Los Angeles, CA – New York City latex performer and Lords of Acid burlesquer Ashley Bad recently released of her debut single “Deadly!” via Cleopatra Records. Combining Film Noir lyrical influences with Gothic and Electronic soundscapes, while drawing from her experience performing with cult glam-punk band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Ashley Bad is here to evoke your inner Femme Fatale. The track also features guitar and production by Peter Murphy & Gary Numan collaborator, Mark Gemini Thwaite (MGT), which adds to the haunting neo electro-goth atmosphere.
Ashley Bad so graciously took some time to answer a few questions for Torched. She goes into a few details on her debut single/video, MGT’s (Mark Gemini Thwaite) contributions, her latex and burlesque beginnings and what’s in store for Ashley’s future.. plus more!
What was your inspiration behind ‘Deadly’, your debut single via Cleopatra records?
My single “Deadly” was inspired by my love of classic mid-century film noir, such as Kiss Me Deadly, Laura, Sorry, Wrong Number, as well as surrealist neo noir and tech noir films like Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, and Dark City. For years as a latex burlesque performer I have always portrayed various versions of the Femme Fatale pulp fiction archetype both on stage and off -it’s an image that I’ve been fascinated by and have been obsessed with since I was a young girl. I’ve always loved the fantasy of these strong dominate female characters, although in some cases they can be victim as well. The number of films, novels, comic books and pop culture media icons that have portrayed these vampy, mystifying icons range from folklore like the Brides of Dracula to Bond Girls to Catwoman.
‘Deadly’ also features Mark Gemini Thwaite.. what were some of his creative contributions?
I wanted to write a gothic rock dance floor track and composed a bass and synth hook on my Machine controller, which Mark then transposed into his studio work station, recording additional guitars and beefed up the drums. Mark brought his years of experience recording with Peter Murphy, The Mission and Gary Numan, which gave me a truly authentic gothic-rock sound… from there we experimented with a bunch of trad-goth sounds and we both agreed that it sounded a bit retro, so we decided to go in a more modern darkwave / electronic flavored direction – we stripped a lot of the guitars away and added nu-goth electro inspired beats. Once we were happy with the direction, I composed and recorded the vocals in Mark’s studio and then he mixed the track. I’m looking forward to people hearing my next single, “The Gun”, where Mark played a bigger role in the composition and evolution of the music. He’s truly a dream to work with.
You are an extraordinary latex performer/artist.. When and where did this begin for you? Can you give us some insight into the art and what is involved?
Thanks so much! Prior to starting my career as a latex burlesque performer, I was a latex crafter and occasional designer. I worked for two NYC Latex Companies- Latex Nemesis and Kirsten Li for several years before stepping foot on the stage. Through my work with latex clothing, I was able to create different looks, stylings, and even different characters – I was able to use these skills as a basis for formulating burlesque shows and bringing them to the stage. Very early on in my performing career I went to a Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black show and I fell in love with the female-fronted band and its punk rock future feminist statement and I was invited to perform with her, as well as do art performances with Kembra Pfahler and The Girls of Karen Black. I learned so much from being on stage from Kembra and I’m so thankful for her guidance- to this very day I apply the use of her philosophy of Availabilism (the art of making use of what’s available for the source of your inspiration). She was the first person to tell me that I needed to start a band.
You’ve worked with the band Lords Of Acid.. What has been your creative contribution and do you foresee this continuing in the future?
I was in rehearsals in Los Angeles with Lords Of Acid right as the covid-19 pandemic lockdown happened in March 2020- literally a day before the first show. Due to the extended lockdown, the tour was rescheduled for September of this year and then pushed back yet again to spring 2022. I am so looking forward to being on tour with the Lords next year, as the time allows the world to heal.
You were one of the headlining DJ’s at the ‘Darkness In Hollywood’ event at St. Felix last August.. How did this go for you and what were some of your favorite tracks in your playlist?
I had an amazing time at Darkness In Hollywood- I combined a lot of old and new in my set serving up trad-goth with nu-goth, spinning tracks from The Cramps to Boy Harsher, to electro and industrial from Lords Of Acid to Revolting Cocks, and back to the big name classics with Bauhaus, Sisters, and The Mission… but my absolute favorite was spinning some exclusive remixes I’ve collaborated recently with Mark. (You can listen to my DJ set from the night here- https://www.mixcloud.com/ashleybad/)
The visuals captured for your video complimented your song to perfection.. can you go into some of the production details?
Thank you! I wanted it to have a film-noir vibe, but with vibrant and deep colors unlike the classic black and white noir, leaning more into the color palette of David Lynch’s neo noir stylings and the heavy shadow play that was directly inspired by Alfred Hitchcock. We went for a dreamy, surrealist-style edit of the music video, where it was left up to the viewer to decide the order of which the film played out- or if it had actually played out at all! It was a fun two day shoot at a gorgeous multi-roomed boudoir studio and I wore a custom red leopard print latex ensemble that I designed and had made by NYC latex designer and friend Renee Masoomian, an outfit that I often perform in.
When and where did it all start for you? Did you grow up in an artistic environment?
I grew up in a strict Catholic environment, though my parents are not particularly religious- they sent me to Catholic Schools (an all girls catholic academy- to be specific) my entire life to have a better education than they did. I’ve always had eccentric tastes from a young age and I spent a lot of time alone as I’m an only child. Being a child with niche (and dark) interests, while also being a person of color – made me a complete outcast. I did not have anyone to connect with or identify with and so I was forced to create my own world. It wasn’t until my late high school years when I began to seek refuge outside of the a very repressed Catholic School and head into the Big Apple (I’m originally from NJ 15 minutes right outside of NYC). The moment I got off of the bus into New York City, I knew I wasn’t alone. It was from there that I dove into the underground NYC gothic and fetish nightlife head first.
Who or what are some of your creative inspirations?
I’m inspired by such a wide range of artists and media I find it difficult to narrow down… The Cramps, Bettie Page, Mae West, Rita Hayworth, vintage pin-ups, Russ Meyer and sexploitation films, film noir, artist and fetish photographer John Willie, Coop’s Devil Girls, Catwoman, Blade Runner, Sci-Fi noir, horror noir, retro-futurism, futurism, cyberpunk, black metal music, The Spice Girls, 90s fetish magazines, the films of Park Chan-wook, Chuck Palahniuk, the list goes on!
Is there anything that I may have missed that you would like to share?
Thank you to everyone who downloaded or checked out my new single! There will be more to come very soon!
As a special bonus, the digital single is being released with a B-side, a remix by Travis Bacon (a/k/a SVART), lead singer and producer for industrial metal band Contracult Collective! Stream/download the single: https://orcd.co/ashley_bad_deadly
All images courtesy of Ashley Bad
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