This Month’s Best Music, Reviewed by Alaska Thunderfuck
The drag queen and dance music superstar spills the tea on everything from Scottish rap and Metallica to Lil Yachty, and also why she loves saying, “Vagina.”
If you watch RuPaul's Drag Race, you will be well acquainted with Alaska Thunderfuck—the irreverent, drawling, punk-ass drag queen who was runner-up in season five, and then went on to win 'All Stars' season two after returning freshly sober and pumped up with collagen to snatch the crown.
If you don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race, and have never heard of Alaska, then she's best described as an unholy mixture of Marilyn Monroe, Leigh Bowery, and Divine, but revamped for the reality tv generation. She also makes really filthy dance music, and her 2015 debut album, which was literally titled Anus, became one of the best-selling dance albums in America that year. Last month, she released its follow up Poundcake, and in the words of drag queens all over—it will leave you gagging.
Now, as you may know, we have this column called "Smash Hits and Superstars," which is basically when we ring up famous people and ask their opinion on brand new releases. In the past, for example, we've forced Tom Jones to listen to Section Boyz, got Will Young cranking up Slim Jesus, and had Gene Simmons give his opinion on Death Grips. As a diehard fan of both Drag Race and Alaska, for ages I've wanted an excuse to ring her up and ask her questions. With that in mind, I decided to lasso her for this column, because what better way to get to know a person than through the unifying spirit of music?
That's how I found myself dialing Alaska's number, listening to the phone ring three times, and hearing her nasal voice purr down the line: "Hello?" After chatting for a while about what she did that morning ("I've been at the wig store, researching for a new role where I play Angie Dickinson") I decided to get to it, and ask her thoughts on everyone from Lil Yachty to Metallica to Pussy Riot and Scottish rapper Shogun.
Noisey: Haaaaaiiiiiiiiii! Do people greet you like that all the time? Do you ever get sick of it?
Alaska Thunderfuck: They do, but luckily it's a wonderful catchphrase! I won't ever get sick of it, but I'm sure other people will.
So you had a listen to the tracks I sent over?
I did—thank you for sending them! It's so easy for me as a drag queen to get caught in literally a bubble of drag music, so it was like, "Oh wow! There are different types of music out there that go beyond Britney Spears and Whitney Houston!" I can't believe it.
Metallica – "Atlas Rise"
Shall we start with this Metallica track? I meant Metallica to be a wildcard but then I realized you reference Metallica in your track "The T (ft. Adore Delano)" so I'm guessing you're a fan...
Hahaaaa! I have a very vague surface level awareness of Metallica. I know that they did a song called "Turn the Page," however when I wrote that particular line in that song, I actually had to Google them to check.
What did you think about "Atlas Rise"?
Well… listening to this Metallica song, I was thinking, 'this is making me have an anxiety attack!' The music was really fast and charged with energy—it's like taking a Ritalin or something. It was making my heart pound. You know, my dad was really into music like this when I was growing up and he was always working on cars, so I think if you're into that sort of stuff, then music like Metallica is great because it literally makes your heart rate increase so it probably helps you get work done.
So true! What would you have done if RuPaul had turned round in All Stars season two and been like "You have to lip synch to this for your legacy"?
Oh my gosh! I would have done what I did with all the other songs, and I'd have listened to it on this little iPod that they give you, and I'd have played it on repeat and lip synched to it in my hotel room. I'd be doing somersaults and flips across the room. I'd be so down for that, I could totally do it!
Charli XCX & Lil Yachty – "After the Afterparty"
Let's chat about that Charli XCX and Lil Yachty track. Were you into it?
I was reeeeally into it. I also love the music video because, for me, the visual goes so hand in hand with the music, and I think Charli XCX also comes from that new generation where the visuals and music are so intertwined. I loved it—there were zombies walking through the graveyard, but instead of blood and guts there was bubblegum and candy and stuff, it was so cute! It's beautiful. Charli XCX is able to write these really catchy, sexy, irreverent, fun hooks. I look forward to hearing this after the afterparty.
I'm glad you liked it! Would you ever want to write a track with her?
I would love to! Do you have her phone number?
No, but I can find it for you – we should make this happen.
Seriously. Give her my personal line.
What's the weirdest afterparty you've ever been to?
