Today, I am interviewing my friend Riley DeHority. I’ve known them through the online trans/nonbinary music scene for a few years. That community seems super small and tightly knit, so I’ve seen their stuff pop up on social media a lot! Their music, Empty Disco, is really cute, Americana-y and folksy. They also play in numerous other bands, and are working on making music videos. I’m super excited to have them talk about their stuff!
How do you identify and what pronouns do you prefer?
I identify as nonbinary and I use they pronouns. I don’t worry too much about getting more specific than that.
Where were you living when you came out? How did your family handle the transition?
When I came out as gay I was living in Idaho, and when I came out as trans I was living in North Carolina and going to school. Family stuff is always complicated, but I was never the most significant family drama—which is good I think. Honestly, I don’t really know how they feel about it all. They are usually pretty good about using my name. I think that the gay thing put enough distance between me and my family’s expectations that by the time the trans thing came along, they didn’t tell me all of their real feelings, which is kinda sad. But it also insulated me from some of the harsher reactions. It’s hard to tell how much of the chill is from normal becoming-an-adult-who-lives-far-away stuff and how much is from their discomfort with my queerness or my politics. But my relationship with them has improved a lot since I came out, which makes me really happy.
What kind of art are you interested in making at the moment?
I am really excited about fiddle playing right now. I just joined a weird country band called Severed Fingers and it’s been a great way to practice that old time fiddle sound, with a punk edge to it. And I am probably playing fiddle for Lavender Country later this year in Nashville. I am also recording a bedroom pop album for my solo project and I’m going to try and put fiddle on every track.
I’ve also been taking a bunch of videos of the local shows I go to. There’s a really interesting group of queer lady musicians here in the Durham area and they represent something to me. I’m trying to graduate to making professional music videos but I’m not happy with my editing yet.
What are some of your influences in music?
I have been listening to a lot of pop country and top 40 radio lately – I especially loved “Issues” by Julia Michaels and “Dirt on My Boots” by John Pardee last year. But in terms of what I try to reach in my own music I have more specific influences…I want Mountain Goats sensibilities, Mitski’s guitar, Liane La Havas’ pacing, Margaret Glaspy’s vocal intensity, lush Romantic string parts, Sunny War’s punk history, Xania’s playfulness, Stephen Shore’s love for everyday things (he’s a photographer, not a musician, but songs have their own kind of imagery).
Do you have a certain moment that made you realize you wanted to come out or inspired you?
I was getting on the metro to the Montreal airport after spending a weekend with a bunch of trans people and I realized how uncomfortable and wrong it felt for people to use “she” pronouns for me. I had always hated my name and it all fit together all of a sudden.
Do you have any trans role models?
My girlfriend Katrina is my trans role model. She doesn’t take any bullshit.
What are you excited about in 2018?
I am going to read 24 books, learn how to do pushups, change my name legally, and put out an album! Or I won’t.
How is your community in the city you live in?
Very hard to get into or connect with. I think it’s a Southern sprawl thing, or maybe I’m just not very cool, but it took me years to find other queers to hang out with.
What is the one thing you’d want if you had the money? (piece of gear, computer, tv, idk, a leather jacket)
I want one of those steadi-cam exoskeletons.
Any links for your art? Anything else you’d like to share?
I have a website www.rileydehority.com that has links to my various projects, and I’m @odetomyday on most social media J
Thanks for having me!
Thanks Again, Riley!
If you are a trans/nonbinary/noncis musician artist, or content creator and you would like to be interviewed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!