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DoNormaal’s Stage Presence Is Out Of This World

By: Lauren Royer

DoNormaal is one of those artists I keep being brought back to by either universal forces or just the straight buzz she’s been creating around Seattle. The first time I heard her was after stumbling into a venue at Capitol Hill Block Party. I was hypnotized by her sound because there was something so earthy and light about it. Later on, I got to see a different side at TheBlowUp’s 1 year Birthday Bash as she owned the stage of Chop Suey with her ‘filthy sewer pipe flow’.

What capped my curiosity of her beyond her music was her recent performance at the Laser Dome out of the Pacific Science Center. Here’s what I know: with her sound having this galactic vibey feel- a planetarium with lasers flying around as people groove to it is a unique idea and experience. Joined with So Pitted, this experience boosts the venue/performance game to full blast. It’s about damn time! This artist is incredibly in-tune with the art of performance and her stage energy is not to be messed with.

Unable to contain my need to know more, I tapped into DoNormaal’s mind briefly for an interview on her stellar stage performance and creative mind.

What first drew you into making music?
I’ve always loved music and have been an avid listener. So when you listen a lot you start to develop a creative taste, and a style that resonates with you, and also a sound memory and sound bank. I have a keen sense of melody and rhythm and I’ve always been kind of obsessed with those things, paid a lot of attention to them. So since I was really little I would make up little songs and diddies in that style and pull from that sound memory of everything I ever heard and loved. And that’s been developing ever since. I’ve been writing poetry my whole life and my poems often had a musical, rhymey, quality to them in the beginning and that helped me develop as a writer quite a lot. But I never took writing songs too seriously until I went to school in New York and started kicking it with a lot of kids who were rapping.

How do you want your music to make people feel?
All sorts of ways. Songs are the ultimate mood enhancers so I hope to have a catalogue that contains songs for all different kinds of moods and mind states. Y’all decide how you wanna feel and then you can pick and choose songs of mine that you know will help you get to that place. When I’m feeling hopeless, or in that me against the world mood, I have my go-to songs that help me create that magically stubborn, sad and hopeless world. That way I can revel in it, turn the low frequencies into something romantic and inspiring. Same for when I’m feeling on top of the world. One of the most amazing and helpful things about music is that when you welcome it into your world, when you create a soundtrack for your life, it makes you feel like your life is important. It gives context to your life, it makes it so that we can be understood without having to explain. We can just put on a song and say “this is what I mean, this is what my day felt like, this is how I feel inside, this is what my personality is like sometimes, this sounds like the color purple.” That’s how much feeling and emotion and experience and aesthetic and truth music can hold. There’s not a lot we can control in this world but music is something we get to choose, curate. When a song is best, it makes you feel confident and competent and when you’re feeling solid about yourself you might take that confidence in any direction, maybe you wanna be the number one ice queen today, or you wanna feel like the coolest and the baddest, or u wanna feel like you don’t give a fuck or you wanna be on some save the world shit. Music can give you all of that. I wanna have songs for all that.

What inspired the show at the laser dome? Are the visuals done by the center?
So Pitted asked me to play with them, and I think the visuals are done by people, chiefly a woman, that works there.

What would your dream set look like?
I would want to perform in front of a really gigantic mirror that goes from one side of the back of the stage all the way to the other. I’d wanna be looking into the mirror the whole time, performing to myself and interacting with myself and the crowd through the reflection. It would be cool because everybody behind me in the audience would be able to see those interactions in the reflection, but there would be an intimacy about it. They’d also be able to see themselves and their own reactions. I’m all about the audience having agency and holding people in the crowd accountable for their part in the performance. I want them to see what they do when they’re looking at me. It would ideally be like I was alone in my bathroom or bedroom playing at something weird in the mirror like I love to do, and that they were getting a peak into that world. That’s always the feel I’m going for when I play, be as free and go as hard as I would when I’m tryna impress myself in the mirror and nobody else is around. I want them to see my relationship with myself, because my relationship with myself and what parts of myself I allow onto the stage are such interesting parts of my performances. I want people to be able to see me giving myself permission to play into myself.

What’s one of your favorite memories performing so far?
A lot of them start to blur together after the 150th show lol but there are a few special ones. Actually we had a 69/50 show at The Moon Saturday April 1st and it was absolutely nuts. A spiritual experience featuring some of (who I would say are) the best performers in the area and a packed lit audience. It was me, Raven Matthews, Peace and Red Velvet, Taylar Elizza Beth, AJ Suede, Wolftone, Munky Do, and Youngster Jiji. It was special because people performed their asses off, like really gave a show. It was so much more than just playing dope sounds and holding the mic and bopping around the stage. It was about really truly PLAYING music, PLAYING on stage, playing at something, playing at ourselves, in a vulnerable and genuine way.

Because we’re humans and play is fundamental to our existence and sometimes people try to make you feel like playing is inauthentic but I don’t think there’s anything more authentic than playing ourselves on stage. We do it everyday out in the world. On the world stage. You give the crowd something they can’t get anywhere else when you take the opportunity to show YOURSELF just how playful you can be.

Everybody brought it that night at The Moon. I don’t know any performers that are better than the performers that played that night, that push it to such a transcendent level. So I feel blessed to have such a A-1 group of artists around me. I always have a good time playing DIY venues and house shows that we’re throwing ourselves with our friends.

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