Over the last twelve months a familiar name with an ever-changing profile picture kept popping into my twitter timeline; comments on L.A. life, Cormac McCarthy, Harold Pinter and more often than not pictures of her naked body. Sovereign Syre is funny, brutal, savvy and an award winning porn star.
Deluxe: We primarily reached out to you as you quote Smiths lyrics on your Twitter quite a lot. How big a part of your life is Music? - Which musicians and artists inspire you?
Sovereign Syre: Music is a huge part of my life. I always have it playing when I'm writing, driving, running, fucking or sleeping. I love A Tribe Called Red right now. I love intense soundscapes. Bjork's new break up album, Lykki Li's latest album, Mykki Blanco's Gay Dog Food, Azealia Banks' Broke With Expensive Taste are all in heavy rotation right now.
D: Extending that to artwork, as a visual person, which album covers have resonated with you and why?
SS: I always had a thing for Roxy Music album covers. The image of beautiful, elegant women in stark contrast to the normal hypersexualized female form always seemed classy and mysterious. Secret Chiefs Three, Faith No More, Tool, Sisters of Mercy - anything that was a mystery to be solved.
D: You initially appeared in our Twitter world as you are followed and re-tweeted by a number of journalists we’re friends with. Do you think your professional world has crossed over into the mainstream or is it just more a case that you’re funny?
SS: As much as I'd like to think that it's because porn is going mainstream it's probably more because I'm unexpectedly funny. As much as I'd like to believe I'm funny, I'm probably just funny for a porn star. I think that pop culture and porn have become increasingly hard to tell apart. Most men's magazines look like the covers of porn mags and the like. At the same time, most people on the street couldn't name five contemporary porn stars to you if you asked. They don't actually watch or care any more about porn than they have before, I don't think. I've only been here for four years.
D: Did you consciously decide to approach your online presence with a little more personality? You seem to goof around quite a bit… it’s not just pictures of you working.
SS: When I first got on twitter I used to just tweet what I was doing throughout the day, but it seemed pointless. I looked at accounts I liked and realized they made no attempt to document their lives, but rather used the platform to tell jokes or make observations. I started doing the same thing, making jokes and observations and in that way, very organically came to build a "brand." I just wanted my feed to be interesting to people. I didn't do porn when I started on twitter, so it's been a learning process. I mainly don't post pictures from work because I'm followed by so many people that come for the jokes or because they followed my old blogs and writing before I did adult. I don't want to inundate them with pictures of my pussy, and more than that, I think people should pay for their porn. If they want to see me naked, they can go pay for it. My twitter is for me to express myself as a person. I'm glad if my twitter has helped humanize me to people that only knew me as a porn star though. Of course. I'm all for that.
D: Besides having to pay for the licenses to use tracks, why do you think adult movies tend not to use music? If anyone does an impression of a ‘porn film’ they always make that goofy wah wah pedal funk noise… when did music stop being part of the experience?
SS: Most porn does use music until the action starts. It's usually modern EDM Dub Step type stuff. Mason makes great use of music in trailers and teases. Most people watch pirated porn these days, which cuts out teases and transitions. The clips start when the action starts. It's more titillating to hear a woman moaning and cooing than to hear a Dub Step drop. People make the 70s sound because that was the Golden Age of porn, when it was mainstream. So it's a broad cultural reference we all immediately get.
D: If you were directing yourself in a movie, what artists/tracks would you try and get in there?
Deniro Farrar Faith in Something
Mykki Blanco Bugged Out
Bryan Ferry Which Way To Turn
Bjork Black Lake
… and on and on.
D: Porn and music have run a quite interesting parallel over the last twenty years, specifically the relationship with the internet. MP3 made ‘music free’. Were the ramifications in your industry comparable? Is there a ‘why pay when you can get it all free’ attitude? Do your older colleagues remember a more affluent time or has the internet helped?
SS: I get to hear about the "good old days" all the time. I think the statistics are something like, a DVD used to sell 20000 pieces and now they sell around 2000. The profit margin has narrowed to near diminishing returns. Conversely the industry is more competitive than ever in terms of girls interested in the work, I think in part because the stigma attached to the work has decreased as sexting, selfies and purity restraints on women have relaxed over time. Most girls have to diversify their revenue streams and become "brands." Which in some ways is kind of cool. To survive in porn you HAVE to become a business woman or you'll be done in a few months. It separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. There are a lot of really impressive women working in my industry right now. They direct movies, make custom videos, feature dance, run their own websites, sell their own merchandise and have turned being themselves into a living. Pretty amazing.
D: You spend a lot of your down time writing. Do song lyrics really resonate with you? - I have to confess that as a professional record listener lyrics actually wash over my head unless I really concentrate. What makes for a good song lyric?
SS: Melody always comes first, but good lyrics can really sink you. Think about something like Landslide by Fleetwood Mac or I'm On Fire by Bruce Springsteen. Shit. Heavy.
D: You’re in Highland Park right? have you checked out Mount Analog? Thats a great store.
SS: Since I moved around so much as a model and then a performer I haven't had a record player in a while
D: Which record shops do you frequent?
SS: I spent part of my childhood in the Central Valley in California. There's a great record store there called Spinners where I used to find old punk records like Jello Biafra, F.E.A.R., D.I., Fugazi, and the like. Whenever I roll through, I still always take a peek to see what's around and just remember that magical time when you're fourteen or fifteen and music is like the most amazing fucking thing that ever happened to you. Something about our ability to feel things so much more intensely that makes music so powerful.
D: What makes for a good record shopping experience for you? Do you like to be led and curated or do you just like to get in and follow your own nose? (well, ears)
SS: I like to discover things. I also have social anxiety so when someone tries to "help" me, I tend to feel under attack. I'll find what I'm looking for on my own thank you very much.
D: Specifically talking about artists, who have you discovered recently or who have you discovered on impulse purchase?
SS: Lykke Li. Just really fucking incredible. Leon Bridges. Alabama Shakes.
D: Have you ever experienced any bad attitude in record stores or do you think those days are over? Is High Fidelity a thing of the past?
SS: I'm a pretty girl, so walking into record stores or comic books stores, pretty generally I'm going to be treated like I invented sunshine.
D: Do you remember the first Record/CD/Tape you bought? Where and when.
SS: My brother gave me a Queensryche cassette tape to put in this little like Barbie pink tape player I had as a baby child.