Oh my gosh. I was in Australia, and we'd just done this really long tour of six cities in six days, and it was really intense. We got to the last show and we were like, 'Okay. We've been good girls this entire time. So after this last show, we're going to cut loose and get wild.' So immediately after the show we ate loads of molly, we were feeling good, hanging out in the dressing room with a couple of cute guys, and we were like "Can we get some drinks?" and they were like "Oh. Um. The bar's closed. Everything in the city is closed right now. There's nowhere you can go. Nothing is open." So we're starting to fucking feel our roll, and we basically go back to our hotel room, which was like a fucking insane asylum it was so dismal, and we ended up watching The Sound of Music on TV. It was so bizarre.
Haha! Jeez, that film gets really dark during the second half, by which point you'd probably be coming down. Surely Nazis and comedowns are like the worst combination?
Girl...girl! Proceed with caution.
Shogun – "Vulcan"
Alaska, I think it's time for us to share some words on Shogun, the Scottish rapper. This track isn't exactly new, but I'm interested in your thoughts.
Oh, so he is Scottish! Again, I'm all about the video. I don't know if he was performing live in front of the camera or if he was lip synching, but it was all in one take, and the words are fucking impossible. They're so rapid and fast. He does not miss a beat, he does not miss a word, the camera is trained on him the entire time. And he's surrounded by all his friends who are like "Hell yeah, we're just hanging out." I have no idea what the fuck he was talking about, but I do know that he meant it, and that he's really good at rapping.
So Scottish rap isn't big in the drag community just yet?
Not yet. I think we're still waiting for that to catch on, queen.
You can rap yourself though—I've seen you bring it. If you could give Shogun some tips what would they be?
I do fancy myself as a rapper. I have flow. I'm from Pennsylvania. I've lived in a trailer park. I can do this. But then I see someone like that and I'm like "daaaaang"—there's a way of making words come out of your mouth so fast and skillfully. The only tip I would give him would probably be like, wear some make up. You're doing a music video—you might as well paint the barn.
Little Mix - "Shout Out To My Ex"
Yeah, I'm with you. So what do you think about this new Little Mix track?
I love Little Mix! I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jade once—she was hanging out with us backstage after a show. Apparently she's a really big fan of drag music and she knows every word to every song I've ever put out. But Little Mix are drag. They're painted and they're styled and they're so stunningly gorgeous to look at. Again, here I go talking about the visual and not even the song. But they really are talented, and it seems like they're always having a great time.
I also love the song itself—I think I've heard it out and about at the mall or on the radio. I didn't know what the words were, but this time I listened to the words, and I thought it was a really fun well-written song. It reminds me of Shania Twain when she did "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "Man I Feel Like a Woman". They're sassy and sexy and kind of country, but with the gloss and sex appeal of pop music. So yeah, I loved it!
Would you ever perform this track on stage and dedicate it to Sharon Needles?
Oh man, I have so many songs dedicated to my ex already! All my songs are shout outs to my exes, girl!
Also, aren't you yourself in a girl band with some of the other RuPaul queens?
Well, as a matter of fact I am! We're called the AAA girls, and that stands for Access All Areas. It's with Willam and Courtney Act and we're working on some music in the studio and we're really excited. It's more fun going on tour with your friends rather than just going to a club alone. The dynamic of a girl group is so much more fucking fun.
Pussy Riot – "Straight Outta Vagina"
OK finally, what did you think about "Straight Outta Vagina"? I feel like Pussy Riot are more famous than their music.
Yeah I know about Pussy Riot because of the whole detained in Russia thing, and also the striking visuals of those colourful balaclavas. But this song literally turns the party. It's so current, and I believe in this message so much. Do you know I was going to name my second album Vagina? Did you know that?!
I didn't know that!
I don't think anyone knows that, but I was toying with it. If I had a song named "Vagina" I would have named my album Vagina, but it didn't fit. Now I'm glad I didn't because Pussy Riot have this amazing song.
"Vagina" is such a strange word—it's almost vulgar, but also really fun to say.
It is! I think the word "Vagina" is so strong—it's clinical, it's powerful and I love it. I named my first album Anus, and it's not like I think that's a gross or a funny word—I think it's a powerful word. It has four letters, it's Latin, it's anatomical, it's scientific, and it snaps you out of whatever you're thinking about. You might be thinking about groceries or getting laid then suddenly it's like "ANUS!" I think "Vagina" has the same effect.
I also think we're at a certain point now where femininity should rise and take over this fucking planet because if dick keeps running the planet, it's not going to last very long. I'm all about vagina power, pussy power, cunt power – I'm there for it.
I'm totally with you. On that beautiful note, thanks for chatting Alaska—it's been a pleasure.
Thank you so much. Byeeeeeeeee.
You can follow Daisy on Twitter.
Click here to buy Alaska Thunderfuck's most recent album Poundcake.