Ladies, gentlemen, and every single beautiful person (yes that means you as well) reading this, this interview was brought to you by the letters: “Fuck Capitalism”
On a sunny Wednesday at noon, I met up with a talented figure walking through CT as we speak…. on a video call. Google Meets, not Zoom, why? None of your goddamn business. That person is Dyme Ellis. Known as Indigaux (formerly known as Dyme203). Hailing from Connecticut, Indigaux is a musician, activist, and founder of their own festival located home in CT, the “Punq Noire Festival of Underground Arts”. What is Punq Noire? well, it’s perfectly summed up on their website: “creates a space for people to celebrate freedom by participating in and experiencing the impactful, and inspirational foundations of punk, thus inherently dismantling heteronormative, eurocentric perceptions of alternative subcultures like rock, goth, and punk. bringing opportunities for queer and BIPOC Connecticut artists, performers, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs to gain exposure, make valuable connections, and obtain wealth while doing what they love”.
In both avenues of the music and the festival, their goals are quite similar: “disrupt the patriarchy, and white supremacy and be ridiculously confident on, ‘I’m gonna stomp everyone that tries to fuck with my community,’ while also being cute and sexy while doing it”. Shedding light on those who aren’t represented (BIPOC and Queer punk artists/creatives). Both are delivered with fun however with raw and uncut energy. No holding back but still…. dope as fuck.
Now, where did it all start? Born in Bridgeport and raised in New Haven, Dyme has always been invested in their creativity in some way or another. Being in New Haven, lead them to be surrounded by numerous creatives, however, the start wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing. Despite being around numerous art high schools, their magnet school was more centered around business. “In high school is when I started to get to know the artist community, but I felt really alone in high school. I was a part of the business side of it so I felt very alone in high school since I was an artist, which has helped me of course cause now I know how to run my thing”. Indigaux continues to explain: “At the time, it was hard for me to connect or feel valid as an artist”
A breakthrough would happen in high school though, that would soon make high school a “blessing in disguise”. They would soon join a program called the “Future Project’. A program that consisted of creative consolers that would help encourage creative ideas and link creatives with others in their fields amongst other outlets to try [Note: it sucks ass that this kind of program isn’t a thing in every school]. Soon to lead them to other outlets that would lay the groundwork for what would eventually be their music and Punq Noire: “My goal was to be a published author and my “dream director” [counselor] got me connected to a lot of poets, writers, and editors, in New Haven, which introduced me to spoken word poetry, then I found an open mic through the program, and learn the benefits of events that bring communities together”. Whomever the counselor was, Thank you!
Though it may have taken a bit to start making music, music has always been of their life. Yet, it’s not the typical origin story. In fact, that’s what makes it more dope. When asked about musicians they looked up to growing up, they said: “Honestly, I was kinda corny growing up, like I really like Victorious cause they were an art school and I really wanted to be at an art. So watching people my age perform was empowering to me”. Their fav character was Victoria, by the way. There’s love to share though: “I like Jade and Kat too. I liked all of their personality together, I’m a Gemini so I really fucked with Jade’s ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude, rude, and still very smart. Kat is just free-spirited as fuck and Victoria is just…. human… I guess… I don’t know” finishing their final statement with a chuckle.
Continuing they explain their musical background: “I really liked All-American Rejects”. But we reach a bump in the road as trying to think of other people, Indigaux points out: “You know why it’s hard to think of who, it’s cause I never really focused on the artist but instead on focus on the music. I definitely didn’t pay attention to celebrities. I’m just getting the hang of who’s who and who and who’s directing what.” Also mentioned: Anthropomorphism as another influence….that’s not music related but I didn’t wanna leave that answer out.
Going down the rabbit hole of growing up with music, we discussed first CDs (theirs was a Cannibal Corpse album), and that led to a quick storytime from them, let’s call it: “Fuck Capitalism 2: Electric Boogaloo”.
“I was at FYE with a friend and we used to shoplift and we just lifted some CDs and I just liked the art on them. I listen to Death Metal but don’t like Cannibal Corpse, but I found inspiration in the artwork”. Perfect Story: steal an album from a band you’re not a fan of. Comedy. Even better, they would eventually get hired by the same FYE. Despite being surrounded by music, it took one song to spark Indigaux to make music. The moment Indigaux knew they wanted to make music: Rico Nastys’ “Key Lime OG”. “I saw the song on Youtube and when I saw this goth black girl rummaging through the woods bragging about how much she smokes. I saw myself and I thought this was cool as fuck how she was punk & hip-hop together”.
“I’ve always been interested in rock, had a scene phase, and had what I call a swag phase. So I felt like if she could do it then I could do it. That’s when I felt I needed to get my shit together, but I’ve always loved music but I was just limiting myself on what I wanted to create based on other people’s expectations of music from a young black femme person so I thought I had to sound like Rihanna, Nicki [Minaj], when I could just be myself” Further stating “Hearing that sound from someone encouraged me to find my own”
Beyond the music, Rico felt like a spirit animal for Indigaux: “Rico just felt like this tough cookie and I’m like that a lot, like in school, you couldn’t mess with anyone in front of me. If you were a bully, I was coming for you”. If only everyone had someone like that in school, cause sadly that’s not the case for everyone. So double points, to them for not only being talented but human. Which that energy they hopes to make sure is implemented through the music.[Note: some of their fav Rico Nasty songs include Smack A Bitch, Poppin’, and Fashion Week]
“I feel that translated a lot of how I am as an activist but I want to bring that rough and tough, didn’t give a fuck attitude liberation through music”
Rico is a major figure in their musical background but that is just a crumb of their sound. As their music isn’t held back by sound and expectation. Through numerous tracks blending plenty of other influences and marinating in various other genres and subgenres. Ranging from Art-Pop, Ambient music, Experimental Trap, Cyber-Punk, straight forward Hip-Hop, to Dance & EDM music. It feels like with their artistry, they’re flowing like water and creating whatever feels right and not succumbing to the pressures many find themselves (including Indigaux as they stated earlier) under “I need to stick to this because that’s what’s expected”. Going from tracks like “Trick or Treat” to “O Opuience” is like musical whiplash and that’s what makes Indigaux dope. From songs about being a Non-Binary person (“Non-Binray Woes”): “to anime-inspired tracks (“Yandere”), the subject matter is ranged too.
