Words: James Frostick
Artist image: FAINT Agency
After drip-feeding a succession of tracks to build momentum ahead the arrival of forthcoming record Panic/Desire, synthwave and technopop maestro Simona Castricum is sharing the visuals for the album’s third single ‘The Present’. Part resistance anthem and part club-friendly cathartic release, ‘The Present’ is a firm rebuke at the anti-transgender sentiments communicated by conservative media outlets and backwards political institutions, as well as a message of support for her allies in the trenches.
Throughout her career, Simona Castricum has worked to turn dance floors into safe spaces. In a world that continues to harm and suppress the freedoms of LGBTQIA+ individuals, her music is much more than just a collection of club-appropriate thumpers – it’s a sonic oasis for those seeking refuge. Wielding bass-heavy throb and sweat-drenched synth thump, Simona paints pictures of stark realities and potential utopian futures – blurring the line between physical and digital existence, positing what-ifs about how our urban spaces shape and hinder us, and what the world could be like if they were reimagined.
On new single ‘The Present’ Simona dips into the reality of the now, once again backed by a heady synthetic bounce. Lyrically, Simona cuts to the quick – though it’s not a targeted spray aimed at MAGA, TERF, Brexit-supporting regressives, religious institutions and those ardently adhering to binary strictures (no doubt Simona has choice words for the lot of them). This track is more an ode dedicated her friends and allies – the ones fighting for recognition and survival. Simona discusses the things that contribute to the contemporary shared experience for those that do not identify with the restrictive ideas surrounding gender. Bathrooms, airports, the endless panel discussions centred around trauma, the way conflict has become intertwined with daily living – Simona knows it all. That being said the main thing she communicates is strength, reminding folks to keep writing, keep speaking out and keep dancing.
“I hope I gave you something to get you through this day”
The clip for ‘The Present’ is similarly direct – Simona is in our faces, asking ‘What if safety becomes permanent?’ Until a world exists where Simona doesn’t have to constantly plead the case for equity/safety/humanity for trans, queer and gender-nonconforming people, she will feel compelled to partner her music with these questions. As draining as it must be on her psyche, lacing her club techno earworms with messages of recognition, support and hope is a vital endeavour. When the days of staunch resistance become the days of peaceful existence, these songs will resonate with the power of the struggles they were forged from – enduring as an example of perseverance over oppression.
Watch the clip for ‘The Present’ now:
Panic/Desire by Simona Castricum will be released digitally and on limited 12″ yellow vinyl on June 19 through Trans-Brunswick Express. Click here to pre-order!