We love her. You love her. Our own Rob Harkavy adores her, so when the opportunity to interview Rookes came up he didn’t need asking twice. Read on!
Last November you released your Liminal EP to much critical acclaim, including in OutNews Global. How well has the EP done?
… and thank you very much for that glorious review! For a totally independent release it has done pretty well – the kind words everyone has shared about Liminal, particularly the online blogs and critics, has really blown me away! In terms of streaming it’s been much better than when I released on my last label, but I think that’s partly to do with the lessons I learned from my first EP release, plus myself and my team being keen to try new approaches and experiment a bit. It was also a much more commercially pop record than the last one, which seems to be scratching where people are itching.
What plans do you have for touring and releasing new music in 2020?
We are currently booking a spring tour, so keep your eyes on @iamrookes on social media for coming details. It’s a good time to follow me on your fave streaming platform, because I’ve been working with some brilliant artists to bring you FOUR exciting new remixes – dropping this month. I’m also over halfway through writing a full length album, which I’m developing with my Patreon supporters, and I’ll be testing out some of those new songs on my spring tour. There’s plenty to look forward to!
What kind of people are Rookes fans?
ALL kinds. I love that there’s a pretty broad mix of people who enjoy my music, although I’d love to build a bigger LGBTQ+ audience – I am writing from a queer perspective, after all!
With all this hard work, have you got time for any personal relationships? And, if so, are you willing to spill the beans?
I can spill a few beans… 😉 Honestly, it’s been a couple of years since I dated anyone in a purposeful way. That’s partly been because it’s taken me some time to recover from a past relationship, which has made me a little shy and more cautious. It’s also because music has really taken over my world since that last significant breakup, and that dynamic cannot be overestimated in terms of dominating your time, energy and resources. Making music is expensive, and so is dating! These days I do venture out into the dating arena occasionally, I’ve had a handful of casual dating arrangements in the past 12 months, but I know that I’d like to find a partner so I suppose I’d better keep my eyes open.
A couple of years ago you wrote about being pansexual, an orientation which has yet to be fully understood. What does pansexuality mean to you?
I always say “It’s the person, not the package, but the package helps”. My attraction to someone actually very much tied to someone’s personality and mettle, as much as their physical appearance. There’s been a number of unfortunate times when i’ve been aware of someone’s physical attractiveness, but my interest ends once they start talking. If anything, pansexuality probably makes me more selective than the average, which often makes my dating life feel a lot like a never-ending game of ‘Guess Who?’ and I don’t get laid as often as I’d like!
What incorrect assumptions do people make about pansexuality?
There’s the usual yawn-fest about being turned on by cookware. Most people are just boggled by the term, to be honest, and when you load on my prefix of ‘homoromantic’ the boggling gets worse. It just means that I prefer to date those that identify as women, but I am open to dating other people on the gender spectrum. It’s why I often prefer to use the broader term ’Queer’, but I know that’s not for everybody. There’s also the assumption that Pansexuals will have sex with anyone, which I gather is not true for most Pansexuals. It’s a stigma I believe we share with Bisexuals and Omnisexuals.
Do you think that not identifying as heterosexual is a hindrance in the music industry?
There are pros and cons. The expectations are different, particularly because female pop artists are so highly sexualised in our culture. So, as a queer woman, there’s less expectation for me to dance around in my underwear, but equally I suspect I get offered less gigs because I don’t dance around in my underwear (except when it’s REALLY hot onstage, then I might do a crop top or something). That’s annoying to me because I work very hard on my live show and I make sure that it’s very exciting and interesting to watch as well as to listen to.
Sadly there’s also an odd insinuation sometimes that people won’t enjoy my music if they think there’s no chance a that I’ll want to have sex with them. It’s basically like saying that if there’s a likelihood that I won’t physically present my appearance or music to cater directly to the desires of a straight, male audience then it doesn’t have value and could not be relatable to that audience group. I don’t have a lot of time for these kinds of perspectives to be honest, because I’m too busy getting on with my stuff and my streaming stats tell a very different story.
Any weird crushes?
All my crushes tend to be weird, or at least unusual by normative standards. I fancy Courtney Act – in and out of drag. I have crush on too many artists to mention and I also crush on my friends a lot, many of whom are very talented. I had a whole bunch of them shoot the Liminal music video with me and the charge in that room was off the scale. Oh, and more recently Jessica Fostekew – just for her voice alone!
Netflix or iPlayer?
Netflix. The BBC have some great series, but it was The Good Place that blew me away this year.
Meat or vegetables?
Vegetables now. We’ve got to do our bit for the planet.
Beach holiday or city break?
City breaks are easier for me to manage as I don’t drive and I bore easily.
Bath or shower?
Shower. Baths can be rough on the cis female urethra.
Beatles or Stones?
I was raised with the Beatles but I LOVE the Stones. Keith Richards is my favourite leathery-skinned icon. His autobiography is a really wild read.
Britney or Madonna?
How dare you ask me to choose?! Always both!
Thanks Rookes! Have a fab 2020 from all of us at OutNewsGlobal.
Find Rookes on Spotify here.