Content Warning: Discussion of abuse, sexual abuse and harassment.
Spencer: Today I’m joined by an incredible artist and one of my good friends. I love her to death. She has a new record called Inferno, which was released on February 18th. Yaz, welcome to The Art of Costume. Thank you so much for joining me!
Yaz: Thank you so much for having me, Spencer! I’m so happy to be here.
Spencer: Of course! Congratulations are in order. How have you been?
Yaz: I’ve been good! Working nonstop on this record, and crawling through the nine circles of hell to create it, but now I’m starting to come out through all of that. I’ve crawled through fire so to speak, and it’s really wonderful to be coming out on the other side.
Spencer: Just so everyone knows, she is being literal at this moment.
Yaz: I totally am, it’s been a journey.
Spencer: Let’s dive into this record. I’m so excited. It’s called Inferno. Talk to me about the main concepts of this record, your inspirations, visuals, fashion. There’s a lot going on and I love it. It’s such an artistic journey.
Yaz: The record is inspired by Dante Alighieri’s cantica Inferno, from The Divine Comedy. Inferno is about Dante’s journey through the nine circles of hell, and it’s somewhat of an allegory, because ultimately it’s about the redemption of the soul through going through those nine circles of hell. The Divine Comedy as a whole tells the story of going through Hell to get to Purgatory, to then get to Paradise, and how the journey of the soul ultimately must go through all that darkness in order to reach salvation.
I wanted to make a record that would encapsulate that journey sonically. I had the idea in Summer 2020, prior to my last EP Eternity coming out. I decided I wanted to make a record called Inferno, I wanted it to be nine tracks, one track for each of the nine circles in Dante’s Inferno, and that it was going to be progressive so the first track is the first circle of hell and so forth. That was the primary source material.
In terms of actual inspiration, I’ve always believed going to Hell would be super fun, because anything fun that you do gets you sent there. I envision Hell as this massive rave where people are liberated from shame and judgment, it’s the kingdom of freedom. Heaven on the other hand sounds miserable. All the judgmental, pretentious people are there, and, I would think logically, that anything that gets you sent to Hell you can’t do in Heaven. So on that premise who would even want to go to Heaven?
Not to mention, the way traditional religion portrays God makes him the ultimate narcissist. If you do anything that organized religion deems is bad, then you’re a sinner and you go to Hell. But it’s not a matter of actually doing the bad thing. It’s a matter of if you’re like, oh God, I’m sorry, I’m sorry I did the bad thing, you’re the best God, forgive me, and if you do that it doesn’t even matter if you “sin”, which is absolute insanity. The lack of personal accountability and level of hypocrisy in that is something that I’ve always thought was ludicrous. I don’t understand why anyone would willingly follow that, or why anyone would want to go to Heaven and be surrounded by it.
With that in mind, I decided to make a dance record that explores Hell in hopes that it will stop people from being afraid of the idea of sin, and of all the societal shame and guilt that we cast on people that ultimately stems from the doctrine of traditional organized religion. All of that ultimately is authoritative dogma. It’s a way of controlling the masses and manipulating people and forcing them to conform. My goal is to liberate people from that with this record.
The biggest inspiration, however, was the idea of Lilith, who is kind of the original feminist. And for anyone who is not familiar, Lilith is Adam’s first wife in the Bible.
Spencer: Yeah, Yaz just gave me quite the history lesson right before we came on the air. Okay, Professor Yaz!
Yaz: I’m a biblical scholar now, add it to all the hyphens of what I do. (laughs)
Spencer: Right. I didn’t realize that was something you were proficient in until ten minutes ago.
Yaz: I am actually, I’ve always studied religion. I always thought it was funny because I grew up in a very small conservative suburban town, and the majority of my friends at that time were religious and would go to church, Christian club, all of that, but none of them had any idea what was actually in the Bible. For me, as someone who has read the Bible cover to cover multiple times, I always found it so bizarre, shouldn’t you be educated about what you believe in? But I find that’s sort of a common phenomenon.
Anyways, Lilith originates in the Hebrew tradition, so you’re not going to find her in the traditional Christian Bible. She’s Adam’s first wife, and she and Adam are made from the same soil. So Lilith and Adam are equals, as opposed to Eve who is supposed to be inferior to Adam because she’s made from his rib.
