Today Arca premieres ‘Nonbinary,’ the first song from her forthcoming album KiCk i to be released via XL Recordings / Remote Control Records. The song is accompanied by a video featuring Arca; the piece is a powerful first look into the transformation that Arca’s undergone since her 2017 critically-acclaimed album Arca. With the past serving as prologue and her recent 60-minute single ‘@@@@@’ as prelude, ‘Nonbinary’ defines a new era of Arca, which she’ll unveil on her forthcoming album KiCk i. Following the premiere of ‘Nonbinary’ join Arca on her Discord channel #Mutants1000000 for a discussion on her #identity-philosophy text channel.
In a recent digital cover story for Paper Magazine’s ‘Transformation’ issue, Arca spoke to writer Matt Moen in-depth about ‘Nonbinary,’ below is an except for the story:
On the album’s opening track, “Nonbinary,” Arca repeatedly implores the listener to “speak for your self-states” amidst an eruption of artillery fire and thundering kicks. “I’m asking for recognition that we have multiple selves without denying that there’s a singular unit,” she says… “I want to be seen as an ecosystem of minor self-states without being stripped of the dignity of being a whole.” For Arca, it’s about bringing together all of these different facets of (the) self and her work without having to feel beholden to any given one…”It gives me the feeling of possibility, to not allow for easy categorization. I wouldn’t want to just go pop and I wouldn’t want to go full experimentalist,” she says. “That’s where a nonbinary mode of thinking feels really fertile. It opens possibilities rather than collapsing things. Allowing for change without resisting it.”
For the past eight years Arca has carved a blazing path through the zeitgeist. Everytime time we laid eyes on her she’d taken on some new form – noise sculptor, diva, philosopher, fashion plate, party girl, DJ, performance artist, painter. It’s her nonbinary mindset of endless possibilites that have resulted in an extraodinary range of work, outside of her own music which includes three albums (Xen, Mutant, Arca) and several mixtapes (Stretch 1, Stretch 2, &&&&&, Entrañas), she has produced for Björk, Kayne West, FKA twigs, composed music for MoMA and Analogue’s Mega SG, hosted Frank Ocean’s PREP+ party, performed with the Labèque sisters at Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry Autumn/Winter 2020 runway show. She’s a painter who’s created her own album art, a model who’s signed to Elite, a tech innovator who’s co-designed some of her own unique instruments. It’s these seemingly disparate things that in retrospect add up to one astounding, ever-growing holistic work. But it’s the transformation itself, more than any one particular element, which has been her real work to date. With an example of this displayed last September over the course of four days at her multifaceted performance piece at New York City’s The Shed titled Mutant;Faith, inspiring founding artistic director Alex Poots to call her “a glimpse of a future I hope for.”
And while it’s always been clear–at least to those who’ve been paying attention –that this metamorphosis was building to something big and new. Now the final veil has dropped, the chrysalis bust wide open. A new queen is born, mutant and splendorous. A Latinx trans woman, who is redefining the role of the diva for a new generation.