"We make music to create an environment of embrace for weird black people."
What’s your name, and what kind of music do you make?
We are Jade and Xavier. Each of us makes up one half of The Black Creatures. We use our music for storytelling and therapy, and while we don’t fit very neatly into any one genre people usually call us darkpop or hip-hop. We say we’re... sci-fi.
How did the two of you come together to start making music as The Black Creatures?
Jade loves telling this story.
So, we went to highschool together but because Xavier was three grades above me we didn’t have many opportunities to get acquainted. Then I came across his side project, /encode, after a brief interaction on Facebook. I loved one of his tracks in particular and messaged him for permission to sing on it. I sent him the vocals to what would become our first song - Glass Thoughts. From there we found time to meet up and create together. Since then, we’ve really come to cultivate a special bond through what we do. We are The Black Creatures.
What does the songwriting process look like for the two of you? How do you collaborate?
It always depends. Sometimes Xavier has a track half or completely produced and Jade’ll write to it. Sometimes Jade has lyrics half or completely written and Xavier will compose or produce to it. Other times both of us will write the entire piece together using whatever methods are available at the time. It’s like Kuzco and Pacha in The Emperor’s New Groove -- when they’re locking arms to climb up the ravine -- working together, lifting each other up with their varying abilities; that’s us.
What do you hope that the audience will take away from hearing your music?
We make music to create an environment of embrace for weird black people. The kind of stuff we could’ve found community in, in our own youth. We want our music to encourage autonomy, to remind ourselves of the humanity we are regularly disallowed. We get in our feelings but still want it to mean more than just that. That’s why we create, record, perform. It makes it feel real; undeniable. As for nonblack listeners, we want our music to jar them -- in a good way. Good ideas force people to confront what they don’t get.
What does the word queer mean to you?
It’s different. It’s out there. As a queer, whether or not you want to belong, you can’t escape a society that aims to consistently other you. It was used as a slur for a long time, and for many folks it still constitutes as one. But it’s cool to see us reclaiming it.
What’s something that you wish would happen or develop in the Kansas City community?
Xavier really wants more accessible vegan restaurants and grocers. Kansas City has so much in terms of art, business, entertainment, etc. But, ain’t nowhere for broke people to get some decent vegan food.
Jade wants more police accountability. Less white punk houses in black neighborhoods, more community projects to rehab houses. Less abandoned schoolhouses, more schools. Tuition-free. Actually, I really want to see an UnSchool in KC.
If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
“Read more, so it’s not so hard to do as an adult. Stop smoking so much weed, that’s why you can’t remember your dreams. Move out before your mom calls the cops again. Try living alone. Oh, and go to college for teaching, not German.” - Jade
“Try to feel. Just try. Also, start your locks sooner.” - Xavier
What part of yourself/your identity are you most proud of?
We’re both proud of our ability to create, that’s why we got this interview. Jade might not get interviewed for their diplomacy, or their work ethic. Those are parts of Jade’s identity they’re proud of, but that aren’t glamorous. Some things Xavier is quite proud of but wouldn’t necessarily get interviewed for are his critical media consumption and his cooking ability.
"We’re both proud of our ability to create."
Listen to The Black Creature's new album See No Evil on Bandcamp.