From the green room: Tierra Whack on social media, The Human Centipede and sticking with it

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Tierra Whack at Occidental College on Saturday, Oct. 19. Courtesy of Sam Orlin

Shortly after Tierra Whack arrived at Occidental Oct. 19, I sat down with her in my Marine Bio 101 lab room, which had been carefully transformed into a green room for the purposes of FallFest. I asked Tierra, who met me with excitement and attentiveness, about her concert habits, Halloween traditions and advice for the student body.

SR: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

TW: Sometimes I pray out loud with everyone. But also, I pray by myself all the time. Sometimes I’m really nervous.

SR: What’s going through your mind the 10 minutes before you get on stage?

TW: “Stop talking to me. Everyone leave me alone.”

SR: If you could teach or invent a college class what would it be?

TW: [A course on] self-control.

SR: What inspired your outfit today?

TW: I had this idea for a while, but I just wanted to rock my own Rest In Peace shirt!

Tierra Whack at Occidental College on Saturday, Oct. 19. Courtesy of Sam Orlin

SR: It’s October, so in honor of Halloween and your affinity for creepy things, I wanted to talk a bit about the spooky season. Do you have any plans for Halloween?

TW: I never really make any plans. My mom or my people might ask me to go to a haunted house. It’s fun, it’s cool, but we’ve been to the same one in Philly, so I kind of already know what to expect.

SR: It’s always the same haunted house?

TW: Yeah! You know, last year I went and a lot of my high school friends were the zombies so I’m looking around the room and I’m like ‘Alex? Is that you?’ So maybe I should go somewhere else in another city.

SR: Do you always spend the holiday with your mom?

TW: Yeah, I’m usually home on Halloween.

SR: Do you have any favorite horror movies?

TW: I love “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” “Human Centipede.” The second one. Just the second one. The second one was the best.

SR: Not the first one?

TW: No. Hate the first one. First one was terrible. But the second one was crazy, the mouth to a**? It’s crazy. And then them s***ing through the tube? That was crazy… I love “Halloween,” that’s the classic. I feel like the last one they made, they said it was going to be the last one, but I want more. I never get tired of Mike Meyers, never get tired of him at all. I watch a bunch of low-budget scary movies, but a [movie] name isn’t popping up in my head.

SR: How do you unwind after a really hard or crazy day or week?

TW: Watch cartoons, just chill, silence. But then sometimes, I love music, so I always gotta have my Beats [headphones], I have like five hundred Beats, and I just rock out and zone out.

SR: What’s your go-to cartoon?

TW: I love “South Park,” they say the worst s*** and I just love it because they’re getting away with murder, and I have a sick sense of humor. So I just really like “South Park.” There’s so many seasons so you never know. You know the whole wave of binge watching shows? If you really like something, you can watch it so quick, but “South Park” — I thought I’ve seen every episode, but I still haven’t seen every episode. Hulu has like 26 seasons or something. It’s so many seasons. That might be the exact number. Or it’s 24.

SR: Do you have a favorite spot to write poetry or verses or lyrics?

TW: No, I don’t really write. Like I jot down stuff but I just record and write as I go. So I like in-house studios, small setup. I don’t really like huge studios. It just feels like I’m on like a TV show, like a music TV show, you know? I can’t catch a vibe.

SR: It’s more organic that way, I feel.

TW: Yeah! It feels more organic. I will record my whole album in a trap house on some bull**** setup.

SR: You’ve mentioned before that social media has had a really big impact on your career. Why do you think that is?

TW: People just like me on the internet, they really like me.

SR: Do you have a favorite platform?

TW: I love love Twitter. I have to give it to Twitter. And then second is Facebook, I’m always on Facebook and no one follows me on Facebook. It’s just like my aunts and family and middle school friends, I get like two likes on a status. It’s so cool. I love it. Sometimes nobody likes my status, I love it, nobody judges me.

SR: What Twitter account do you think everyone should follow?

TW: Mine. There’s some really good content on there. Really good.

SR: Oxy recently started a music production major. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice to students that are hoping to enter the music industry?

TW: You gotta know what you want before you jump into this s***. You have to really know, this is what I want to do, you got to assess every angle of it. When I first started and was like, ‘Yo, I’m going to be a rapper,’ I started with poetry and was like, I want to put poems to a beat. I studied everybody, all the artists that came before me, all the greats, just the time and how things changed who did what, why they did what — everything. You really got to dissect it. Go to school. Really, go to school. Don’t just stick to one thing, once you get the outline, then you can place yourself into the — I feel like this is going to be weird writing it down.

SR: How are you feeling about the show tonight?

TW: I don’t know! I kept saying “Accidental.” I just don’t know what to expect. I hope people want to see me. I just don’t know what to expect. Everything that you see me do tonight, which is every show, I just didn’t prepare anything. I gotta just feel the energy. But I don’t know what to expect at all, I’m going in blind.

SR: I have a friend that graduated from Oxy and drove back from her grad school in Arizona to see you, so people are excited.

TW: Really? That’s crazy. People are crazy. That’s crazy. I’m excited then, I hope it will be good.

After our interview, I returned to the masses awaiting Whack’s performance in the Greek Bowl. To read more about Whack’s performance and Programming Board’s major pivot towards a larger production FallFest, you can find my coverage here.