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3 min

Bunny Michael is a nature slut

An interview with the star performer of this year’s Hotnuts Halloqween

Video for Bunny Michael’s “Holy Holy,” from the Rainbow Licker EP.

Andrew Strasser

Electro hip-hop darling Bunny Michael made waves in the mid-2000s as part of the duo Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker, but her genderbending solo work of the last several years has earned her many fans within the LGBT community and beyond. Michael spoke with Xtra about her musical influences, her EP Rainbow Licker and her upcoming performance at Hotnuts Halloqween.

Xtra: Your official site mentions that you’ve been in the game for four years, but how did you get into music? And have you always worked in this specific genre? (And how would you describe your genre?)

Bunny Michael: I don’t like thinking in terms of genre, only because it limits anything you do. Also, I really feel the term is dead because everything is such a mix of influences, especially in this internet age. I’m inspired by so many things, from the pigeons on the dirty streets of Bushwick to the artificial waterfall simulations framed in a Chinese restaurant to Lil B’s Twitter account, I really could go on and on. I got into music because some trusted friends of mine told me I should. They had been around me when I first free-styled, but I prefer the term “channeling” now.

How does your solo work differ from your work with Black Cracker? 

I produce mainly for my solo work, so it’s no longer a collaboration. Black Cracker is a very talented person, but our time together had come to an end, so I spent the last few years learning how to produce (I still have so much to learn!), but I feel free now because I can make a song completely on my own and play it for no one and keep it under my pillow safe and sound.

Tell me about the genesis of Rainbow Licker. How did you go about selecting the four tracks that make up the EP, and is there an overall theme to the collection? Same with Nature Slut — what was the creative seed behind that mixtape?

There was a period of time about a year and a half ago where I sort of was “reborn.” Not in the Christian way, but it was a self-realization/awakening . . . I was alone for the first time in a long time, and I made so many songs every day. I just channelled all this writing and yelling and banging around. It was coming out of me so fast I barely had time to record it all. My right brain couldn’t keep up. But I managed to record about 10 songs in a couple weeks and chose my favourite four for Rainbow Licker. One song, “Gasolina,” didn’t make the official EP because of using Daddy Yankee’s sample, but the music video I made for it became a surrealist dream come true. Then I worked with my great talented friend Bruno Coviello, formerly of Light Asylum, for the final track, “AFD [Angel Fucking Dream].” The Nature Slut mixtape I put together in a couple hours, collaging bits and pieces of unfinished work. I was like, Fuck it, I wanna put all these little ideas together to tell a story. I wanna strip down and show all my little parts, my little flaws and imperfections. The kind of stuff only your lover sees and gets to touch.

How does your work engage with queer themes and ideas? And do you feel that queerness is a fundamental component of your work?

I don’t feel that queerness is a fundamental part, at least not consciously. I am just being myself, which is coloured by so many complex aspects of experience, genesis, ancestry, time travel, fears, hopes, desires, dreams, astral travel, hallucinations . . . 

Your site mentions ideas such as the “universal creative consciousness” and has an artistic manifesto. What motivated the creation of the manifesto, and how did you become tapped into some of these larger philosophies?

Now is the time, I believe, that artists will save the planet from human destruction. And by artists I mean every human being who creates. Every person is part of an interweb of one consciousness. When one person expresses themselves fearlessly, the next can begin to see the world beyond limits. The problem is most people don’t like injustice, they despise inequality, but they also feel powerless to contribute any change. What we need to realize is how powerful we actually are as individuals first. Then we can see how our gifts can actually help others. I made a video about it.

How did you get involved in Hotnuts? And what are you most excited about in relation to this specific performance?

I’m sooooo excited to play at Hotnuts because I can’t tell you how much of an honour it is to be invited to another community with open arms and be asked to perform. I mean, it’s such an amazing feeling. 

What’s next for you?

Next is so much. New music vid about to drop for AFD, new record out early 2015, a bunch of new clothes for my Nature Slut Wearable Art clothing line, but mostly happiness, gratitude and joy.