Monday 30 June 2014

Interview with Mina Caputo

Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Mina Caputo, an American singer, the lead singer, and a founding member of the New York heavy metal band Life of Agony. Hello Mina!
Mina: Hi Hun!!! Greetings! Blessings!
Monika: I have just listened to your first solo album as a woman titled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear” (2013) and I like it a lot. I love both lyrics and music. In the first song “Identity” you sing “… I’m sure that I’m not a woman…” It is rather a surprising line from the woman you have always been …
Mina: Well the correct lyrics to one of the verses are: I am not a man/I am not a woman/all I could taste is my burning heart/I’m sure I’m not a man/I’m sure I’m not a woman/all I could wear is a willing smile... It’s true, I identify completely with the feminine, but…
To me, the spirit has no gender. I truly identify with spirit, or consciousness, which is all energies, all knowing, and all not knowing. So to place myself inside of a boxed word(s) or language doesn't really sit well with me.

Monika: In “Runaway Girl” you run away from hatred, violence, and murder but you admit that “the future seems brighter”. Do you mean transphobia? Do you think that the future will be brighter soon for transwomen?
Mina: You missed the point completely. But I understand your interpretation. I think. I could only hope that the future of the world will be brighter. I live in a friendly universe. All of these "bad" things happening in the world are supposed to be happening. And our desire to change it all is supposed to be happening as well.
Monika: You paid for recording the album yourself, using the additional contributions via the Indiegogo campaign to finance the manufacturing, distribution, and promotion of the album. How successful was the campaign?
Mina: The campaign was a miracle. My fans are too. Bless all the folks who take time to simmer in my work and passions for the creative. I am incredibly thankful for them all. I always pay for my recordings. The release 'died laughing' in 2000, was the last album a label owned. I own all of my masters.
Monika: You offered to your campaign’s contributors the possibility of sending their poetry, prose, or personal letters that you could eventually use in the lyrics. Did you get any responses?
Mina: Yes, to this date I still do it. I’ve made about 20-25 songs for fans.

Courtesy of Mina Caputo.

Monika: Why did you decide to release the album on your own? Probably the album would have been promoted on a larger scale if you had done it with a big recording company.
Mina: Maybe, maybe not. I've worked with majors, Epic, EMI RR, you name it. & they all blew it in the past. My art/music is original and dangerous. Labels, ESP, the majors, don't want originality.
If you don't sound like Pepsi or Starbucks they're not interested. Besides, I make music because I have to. Not because I’m chasing fame. Or riches. Been there, done that. And turned my back on it all in 1996.
Monika: The album is accompanied by the art book that you created yourself.
Mina: Yup, I made it all, with my beautiful hands and imagination.

Mark Thousands and Mina Caputo Interview
for "A Love Talismanic". Station Records.
Source: YouTube.

Monika: Did the transition change your artistic perception of the world?
Mina: My artistic perception changes every day. I never experienced 'the rut'. I won't allow it. You must take risks as an artist. Even if that means failure. Which is totally cool by me too.
Monika: The video for the lead single “Identity” shows you being intimate with a man. However, you are quite open about your preference for women …
Mina: I love spirit. Good souls. Doesn't matter the shell the person is carrying. In simpler terms, I love men, women, and men and women of the 'trans' experience. I don't judge. Or pre-judge. You can't help if you are attracted to a specific somebody. Or nobody.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Mina: Love is a jolly word. Love is now. Right now. Not yesterday not tomorrow but right now. Love is the miracle of our presence. Our awareness. Love is breathing. It’s the mystery of now. It’s very important. It’s all that I am. It’s all that you are as well.
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you could follow?
Mina: Many people inspired me and gave me the courage to be me fearlessly. All walks of life. My real friends. My real family members. I really had to face myself though. Reveal my true nature fearlessly to myself. I don't compare or follow anyone. Instinct pushed me. It always will.

Courtesy of Mina Caputo.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Mina: Re-wiring my silly fear-based thoughts. Creating a new thought system within to help me survive.
Monika: Do you regard yourself as a role model for other transgender artists?
Mina: I hope to inspire folks is all. Am I a she-roe, a heroine, a role model!?!? No. I don't play ego games with myself. Or the world's eye.
My ego has eroded down to a grain of sand. I just want folks to love themselves. And spread love. And give with no expectation for a return trade.
Monika: By the way, do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colors, or trends?
Mina: Yes, I love to be naked. Naked. Naked. Clothes are annoying. A silk robe will do. 
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Mina: Well, a book deal is in the works. That's all I can share for now.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Mina: Yes ... I am writing a new 'Mina Caputo' album. I also want to write a new album for 'the Neptune Darlings' project I’ve got going on with my friend Ryan Oldcastle. I'm kinda per-meditating it... We both are in our own witty way!
Monika: Mina, thank you for the interview!
Mina: Thank you, Monika!

All the photos: courtesy of Mina Caputo.
© 2014 - Mina Caputo & Monika Kowalska

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