Cynically Celebrating Pride Month with Kyunchi

With Pride Month coming to a close, the Ringtone staff has been reflecting heavily on what Pride means, especially for the hyperpop community. Each year, genuine LGBTQ+ pride and support for the community are often diluted by the practices of opportunistic corporations and politicians. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to divorce Pride from a certain cynicism towards so-called “Rainbow Capitalism.” June is a complicated month, an oft-messy assemblage of hope, exasperation, and incessant irony.

To get a better sense of the relationship between Pride Month and internet music and art, we spoke with hyperpop mainstay Kyunchi over email to hear their thoughts on pride, queer experience, digital life, and more.

Dreamy Kyunchi in space

Graphic by Zoe Axelrod
Photos courtesy of Kyunchi

What does Pride mean for you?

I love the Pride Month. It’s a month where businesses are bending over backwards to put rainbow stickers on their products and storefronts. It’s like they’re trying to appease the ancient gay and trans gods with this like performative sacrificial ritual. It’s kinda camp if you think about it. I love that for us.

Could you talk a little about your personal relationship to gender and/or sexuality?

I actually haven’t spoken to either gender or sexuality lately. I’ve just been so busy being an Internet baddie that I haven’t even thought of them in a while. I’ll have my manager reach out to them sometime. I think that they’re both great and I wish them nothing but the best.

In what ways do you think queerness influences your songwriting and art?

I think being queer is kind of like when you buy an iPhone and all the best apps are already installed (Twitter, Venmo & Facetune) as opposed to just having the regular apps like Weather, Stocks or iMovie. Queerness influencing music is like having an app that would normally cost $8.99/mo but instead having Jesus jailbreak the iPhone and download that same app for free AND let you not pay for the in-app purchases.

So you’re well-known for styling yourself as a kind of “Myspace-era artist” i.e. a lot of nostalgia for the early internet, digital aesthetics, etc. One thing that we wonder a lot about is the relationship between growing up online and queer identity. Like digital-age queerness seems somehow different from pre-Internet queerness. Do you have any thoughts on this? Or experiences that might be relevant?

I was born on the Internet and have never existed outside of it so I’m not really sure what pre-Internet queerness really means. All I know is that MySpace is like super hot and it’s pretty natural for a hot girl like me to make hot MySpace music for other hot girls.

Similarly, what do you think the Internet does for music and art? Particularly LGBTQ art?

I think because a lot of us grew up on the Internet (whether it was MySpace, Tumblr, Twitter or Vine) it gave us a really strong sense of identity. I love memes and I love anything that is random. I think that there’s something beautiful and interesting about randomness. Think about the universe and how completely random and mysterious it is. We are literally walking on a floating rock that revolves around a toasted marshmallow. That is so stupid. The world and life make absolutely zero sense and yet we accept that as normal and don’t think twice about it. Now think about the Internet, 99% of the things on the Internet make no sense whatsoever and are created only to exist with no other purpose behind it. What makes the LGBTQ art different is the unique experience of the person creating it.

Who are your queer idols?

Shawn Mendes

Any lesser known or underappreciated LGBTQ artists you wanna plug?

I’m really into bloopy, SlushieEE & Blepp.

Is hyperpop inherently gay?

I would say that Hyperpop is trans first and gay & lesbian second.

What are you looking forward to most in 2021 and beyond?

My plan for the summer is to get a little cosmetical. You knowww, get some JUVÉDERM® or maybe a little VOLUMA™ and some Fraxel Laser would be tea as well me thinks. As far as my business ventures I’m currently in my Elle Woods era. I’m really into cryptocurrency at the moment and I actually want to have my own crypto called $SLUT(SlutCoin). It's a very daring, ambitious and avant-garde project. All the men who have told women that their pussy will never pay their bills, I’m going to prove them wrong.

Lastly, I have a secret dream of working on a philanthropic passion project designing a line of high-end designer contact lenses for dogs with glaucoma.

Thoughts on the new iCarly?

As you already know I’m a big fan of iCarly. I’m so happy that I was able to single-handedly revive the show with a Hyperpop song of the same name. I absolutely love the new iCarly and I hope Carly makes an OnlyFans and / or does anal in one of the upcoming episodes. *RANDOM F#%^CKING*

What can we expect from Kyunchi in the future?

Funny thing that you said “expect” because I’m actually pregnant. I might’ve hinted at the pregnancy on Twitter but I would like to officially address it. 2021 was a tough year being a single mom / Hyperpop sensation in and out of studio popping morning sickness pills like Skittles. This is one of the reasons I had to decline many URL & IRL shows, so if you asked me to perform, sorry that I had to decline but this is why. Right now all I know is that I will be the superstar that people expect me to be. I’m ready to give birth and put out new music soon. It has taken some time but I think I’m finally ready for the C-section.

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