Photo by Finn Mulford
The Blank Minds, a trans-fronted band from Los Angeles, just released their newest album “Becoming Him” on August 3rd. Blending genres such as alternative, indie-rock, and pop, this band uses their music to fight for queer representation in mainstream media and empower their local communities. For instance, the group will be hosting a queer music festival in partnership with Point of Pride on August 25th at the Vortex in Downtown Los Angeles to raise money and donate over 350 binders to transmasculine persons in need.
The Blank Minds have been firmly rooted in LGBTQ+ issues and intersecting movements for justice since they formed in 2016. More recently, they have invigorated their connection to trans people by artistically representing the struggle, triumph, and joy of transitioning with “Becoming Him.” This album launches the band into a new era of indie-pop-rock and offers a cathartic, feel-good vibe that LGBTQ+ people, and those otherwise identifying, can connect to.
Their genre-bending sound is influenced by a wide array of musicians. In our interview, the band members cite inspirations ranging from Stevie Ray and Wes Montgomery to The Beatles, Brockhampton, and Twenty One Pilots. As lead guitarist Ryan Silver explained, the musical and cultural unit that comprises a band or collective is inherent to their art. That is why they admire Brockhampton for the ability to harness the creative power of a musical collective, create and produce all their own content, and bring it to the 21st century as an artistic movement that engages all types of media. The lead singer Flynn is also inspired by the stage presence of Twenty One Pilots; he hopes to be a musician who can break the wall between performer and entertainer, creating a shared experience that leaves a lasting impact.
Although the band mixes many musical genres on “Becoming Him,” their sound is not haphazard. This fully-realized body of work explores the infinite dimensions surrounding Flynn’s transition, all the while retaining the band’s unique blend of indie-pop-rock as a unifying concord.
The album’s single, “Transient,” with its accompanying music video, is a triumphant anthem that features video submissions from all across the globe of non-cisgender bodies dancing exuberantly to the music. This body positive video and song preaches self-love especially as it relates to dysphoria. In one scene, we see Flynn standing in front of a men’s restroom sign with a trans flag draped across his shoulders. It then cuts between his current day self and his younger self – a powerful moment that demonstrates his transformation and growth. This moment happens during the song’s bridge, a jabbing phrase that evokes frustration, empowerment, and the feeling of ‘breaking-through.’ The lyrics wonderfully communicate Flynn’s feelings: I’ve never really been able to / Disguise the feelings I’ve felt / I’ve never really been able to look you in the eye / Explain to you why / Just to watch you cry / I know it hurts so much / To see me change / But I need to stop this pain. These tender lyrics remind the listener to honor their pain and courageously pursue their own life in spite of others who may not understand. (See full lyrics here).
The band strives to make music that will offer a cathartic release and help others feel happy through tumultuous times. They are grateful to have a platform and a voice that can empower people in this way. Ryan explains that, in his eyes, “music is one of the most powerful forms of art because it’s so accessible and it’s universal. I feel like music has the least barriers. You can create a culture of music that branches out beyond the message of the music and is able to do concrete things for a physical space or an ideological space. I think that’s really powerful and we’ve had the benefit of being able to do that by going on tour.” Flynn agrees and adds, “What’s the point of doing music and connecting to people if you don’t use it for something good? So, for me, it’s important to help other people by promoting something that’s meaningful. That’s why doing the festival is cool, because we get to find artists that we think are extremely talented but don’t get the recognition they deserve for whatever reason. Whether it’s marketing, or being a minority – you just don’t get as many eyes on you. So, giving those people our platform and to share with other people is important.”
Please join The Blank Minds at their fundraising festival, the “Becoming Us Fest” on August 25th at the Vortex in Downtown Los Angeles to help them donate over 350 binders to transmasculine persons in need. You can also stay connected by following them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or their website.