Outside of being well-known for her music, Longstocking (a.k.a Denni Kindred) is outspoken about her support for the LGBTQBIPOC community. As a Non-binary music artist, Longstocking has taken a transformative action to the house music scene, as she has noticed how far it has diverged from its roots. In the process of bringing house music back to its course with her richly layered sound, the challenge of rising as a trans-femme and non-binary artist has been no easy ride, but her projects speak for themselves. Longstocking sat down with 6AM to discuss the importance of safe spaces, self-expression in art, and her second single, ‘Compersion’ (Lots of Practice).
Hi Longstocking! Great to have you hear what’s going on with your latest projects. As an artist that classifies themselves as queer, non-binary, and is active within the LBGTQBIPOC community, what’s your goal within the community when it comes to your music?
I’m super stoked to be here and love your 6AM interviews! To your question: Yes, the goal is simple. I want to lift us up to the prominence and presence we once had in our house and techno arenas. Having watched its evolution since the mid ’90s, there was a turn that became less welcome and at times unsafe for many that created and nourished the sound’s survival.
This rich 4×4 history is due to the love and passion from a community that often had no one else. The dancefloors, warehouses, basements and clubs weren’t just a party, they were, for many, one of the only spaces they felt safe, loved and had the freedom to create. This came in the form of dance, music, fashion, art, etc… It’s important that this still exists and where it’s not, that it is brought back.
If you don’t dig deep within and find what makes you and your vision different from all the rest then you’ll get lost in the noise.
Longstocking on finding your voice as an artist
Art is a huge part of individuality and self-expression, what advice would you give to someone within the LGBTQBIPOC dance community that is struggling with their individuality?
That is a great question and one that is a universal struggle for all artists, whether they are producers, dancers, video artists, etc… The creative world is riddled with homogeny and mediocrity. If you don’t dig deep within and find what makes you and your vision different from all the rest then you’ll get lost in the noise. Whatever creative path you are taking, come out swinging as your authentic self because you haven’t built up anything to lose. Take those risks with others who are just rising as well. Remember how much you love your favorite artists’ early works and why you always love it. This early magic is synergistic and the LGBTQBIPOC community has lots of magic. Surround yourself with people who celebrate individual expression.
Speaking of individuality and self-expression, tell us about your latest single “Compersion.” What does the song name mean to you, and how did this production come about?
I usually produce house but have a long history and love of breaks. I’d been longing for more of a deep breaks sound and wasn’t quite hearing what I needed. The best thing a producer can do then is to make that sound. Compersion, as a word or term, is a sort of antithesis to jealousy. It’s the joy that comes from the happiness of others. It’s a common term in the ethically non-monogamous lexicon. When a partner has a romantic relationship with another bringing them great joy, instead of jealousy, we empathize with that and feel joy for them. This is the feeling of Compersion.
Initially, the song is somber emotionally but gives way to this joy, because this path to security in oneself and one’s relationship, doesn’t come without working through those occasional feelings of jealousy. ‘Compersion’ has this joy but includes the emotional work that is required for it.
I transitioned before coming up in the scene. Being proudly non-binary with decades of different music passions lived through, I was going to be coming up very different from everyone else whether I liked it or not. My authenticity is both a blessing and a curse.
The authenticity paradox
You’re known for pouring your heart and soul into your projects, what are the emotions and experiences that inspire you to be authentic with your craft?
As most fans know, I transitioned before coming up in the scene. Being proudly non-binary with decades of different music passions lived through, I was going to be coming up very different from everyone else whether I liked it or not. My authenticity is both a blessing and a curse.
Many want the boldness that it takes to be your true self. For me though, after most of my life having to pretend to be someone far from who I actually was, down to every detail of daily life, I didn’t and don’t have the energy. This emotional draining almost cost me my life. I no longer have the option to just play another role. I know where that road leads for me and this authentic life filled with love is the one meant for me. The thought of anything else is nauseating.
Musically, what are some 2022 projects that you’re looking forward to sharing with your audience? Any LGBTQBIPOC projects you’d like to share?
Yes! I’m carving out space for our communities up here in Seattle. I have a queer and allied party monthly at The Crocodile called Gush, and a nomadic pop-up party starting this month called Cul De Sac that will be extra EXTRA queer/POC. Any dance space that makes the intersectional feel safe and alive is the magic I want to spread. I’ll be dropping info on these soooon!
What kind of legacy do you want to create for this year? This year will be filled with collaborations and a variety of genres. Maybe we’ll see a new genre or two emerge from 2022?
Some of my best work is already emerging out of the studio, which makes this year already exhilarating. The ‘Compersion’ release will be a refreshing new sound, and joining the Lots of Practice familia this winter has been warming.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ll wrap it up by sharing my gratitude to you, for giving voice to so many amazing artists! It’s been a delight seeing 6AM expand and grow. See you all on the dancefloor!