The story is Lilith is cast out of the Garden of Eden because she refuses to be submissive to Adam. Adam demands that Lilith lay beneath him during sex and she refuses. Adam and God both are angry about that, and Lilith is cast out of the garden and deemed a satanic demon as a result of her refusal to be submissive. Since then, she’s been an archetype for being a female demon in any shape and form, a succubus, a harpie, a siren, etc. all of that originates from Lilith. Ultimately Lilith is a symbol of empowered female sexuality and energy and is a representation of the darker side of the divine feminine.
So she was a big influence, that energy, in general, is a big influence in my work. For this record, in particular, I decided I was going to essentially take on the establishment and be Lilith. It’s sort of a middle finger to society casting me in a very Lilith role since puberty for no reason, apart from the way that I look. Instead of fighting against it, I decided to reclaim it, and to play the role better than anyone ever could have imagined, and to not just be the embodiment of that dark empowered female sexuality, but to literally be the devil.
In doing that I’m making a statement about the way society treats women and casts us into these roles and desecrates femininity. The goal is to liberate people, especially women, from those roles by showing the hypocrisy within all of that dogma.
Spencer: I love talking to you. Some people might be wondering why we are doing this interview through The Art of Costume but to me, it made sense, because you bring a lot of research and story to your work. You’re a storyteller and you take all these inspirations and you weave it into every part of your project from the music to the sound, to the visuals, the costumes, the fashion. How do you bring all this together?
Yaz: I have something called synesthesia, which is something that I figured out in the last six months. I always thought people processed things the same way I do. For anyone unfamiliar, synesthesia is where your brain processes stimuli together that would not typically be processed together. For example, a lot of the forms of synesthesia that I have are with color. I see the number three and that’s yellow, or I hear a certain musical chord and it’s red. It’s not a neurotypical way of processing things. I always thought that everyone processed things that way, but six months ago I found out that’s not the case.
So because of that, everything has always been integrated. The idea for the record actually started from an image. I was in my bedroom playing around with a projector I have, and I took a photo of myself praying with a rosary wrapped about my hands. When I looked at it a lightbulb went off in my head, and I said, I’m going to make a record called Inferno, and the entire concept just came instantaneously. That one image essentially inspired an entire record.
It usually starts with the visual. From there, I’m able to see the whole world of the project, and as someone who’s also a designer, and a multidisciplinary artist in general I essentially take stock, and determine how to bring the world that’s in my brain into the physical world. Once I know what the visual is, I score around that visual and the concepts and themes that my brain associates with it. That’s one of the forms of synesthesia that I have. Every image has audio associated with it, and all audio has an associated visual as well. I also have this with emotions, so a track like, “Lust” for example, what are the concepts and themes with that and what emotions underlie that? For me, all of those things have colors and sounds so it’s all instantly integrated and just a matter of figuring out how to bring what exists in my brain into the world and the music comes from there.
It’s creativity on steroids. I get an idea, and all the little pieces fall into place because that’s how my brain is wired. It’s a really great thing, but it also can be overwhelming, and difficult when you’re trying to explain an idea to someone and they’re like, what do you mean when you say like this audio is like the dark side of desire, there aren’t any lyrics. And my response is usually either that I can see and/or feel it, and people won’t understand that until they see the integrated whole of the project and are immersed in the world of it. Integration is vital, my work wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t so integrative.
Spencer: All right Yaz, are you ready to get deep?
Yaz: Yeah, let’s get deep.
Spencer: It seems to me that there is a lot of deeper symbolic meaning woven into this record. When you first talked to me about the record, you mentioned it was like an exorcism for you. As your friend, what are you talking about?
Yaz: It’s funny because the direct idea of Inferno was born in Summer 2020, but the record really predates that to before I even started making music. It really started in January 2019. I was in a very dark place in my life, and this isn’t something I thought I would ever talk about publicly so bear with me. But, in January 2019, an accquitance attempted to rape me, then showed at my apartment pounding on my door and screaming to open it nonstop until I opened it nearly 30 minutes later once I knew that a friend of mine would be there shortly if things got any more violent. This person then began harassing and threatening me via phone and social media, to a point where I was afraid for my life. I went to the cops to file a report and to try and get help, and the cops told me that what happened was entirely my fault, and refused to even make a note of what happened, let alone file a report. There is zero record of me even going there, and for context I had zero romantic or sexual involvement with this individual. It wasn’t a situation of a lover scorned or something like that that the legal system loves to use as a copout so men get off the hook for sexual assualt.That was fully explained to the cops, and they did not care, and told me I was on my own. As a result, I fled where I was living as I was afraid of this person trying to kill me. It was a horrifying experience, and one of the most terrifying things I’ve been through in my life.
