Thotcrime’s Hayleyy Sparxx on “D1G1T4L_DR1FT” (Track-by-Track)
Trying to make heads and tails of Thotcrime's debut is no easy task. Fusing electro-hardcore with early-2000s metalcore and bizarrely progressive tendencies, D1G1T4L_DR1FT, Thotcrime's Prosthetic Records debut, is a disorienting experience. Rife with strange sounds, guitar wizardry, riffs, and inhuman vocals, Thotcrime's music is as much a throwback to a "scene" scene which fizzled out in the mid-2000s as it is something futuristic and uncanny. Thotcrime vocalist Hayleyy Sparxx offers thoughts on each track to celebrate last Friday's release of D1G1T4L_DR1FT
This Isn’t Foundation, Now Give Me Your Skin Please?
This album has been a source of catharsis for me, as well as the other members of the band. The opener starts this trend, literally tearing the bandages off. I’ve always tried to find the humor in things that scare me, and surgery is one of them. It’s a pretty intense topic for a lot of people. For me personally, I’ve had surgery multiple times in my head area, and it still wigs me out. While the lyrics themselves allude to someone getting their face ripped off, I actually wrote this after having my wisdom teeth removed, which was incredibly painful. My voice also happened to be shot when we initially recorded this, which may seem odd to go with this take, but it actually ended up working well. I tried giving my best Greg Puciato/Sonny Moore (aka Skrillex) style vocals for it and I think that pulls through.
There Will Come Soft Rains…
"Soft Rains" is kind of a doozy in that…well it’s a song written about someone close to you holding you back, against your will, and how that can really put a damper on your self esteem. I think the thing that I really ended up focusing on even more so than the lyrics themselves was figuring out how to put them around the riffs, because cybergrind is kind of chaotic. This song is hard to talk about in some ways, but the one thing I wanted to stress was that caged animal feeling; you’re trapped in a house burning down and it’s not your fault. The title is a reference to the Ray Bradbury short story with the same title, the lyrics brought to mind the house in the story and how the mechanical beings inside tried to save it from burning to no avail.
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria
Since I was young, I’ve had this constant fear of rejection, that I’ve learned to tame overtime. Being afraid to say the “wrong thing” has pretty much been the centerpiece for my anxiety, and well, this song stems from that fear. Extreme emotional sensitivity is the driving force behind a lot of my self doubt, and this song illustrates how much that really can cloud my own self worth. “Do you remember me then, do you remember me now” is the personified voice of this feeling, and the way it just creeps back in from time to time when I really don’t need it there.
In 2018, I came out as a transgender woman, and in 2019 I started hormone replacement therapy. This song is a love letter to myself, and other trans people. This was a leap of faith and for a while, Transitioning is scarier than graduating college, getting eye surgery, or any other thing I could pull off the top of my head. I wanted to write something that showed compassion for myself, in the ways I wish I had when I first started transitioning. I think a lot of people are going to say this one is the most “emo” and I think it is, in like, the Linkin Park/Jimmy Eat World sense. As the one song with all cleans, and anthemic chorus, I want people to sing this in the car with their friends, sing it at shows, and sing it by themselves if it gets stuck in their head.
“Tuesday” was written by K (producer) - the song is about the catharsis of letting yourself think scary, intrusive thoughts. It’s purposefully disjointed and, at times, rambling as it’s meant to mirror my own experience with mania and intrusive thoughts. You start off rationalizing to yourself about how you’re not broken or wrong, you’re just different, then you let your brain come up with scenarios that you know you’ll never do but the catharsis can help bring you through and organize those negative thoughts to allow you to continue on with your own “average Tuesday.”
You’re Like A Black Hole, The Way You Expect My Life To Revolve Around You
This one’s about having a partner who’s not interested in your needs, who wants things centered around themselves all the time and hurls verbal abuse your way whenever they don’t get their way. Someone who’s own need to be “comfortable” is more important than standing for anything or even considering the needs of their partners. This one was written by Jane (guitar) but it’s a feeling we could both relate to.
I am way too active on social media. I use it way too much, and I wouldn’t be alone in saying that the website has probably done worse for my mental health than I would say it’s done any good. The lines “you’re in my head, I’m on your screen” feel like they came to me in a fever dream. The internet in general is kind of a nightmare, and my anxieties about being watched or perceived against my will is probably a shared sentiment. This one is kind of like… MySpace Nine Inch Nails?... Probably? I wouldn’t know how else to describe this other than I tried my best to sound like a feminine Trent Reznor on this track. This one is probably my favorite, if you couldn’t tell, haha.
In 2020 my good friend Nik Raja GoPal, and the bass player from a hardcore band named Copley Woods I used to play in, passed away. I named the song after his band from college, Broken Rib. He was an incredible singer, an incredible lyricist, and an insane guitar player. He wasn’t the first person I lost, and certainly won’t be the last. I miss him a lot, and I wish he was still coming around to shows. We always talked about starting a band that sounded like Enter Shikari, so I tried to make my vocals sound as close to Rou’s as possible.
CC (as we have abbreviated it), is a breakup song. Plain and simple. The frustration of living with BPD is the feeling that you are way too much or never enough for your partners. Feeling like you’re a ghost yet at the same time that you are a constant headache. Diana’s vocals were a wonderful addition, she sells it on the breakdown.
This is My Breakdown, I Get To Pick The Music
This song is hard to talk about, honestly. I feel like the name says it all. It's centered around a real meltdown I had at one point. I feel like there's a lot of excess stressors going on right now in tandem with the way the world is currently. When I wrote this song, I wanted to essentially boil all those thoughts into one singular train of consciousness. I feel like Carson (Pace, The Callous Daoboys) adds a whole extra layer of emotional distress to the track, ultimately making the feeling I tried to achieve more effective. It also helps that the initial riff was written to sound like a Daoboys song.
This was one of the first songs actually tracked for "Digidrift"! While it was not intended to be a song about Evangelion initially, I couldn’t help myself. This song is written specifically from the perspective of Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion. I feel as though the chaos of watching your world fall apart is a relatable fear. Feeling powerless, even when the ball is in your court, can be an overwhelming and all encompassing burden. The original vocal takes from this song are actually spliced in with the album version, and it’s very cool. I also think this song breaks up the album while still retaining the overall themes.
Katie (Davies, Pupil Slicer) really sold it on this one. We’ve been excited about this collaboration since we started the record. Their sass vocals matched to mine were an excellent choice song-writing wise. The riffs on this one are an absolute ass-beater, and I feel like the inflections on it are intentionally “miss me with this shit, motherfucker” on purpose.
I Couldn’t End Me, So I’d Like To See You Try
I Couldn’t End Me… is a testament to my struggle with my mental health, and my willingness to survive. Feeling disaffected and isolated from my peers was something I struggled with as a teenager, and a young adult, for a long time. I tried to be as visceral as possible to achieve a snotty, aggressive energy, while also trying to showcase the willingness to stay alive that I know many people, not just me, struggle with.
The rap section was written by K, and is about gender dysphoria and the very real effect that can have on your perceptions of the greater world and depression. Feeling as though you’re perceived by everyone around you as the wrong gender is a truly debilitating feeling, and if you’re not in a position to present your authentic self to the world, sometimes you feel like you can’t blame anyone for it. The title alludes to the feeling of not believing you’ll live long enough to figure any of it out.
D1G1T4L_DR1FT is out now on Prosthetic Records.