Hellcat is the latest artist to produce a mix for Polyester – well, less of a mix & more of a track. The Portland-based, non-binary producer, they’re currently working on a “really nice weird hip-hop EP” which should be out soon but the dates are rather vague. Here they talk the music scene in their hometown and dissatisfaction with hierarchical bro culture. Reads best when listening to the mix.
How does the culture of where you currently live impact your creative process in making music?
Portland’s culture and its music scenes are somewhat centred around mostly white boy pop punk and stuff like that. I think a lot of the music I do or at least my attitude toward production is almost out of resentment for that shit. I guess the main way the culture affects my tunes is in how it forces me to curate a live set that’s at least a little relatable.
In general, how is the music scene effected by the surrounding culture?
I dunno. I think the dominant culture in Portland right now is a pretty uninspired demographic of yuppie transplants who couldn’t give a fuck about the music scene. It’s kinda sad but Portland’s culture has only really stunted the growth of newer music scenes – especially electronic genres.
What impact does the queer scene have?
The queer scene is like the only fresh shit that you get here. Even if it does have its own issues it still pumps out the more exciting ideas and music. I’d say pretty much all of the producers and DJs I love in Portland are queer.
Do the people immersed in this culture have an effect on your creative process as well?
Yeah absolutely. They’re the easiest way to get feedback and the ones I work with. People like MISS CLEO have seen me since my early shows when I was fucking with Fl studio and they still pushed me to keep going.
In general, who has been a major influence on you?
Ugh I dunno. Pretty problematic but I’ve always loved how diverse Shawn Kemp’s work is. Other than that some of my biggest personal influences are like the country gals I loved growing up; people like Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. A lot of the newer stuff on my harddrive is a little Shania.
Have you been able to develop a closer connection to music and creating it because of the atmosphere you’re in?
I have pretty small team so production and playing music are really insular to me. I have a super close relationship to music and I think the only times I develop that are the times when I’m distanced from the atmosphere.
Your mix has a lullaby-esque feel with a mixture of some chaotic synth pop sounds, what drew you to producing this style?
I think I just really dig spacial and garbled shit. I’m super bad at writing music so all of my chord progressions come from my wanting to hear something really pretty but not fully knowing how to do it.
Does your personality reflect in any of this?
I’d like to think my music is super reflective of me. Idk.
If there was one aspect of music you’d like to change, what would it be?
Maybe the sort of elitism that folks have around music culture. Like people should chill the fuck out and just make good stuff.
Interview by Whitney Levine.
Artwork by Dvst.