There is something a bit unsettling about Debby Friday’s music. Dissonant and aggressive, the only thing consistent in her work is its inconsistencies, its fundamental challenging of ascribing to any semblance of a music genre. But, perhaps most of all, Debby Friday’s sound is very uniquely Her—and we couldn’t be more obsessed.
How did you first get into making music?
I was always a creative child, but I actually started out as a writer, a poet mostly. I used to write so much and growing up, I always thought I would become a writer of some sort, but coming from a very practical, immigrant family, the idea of being an artist by vocation used to seem really distant. At one point, I had a really rough couple of years in my life where I was too depressed and traumatized to do anything, even living seemed like such a chore. And now looking back, it was really music that helped me to get out of that. It became a form of self- expression and self-reflection and it gave me community and direction.
I always say that I came of age in the club and it’s true. Going out to underground clubs and queer dance parties, surrounded by people who look like me, it transformed me. It helped me to see that the pursuit of joy is not only possible but absolutely essential. Making music, making my art, sharing my heart, this is my joy and that’s why I’m doing it.
What was it like growing up in Montreal as a queer person of color? Do you go back to the city often?
I love my hometown but it’s not without it’s fuckery. Especially as a black person and an immigrant, the experience of growing up there was one of ostracism. In school, I always felt like they treated black students as if they’re just nothing, as if you’re expected to fail before you even try. As you grow up, you also realize that there’s not that many opportunities to make a living as a young person unless you want to work in the service industry for the rest of your life. It’s disheartening. There’s also this palpable xenophobia in the city that is so ridiculous when you think about it because of how diverse the population actually is. The beauty of Montreal is in the diversity of the cultures that make up its population and it would be nothing without it. I chose to leave because it wasn’t conducive to my journey anymore but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Montreal. I believe in Montreal and I believe in the people who have chosen to stay and make it home.
In the Soundcloud description to BITCHPUNK, your first EP that was released earlier this year, you described the album as “Unbridled Feminine Aggression”. Can you elaborate a bit more on this? What does feminine aggression mean to you?
To me, feminine aggression has to do with women, yes, (and when I say women I mean all women) but it’s not about essentialist ideas of gender. It’s about energy. The Divine. The One and the Two. When I say “unbridled feminine aggression”, I’m talking about POWER. I’m talking about a biblical kind of rage, that force of the universe that creates and destroys, that thing which us in all of us. This energy has been suppressed and stifled globally for a long time but that’s over, that world is done. Be ready.
Is there a story behind your name, ‘DEBBY FRIDAY’? Where does Debby usually find herself on a Friday?
Ha! These days, on a Friday, I’m probably at home working on music or a project of some sort. Unless I’m playing a show, I’m usually in bed by midnight. As far as my name, well it’s my name and my family always called me Debby growing up. The Friday part I chose unconsciously and I didn’t understand it before but I do now. It’s a secret.
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This is a self portrait. Here are some Truths: I am tired of being scared to fail in front of other people. I’ve been through a lot in the last 9 months, and most of it felt like failure. Very little of this is documented outside of my journal and only my closest friends know about what I’ve been going through. It’s been gruelling and unbelievably isolating but I’m making it through and learning to be kinder to myself. I left my hometown of Montreal for personal reasons, among them the fact that it was no longer conducive to my growth as an artist and a human being. What a shame that the diversity and innovation of the local DIY scenes is being crushed by gentrification and that very special Quebec-brand racism. I am not interested in being exploited, tokenized and unfairly compensated for my creative labour. I am not interested in visibility for the sake of exposure above being accountable to myself and my craft. In the words of @bbymutha, I ain’t tryna live in vain and I ain’t tryna die in debt bitch!!! The whole process of making this EP, from start to finish, has been a feverish love letter to myself. A burst of self-rediscovery and a re-birthing. I have always been this brave, bold and powerfully creative person. Always. But for a while, I denied myself of my truth and let my vulnerability slip into helplessness. I was lost. With this EP, I asked myself for my forgiveness and welcomed me Home. The prodigal daughter has arrived and I will be heard. My sound reverberates throughout the universe. My vibrations shake tectonic plates. Mark my fucking words!!! I am not scared of the work or the journey. I am BIG. If you care about my evolution and want to participate in this holy aggression, you can buy BITCHPUNK on Bandcamp or stream via all major platforms (very soon lol). Happy Friday 🕷🐇 I mean it when I say I really fucking love ya! 🌹
Listening to your music is very cathartic, and it seems like the process of making it is very cathartic, too. How important is the element of catharsis in your creative process? What does it enable you to do?
My whole creative process and all of my works are about self-expression, to get out that which is within. I think I spent a long time repressing myself out of fear of disapproval but I just don’t give a fuck anymore, you know? And now I feel very electrified these days and hella activated so I feel like I have a lot I need to release. I’m very grateful that I chose to come to this earth as an artist and I know that in order to honour this choice, I need to share what is inside me. No matter how many people are listening, the point is to speak and to say what I want to say.
You also DJ — that’s actually how I first found out about you a few years ago. How does your approach change for DJing versus making your own music? Do you prefer one over the other, or does it all depend on your mood and mental state?
I still love DJing and doing that first definitely allowed me to become the kind of producer I am now. But at the moment, I’m in a zone where my main focus is making my own music. It’s still very new and exciting to me.
If you could be surrounded by only one sound for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hmm, I can’t decide! Whatever joy sounds like.
What are you most excited about right now?
I am really excited about my show with Sweat Equity in NYC. I'm playing on September 21 at the Hart Bar with Deli Girls (I've been OBSESSED with their "Evidence" record for months), and there's a few other people on the bill. And also, my second EP, which I’ve started working on and will be releasing sometime near the end of this year.
Images courtesy of DEBBY FRIDAY
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