As part of LGBTQ+ History month content series, we spoke to singer-songwriter K Anderson who hosts the ‘Lost Spaces’ podcast, dedicated to celebrating historic queer spaces.
How would you describe your music in one sentence?
One sentence??! Eek! Right, how about ‘confessional singer-songwriter with a large dose of irony and a bit of a resigned shrug’?
Who are your major influences?
I grew up listening to chart-friendly pop radio, and only got into ‘real’ music in my teens. But, by ‘real’ music I actually just mean female singer-songwriters (I used to completely avoid male singers!) - think Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, Jill Sobule and Liz Phair. My taste has expanded somewhat by then, and I’m a bit of a magpie with different references… I love the Brill Building and Motown sounds of the 60s, the folky sound of the 70s, and the synthesisers of the 80s.
A lot of your music is extremely personal. What advice do you have to emerging artists thinking about drawing on personal experiences for their work?
People have really good bullshit detectors. If you’re going down the singer-songwriter path, and you aren’t writing songs that have your authentic voice running through them then people are going to see through you immediately. To me, there’s no point writing a song if it is bland and faceless. But, having said all of that, it’s also important that you think about exactly how much of yourself you’re willing to share - it’s one thing for me to sing about wanking to alleviate boredom, but you may not want the whole world to know that about you.
How has your work been impacted by COVID-19?
In different ways… obviously I haven’t been able to perform or go to live gigs (which always energise and inspire me creatively), which is really discombobulating (and just depressing), but… on the other hand it’s been far easier to book guests for my podcast, cause they’re all stuck at home with nothing to do! So, it’s been more of a shift - focus on the things that I can do rather than the things that I can’t.
How has your identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community impacted your work and/or your experiences in the music industry?
It’s easy to look at the current musical climate, with so many out and open artists, and assume that it’s always been that way. But, it was a very different story when I was coming up in the scene - even other queer people were trying to convince me not to openly sing about men in my songs, and try to be less ‘faggy’ on stage.
Would things have been different for me if I were straight? Yes, probably. The industry is so dominated by a certain type of person, with a certain point of view and frame of reference, and so it’s hard for anyone with a different experience to break through. But, having said all of that, my queerness is so integral to my music - I found solace in music when I was ostracised by my peers as a kid - that I might not even be making music or telling my story if I hadn’t had that experience…
How are you working to combat the closure of LGBTQ+ venues with the Lost Spaces podcast and accompanying album?
The podcast sees me interview different people about queer venues from their past that no longer exist. For me, it’s less about preventing the closure of these venues, and more about celebrating how they have helped the community forge its identity to date.
What’s becoming clear to me as I’m having more conversations with different people is how the ‘scene’ never really met the needs of the entire community. That is, if you’re not a cis-gender, white, able bodied male then it’s easy to feel marginalised in those spaces. I think for the scene to prosper in the future it’s going to be really important to address this, and create inclusive spaces that meet more people’s needs.
What gave you the idea for the podcast?
One too many ‘remember when…?’ conversations with friends! I realised that I had all of these amazing people in my life, and that they all had these amazing stories from their past, and I wanted to find a way to explore and celebrate that - and document all the feelings of elation, dread, escapism, and acceptance that can be experienced in one tiny club.
Do you have a favourite episode?
Ah, that’s like picking children! Not necessarily my favourite episode, but my conversation with Princess Julia (absolute queer scene royalty) was the moment when I realised I was on the right path with the podcast - just hearing about all the legendary London venues and the stories they hold from someone who has been there and bought the t-shirt was electrifying.
What are your plans for 2021?
It’s really hard to know what is going to happen next with this pandemic, so I’m trying not to over-plan my year, and be a bit flexible in my approach. That being said, I’m intending to carry on with the podcast, and to release some new songs along the way - at the moment I’m prepping for my next single, Aloof, which should be out in April. Otherwise, I’m just taking things one day at a time!
Where can people find the Lost Spaces podcast?
Anywhere you can stream podcasts (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Google Podcasts)
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