Better Know a Musician: Lana Del Rabies On Her Spice Girls' Name

Spice World would have been even better if Lana Del Rabies was in it.
Spice World would have been even better if Lana Del Rabies was in it.
Michael Castaneda
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Welcome to the next edition of Better Know a Musician, a semi-regular column where serious local artists answer some not-so-tough questions.  

If you have any suggestions for future guests or additional questions you want to ask Valley songwriters, please leave them in the comments section or email culture editor Jason Keil at jason.keil@newtimes.com.

Next up: Lana Del Rabies

A harsh environment breeds harsh sounds. The sizzle of boiling water, the ominous rattling of a snake, and the roar of a mountain lion on a hunt are just a few of the instruments in the desert’s symphony. Move closer to where humans congregate, and you’ll hear a different kind of harshness: the beating of programmed drums, the screech of static, and the howl of electronics pushed to their breaking point. The wild has rattlesnakes and coyotes to break the silence; city folk haveLana Del Rabies.

Over the last few years, Lana Del Rabies (a.k.a. artist Sam An) has been making a name for herself in the noise underground. The Arizona artist signed to Deathbomb Arc, the label that calls fellow forward-thinking dissonant acts like clipping. and JPEGMAFIA home. She’s opened for experimental heroes Negativland and has shared bills with Pharmakon. Shadow World was one of the best experimental records of last year. It's an exercise in sustaining a dark, tumultuous mood that also found her embracing some slightly poppier sonic textures. She also released an EP that year, Such Belongs The Kingdom, where she took songs by Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie and gave them the crackling, throbbing LDR treatment.

This is a big year for the Arizona musician. She’s embarking on her first national tour with Author & Punisher and 3TEETH. In advance of her August 15 show at The Rebel Lounge, we talked with the noise artist about traveling abroad, animals, and her Spice Girl alter ego.

If you were asked to join the Spice Girls, what would your Spice name be?

I feel like the obvious answer would be Rabid Spice, but I’m not going to go with that. I think I’d be Witchy Spice or Mystic Spice.

Those are good ones!

Or Feral Spice.

If you could be reincarnated as any animal, what animal would you be and why that one in particular?

A snake. I like the fact that snakes are kind of stealth predators. And that they can survive in harsh conditions. I find that relatable. There’s a lot of symbolism involved with that animal, too.

If you could play any venue or location, what would be your dream setting for a Lana Del Rabies show?

I mean, I’ve always wanted to play in Europe — but that’s actually going to be happening for me in the fall. I’d just like to be in a situation where I’m somewhere new abroad among like-minded people who are there to receive the art for the same reasons. To do a set for a community that’s into heavier, darker music at a cool place abroad.

Aside from Europe, is there any other particular region in the world that you’ve always wanted to visit?

I’d love to go to Egypt, but I don’t know if that’ll ever happen in my lifetime.

If you could do something creative outside of music, what medium would you pursue?

The funny thing is that I already kind of work in a lot of different mediums. I actually got started in music as a video artist, and I had gotten into that because of photography; I also used to paint. So there’s already a lot of stuff that I’ve done. I guess if there’s something I wish I was good at, it would be 3-D art. I’m not a good sculptor. I’m not good with any sort of 3-D medium. I wish I could do that sort of thing well.

Lana Del Rabies is scheduled to perform on Thursday, August 15, at The Rebel Lounge. Tickets are $18 to $20 and can be purchased via Ticketfly.

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