So that happens, I’m actively afraid for my life, I’m also living in an apartment that unbeknownst to me had toxic mold, and was extremely sick as I was essentially being poisoned to death. I’m existing in this zombified state of not really living and barely surviving. I’d wanted to do Ayahuasca for about three years at that point, and hadn’t been ready yet to do it, and finally when all of that happened something shifted, and I knew it was finally time to do it. So I did my research, found a well reviewed center in Peru that follows the ancestral lineage of the brew with the Shipibo people, has legitimate Shipibo shamans, and supports the local tribes of the region and rainforest conservation which was vital to me because of the effects tourism is having on the Amazon Rainforest. I did their medical intake, (which for anyone reading if you’re interested in doing Ayahuasca and they don’t have a medical intake before signing you up, run), and once that was cleared, I booked a flight to Peru, and off I went. I did a week of ceremonies in the Amazon, and a week in the Sacred Valley. The whole experience was magic.
The first night that I did Ayahuasca I set my intentions and asked her, (Ayahuasca is the grandmother medicine in Shipibo tradition so she’s referred to as a woman), why am I going through all of these things? Why have I had to crawl through fire my entire life? And I asked her to guide me and show me what my purpose is, and she did. She showed me on a physical and cellular level why I had to go through all of the things I had been through in my life and it’s odd because the way that I “purged” was giggling like a little kid. I had none of the dark and harsh releasing, it was all bliss and I think it was a reflection of what I needed most.
Then she showed me the energetic level that I was at at that point, and then showed me where I was meant to be. I don’t know how else to describe it, except that it was this hyper-feminine woman’s body that was made out of gold light. She kept showing me that, and telling me that was my soul, and what I’m meant to be, and that it was time to rise up into that.
It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life, and was a strong trigger for this record, as now, three years later, I’m finally integrating that into more concrete physical form. Ultimately that’s where the record started, and that’s where the exorcism began, because the exorcism has been having to work through all of the trauma and terror thats been locked away in my psyche for so many years that’s being released to transcend into that higher self.
It’s a continual process. Making this record has been a very difficult period of my life. So many demons have come up that I’ve had to address, and there were months on end where I sat and stared at my computer unable to make anything because I had to work through and release the blocks first to be able to step into a fuller, higher sense of my power and make Inferno.
Spencer: So do you feel like this record then has almost been more like a healing mechanism for you at the same time?
Yaz: Absolutely. It’s been very cathartic. I’ve had to literally crawl on my hands and knees through those nine circles of Hell. Pulling myself through the fire, and like the phoenix you’re reborn through that process.
Spencer: Well, I thank you for sharing your story. And I think, you know, a lot of people reading this are probably going to connect you in more ways than we might think. So I really appreciate you coming and talking to me. I am super proud of you, seeing the growth and healing within you. I know you’ve gone through so much!
Yaz: Thank you, I appreciate that, I always look at it as I’ve been fortunate to go through the things that I’ve gone through. Which probably sounds odd to a lot of people, but going through those things has allowed me to have understanding and experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise. With what I do, my mission as an artist and human, my highest purpose is to positively impact as many people as possible. So by going through those things, I’m able to do that on a much wider scale.
Spencer: All right. Are you ready to talk about some fashion now?
Yaz:Yes! Something a bit less intense.
Spencer: Let’s talk about the Heresy music video that you mentioned, you styled it, and you were in the role as a costume designer as well. You also directed, produced set design, and did the choreography for the video What was the inspiration and how did fashion and costume interplay with the narrative of this?
