking,’ I mean somebody else asked me to come play and they’re getting it together. That’s my one thing now. That’s how I know how to say no. I’ll apply for grants and residencies and artists co-ops and stuff like that, but I don’t really ask people to book me anymore and I don’t ask people to put out my records. So the only times I’ll ever do anything is if somebody approaches me about it, and that was my rule. I’m not going to insert myself into anybody’s social scene or their world or whatever.

I totally get that. That’s kind of how I’ve been for a while – I’ll just do my own thing and if someone approaches me and asks, that’s great, but generally I just do my thing. I mean, a big part of that for me has always been imposter syndrome and not believing anyone actually liked what I was doing or whatever. I just thought people were blowing smoke up my ass.

That’s how I feel all the time. It doesn’t feel good.

It’s awful! I always had this feeling of, “I’m going to be found out. They’re going to figure out that I’m a total fraud.” And I don’t even know why, I don’t even know what that means.

Exactly! It’s not like you’re concealing information or something. You’re just like, they’re going to eventually realize that I’m a dumb ass. That’s exactly how I feel now. Damn. People are going to watch me do what I do every day, and I work really hard, but it’s also just the most ridiculous ways of working hard, you know? It’s like listening to static from a cassette player to thinking, “Yeah. This is art. I’ve got to sample this.” And that’s a good two hours of work today. It’s absurd, but it’s how I work and this is my only job right now.

I mean, that’s really great though – the part about it being your only job, not the other stuff. But I also remember how incredibly stressful it can be in so many ways and how it can kind of fuck you up. 

That’s how I feel about it too, sometimes… Sometimes you think of how nice it would be just to work. Work my job and have my life. Have friends who aren’t just pretentious fucking assholes. Just have normal conversations with people I don’t know. But then I think about how it’d be really depressing not being able to talk about freak shit all the time.

I’m still trying to find that balance. I’m lucky that my wife is super supportive and is into some of the weird shit that I’m into. She’s genuinely interested, but at the same time doesn’t really give a shit either. At least on the level I do. I mean that in a good way, though! It keeps me more grounded, I think… more honest, maybe.

Yeah. It’s a weird pressure, too, because once you’re in this world, it’s so small that if you aren’t really active or present people start wondering what’s going on and asking questions. It’s just a whole other amount of pressure because this is this tiny community.

Everybody knows everybody.

Nobody’s a rockstar. People are all super normal people that they probably didn’t respond to emails because they were having a depressive episode or something.

photo by Dani Toral

Right. Yeah. It can be hard, too, to feel like you have to talk about or think about music, weird music, all the time. It can feel like that’s all anyone wants to talk to you about, but I just can’t do that all the time. I’ll lose my mind.

Yeah, definitely. Recently I realized – well, it was probably about three months into the pandemic – but I realized I needed a hobby. My favorite thing to do is also my job now, so I needed something else, so I started learning how to cook. I’m really into cooking.

So what do you like to cook? Or, have you had a moment where you cooked something and it was just like, “Holy shit. I can’t believe I made this!”

Yeah! Actually, it was really funny. Mari was over this weekend and I made this really labor-intensive dinner. It probably took me two hours. Basically, I grilled chicken with this blackberry marinade. I took fresh blackberries with flour and sugar and oil and made this Blackberry sauce thing, and then marinated the chicken with part of it and then part butter. And then you put it on the grill again and make it a second time and fully cook it that time. And it’s just like these chicken pieces that are purple, but it’s so fucking good. And I made a garlic potato whip with it so it’s like the potato on the bottom with salad and the chicken and I was just making it up as I go. And I was like, “I just made something that’s crazy good.”

That sounds amazing. 

It’s really good and it’s very healthy too because I took all the sweet stuff out of… There’s a little bit of white sugar, but for the most part, it’s actually pretty good for you. Other than that, mango chicken red curry, mango chicken green curry.

Do you cook with recipes or you just make shit up?

I’ll usually take three recipes and then combine them.

That was always my favorite thing when I used to cook all the time, just putting things together, making things up. I think I was a really good cook. It always gave me the same feeling as I got when I was improvising with music. It’s really similar.

Yeah! You’re there, in the moment. It’s so cool because it really is just improvising and while you’re making something, you’re tasting it throughout and you’re just like, “Fuck. In this moment it really needs this!” And then when you cook it a little bit and you’re like, “Fuck, I overcooked it a little bit.” Let me add this to make it better. And that’s it – you’re improvising. 

This is making me want to get back into cooking. I’m feeling inspired. I want to talk about San Antonio now, though. I feel like San Antonio and Tulsa are probably similar in a lot of ways. Are you originally from there?

I’m from Winnipeg, so I’m Canadian, but-

Oh, my mom’s from Winnipeg.

Oh really?