How would you define their sound? What genre do they fall under? We tried to figure that out: “I was just thinking about this, I’m not sure if I’m able to accurately pinpoint my sound as far as labels go. I feel like I’m on some radical, psychedelic hyper/cyber electro but I don’t know what to call it”
We didn’t come to a conclusion on how to label Indigauxs sound or style with a singular phrase or word, but whenever that happens… it’ll be dope just as much as their performances. As someone who’s seen them live, you’ll get your money’s worth. As if they walk on stage with a mission: give it their all on stage and make sure all eyes never look away. Thriving off energy and performing, the second they step onto the center of the stage, they let themself go. Hell, in my personal experience, the first song of their set, they got in a couple of audience members’ faces and rapped their lyrics with intense energy….that’s a pretty unique start to a show. To quote Indigaux; “We the fucking wave, like tsunami” that’s about right.
Speaking with Dyme, you’ll appreciate that a good piece of what drives them and inspires them to keep going in their creative outlets is: the community. A majority of their favorite artists as of late are a few of her peers and close ones: Rallyx, Code Name aka Nature aka The Hive Tribe (with a dash of Japanese Punk Music here and there). Speaking about life before Punq Noire they explained:
“I feel like I had a safe space. Before Punq Noire, I used to go to queer black pot lucks before covid, but after covid people separated, and a lot of communities got separated but yet also a lot of people found themselves and got into themselves. Which is fine, so during covid I felt less of a sense of community and honestly felt lonely. I’d go into [skate] parks hoping to meet someone I could have a friendship with. Even though there were people who may have some similar interests, there would still be that undertone of like homophobia and transphobia from people. Like we can’t be tribe cause you don’t respect me as a female, or centered in feminity, masculinity and androgyny.”
Continuing they said: “I just felt it was harder to connect with the people who listen to the music I do so, I just needed to bring all my people together. I needed the queers, punks, the blacks all come together to love each other”
Goals accomplished. Going to the festival, felt like I was surrounded by people I’ve known forever. Xenial if you will. With a fashion parade and live music, amongst other things, if you’re open-minded, it welcomes you with open arms and a high five like you just dodged the blue shell in Mario-Kart. Safe to say, it’s tight. Hoping to be an annual event every June (Juneteeth that is), Dyme has many goals for it but taking it one step at a time. “I’m focusing on grounding Punq Noire on where we are, whenever I travel though, I put Punq Noire stickers there. so people in ATL [and any other place] will know about Punq Noire. Also, getting a studio on hosting the events. But more so focused on making sure Punq Noire is solid.”
However, building that ground they wanna give space for those who need it but still wanna make sure to shed light on the history of Punk and Queer figures important to the movement, how possibly through zines and more social media posts for their IG page. “Historically, Queer and Punk have a lot of historical overlays. Just knowing that this is something that Queer activists have been practicing for decades [i.e. supporting those injured in moshpits, etc] and now it’s something we see in our artists’ community still see,”
Continuing on by saying: “Actually has a lot to do with why I started Punq Noire was based on the history of black and queer punks and how I felt empowered by history I didn’t know I was engaging with that was furthering a movement. Like ‘Oh we’ve been doing this for years and I’m a part of it. I didn’t realize so I wanted to share that historical validation”.
Wrapping up our convo with a nice bow, I asked them: What does Punk mean to them? Also, what is the best part about being Black Punk?
“Punk means being about liberation through art and culture and being unapologetic about executing them, like fuck the system and using art to disrupt that and shed a light on it. Taking the taboo and bringing it to the forefront. Just being divergent against the norm with style, creativity with youth, and mind. Honoring our young sleeves and the basics of what we need to feel joy as humans”. Answering the latter. “Just being black, I’m punk, like just being black the world seeds me a certain way and have all these expectations. The way I dress and talk is definite of that as also makes people think outside of the box with too, of what being black is, being nonbinary is, a female person is and is to say ‘I’m not gonna subserve in anybody’s else norm but my own. I’m gonna do what makes me happy and as long as it doesn’t hurt other people”.
A star of their own, Indigaux is creative making waves and lanes for not only themself, while giving a platform for the community that’s near and dear to them. With two projects they hope to release soon: “I have two unreleased [projects] but I believe in the music more than I thought I did. It’s just that, these songs are so fucking good and I just want to execute them with more tenderness. So I’ll drop two singles to hold over that project and then I have another project that I just wanna leak cause I wanna show people that I make different shit. It’s ambient produced by me… it’s just a vibe”. You love to see it.[Their first mosh pit: Afropunk 2017…..a factoid for the end]
Photos taken by their respected photographers and courtesy of Indigaux and Punqnoires Instagrams