This past weekend Cliks frontman Lucas Silveira blew through Halifax, speaking at the Youth Project and performing solo acoustic shows at a sex shop and a fundraiser. In a few short days, he experienced a slice of the city’s queer scene.
“My aim is to always to give queer youth a sense of hope,” says Silveira. “And to know that they are not freaks of nature but rather just a special group of people who just happen to not be very visible to most of the world.
“I think it’s really important as a young person in any community to have someone to identify with or the world seems a very lonely place. It was for me as a kid. So I guess part of my hope is to give these kids a sense of belonging in any way I can.”
Silveira has made huge waves in terms of transgender representation in mainstream music. The Cliks were signed to Warner Music, releasing Snakehouse in 2007, landing them on Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours tour with Tegan and Sara, The Gossip, Rufus Wainwright and others. Last year, the band opened for The Cult, which granted further exposure to a less queer-centric audience.
“There was a lot happening in a very short period of time,” he says. “With all of that, and me just recently coming to terms with my identity and having my body be the subject of so much of the press… [it] totally put my head in a big dark black hole. I don’t think I’ve come out of it yet and am still trying to find out what the hell is going on around me.”
Silveira describes the paradoxes of the music industry as a bit of a “mind fuck.” He’s been told not to wear his heart on his sleeve, but it is this sort of vulnerability that creates good art.
“The other mind fuck is being told to be who you are because it’s important,” he says. “And then told not to be yourself too much because it’s all people want to talk about and they’re forgetting about the music — which I think is total rubbish. People aren’t stupid.
“My experience in the last three years is making me realize that I am much more naive than I thought I was and that my body and the person I am is a tool used for marketing on the whim of whoever is in charge of doing so.”
Unfortunately music is like any other industry, there are people who work to further expand creative opportunity, but at the end of the day dollars and cents come into play.
The Cliks are in the midst of wrapping their new album Dirty King, scheduled to be released June 23. The record is being produced by Sylvia Massy, who is most noted for her work with Tool, Prince, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Deftones.
According to Silveira the album is a departure from Snakehouse’s rock-heavy riffs, as he draws lyrical inspiration from his life and explores the darker caverns. The band will perform teaser sets of the new material in April, as they tour US cities including Phoenix, Boston, New York and Detroit.
No matter where The Cliks may take him, Silveira firmly believes in leading by example and that’s what brought him to Halifax to perform among Venus Envy’s wall of dildos (his “back-up band”) and at a Mirror Image event, which raises funds to help trans people afford their surgeries.
“To me it’s about helping these young kids understand that they have a future and a place in this world,” he says. “And that when it’s their time they will know what to do. It’s about showing them that I am just like them.
“Another human being who came to terms with their gender identity and continues to grow and learn about it every day. I want them to know that I am no stronger than they are and that they all have the power to find their own path in life in their own way and that there is opportunity for happiness and fulfillment.”