Yeah. She’s still a Canadian citizen. She has been here since she was five. And I used to go to Winnipeg every year when I was a kid.

I’m still a citizen, too, so it’s cool. But I’ve been in San Antonio pretty much my whole life. It’s way more of a home than Winnipeg is. I love San Antonio so much. It’s the best place in the world.

People ask me all the time about living in Tulsa, “Why do you still live? Like, why don’t you leave?” Do you get that?

All the time. People are convinced that I’m going to go to New York or Chicago. San Antonio has this weird vibe to it that I love. It’s so easygoing. Everything is really slow. Everything’s hella cheap. My rent is $700 and I live in a house. 

Whenever I would put on shows here, everyone was always totally shocked at how cheap it was. I’d always try to convince people to move here. Never happened, though. And I mean, of course we’d put on these shows and five people were there, but I think that’s kind of the norm most places.

I don’t do any public shit here and that’s the way I like it. I’m really into just having my own zone where this is just the place where I hang out with my friends who don’t do music. We go to restaurants, we go to bars, we hang out, we go to the park and shit that and do normal things. And then I can do my weirdo freak shit at home, for my job, and then just hang out with people and have a good time. Every day is like that. Not so much with the pandemic, but before that, I was touring so much that I would only be home one or two weeks a month. And when I would be home, I wouldn’t work at all. I would just hang out with friends and throw dinner parties and stuff.

I always kind of loved that nobody here had any idea that anything we were doing existed. I think it kept me a lot more grounded. It was hard to get any kind of ego because nobody around you really gave a shit about it.

I know. I love that so much. That’s probably most of the reason why I don’t want to leave. It’s really the nicest feeling. I like that a lot. That’s kind of how it’s been here until recently. God, I had this really fucked up experience. I went out with this girl I’m kind of seeing once we were all vaccinated. We went to this outside bar, and we ran into some people that were there and it was kind of a weird vibe, like people that knew who I was, but I didn’t know who they were. And I just thought, “Fuck, it’s happening. It’s actually happening now.” San Antonio is going to be ruined for me. It’s like always these stupid idiot dudes who make ambient music or some bullshit like that. And they’re just like, “Claire, how’d you get this?”  This guy’s like, “I just look up to you so much.” And I just said, “I don’t know who you are.” It’s just weird and feels gross.

It’s just people who want whatever they think you have. And most of the time, you don’t really have that thing. And you’re like, “I don’t know if you know this, but if you actually knew me and if you were actually my friend, you would not want any part of this.”

Yeah… I don’t miss that part of it. It does feel really gross.

It feels like your whole personality is shifted and you’re almost like a character at this point. It’s like you’re performing all the time at that point. And then you’re really trying to convince people, and at the same time convince yourself, that you’re not a piece of shit or whatever.

Right, but even then in your mind you’re thinking, “I’m a total fraud and they’re going to figure this out and then everybody’s going to know. I’m going to be found out!”

That’s kind of how I feel now, but… it’s weird because addressing stuff like this is already part of the ego thing, because you recognize you have something that other people don’t have, and that sucks. But also, it can go away so quickly.

That was always the thing, and for me, when my daughter was born, it raised the stakes to the point where I just ran myself into the ground because someone else’s life was in my hands. It was too much, but I also didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about it. I really think everyone is dealing with that on some level or another, it’s just that nobody’s talking about it.

Isn’t that terrible? It’s one of those things where it’s like, I really care about other people and this kind of posturing and jealousy or whatever, it’s the kind of shit that makes me not care. I really do genuinely love human connection stuff obviously, because that’s all I talk about and that’s what I make my work about. I really do love it. It’s fucking crazy, though. There’s so much drama in such a small world. It makes no sense. I tweeted that thing about my bandcamp subscriptions paying my rent and I had a bunch of people that were asking, “What’s your secret for creating a successful bandcamp?” I’m just like, “I don’t fucking know.” 

In my experience, most of the time when people find any kind of level of success, a lot of people think it’s this calculated thing.

Definitely. It’s also one of those things where if you have any level of success in this tiny little world, people get really jealous and they get really mad. They start saying shit like “Well, what you’re doing now isn’t even as good as what we were doing before.”

They will turn on you!

I know. I’ve had talks with a bunch of friends of mine who do music and they’ll tell me, “I can’t go on the internet anymore because people are just talking shit about me.” It’s really shitty. It happens to me sometimes. People get mad because I sold 50 tapes and they only sold 10. That’s a really stupid reason to hate somebody.

It’s so awful and it’s petty. I don’t want to say that this scene, or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t matter because it very much does on some level. Obviously I think it’s important, but it’s also not like you’re ending white supremacy or something.

That’s the other thing. Even with my music, I try to pretend it helps people. It helps me at least. But it’s not like I’m ending, or even really contributing to or helping end certain really huge systemic issues. That’s what you should focus on if you’re going to be making demands and getting mad.

