Interview – Baltimore Gay Life
By Rahne Alexander
May 4, 2007
Electro-pop diva Nicky Click is one of the brightly-shining stars of a relatively new movement in queer dance music. Along with artists like Dynasty Handbag, Gravy Train!!! and Katastrophe, Click is mixing queer and feminist politics with homegrown beats, and the results are rapidly growing in popularity.
Her debut CD, You’re Already A Member, was the first release for electroclash label Crunks Not Dead, which is also home to Scream Club, Team Gina, and Jenna Riot. Her second CD, I’m On My Cell Phone, shows exponential musical growth for Click. The new disc will be available commercially in the coming months. For now, fans can pick up copies at Nicky Click shows.
Gay Life chatted with Nicky Click after her show in Providence, Rhode Island.
Your new album is a lot of fun.
I haven’t officially released it yet, except that I’ve been selling it on tour. I haven’t done publicity on it yet. It’s called I’m On My Cell Phone. There’s a lot of character development and dialogue. It’s a lot more personal than the last album.
There are a lot of collaborations on this new record!
Yeah, I have a lot of collaborations. I love collaborating. It’s how I started off. I’ve been working with Cindy from Scream Club. We always work together. Katastrophe and I did a song together, and Jenna Riot and I just did our first song together. It also features my dad on lots of songs. He’s the male voice on all my tracks.
That’s amazing! He wrote your new song "Utter Despair and Chocolate Éclairs," right?
Yeah, and he also wrote "Don’t Gotta Pay For Love." His name on my music is Mr. Owl.
It seems like you must have a good relationship to collaborate on your music.
Yeah. We didn’t used to, but we do now. It’s amazing. It’s a very special connection I have with him. He’s a musician, too. One of the songs on my CD is from his CD. It’s at the very end as a hidden track.
Your performance of "Utter Despair and Chocolate Éclairs" is filled with hilarious double entrendres. I bet your dad had a very different idea when he wrote the song.
I think he’s literally talking about a chocolate éclair. He is, actually, literally telling a whole story about this person who is walking through life and they have this chocolate éclair and everyone’s trying to steal it. But it’s totally a metaphor for my life right now. Every time I sing it, it feels good.
Do you have more plans to collaborate with your dad?
We’re recording a country/folk/roots album together. We’re performing together in a couple of weeks.
So will this be sort of a "Nicky Click goes back to her roots" CD?
He wants to use my real name for it, because he wants this music to be as true to ourselves and honest as it can be. He feels like he’s been on stage his whole life, he’s been a businessman his whole life. He just wants to be bare bones about it.
Speaking of genre, do you have a preferred name for the kind of music you make?
I kind of like electro-pop. I mean, it’s like queercore, but it’s different. I feel like there’s a new revolution of electro-queer music coming out.
How did you get started making music?
I bought this used drum machine. I learned to make beats and I started making songs out of my diary entries. Scream Club were my mentors. They helped me put out my first album, and I’ve been doing it for almost three years now. My first show was in the living room of my house, and it’s progressed into touring. I’ve been to Europe. I have two albums out and a seven inch, and a DVD of my videos.
What inspires you to write?
Sometimes melodies just come to me. On my first album I have a song about being femme. It’s a very personal song, and a political song.
Since gender is a strong theme in both your music and video work, do you have a strong response from gay community?
I definitely have been in gay communities, and I see a big difference between "gay" and "queer." In "gay" communities, I never felt represented or accepted. It wasn’t until I was in communities that were queer and had femmes that I felt accepted.
Did you do academic work around gender?
Yeah, I did gender studies in college. I went to Goddard College for three years, and I went to Evergreen for the last year.
You perform to a wide range of audiences. How is it to perform for non-queer audiences, especially with provocative material like your new song F**k Machine?
I still get really defensive with men who don’t understand, which is very frustrating. Like last night the guy who was working the door said to me "I’d love to be part of your f**k machine." I’m like, "Go away. This is not about you." I feel like I’m explicit about that, too. I say, "This is a song about queer sex." I still enjoy playing "straight" places, because there’s always queer people out there, and also I have straight fans who are great, too.
Do you see a central message behind your music, video and performance?
I feel like I’m empowering to women. I mean, before I started performing, when I’d see a solo girl performer, I’d think, "Oh my god, that’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen." It really empowered me, and made me feel good. And people have told me that they’ve been able to be present and have fun, that my music does change them in that way.
Nicky Click will perform with the Charm City Kitty Club May 18 & 19 at 8:00 p.m. at the Creative Alliance. Tickets are $12 general, $10 for Creative Alliance members. Advance tickets suggested. For more information, go to www.charmcitykittyclub.com.