photo: Geoff Hall, LookOverHear
By Maryam Pugh
Recently, Philadelphia Printworks sat down with long time friend and brand ambassador, Camae Defstar. Lyricist, rapper, poet, producer and genius; SuperDefstar has consistently pushed boundaries on the Philadelphia scene for almost a decade. Odds are you've either heard of her, attended one of her shows or witnessed one of her bands (MMGZ, Girls Dressed as Girls or Mighty Paradocs). Read on to find out more about her growth as an artist, growing up in Washington Park Projects and The Blood.
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about ROCKERS?
Rockers is a DIY monthly music event started in 2007 based in Philadelphia that showcases POC, political, and queer bands.
How did you get into music?
I've always been surrounded by music. My mother was into the Temptations, Mahaila Jackson, Teddy Pendergass. My father was into Sam Cook and gospel music. Everyone one in my family sung in the choir. My family would go to concerts and take us to every important hip hop and soul concert that came to Baltimore in the 80's and 90's. My first show was The Fat Boyz. My fave hip hop show was Public Enemy. My Fave soul concert was Patti Labelle.
How do you think your childhood and where you're from has affected your art? Growing up in Washington Park Projects has influenced every part of my art. I think anyone that grew up in the 80's in any majority poor black neighborhood has been affected by the climate of that neighborhood. I learned to see large disparities among folks at a young age. I lived in a place where restaurants didn't deliver, cabs didn't come, police harassed folks in the neighborhood. It taught me to have a activist and rebellious spirit. My childhood hero was Malcolm X.
Who are your greatest creative influences?
I am more influenced by the unknown and the spectrum of emotions.
What is your main goal with your art?
To be able to do it all day everyday. Lol. Or to just to keep myself balanced.
You have a very definitive voice and style that comes through in your artistic aesthetic. Was it always like that? How have you seen yourself develop as an artist?
When I used to perform I kept my hands in my pocket because they would shake so much. Lol. So, no. But, once I had a few songs down it was easy and I had been pretty much waiting for a while to start performing a set. So, when it was time and I had a band, I couldn't wait to get free.
Do you consider yourself an activist?
I don't walk around calling myself a activist but my songs and poetry are 90% political.
I participate in activism.
As the brand ambassador of Philadelphia Printworks, we were immediately drawn to your "In-Your-Face" style, the raw and utterly candid honesty of your messages and your dedication to DIY. Not to mention the undeniable talent. You've been a huge supporter of Philadelphia Printworks since day one. Why? What sort of parallels do you see in our work? If any...
What's important is the message. I think women of color producing art is very important. Especially at the DIY level because the story/message is told from it's most desperate and honest place. So, that being what I am all about, we work great together.
It seems like you're always challenging yourself to grow as an artist. With your recent EP as Moor Mother Goddess, you step away from Cam of the Mighty Paradocs and seem to take on this alter ego. The video for The Blood is an example of this... What was your inspiration for the video? It feels like it's dripping with symbolism. That song was a freestyle from so many themes and ideas in my head. It came out easy because I am interested in the "taboo" that is the menstruation cycle. I am also interested in the emotions that surround that so called "taboo". The song is basically a pro women's cycle song. It just has a dark vibe because that's how folks view blood. The lyrics celebrate the power of a woman's cycle. [ "spaceship between my legs first wonder of the world the fallen egg spinning on its axis"]
What are you most passionate about right now? Where do you want to go next?
I want to put out these next 2 MMGZ EPs in a few days. I have 2 collaboration EPs coming out in December. I'm just trying to create and create some more. I have a few top secret band projects that are coming. Mighty Paradocs are taking a break to write new material. I want to do a few Performance art pieces. Continue to put out MMGZ Poetry zines, set up shows and travel.
Read any good books lately?
I'm getting ready to start reading "Color and Music" by Corinne Heline.
Any last remarks?
Excited about PPW printing Mmgz t-shirts designed by Sarah Uh.
Visit Moor Mother Goddess for more information.