[Photo by Evan Edinger]
YOUR FIRST MUSICAL LOVE.

I consider Busted my first musical love. They made me want to play guitar, and then I got a guitar for Christmas. But it was an acoustic guitar, so it didn’t sound the same. Then, my friend ended up breaking it because she tuned it too tight.

I remember the first time I read the lyric booklets, I realized they said the word “bitch,” and I was like, “You can’t swear. That’s bad.” And I got really upset. So, that was the mentality of me when I was a Busted fan. But then they led me to pop punk. 

YOUR SMALLEST REGRET.

I guess just not being myself for so long. In a way, it used to be a big regret. I was like, “I just want to live my life and be happy, and there are too many barriers.” And I was like, “Wow, if I came out like five years earlier, what would my life be like now?” But I guess it’s a small regret now because I know the place I was in back then, and I don’t think I would have been able to handle coming out.

A FREEING FEELING.

Getting my tits chopped off was the most freeing feeling because I spent four years of my life in a binder, which funnily enough, has affected the way I breathe now. Straight away after surgery, I was like, “Holy shit, I’m never going to have to do this to myself again.” As a kid, I was always half-naked. I was always shirtless.

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I was like a little gremlin. I was like a woodland creature. I was always climbing trees shirtless with no shoes.

After surgery, I was going back to that person, which is really nice. It’s very freeing.  

IT WAS NEVER A PHASE.

I just think of emos when I think, “It was never a phase.” My dad introduced me to Nirvana and Foo Fighters and the Prodigy and all that. So he was always into loud music. But sometimes his friends would come around while I was playing guitar. They’d be like, “Oh God, that’s some dreadful music. I can’t wait for you to grow out of it.” And I sat there playing My Chemical Romance.

I’m never going to “grow out” of MCR. I don’t think anyone does. 

THE STATE OF TRANS RIGHTS.

When I think of trans rights, I just feel like the word that comes to mind is “exhausted.” I feel like trans rights have taken a good leap forward. But now, suddenly people are just like, “Hey, we’re not ready for that yet. Could you guys calm down?”

I feel like America made some progress, and then they’re taking a few steps back, and then maybe they’ll make another leap, but they’ll have to take another step back because not everybody is ready for giving trans people equal rights. I think the general idea is that people just think the fight is over, which it definitely isn’t. [There’s] sexual assault against trans women, like [the] murdering of Black trans women. There is a lot of work to do, but it’s just exhausting.

UNDERACHIEVING.

In terms of the song, I recently got diagnosed with ADHD, which explains the majority of my life. I grew up being told that I had so much potential, that I could do whatever I wanted, and then—bam—mental illness. And that stopped me from being able to do things that I should have been doing or do things that I wanted to do. So, I guess I feel like an underachiever, even though I know I’m doing well for myself.

The world can think I’m doing great. But in my mind, I’m still like, “I should have done that better, or I should have done this earlier.” So that word is very loaded in my brain because it just encapsulates a lot of struggles I’ve had. And I feel like that’s why a lot of people identify with that, especially LGBT kids, because we all do really good as kids, and then we realize we’re different at some point. And then we realize that maybe the whole world is against us being ourselves. I think that’s something a lot of kids can relate to. 

GEN Z.

When I think about Gen Z, I’m just like, “They fucking got it!” The amount of conversations that I’ve had with older family members are just like, “Why do you always complain about everything? Why can’t you just be happy?” Because things suck, and we want to do something about it, which I think is our motto for Gen Z. Maybe 30 years ago, kids in school didn’t question everything because they didn’t have the internet. Whereas we have the ability to fact-check literally everything.

A PLACE TO DISCOVER.

A place to discover is just the world, the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but I’m excited for it. So I guess just touring, releasing music, meeting new people, just life in general, is for me to discover because I feel like I’ve been hiding a bit like a hobbit, tucked up in my own bedroom. 

SELF-CARE NECESSITIES.

In order to give yourself self-care, you need to recognize and understand yourself to the extent where you know when you’re becoming burnt out. It sounds so boring and so irritating and so obvious, but eating enough, drinking enough, leaving the house, being in the sun—those [things] are so important.  

2022.

I hope in 2022 [that] everybody that can be vaccinated is vaccinated—and not just in England and America. So many countries that aren’t as rich as us just don’t have vaccinations. So for us, COVID might end, but they’re still five years behind. Then in terms of myself, I just want to have more life experience. Like playing shows, writing more songs, meeting cool people. I just want more progress in terms of YouTube and to write songs I like and have more people enjoy them.

This article originally appeared in Alternative Press issue 396. To read this story and more, purchase the issue here.