Yaz: I had the idea in Summer 2020 to make a music video about Lilith and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It came from the fact that there are no representations of Lilith and Eve together in any sort of art. There’s a brilliant Ukrainian painter named Yuri Klapouh that did a painting of them, but that is the only representation I’ve ever been able to find of the two of them together. So I said, why not portray them together in an art piece? We present these two women as being so different, the Madonna and the whore. Eve being the Madonna, the pure submissive one, Lilith being the whore, the embodiment of dark dominant powerful unbridled female sexuality. We look at them as separate figures, but they’re really one in the same, and ultimately both of them are blamed for the downfall of man.
Eve is submissive and follows all the rules and is blamed for the downfall of man because she eats the apple. Lilith is dominant, and insists that she be considered an equal to Adam, and as a result she’s thrown out of Eden and cast into the role of the Devil. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on. As a woman, you are always the one to blame and you’re demonized regardless of what you do. Particularly, if you’re a confident woman that owns your power, femininity, and sexuality above all else, you’re demonized and castigated by society.
It’s a further reflection on society as well, because our society is ruled by what Freud calls the Madonna-Whore complex.Which is the idea that women can either be Madonnas and they’re pure, innocent, submissive, naive, and virginal, or they’re whores, and they’re dark, sexual, dominant, and powerful. Women are put into one of these boxes by society, and through society’s lens are not allowed to have any variance or nuance, let alone be both of these archetypes.
So I had that idea. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot because I’m a very dominant person. Which I imagine is a surprise to no one, I’ve always been this way, but I also have a much softer side that most people can’t fathom even exists largely in part to the binary we hold women to. So with the video, I wanted to take Lilith and Eve and show them as being one in the same. A representation of the Madonna-Whore complex, and how it impacts women.
That was the biggest concept and, (going back to what I said earlier), I’ve always thought Hell would be the greatest party ever, and I make electronic music so why not throw a surreal Eyes Wide Shut BDSM bondage rave in the ninth circle of Hell, with me as the queen of Hell. So I decided I was going to be hyperfeminine dominatrix Lilith, which for anyone that knows me knows that that was not a difficult decision because that’s me literally every day. (laughs)
And the costuming went from there, I’m really into corsets and I tightlace every day so it was a natural instinct to go there for the video.
The “Heresy” video tells the story of Lilith and Eve in Rave Hell and the Garden of Eden, and ultimately is a tale of these two women reclaiming their power and coming together as an integrated whole. Like you had said before, which I appreciate, first and foremost I’m a storyteller, so I wanted to tell this story but in the YAZ way, surrealist extreme avant garde costuming.
Photo by Jasten King
Naturally, everything that I make on my design label Yaz Mania is over the top and commands attention, so I wanted to ensure that energy was present throughout the video, and I wanted the rave scenes to come across as ritualistic and almost cult-like and playing into that trope. All of my ravers were wearing masks and devil horns that I made, and were all styled with cloaks to really create that effect, and to also create a sense of unity. I had an amazing cast of diverse women, and I was very insistent on the fact that we show different types of women together and how important it is for all women to come together and the power in that. All of my ravers brought outfits they wanted to wear within the parameters of clothes that were all black and red, and it was an amazing expression of the different ways that women dress. Some people are really conservative. Some people are a lot more provocative, but everyone is included and welcomed in YAZ’s Inferno.
In terms of my costuming as Lilith, I start out in Purgatory in an 80’s Thierry Mugler skirt suit and stilettos, so I’m presented as powerful and hyperfeminine from the get go. Once I enter Rave Hell I’m in the black patent leather corset bodysuit, with six inch black patent leather thigh high platforms. A full on fetish outfit that is the embodiment of temptation and sin. That was my goal, to make myself the most surreal, hyperfeminine satanic fetish cartoon dominatrix possible. I’m also wearing rhinestoned horns and holding a rhinestoned pitchfork, both of which I made to add to that extreme hyperfeminine cartoon-like element. When we go to Eden I have snakes wrapped around me which was a further stylistic choice to drive home the idea of me being the embodiment of ultimate temptation and sin.
For Eve’s costume I wanted something that was more soft and natural, but still in a very YAZ way, so while Eve is barefoot wearing leaves she also has rhinestoned apples on her chest and is wrapped in this amazing rhinestone cords that I found in the Fashion District in DTLA. So Eve is still soft and more gentle looking, but is still wearing a proper YAZ look that’s extreme and avant garde. She’s a representation of the softer, more meek look that we associate with femininity. A true vision of the Madonna.
