Loyalty & stars.
Night of Cups (she/her) is the ever-evolving bedroom project of Rose Blakelock, a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist & producer. Rose is the cohost of a queer astrology podcast called Big Dyke Energy & is currently working on her debut album, 'Infinite Other.’
Hi, Night of Cups! How does punk feature into your aesthetic and sound, and what do you feel is the punk of 2019?
I think it’s really punk to be nice to people now. I think punk has always been going against the grain and developing your own cannon or your own sense of morality. And as far as my work, I also think that punk is just, “fuck it I’ll do it myself.” I’ll just record it myself, write it myself, buy the equipment, figure it out, scrap it together and work with whatever I have. I think punk is about the creativity that comes from having limitations, whether it’s financial or even just skill level.
I remember reading an interview with the woman from Bratmobile–which is a band I loved growing up–and her saying that she could never be bothered to play with more than one finger. But it’s still a great band. So I like the idea that you don’t have to be a virtuoso; you don’t have to have the most expensive gear. You just have to have some cool ideas and some follow through.
Have you always been in New York? What does New York mean to you right now?
I’ve been in New York for ten and a half years, (I moved end of August of 2008). Before that, I went to school in Boston and really hated Boston. I grew up in the midwest, in Ohio, in a super small town. New York is changing a lot. To me, it used to feel like a little bit of a creative wonderland. Everybody had their little superhero life, like there was everybody’s day job, and then what they did at night, and that was really exciting.
But as it gets less and less affordable, and more and more people are taking jobs at big ad agencies, so they’re just like zombies walking around. So, at this point, it still is really nourishing as far as the connections and the community I have here, because I’ve been here for so long. And at the same time, I’m starting to want a little more space and want to slow down a bit. But it’s super inspiring. The people in New York are its greatest asset, from the deli guy to your cab driver to co-workers, to the people you collaborate with.
How does queer community inform and uplift you as a musician? Or does it?
It does. Particularly, dykes are loyal. Mixed community, too, but most of my community are queer-identified women, and a lot of them are dykes, and they show up for the show. They will help you load your gear in and out of the venue. They will listen to your podcast and tell all their friends.
Particularly our generation who had life before the internet—and then it started to grow with us—there was that hunger and yearning for any content. We’d watch Bring It On and be like, “they’re lesbians, right? They’re secretly lesbians.” Putting it where it wasn’t, and any time you got any little scrap, eating it up. So I think that because there was so long a period of not having representation and not having content to consume, now with this explosion of queer content and queer creators, people are just reveling in it. So happy to have it. So in that way it’s been really encouraging, especially as I’ve stepped away from a collaborative relationship for over a decade, to come out on my own and make stuff that’s actually decidedly queer and have people be like, “yeah we love it. Keep doing it.”
Rose, you are also an accomplished and savvy astrologer. Do you have a theory on why would you say astrology feels so right?
I want to make a disclaimer, that although I feel flattered to be called an accomplished astrologer, I would say I’m standing on the shoulders of many, and still developing my craft. I’m still learning a lot and I don’t have my own personal practice yet, because I think it’s a big responsibility, and I want to flesh out some stuff a little bit. But there are a few things. One of the things is that my dad is super woo woo and he’s actually an amateur astrologer. I mean when I was two years old—there’s a video of me running through the yard, and I hurt my ankle. And my dad can be heard—he was making the tape—he goes, “that’s because you’re an aquarius, honey. Our ankles are always bothering us!” So from a very young age, it’s been a part of my life.
I’m also an aquarius sun. A lot of astrologers say uranus and aquarius are the signs of astrology, and I have uranus on my midheaven, which is your career and position in the world, which is what, to me, makes it feel not that wild. I’m also interested in non-dogmatic spirituality, and that’s the cool thing about astrology. It’s about the natural world and observing the elements and realizing that we’re all made of the same stuff. Qualitative observations we make of the outside world are also applicable to our interiors. And it’s just fun, I don’t know. And it’s gay. I think it’s a gay thing, too.
How would you say your natal chart informs your music practice?
I’m a twelfth house sun. A lot of my identity is pretty obscured, and I also have mercury in pisces, and venus neptune, conjunct. I think they’re both in my tenth house, too. (They’re capricorn, but they’re early capricorn, because I’m a pisces rising). So mercury in pisces is a dreamy way of communicating. A lot of people with that placement are poets or songwriters. The fact that my sun is in my twelfth house also means that a lot of my self-understanding happens subconsciously and comes out through writing and through making music. And then venus and neptune conjunct in my tenth house means that, (though I can sometimes be idealistic in love), it also means that my dreams involve making beautiful things, and bringing beautiful things into the world. My whole life, I’ve loved music and loved making it. But also felt like it wasn’t the only thing I needed to do.
You said on your podcast (Big Dyke Energy) that you played in a band for years before creating this solo project. What was the impetus for that shift?
Yeah, I was in a band for ten years called The Toothaches. It was me and my best friend. We formed in Boston and played together for three or four years there, and then I finished up school and we moved to New York and then played together for eight years here with a slightly different lineup. That’s a really long time to be in a creative relationship with somebody who you met when you were a baby and didn’t have good boundaries or know what you wanted. Time stacks up, and our whole community went through some pretty heavy stuff. There were some divorces that went down, and we actually lost a really close friend, and it was all a little bit too much and we all needed some space. People’s priorities started to shift. I knew that I really needed to have creative expression and that I also needed to not try to control other people or situations or push people….and I needed to be able to move at my own pace, which sometimes is kind of fast, which wasn’t fair to the people I was working with, because I would want to make decisions quickly and I couldn’t. So we all took some space from each other and are doing our own thing now. We’ll see what the future holds, but right now this feels most right for me.
What would the child Rose feel if she met Rose today?
She would be pretty stoked, I think. My dad and I had this conversation about how the most ourselves we’ve felt was when we were eight years old, and our whole life is trying to get back to our eight year old self. I feel like I’m getting pretty close. But yeah, she would think it was pretty cool that I’m gay and living in New York and am basically a professional lego person. And then also setting up cool queer punk shows now, which is exciting. I think she would be stoked and she would be like, “can she babysit me please?”
So Rad. Thank you so much for your time today, Rose! Do you have any final words to our readers, especially aspiring or working dyke creators?
The most important thing is to just keep doing it. Don’t worry about how it’s going to be found. Your audience will find you. You just have to keep making the content. And: your community is there for you. And we’re kind of all we’ve got, you know? That’s how I feel. But yeah, don’t let anybody tell you that you need a bunch of money, or you need these resources, or you need access to anyone else or their resources. Just do it with whatever you have. If you have Voice Memos or GarageBand on your phone, do it with that. If you don’t have a smartphone, get a handheld tape recorder. It doesn’t matter. Just keep making it, and you’ll figure it out.