Interview: Adrienne Rae Ash and Jude McCarron of Plasma Canvas

Adrienne Rae Ash moved to Fort Collins, Colorado with hopes to pursue a career in music and a lot of personal pain that was desperate for an outlet. These factors combined led to the creation of Plasma Canvas’ self-titled first album. The album was a chance for Ash to express herself and her experiences as a transgender person in all the different shades and nuances.

“The goal was to try to capture myself in full, so I tried to write music and lyrics in a way that painted a colorful picture,” Ash explains. “I wanted to empower transgender people and make it apparent that we’re not a monolith, and we’re not one-dimensional.”

Beyond the array of emotions, Ash also aimed to express an array of musical influences during the project’s inception. “It was also important to break any and all rules as to what was and wasn’t considered ‘punk’,” Ash says. “I wanted us to be about more than a look or a sound. I wanted us to be a band that was just as weird and ugly and different as our audience.”

Through Plasma Canvas’ music, Ash hopes to offer an honest look into the real life of an LGBTQ person. A look that isn’t watered down by bland media portrayals and harmful stereotypes, but shows the complicated existence of the queer community in all its softer and scarier moments.

“We ponder; we fall in love; we’re disciplined; we’re slackers; we laugh at stupid Netflix comedies; we daydream; we go to the DMV; we party with our friends, and we do everything else that cisgender and heterosexual people do,” Ash implores. “I want us to write and tell our own stories without asking for permission or forgiveness. I want people in the closet to feel brave enough to come out, and the only way to get there is if those of us who are out of the closet make it a point to never shut up.”

Drummer Jude McCarron relays the same sentiment. “It’s important to be seen by the world. I mostly think about young, queer kids that don’t have someone they can look up to and wanting to show them it’s okay to be yourself.”

With bold transparency as their backbone, the duo worked their way up through the Fort Collins punk scene. The duo have proclaimed themselves the “loudest, gayest punk band in the world,” and in March, announced that they had signed with SideOneDummy Records. Along with the signing, the band also released their new EP KILLERMAJESTIC via the label on June 12. 

“When I was 19, I had a SideOneDummy sticker on my guitar amp,” Ash recalls. “Even though we’re not the biggest band on Earth, it still feels fulfilling to attain the goal of making a record we’re proud of and release it through a label we have such a great respect for.”

With the duo’s new EP, the goal was to take everything to the next level not only sonically, but lyrically as well. With these newer tunes, there was a greater lean into introspection than ever before.

“It’s the first record we’ve made that has no overtly political songs.” describes Ash. “Everything I make is inherently political, since my gender identity is often treated as a political football by pundits and politicians, but there’s not a single song directed at the larger world of politics.

“Instead, we chose these five songs because they were five honest, good songs that came from lived experience. They’re snapshots of where I was when I wrote them. It feels good to just write about my life in a way that goes inward rather than sort of grabbing a megaphone and yelling at the world.”

Despite the unfortunate reality of achieving new goals and releasing new music during a literal global pandemic, Plasma Canvas are still finding gratitude for the milestones crossed and look towards whatever is still in store for the band.

“We’ve all been shown how much we have to lose,” Ash says. “A global pandemic has a way of putting it right in my face that mortality is inevitable and that I should do what I can to make the most of the time that I have. We also have to keep reminding ourselves that we’ve done things that we’ve always dreamed of doing. If I could tell 19-year-old me that my future band would put out a record on SideOneDummy, I’d be ecstatic!”

“Staying optimistic during the pandemic seems almost impossible sometimes,” McCarron adds. “I’m trying to remain hopeful that this historic time will inspire change. That something worthwhile is waiting at the end of this, and we’ll be better because of it.”

Pick up a copy of the new EP here.

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