Photo by Jasten King
I was going for a lot of contrast between Lilith and Eve to drive home the binary nature of the Madonna-Whore complex. Eve is wearing more natural materials with the leaves, while I’m in patent leather, which starts as a natural material, but then is manufactured to give it its shine. That was done intentionally. A nod to the conflict between natural vs manufactured beauty and how women are criticized for both. Furthering the contrast, Eve is super blonde, more tan, and has softer more natural makeup, and Lilith, (aka me) has long black hair, super pale skin, long red nails, full red lips and smokey eyes, and I’m towering over Eve in these high heels and this crazy corset with an 8 inch waist reduction. It’s so extreme on both ends to really drive that point home.
However there’s still an element of integration between Lilith and Eve even with all of that. Its subtle, but Eve and I both are wearing red rhinestoned accessories, which was a deliberate choice I made in the costuming to show that even in their first interaction they already contain elements of one another and have to integrate with one another to create a unified whole.
I also had a goal of integrating as many fetishes as possible into this video without getting flagged by YouTube, so that’s reflected in the costuming. (laughs)
Spencer: *laughs* This is a wild interview and I love it. I love what you did with the costuming though, finding the difference between Eve and Lilith. The more natural look versus the more manufactured look. Let’s dive deeper into the technical, physical sense on what you did for the costumes. You created all the costumes on set, everything.
Yaz: I made all of the masks, my devil horns and pitchfork, all of the accessories and props, the apples we used, etc. I painted and stoned all of them, as well as styling the entire video.
Eve’s costume I made by hand. It was originally a nude bra and brief. I started by hot gluing leaves to the entire set, then added the apple branches to the bra, then stoned those apples, then set everything. It was interesting as well because I had to do more extreme things, like stuffing a pillow into the brief to reflect the volume of Eve’s hips so the leaves would be distributed and covering her correctly, and manually having to cut and wrap wire for the apple branches so they would sit correctly and also not poke or cut Eve while she was in costume. Things like that, that were more out of the box because of the materials I used.
Spencer: Brilliant. Also, we have to talk about that corset you wear. I’ve been dying to ask you about your collaboration with Dark Garden Corsetry and tightlacing.
Yaz: Tightlacing is a form of body modification. Essentially the tightlacer wears a steel boned corset that’s made properly and is anatomically correct, and literally laces it as tight as they can to shrink their waist and train their body to be able to lace tighter and tighter over time. I’ve been waist training for two and a half years now and tight lacing for close to eight months. I love it, I do it all day every day and I think it’s really comfortable. I hate not wearing a corset. So when you’re tightlacing, you’re able to train your waist to get smaller and smaller as you’re able to lace tighter and tighter. So with this video I wanted to get my waist as small as possible, which really is always my goal in life.
I have probably one of the best erotic/fetish art libraries out there. I’m very dedicated to collecting and I’m so fortunate to have great book suppliers. I went through 20,000 pages of fetish illustrations from my library, took photos, compiled them and did a ton of the source research to really nail the vision I had in my head for my look. Then I called Dark Garden, who are my corset makers, and said “I want to create a black patent leather corset bodysuit with a really extreme shape. I want to look like Agent U-89 from John Willie’s The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline, I need it by January, is that feasible?” And Autumn, the founder and owner of Dark Garden, and a dear friend of mine, said absolutely let’s hop on Zoom, do measurements and go from there.
So we did. I explained the concept, we did the measurements, and three weeks later, I was in San Francisco for the first fitting. We really hit the ground running because we were three and a half months out at that point and that’s not much time to make this type of corset in general, let alone in patent leather, and with the proportions I wanted.
Throughout the entire process, Autumn and I were constantly talking about the shape and making adjustments and refining things. Every time I went in, we got closer and closer, and made the shape more and more extreme. That was largely because of minor adjustments we made that only Autumn would think of because she is so brilliant and gifted in what she does. We ended up getting down to an eight inch reduction through the modifications, which for someone of my height and size in general is an insane reduction. We were able to go there because we have this beautiful collaborative process. She understood what I was going for, and I understood the tight lacing it would take to get there.
Photo by Jasten King
I should also note that normally a corset has a busk. This is a buskless corset meaning there’s no way to hook it in the front and then lace yourself. You have to step into it. And then someone has to physically lace you into it. Every single time. So lacing it up is this magical process that’s really an exercise in patience and discipline, and Autumn and I were able to go to that place and make that happen to really lace my waist down as tight as it could go.
