In the digital world we live in, where literally anybody can release a music video, there is nothing more satisfying than when a queer artist releases a song that is actually worth listening to.
Brooklyn-based musician, Rob Townsend, recently released a music video for his song ‘U Can B My Lover” that is seriously hot… in more ways than one.
Watch the video and then read our full interview with Rob below.
Queerty: Who was your musical inspiration for this? We’re getting some serious Scissor Sisters vibes from this song.
Rob: I’ve been hearing the Scissor Sisters thing a lot lately. What I want to say is “I wish I could pull that off,” but I won’t start by being self-effacing. I am such a huge Scissor Sisters fan. So much so that I sent a link to this video to Jake Shears over Instagram the other day. I feel creepy about it now. He doesn’t know me or anything.
This song is actually me doing my best Prince. A least with the falsetto vocal thing. And I suppose the lyrics too – that sort of out-sized sexual ego thing.
Who is the guy with you in the sex scenes of the video?
He’s a friend of mine from Austin and the filmmaker too. A pretty DIY affair. I owe him the world for agreeing to be part of this. Not only did he have to appear in a sex scene, he had to edit it all and turn it into a viable story. I am terrified in front of a camera and therefore ended up ruining a ton of footage by making dumb faces and generally just looking uncomfortable. Frankly the sex bits were some of the easiest to film because it didn’t feel like performing. When I have to mouth lyrics into a camera in a public place – now that is abject horror for me. But he got me through it. Bless him.
Tell us about the song and what inspired the track and the video.
I actually started writing this tune from the music side, as opposed to the the lyrical side. I had this baseline that I thought was hot, and a lot of times, once you get there, you a get a sense of what will and will not fit lyrically. I’m not sure how the lyrics came about but, like I said, I was in a Prince state-of-mind, so I went for seedy.
In my early-twenties I had some success with this sort of folky-ish band that, while I am very proud of how good that band was in a live setting, was kind of a whitewashed, offend no-one, “look at those cute kids up there!” sort of band. I think subconsciously that whole experience made me want to go the opposite direction. I like music that makes me want to shake it and I am now trying to make some of that music myself so I can make a living shaking it.
Do you have a goal for your music? What do you hope your music and videos are able to accomplish?
No one buys music anymore, so an immediate goal would be to start having more opportunities to tour, because that’s where what little bread there is, is. I’ve been doing this hustle for half of my life, and there is just never a clear path to making it work as a career.
The first thing I wanted to accomplish when I started this “solo” project was just to make music that made other people feel something, to relate. I also want to make people dance.
I would really like the opportunity to craft a record that aims higher than my first two. For the most part, the aim so far has just been, “get people having a good time and let’s get down.” And that is still a major goal, but frankly this video was a bit of a slap in the face for me to wake up and shoot for something bigger.
Having to confront uncomfortable feelings in myself, and within my family, and within some groups of friends felt great. I don’t mean to hyperbolize it, because frankly it’s just a completely PG-13 sex scene; it’s not exactly groundbreaking. But for me, personally, it was an event that meant something. I felt passionate about not allowing any of the dissension I heard get inside my head. I suppose I’d like to produce a body of work that makes other people feel the same.
Being in the music business, how do you feel about the internet?
Good question. Here are the nuts and bolts: It’s never going away. All the famous musicians in the world will never be able to change the situation we’re in now where content is free. So give up.
I love nothing more than hearing Taylor Swift take to airwaves with some campaign about how unfair it all is. To her credit though, free music is bad for famous people because people are clamoring for those albums. If I put something out and don’t give it away, no one is going to even hear it. If you’re an undiscovered talented artist, charging for music is like opening a restaurant and building a huge fence around it.
As miserably tired as I am of posting things about myself and my music and my shows… it’s an advantage for me to have the ability to release music around the clock and have it be universally available in seconds.
If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose and why?
Nile Rogers. There’s a lot here to explain. I think I’d suggest just taking a look at the records he’s produced…everything from Diana Ross to Daft punk. I guarantee one of your favorite records is on that list.
More realistically – I am a huge fan of Hamm Samwich. That’s her stage name, obviously. Totally brilliant songs. Way, way, way ahead. I take all of these opportunities to say so because I feel like at some point it will push her to record something so that I can have it. Completely selfishly motivated.
When and where are you touring?
Mostly playing in NYC right now. I used to live in Austin so I play there fairly often. My next NYC big, full-band show is at Joe’s Pub on Nov. 18th. And then I’m playing once a month at Rockwood Music Hall with my smaller, four-piece band.
Find out where Rob Townsend is performing and how to follow him on your favorite social media sites by visiting his website.