The latest gossip from Miami has Glamcult in hysterics. Tara Long, a Miami-based rapper and performance artist that goes by the name Poorgrrrl, is making mind-boggling rap and broken poetry over distorted noise. She released a mad video last winter for Triptic, challenging high-quality aesthetics with a lo-fi-fuck-you-attitude. Ever since, the world has been curious about the reality she creates for herself, either loving or hating it—she doesn’t really care anyway. We caught up with Poorgrrrl and Andrew—the magician responsible for her beats—to talk about Miami’s scene, sadness, and performance art.
We know that Poorgrrrl started on Instagram, but how did you give birth to her?
Tara: I think she was born a long time ago, but she came into reality on Instagram for sure. You know, Instagram is a funny place. I think that Poorgrrrl is just trying to figure it out, and trying to find a way. I guess she’s just being herself in a place where there are all these rules and weird things that happen all the time.
Did she ever get deleted on Instagram?
Tara: She’s just doing whatever. There was some deleting, I forgot what it was but I’ve definitely been deleted.
How has the response been so far?
Tara: I think my Instagram hasn’t really blown up or anything and I think that’s because it’s kind of boring, which I like. To be kind of boring and wild as opposed to these pretty, over-done photos that you know people are going to like because you’re naked and your ass is out. I’m trying to avoid that to see if people would actually like her as a regular person.
It got picked up by Reddit as well, and funnily enough one guy replied with a link to your Instagram where you are in fact naked and he was like: “Now I like her music better”.
Tara: There is some nakedness on there, it’s just not the usual, it’s a little desexualized.
I guess you’re confusing a lot of males by not being sexy. How has that been received in Miami?
Tara: Miami is fucking crazy; it’s kind of great right now in because there’s this cultural explosion happening that is probably comparable to what happened in New York. I know New York is super cool and we’ll never be them. But I feel the world is really paying attention because everyone just thinks that it’s a big piece of shit. There’s something really cool happening with the artists here and once it really comes out, the world could see that and start talking about that, instead of just talking about how we’re out of control and buildings mansions and doing drugs.
I’ve never been to Miami but when I think of it, I think about oily guys without shirts, walking down the boulevard.
Tara: That’s it, you got it.
Is that something you’re trying to defy?
Tara: Yeah, kind of, there’s definitely that, for sure, and it affects everything—the oil gets everywhere. But there’s something else here and that’s what we are trying to send out into the world a little bit more.
Would you ever want to move to the Netherlands?
Tara: I’ve never been there, but girl; it’s getting hot over here.
So tell me about your performance art
Tara: Basically what’s going on is: I really hate performing and I get really upset and weird before I have to do it. But it’s the only thing in life that I can do well, it’s so annoying, it’s like a weird curse that I can’t get away from. I tried to go to art school and make sculptures, and explain to them that would become my work. And they would be like: ‘Why don’t you just speak in your language of performance?’ So that another aspect of Poorgrrrl and why she’s so sad, she just has to keep doing these performances, she’s good at it. For some reason people can watch her.
I think a lot of people can relate to her as well.
Tara: Totally, I’m starting to relate and I’m starting to figure out why. But yeah, the performances are a big part of it.
I saw one performance on the Jolt radio show, and you (Tara) are jumping around next to Andrew while Andrew just stands there like ‘yeah, that’s cool’.
Tara: It’s a funny dynamic.
Tell me about your collaboration
Andrew: We met two years ago, doing noise performances. That’s kind of how it started. We did a couple of weird meditation performances, a lot of speakers, got a subwoofer. It was pretty cool. Totally cooler than the stuff we’re doing now, we sold out a little.
Omg! All for the money!
Did you also start out in art school, Andrew?
Andrew: I went to an engineering school actually. I’m a sound engineer by trait, I guess.
Tara: He’s the smart one.
How did you come together?
Tara: If it weren’t for him this wouldn’t work. We met at the club. We both worked at the same nightclub and we actually started working together because I got into an art show. I got this weird deal with an art show where they needed someone to stay in the space everyday, kind of like the galleries but it was a weird abandoned church so it wasn’t that fancy. I made an art piece that was about me being a receptionist so that I could stay there all the time. I was using a subwoofer making all these noises and he was… I don’t know why, were you there?
Your EP is called PITTIPARTI, are you often somber yourself?
Tara: When we’re trying to make stuff, I’m definitely mostly somber as trying to make something of yourself in this world definitely makes me sad. The stuff we make really excites me though.
What did you grow up listening to?
Tara: I grew up on Boyz II Men and TLC and all this weird R&B and hip-hop stuff. Then I got into break dancing and graffiti so I was really into the hip-hop world. Andrew grew up in South Carolina…
Andrew: More rock and roll and punk, I guess, I didn’t like hip-hop when I was a kid. I didn’t understand it
Tara: He’s not into R&B, so he’s like ‘I hate this shit’. Punk is in both of us so we both have this grungy shit that’s annoying sometimes. That’s where the noise thing comes in. Miami has this huge noise scene so that’s also incorporated in our music. It’s actually all just a punk and shit show.
I imagine people at your performance staring at you very confusedly.
Tara: The first of our performances, were just like… I’ll never forget that in my whole life. Something happened and everything just started failing and blowing up until everything cut out in the middle of it. We kept it moving and no one on stage knew what was going on. All my friends were there, dancing and smoking weed, and they were like ‘go on!’. I just kept going and I was screaming with no microphone, it was out of control. It was perfect; it couldn’t have been any better… If there was ever a Poorgrrrl performance, that was it.
It was the epitome of Poorgrrrl.
Tara: It was the debut. People were like: “Oh, that… poor… girl.”
Tara: It was SO sad, it was so sad that you just had to support it.
If you could choose one performer to stand next to you while performing, dead or alive, who would it be?
Tara: I don’t know, I think we’re going to have to go with Bill Murray. He just needs to be there, hanging out on the stage.