I want to ask people who say they’re trying to change the world and save everybody’s soul — what are you doing for the people around you? Do you love your mom and dad? Are you being nice to your neighbor across the street?

I think about that all the time. It’s not likely that I, as one person, am going to end some major systemic issue. I mean, it’s not going to happen. But I feel like as an individual, I try to focus on small individual connections that you can make and hopefully improve someone’s life or their day or experience in some way. And so, when you talk about your music helping people, I think that’s where it really does. 

That’s the other thing … I had a conversation with my friend, Alex Cunningham the other day. He’s so fucking amazing. I love him. But I was having a conversation with him and I told him, “I can count probably on one hand the people that I collaborate with frequently who are not white.” I collaborate with a lot of people. That’s on me. My music is so fucking white. I’m not going to try to make stuff that is representing some other experience other than my own clearly. But even when I’m vetting my ideas or even thinking about collaborators who I really trust, who I ask, “Hey, can you listen to this mix or listen to this piece and tell me what you think?” I mostly ask white people to do that. And learning how much of my whole world… Obviously it’s only informed by my experience, but I have so few people of color in my close artistic career circle. I’m not really doing anybody a favor outside of people with my experience, which is pretty crazy. But Alex and I talked about that a lot and we agreed, you kind of just have to own it at that point and do better.

I know what you mean.

But if my whole thing is building human connection, then maybe I should do a better job. It’s the same thing when you’re fighting with somebody or being an asshole. They have their own problems. You’re talking shit on somebody’s music, but do they have an eating disorder and also want to kill themselves? They’re going through some shit you probably don’t know about, so try harder and don’t be such an asshole, you know?

For sure, and it’s one of those things where, everyone’s pretty fucked right now from the past year. Things aren’t great. Don’t be an asshole. Be nice. If people could just not be total dickheads, what would the world even look like?

Even if it’s just in your tiny little bubble. Obviously, growing up Christian has totally influenced the way I think about things, because it’s just trying not to make it about yourself. Then there’s the whole Christian thing of what are you doing for your immediate community? I don’t believe in God, or go to church, or anything anymore, but I want to ask people who say they’re trying to change the world and save everybody’s soul — what are you doing for the people around you? Do you love your mom and dad? Are you being nice to your neighbor across the street? Probably not. You probably don’t give a shit about them, but you’re claiming to love everybody.

There’s got to be a better way to do this than operating within something that’s existed for so long. You can just be nice to individual people or just be understanding and care about people as people, and not categorize them, like “Christians are bad or Christians are good.” Do you love your mom? You know what I mean? It’s crazy shit. That’s what I want to do with music anyways. It’s the most Christian thing about me, but I really do think that’s what I get out of music now, and it’s helping me become a better person too, which is awesome because I don’t think I’m a good person. I think I’m one of those people that always makes things about me.

What do you think makes somebody a good person?

I was thinking about this the other day. The difference between being impartial and apathetic, the difference between those two things. I just feel like I don’t see things objectively all the time, which is totally fine because it’s not always the way it should… It’s not going to be the most helpful thing to see things that way. But I don’t really know what makes a good person. I just don’t think I’m there yet. I don’t have the experience, so I don’t think I’m there, but I’m trying.

Sometimes that’s the best we can do in a particular moment.

I think maybe that’s the first step.

Sometimes trying is good enough. At some point, it’s probably not – it’s got to be more than that, but it’s gotta start somewhere. And especially right now, with the way things are in the world. This is the beginning of the end.

We’re not coming back from this. There’s been irreparable damage to the environment and stuff, but just socially too. Everything’s so fucked, I feel like the only thing we really have left is just to be good to other people. That’s why I’m so fixated on it. Well, the world’s burning, you might as well just do something nice for somebody because that’s what you got now.

I totally relate to that. Eden and I talk about it a lot. Every day, If you can try to make one person’s day a little bit better, there’s value in that. Maybe you can do more, but at least try to do that. Each small act of kindness will hopefully have some kind of cumulative effect. It’s probably not going to save the world. Hell, in 20 years billionaires will probably be in orbit firing missiles at us, but still. Be fucking nice.

I said something to Mari the other day about how, in 20 years when the world’s burning, I really hope we get placed in the same bunker. It’d be good for our collaboration.

It can continue until the bitter end.

We’re already getting shot up into space to live on a spaceship. Hopefully we get sent in the same cycle, so we can keep collaborating because it’s going to be hard if we don’t. But, it’s crazy shit. Being nice to people is not that hard. It really isn’t. I’m not the best at it sometimes; I’m aware of that, but just being an asshole all the time is so exhausting. That’s the reason why everything’s so fucked up anyways.


claire rousay’s new album, a softer focus, is out now on American Dreams.

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