If you haven’t already immersed yourself in Catharsis, the latest video from Sydney artist WCB, stop what you’re doing and go watch it now. The new clip is a moody and sensual visual feast; the perfect accompaniment to WCB’s dark, brooding blend of sounds.
So, hot off the clip’s release, we caught up with the artist himself for a breakdown of its artistic influences.
To celebrate the release of his new video Catharsis, WCB discusses the influences behind his unique blend of visual art and music.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude
I had been thinking for a long time about how I wanted my live shows to feel different and transportive, and easy to tour ha! So I came up with this sculptural idea that would support the projection. I was inspired by Christo and Jeanne-Claude who wrap large sections of landscapes, monuments or statues in fabric, it creates this surreal effect of protection and an almost voyeuristic play of the seen and unseen. In its initial inception, I distressed 10 or so king-sized sheets with coffee, red wine, cigarettes and candle burns, then knotted, stitched or safety-pinned them together creating unique shapes and installations in any venue I was performing in, I am now incorporating long fringe and longer bolts of fabric. It can be arduous but I love that it makes each space a little more mine, almost like a ritual.
This band has had a huge influence on me as an artist. I was introduced to them when I was living in Wellington NZ, a friend randomly put on their vinyl and I was like who is THIS! There is something so easy and dark and beautiful and mysterious about the way they make music that makes me want to write. I cover arguably their most well-known song Glory Box in my live set, I had to make something quite different because the original is so good, it is one of my favourite songs to perform. When we get out of this pandemic, come see me live and ill chuck it in my setlist.
My grandfather first got me into jazz music as a young kid with Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, but as I grew up I gravitated towards artists who were a bit more troubled (no surprises there), cue Chet Baker (thanks Ju Ju), not only is he a phenomenal trumpet player but he has a voice of liquid gold. I fell in love with his tone and how he played with melody lines in well-known songs. I started to emulate it in the way that I sung, and over the years it has morphed into the way I place notes now. The song I linked here is one of my favourites, recorded toward the end of his career and just before his tragic death, there is a beautiful foreshadowing in his performance that breaks my heart.
I was hanging out drinking with my friend Alana and our other friend had passed out (standard), we were youtube DJing for each other, we got stuck into a conversation and the algorithm took over then we were both suddenly like WHO IS THIS!? I hadn’t heard anything that stopped me in my tracks like that in a very long time, this was just before she blew up and we were desperately trying to find more videos and music from her, she is such a visionary and has such a clear authentic notion of who she is, that in itself is inspiring, but coupled with her really considered and melancholy production… immediately obsessed. This is her first album I believe and the visuals with it are stunning, watch the whole thing, it’s dope.
I think my interest in fetishwear first started when I was booked for a ‘Fetish Ball’ and I co-designed all my costumes. I had a friend of mine tie me up in Shibari to sing an original piece of music and had a beautiful chain and leather harness made for me by Purdy Corsetry. It hadn’t really been a vibe for me until that moment and I had a wicked good time leaning into the way that type of clothing made me feel, it has now blended into something I love to couple with a piece you might not typically wear it with. I have been lucky in the last year to have met and collaborated with Ash Dupree who created all the amazing pieces in the video for Catharsis she gets it and me and I am stoked with how everything turned out.
When it comes to clothing, especially for stage, I LOVE something kind of romantic, like an oversized silk shirt or something sheer, coupled with either a faux leather, chain or latex choker or harness to create a juxtaposition of the relaxed nature of the flowy fabric and to give a sense of me living in the same world as the draped fabric installation I project onto. Who knows if I will continue down this vein but I’m into it currently ha! I’m also big into a vintage tee coupled with a fetish aspect, especially if I am not doing projection.
I also like to play with makeup, normally in bruised colours, I guess referencing early 90’s late-night culture, but a little more wet and glossy. I’m keen to keep exploring and playing, especially after through a couple of unfortunate events I had to do my own makeup and hair for the Catharsis video, the queer little boy in me that wasn’t allowed to play with makeup relished in it.