By Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly
Rica Shay first appeared on our radars last summer when he collaborated and co-wrote the video sensation “Summertime Realness” with Big Dipper. And, let’s get serious, hearing those rhymes spit out by 5’7”, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Rica, we were taken aback. The self-proclaimed nomadic “fagabond” can rap with the best of them. He’s also endlessly amused by the “butch” pictures publishers and bloggers insist on taking of him. (“That’s so not me, but whatever. Fantasize.”) We caught up with Rica Shay hours before he got on a plane to see family in Alabama.
PQ Monthly: Was “Summertime Realness” your first stab at making music? Were those your lyrics?
Rikki Crowley: That was my third time in the studio — I started in January of last year. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started. I’m a Taurus and I’m very stubborn — I will never spit someone else’s lyrics. If you want me to be on a song, record it, send me a version, and I’ll write my own parts. So yeah, I wrote my verse and we [Dipper and Crowley] wrote the chorus together.
With “Realness,” I also got to help style the video and help with art direction — I went to film school and that’s part of what I want and like to do. We shot that video in two days. I was in New York Friday night dancing until like 4 in the morning, and I was on the plane at 7 and on set just a few hours later. I was fucking tired, but it worked.
PQ: How did the Accidental Bear summer tour come to be?
RC: I met Mike Enders, who runs the blog, after “Realness.” I was in San Francisco, and I was going to leave, but I heard Big Dipper was coming, so I stuck around to see him. Mike saw me perform and then later hit me up for the tour. I’m so excited — it’s like my second time being flown anywhere like this. So far it’s five cities, and we’d love to add more. All I want to do is travel — however long the tour goes is how long it goes.
PQ: Are you recording anything right now?
RC: I have about 30 or so tracks I’m working on, but I’m being really picky. I don’t want to release anything shitty. I am really conceptual when it comes to art projects —sound is a big thing to me, I want it to flow and make sense. I want people to get that I’m giving them a story. I want to release something by summer, hopefully. It’s tentatively called “The Midnight Caterpillar.” The beats are dark and grimy — I want it to be my style, what I want to listen to on my headphones. A lot of electronic, hip hop, trance, techno — it’ll be a clusterfuck, but one that makes sense.”
PQ: So you’re seemingly everywhere right now — city after city. Will this be your first time in Portland?
RC: I’ve been living nomadically for three years. I called myself a “fagabond” and was disappointed when I found out a gay travel agency already coined the phrase. Anyway, yeah, I went to film school, but I don’t want to be behind the scenes until I’m an old man — so for now, I travel and perform as much as I can.
I was in Portland, actually, a couple of years ago with my friend Bradley. It was November and it was cold as fuck. I remember going to this underwear party — I don’t remember where. I’m a big exhibitionist. Shocking, right? Anyway, I’m not comfortable unless people around me are. And there, at that party, everyone was super cute, laid back. We went to a club later and I go-go danced — this drag queen came up to me and said, “Baby, you got a little BO going. I mean, I think it’s hot and it’s sexy you don’t give a fuck.” And no, I don’t give a fuck.
See Rica this summer during the Accidental Bear tour — along with Big Dipper and Portland’s own Logan Lynn. Stay with our blog for all the latest.