“Are we on the precipice of a sexual revolution? Because I’ve been trying to start one for years!”
I’ve just clicked the red X on my incognito PornHub tab. I don’t really know how to feel. I’m kind of perplexed, teetering on the edge of titillation and emotional trauma. I’ve just finished watching I Love You, the 40-minute porn debut from musician and creative genius, Brooke Candy. It’s provocative, hyper-sensual and it’s also evoked a level of emotion and resonance that you don’t get from the average erotic movie.
“I masturbated to it!” Candy announces triumphantly when we link up via a transatlantic phone call. She’s in an Uber in New York and I’m at Notion HQ in London. “Like, to every scene!” The movie is part of PornHub’s new Visionaires Directors Club series, for which they’re tapping creatives to present porn in an entirely different way. For Candy, it acted as an opportunity to break away from the misogynistic male narratives that often dominate contemporary pornography. It also gave her a platform to create something that felt exclusive to her community. “Every single human being on planet earth watches porn, it’s like eating or drinking water, but at the same time it’s this paradox because it’s such a sensitive and sensual and beautiful thing. I knew that as a queer person, a lot of porn that I watch wasn’t the most sensual or artistic and or loving.”
In order to achieve this, she shunned the commonly accepted approach of male directors and opted for closed-sets, ensuring that her protagonists had the opportunity to let a scene flow naturally without much direction. She wanted to create something that felt real, relatable and hyper-sensual – you only have to watch a snippet to see that she succeeded.
“My Sex ft. Pussy Riot, Mykki Blanco, MNDR” by Brooke Candy
I Love You depicts a diversity of sexual preferences and ensures that regardless of your sexual interests, there’s something that will appeal to you. Considering the open-minded approach to sexuality, and the many flavours that the film depicts, it gets me thinking about her views on monogamy. “Uh,” she says before a long pause, and it’s apparent my line of questioning has caught her a little off-guard. “You know what, it’s really hard for me. Ah, I don’t want to say something insensitive but I do think it’s a little bit bizarre. I also don’t always believe that one person can satisfy every need, I don’t know if it’s possible. I might change my mind about all of this, but right now I’m into just having fun and sharing love with as many people as I can.”
Sex and sexuality have been synonymous with Brooke Candy since she dropped her first track ‘Das Me’ back in 2012. Her sex-positive lyrics (“Slut” is now a compliment, a sexy-ass female who running shit and confident” / All the dudes wiggle your dicks for Brooke Candy / All the hoes jiggle your tits for Brooke Candy”) and her strikingly provocative music videos set her aside as an artist who would happily express her sexuality in any way she wanted, shunning the pop-princess ideals that the industry was expecting of her. Despite having a full album ready to go, her relationship with label Sony quickly soured, and she decided to part ways with the musical powerhouse. While many would take her independence as a form of failure, she’s fully embracing her new-found freedom, sticking up a middle-finger to archaic beliefs that you have to be signed to a big bucks label in order to attain successful.
“You know that saying, ‘you sign to a label and you sell your soul’, it’s very goofy but in a sense, you kind of do, because you’re giving up your creative energy to like 20 old white men who are dictating your own culture to you,” she explains. “When I signed my deal, it was more about having these songs, and Sia was wanting to rework my sound and turn me pop. It was like, what can this label provide? For me it was money to make visuals, but I found the more money I had to make visuals, the less creative and cool they were and the more disconnected I was from the pulse of the culture that I want to be a part of.”
Her independence – and her creative freedom – are working in her favour. Aside from her new-found fame as an erotica director, her musical prowess is ever on the increase. Most recently, she released the killer track ‘My Sex’, alongside her politically-pumped contemporaries Mykki Blanco, MNDR and Pussy Riot. “It was written by pop priestess Charli XCX,” she enthuses, “and I wanted to be on a track with two people that I really admire and that are fucking progressive and doing whatever they want no matter how much money or success it brings.” An instant cult classic, the sex-positive jam marks the start of Candy’s journey towards her first full-length. Despite being in the biz for nearly 6 years, the LA-based creative is yet to release an album, having only dropped a handful of singles and her iconic Opulence EP. “Because of my experience with Sony, I must have made like 60 songs and they just never let me put any of them out. I had a full album ready to go and that kind of burnt me a little bit and put a bad taste in my mouth. I questioned my music and my art for a while and just stopped making it completely,” Candy explains of the delay. “I’ll release the next couple of songs but I’m planning an album and it’s in the works. I don’t want to jump ahead and say things because if things don’t happen like, godammit!”.
In the meantime, she’ll be focusing on more of her creative output. Most recently, she’s linked up with 4:3, a subsidiary of Boiler Room which focuses on producing original video content with a plethora of young creatives. For her first project, she’s collaborated with London-based musician Sega Bodega to create a music video that explores Brooke’s interpretation of self-care. She’s also going to be working on a series that delves into anything and everything considered NSFW. “I’ve chosen some really cool artists like Sarah Nicole Francois, a 3D animation artist and she made an animated lesbian love short film. I’ve commissioned Peggy Noland, she’s remaking a car and making it NSFW somehow, I’ve commissioned a friend of my Quinn Wilson, who is doing a project on the female orgasm. I also got signed to a directing agency so I’m working on directing for other artists and there’s some really crazy stuff coming up, it’s going to be really cool.”
I hear Candy’s Uber screeching to a halt in the background, heralding in the end of our chat. Before she bundles out of her cab to focus on her next errand, I quickly ask her what her end goal is.“My entire existence is centred around creation. If I’m not working on a project, I just lose my shit, so in a perfect world I could constantly be making art and making a living, doesn’t have to be extravagant. I just want to be happy and loved and I just want water like everybody else.” We’ll take a tall glass of Brooke Candy any day of the week.