QA: cry$cross

Photo by Matthew Yoscary

1. Who are you? 

I’m multidisciplinary artist Crystal Simone, aka my DJ moniker cry$cross aka naija galdem, a name my friend came up with that ties together my nigerian and carribean roots. I think that sums me up pretty well.

2. What do you do? 

ALOT. DJ, community organizer, curator, designer, fiber artist, master chef amongst other things. I create things that are tangible and intangible in the hopes that they bring joy to myself and others.

3. Where do you often create/produce? 

In my room.

4. When? 

Anytime of the day really, but preferably when the sun is highest in the sky.

5. Why do you play music? 

For black healing. I started djing because I was looking for new ways to express myself in my angsty early 20s.

6. When did you start making music? 

I’ve been playing music since elementary school. I started making music which I plan on releasing whenever. I started djing in 2016.

7. Which track defines you the most? 

At the moment, A Mile, a Way by KeiyaA. The entire album is sickening. Quarantine gold. The lyrics that resonate: I see a hater from a mile away, I’ll see them later I’m a mile away…I see my future from a mile away, i know we all are bound for brighter days.

8. How would you describe your own music? 

When I release music, I want it to embody all three of the powerpuff girls energies simultaneously. For the music that I play in the club, I’d describe it as high-energy booty bouncing bangers. My mixes are a more strategic way to tell a story. Most of them, like this one, are pretty euphoric, and give people a sense of hope for the uncertain times ahead. Anticipating that day when we can be back on the dance floor again :*

9. Any track of the moment? 

Good Days by SZA. I’m always inspired by her poeticism and originality.

10.What influences your work? 

Black women of the past present and future, black people, my nigerian heritage, my family’s great taste in music, unique shapes and bright colors.

11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?  

I studied digital art and design in college. I played the flute in symphonic and marching band in high school, along with piano. When it comes to djing, I’m self taught. 

12.Favorite designer? 

Jessicunt, hands down. The TALENT! I have one of her pieces right above my bed and I get to admire it every day, along with pieces from Monkbreath aka Mwinga, and Orb Goddess. 3 EXTREMELY TALENTED BLACK QTPOC ARTISTS. 

Fashion wise, I love everything that Bryce Barnes does. 

13.Favorite book? 

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

14.Favorite classic movie? 

I just saw Fallen Angels by Wong Kar Wai and I want to live inside of it. I don’t think it’s classic but it came out in 95 so it is to me!

15.Favorite music label? 

N/A

16.Your dream collaboration? 

Working with H31R (Maassai and Jwords duo group) in some way shape or form. *crosses fingers* 

17. Are you analog or digital? 

Originally digital, but becoming more well versed in analog djing everyday. 

18. Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play? 

I’ve been playing around in ableton recently on my computer keyboard, patiently waiting to find the perfect mpc for me <3  My current dj setup is an xdj rx2 and 2 technics.

19. Describe your creative process? 

I often create when I feel unfulfilled or complacent. I heard Fauzia’s Change 4 Me on soundcloud, and really resonated with how it made me feel at that current moment.

I liked how the song made me feel; the warm, muffled melody. It sort of surrounded me like a blanket that made me want to dance and cry at the same time. That track sparked the motivation to create this mix. Then I found some other tracks that resonated with my mood at the time and boom, the mix was born.

20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?

After my delicious midday meal, so around 2 or 3 pm, then again around 7/8.

21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual) 

Secondhand Records because it’s so close to home/

22.What’s your life philosophy? 

How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives – Annie Dillard

23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle? 

I try to maintain a well balanced diet, do my daily yoga and pilates, take my vitamins, set some time aside for meditation and breathing exercises, and drink water.

Follow cry$cross via InstagramTwitter & Soundcloud.