Alynda Lee Segarra is practising radical pleasure. The musician – far better identified as Hurray for the Riff Raff – has made the decision to embrace happiness in spite of this era’s individual horrors. “This is a violent time to be a human – it’s form of usually a violent time to be a human,” they make clear around Zoom from their airy New Orleans house. “How do we continue to be existing, how do we intensely feel pleasure, and not just the crushing pounds of it all?”
The answer is trees. “We’re hit with hurricanes just about every calendar year nonetheless plant daily life is thriving. It was extremely comforting to glance at these dwelling beings and be like: ‘I don’t know how to survive this. How the fuck do you survive this?’” they say, recounting pandemic-induced walks all around their lush regional landscape. Developing up in a cramped condominium in the Bronx, New York Town, they felt the purely natural earth was reserved for “very wealthy men and women who go on elaborate holidays. It felt like a course divide.” Now, crops are not just presenting Segarra toughness and solace – they are also encouraging them craft a complete new style.
“Nature punk” is how Segarra refers to their forthcoming eighth album, Existence on Earth, the comply with-up to 2017’s rave-reviewed The Navigator. It consists of a scrappy, swaggering, Lou Reed-reminiscent homage to the rhododendron, when closer Kin sees Segarra collaborate with a wind chime-draped tree which they describe as their “favourite experimental musician”.
Nonetheless what is most remarkable about Daily life on Earth is not the uncommon credit score list, but the way Segarra metabolises bleak and disturbing subjects into tunes that brim with hope, natural beauty and cheer. Opener Wolves is a soaring, comforting, synth-peppered slice of heartland rock that alludes to climate disaster. On Treasured Cargo, the refugee crisis is movingly – but in some way not despairingly – evoked in lyrics about journeying by way of the jungle only to face the inhumane situations of US detention centres.
That track is based mostly on the testimony of two adult men Segarra met a number of decades back even though volunteering for an organisation that supports asylum seekers in Ice detention facilities. It was a move prompted by the musician feeling that they ended up “getting pummelled by the news. I was like I have all this fucking no cost time and I’m just experience poor for myself and the environment: allow me go do anything.” Inevitably, the adult males had been produced, and just one of them supplies Cherished Cargo’s coda, in which he asks people to preserve serving to refugees: “I questioned what his message to the globe was and which is what he decided on. It’s truly wonderful.”
Also stunning is Jupiter’s Dance, a sticky, bristling pop tune that provides comfort and ease to immigrant youngsters. It capabilities the rhythms of the Puerto Rican audio Segarra heard as a little one: soon after several years spent overlooking their heritage, they commenced incorporating such influences into their rootsy, folksy sound on The Navigator. Life on Earth moves their seem on all over again into a thing slicker and synthier, partly thanks to producer Brad Cook dinner (Waxahatchee, Snail Mail), whom Segarra describes as a lovingly encouraging figure with a “Ted Lasso vibe”. In the previous, their function has typically been labelled Americana, but the musician feels more and more alienated from that style. “The Americana earth feels so oppressive to me – a planet that does not want to listen to the real truth about how really hard it is to be alive. It tends to make matters pretty quite.”
As a teen, it was punk and the welcoming neighborhood about it that captured Segarra’s creativeness. “I was aspect of an acoustic punk band that was quite uncomfortable, but for the reason that in New York we have this sort of small spaces I could not practise the electric guitar. I shared a space with my aunt, she would have been like, ‘this is so bothersome!’” Born to Nuyorican (New York Puerto Rican) mom and dad – their father was a songs trainer and their mother served as 1 of New York’s deputy mayors in the 90s – Segarra lived with their aunt and uncle until finally the age of 17, when they still left to vacation the US and play new music in a road band. “I was in this planet of seeking to are living exterior of culture, that was my largest aspiration, to not shell out hire or shell out for anything at all and have no funds. I felt like I would be crushed by trying to be part of the planet and have a job.” The desired method of transportation was freight-hopping – the illegal and quite harmful exercise of sneaking on to freight trains. “I seem again and feel how the fuck did I do that? Because now I’m so neurotic,” they shudder.
The pandemic gave Segarra area to process the trauma of that time. “These incredibly physical recollections would clean around me, all this stillness and silence brought up a whole lot.” They discovered that EMDR – a sort of therapy that works by using buzzers and blinking lights to divest selected recollections of their distressing impact – aided. “I’d been performing chat treatment for lots of several years, and I can intellectualise anything all day, but I was just like: why do I still experience like I’m crawling out of my pores and skin?”
This period of time of therapeutic has also altered their strategy to touring. Beforehand, they experienced substantial anticipations of themself: “I wished to carry out well, I desired to give folks hope. Now I want to go in staying like, I’m a human and all I can do is be existing with you.” As they prepare to head back out on the highway, Segarra is hoping to consider the lessons of the very last two locked-down many years with them the realisation that “it’s Alright for me to just get by currently, it is Okay if all I did currently was make a definitely nice meal”. As their profoundly heartening new album proves, they reached an terrible great deal extra than that.