"Keep censoring me and I’ll keep shining."
Words: Eline Joling
Think fierce, fiery, artistic, bold, and beautiful, multiply by 10, and add a dash of sunshine - that’s the only way to describe Welsh-Italian artist Regulus Red.
Taking inspiration from the likes of Lady Gaga and Lorde, Red defies genre, gender, and boundaries with his fearless expressions of self-love and freedom.
As he releases his new single, ‘Body Rock’, Red talks to Lizzie’s Lowdown about bringing positivity in times of darkness, creating an experience around his music and how being open about your sexuality can help you shine.
‘Body Rock’ has a strong summer feel to it and makes us want to dance! Why did you decide to release such a summery song at the end of the summer?
I was researching sounds, for example, the sounds that go really close with Daft Punk and The Weeknd and early Lady Gaga are a lot of synth sounds, and what these sounds do is they make you want to dance. They make you want to groove to the music and feel good about yourself. I took that and wrote some lyrics on top of it. It is an injection of summer, it wants summer to keep happening inside of you, even if the weather doesn’t allow it, just to stretch it a little bit more, you know?
What's the message behind the song?
My music speaks of freedom and self-love and this single does in particular.
It’s close to my heart as it’s a song that wants to make people feel good about themselves. It could be in any aspect of one’s life, it could be in a relationship, love for your family or yourself, it could be anything as long as there’s love and there’s respect.
Your debut EP ‘Red Prince of the Night’ is coming out around Halloween time, is the message of freedom the general theme throughout the EP as well?
Yes and no. The majority of the songs do speak of freedom and self-love, for example, ‘The House Of God’. The house of God could be anything, but for me it's wherever you can be yourself and all of your demons have a space to be experienced and expressed, so that’s quite in touch with freedom.
In contrast, there’s another track called ‘Metallic Dreams’ which is about the obscure, the darkness, the sad tears, the black feelings that we all feel at night. So there’s a bit of both – nice, light freedom but also being in touch with the darkness which is something that I’m really familiar with and really enjoy.
‘Body Rock’ is ready for the clubs, but the clubs are sadly not open at the moment. How has the pandemic affected you?
Funnily enough, I started out when the pandemic started, my first single came out at the beginning of February. I played a few gigs before that when my songs weren’t released yet, but it’s all new to me. I’ve spent the past months working towards being able to play live by learning the piano and learning jazz music. But you know, people can make clubs in their own houses and I’m sure that they will be dancing to my music all the same!
It's easy to focus on the negative things going on around us, but how important is it to come out with music that’s so full of positive energy that allows people to feel good for a moment?
I’d say it’s absolutely essential, I think art was always key in making people feel good in difficult times. There was so much art produced during WW1 and WW2 for example, because when the general feeling of the society is fear and sadness, it’s the perfect moment for art to heal the wounds that we all feel. Although it’s hard to have a beautiful smile when everything is falling apart, we have to. We have to keep going and we have to find the beauty in things.
"Fans want to know who you are, they listen to a track and go ‘this is really speaking to me, who is this person?’ and I’m there ready to show you who I am."
Regulus Red is more than just the music, isn't it?
100 per cent. I believe in visuals. I believe that my music is not enough, but that’s not a bad thing. I have directed and edited my first music video which will come out with the EP and is made entirely by me from the fashion aspect, the music, the directing, the editing – I’ve really dived into what it means to be me. My past is in the acting world, I went to drama school in London and studied theatre my whole life, so everything I do is theatrical. I want to push it further than just music, I want to create a visual for people to dive more into what I’m creating – I want an experience.
From your music it becomes clear you take a lot of inspiration from strong, mostly female characters such as Lady Gaga and Lorde. Did they inspire you to start doing music?
I got my first tattoo when I was 17 and it’s of one of my favourite Lady Gaga songs called ‘Hair’. She was coming out with this whole explosion of self-love and freedom in a time where that was really new. She became this sort of guidance, a light at the end of the tunnel for me. She always goes wherever she wants to and is always so herself, that’s a big inspiration.
And someone like Lorde, it’s funny because she’s the opposite in terms of visuals, but she released 'Melodrama', which is my favourite album made in the history of pop music. Every song is an experience, it’s like being at the theatre, you sit down and put the record on and you just fly and go to the places she’s taking you. I think those two elements are really significative for me and my music.
Lady Gaga and Lorde are both massive in the queer community, but also in mainstream media. Do you feel queer or non-binary people are underrepresented in the mainstream media?
I think they are still very underrepresented, but it’s slowly changing. Artist such as Troye Sivan for example, he’s in the queer community and has a big following and a lot of importance in the mainstream business. Miley Cyrus as well, she’s pansexual and always fighting for everyone’s rights, so I think it’s slowly getting to a nicer place. A place of a healthy differentiated community, but the road is long.
Both of those artists already had an online community built around themselves when they revealed their sexuality, do you think that made a big difference?
I think times have changed, if it was 10 years ago then maybe I would’ve told you it’s better not to reveal as much about yourself in order to reach a maximum amount of followers, but it’s not like that anymore. I’ve seen that me being myself is actually getting me more than if it was the other way around. Fans want to know who you are, they listen to a track and go ‘this is really speaking to me, who is this person?’ and I’m there ready to show you who I am.
The video for one of your previous singles, ‘Wanna See You Naked’, sees you in tights and high heels and got censored. How did you feel about that?
They did censor me. Usually they don’t tell you why they censored you, so they haven’t told me but you’re gonna guess it would be because of that. It actually helped me reach people that wouldn’t have been reached unless I was censored. So these big corporations, or anyone that has an issue with diversity and freedom, they help us reaching out more and they help us being ourselves even more so. In the end I’m the lucky guy, I’ve won over this censorship. Keep censoring me and I’ll keep shining, you know?!
Stream 'Body Rock' here.