Trumpet Blossom Cafe — Thursday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m.
Just as R.ariel (AKA Rachel Crocker) doesn’t limit herself to one genre of music, she doesn’t limit herself to one art form either. Videography, photography and writing also help make up her ethereal persona. R.Ariel recently released both a new album, This World, and published her first novel titled In North America. Here, she talks about genre, multimedia art and literature’s Mecca, Iowa City.
Your actual genre on your Facebook says “Who really cares tho?” which is awesome. How do you feel when people try to label your music?
Recently, I’ve been trying to not care about that because people are going to do that. For the people who have been following my discography, I’ve been changing it up every album. My last album was more guitar and drums, this album more keyboard driven, and the first was mostly acoustic. It’s nice to be dynamic.
As an artist of various forms, how do music, photography, videography and writing all connect for you to create what you want to share with the world?
I think there’s so many different ways of expressing what you want to express, and I think art as a whole can express so many feelings and emotions that music doesn’t do the way I want it to, sometimes or photography doesn’t or writing doesn’t. So, it’s nice to be able to move it around. Sometimes I’ll write a song and the emotion won’t be expressed the way it would if I used photography. I think it’s about just trying to be as flexible as possible with your own emotions and feelings.
Along with your album This World, you wrote a novel called In North America. How do the content of those differ?
It’s [the novel] essentially kind of digging up a lot of past events as well as exploring ideas of poverty and how it has affected mine and my family’s life, and what happens when you experience traumatic things. There are a lot of personal moments in the book. My mom committed suicide five years back and so it’s kind of about how you deal with that and how music helps. I started playing music when my mom died, and I never played music prior to that. I kind of stopped taking photos and started music. It was therapeutic for a while; a coping mechanism. I can play music and express many different subjects and it’s more of a communal thing.
What is the difference for you artistically when writing a song versus writing a book?
As far as writing is concerned, they end up crashing into each other all the time, even if you don’t need them to. With music, it will start with a beat or a melody and it will feel a certain way. With music, it’s really free and flexible. Essentially, music can be anything you want it to be so it can feel more fun. With writing, there’s a lot of back story where I’ll think of an idea before I write anything out and edit it until it’s perfected. Whereas music is more of something I am feeling.
Your tour is both performing songs and doing novel readings. Why combine the two?
I just love interdisciplinary arts, and I wish people would engage in that more. I think people are just afraid that they can’t do something. Even if you don’t want to release anything, you can go take photos or play the drums for a little while and see how that feels.
Anything you want your Iowa City audience to know?
I’m really excited to play in Iowa City. Last time I played at Public Space One. It was a beautiful event. They kind of threw me in with an art gallery/opening thing. Iowa City is pretty huge for literature, so it kind of feels like a Mecca.