With the statement I’m making in this video, I wanted an extreme silhouette with real cartoon character proportions like Jessica Rabbit. I’m supposed to look like a caricature of a woman. And that’s what I always want to be. I don’t ever want to look like a “normal” woman. I want to look supernatural and otherworldly. I want to live life as a Gene Bilbrew cartoon or one of Eric Stanton’s Amazonian women. They’re all hyper-feminine, and there’s so much power in that. Feminine energy is so powerful, and I’m not saying that just for women, this applies to everyone, your feminine energy is the most powerful thing that you have. That’s why the world tries to demonize femininity, and turn people against it.
I live my life as a tight laced hyper feminine femme fatale and it’s powerful. It’s an active rebellion against a world that punishes femininity. And as a performance artist, this is my daily life. It’s a commitment to my work. I’m fiercely dedicated to my vision, and my work and have insanely high standards for everything, so having a collaborator that understood and met that energy was vital.
And when I tried on the final corset at the store in January all of our jaws just dropped. It was so far beyond what any of us ever imagined. Every single detail was impeccable. Perfectly symmetric, all of the seams identical, every single little detail. Perfect. It’s a testament to Dark Garden and the quality of their work, and the power of having a collaborator that really understands what you’re looking for, shares that vision, and is willing to go there with you, because a lot of people would not be willing to do something so extreme. I’m very lucky to have Autumn and the whole team, all of whom are absolutely amazing. I can’t recommend Dark Garden enough, they are by far the best for anything corset related.
Spencer: That’s amazing. I’m looking forward to learning more about them and potentially spotlighting them here on this site. we’re definitely going to be spotlighting them on the site. So you and I have a mutual love for Thierry Mugler. Who sadly passed away a few weeks ago. I understand that his work really played a big inspiration in this project.
Yaz: Manfred Thierry Mugler is one of my biggest heroes, not just as a designer, but also as a person. He was always a champion for strong, confident, powerful, dominant, feminine women, and he never, ever backed down on that. All of the women in his clothing, and in his shows were always shown in a position of power, and while it was certainly provocative it was never pornographic. It was always artistic, and always creative. He was a true renaissance man, and his showmanship is unmatched. And the clothes my god. His clothing shapes people’s bodies like no one else. I’ve never seen anyone come close to what his clothing does. I collect his work, the 80’s pieces being my favorite, and it’s phenomenal the way his clothing flatters the body. The silhouettes are so feminine and so powerful. He’s dressing strong feminine women and his clothing embodies that powerful, feminine energy.
I always think it’s funny that people say all the women in his shows look like dominatrixes, like it’s a bad thing. I’m like, good, why wouldn’t a woman want to look like that? It’s tapping into the divine feminine, and into empowered female sexuality and that’s incredibly powerful. He inspires all of my work, because that embodiment of the feminine is how I live my life. And with this project, when I decided, I was going to be satanic hyper-feminine dominatrix Lilith, of course, he was the first thought.
It’s funny, we shot the Heresy video the day before he passed, and I’m wearing 80’s Mugler in the video, and I was on set thinking when the video comes out I’m going to tag him in, and was so excited that he might see it, and then literally the next day he passed.
I’m still absolutely devastated but I think that he would be so happy to see that he’s inspired another generation of women to carry on his torch, and that they’re still wearing his clothes.
He gave me such a big gift. If I hadn’t seen the women in his shows, I never would have thought that it would be possible for me to be something like that. To have that type of silhouette, and to go to that place. Nobody does it like him. I mean, he was working with Mr. Pearl. Without Mugler, there would be no YAZ, and this project would not exist as it does. He is forever my hero, and I know he’s in a better place making the cosmos look spectacular.
Spencer: I am certain he would be so proud of what you have accomplished.
Yaz: Thank you, that’s a huge compliment.
Spencer: Final question before we wrap up, let’s talk about the Yaz Mania and the Inferno collection. I believe it was featured in the Heresy video as well.
Yaz: It is! I have an Inferno capsule collection coming out on my design label Yaz Mania, similar to what I did for Eternity. This one is a bit larger, I want to say it’s 18 pieces.
The collection itself was inspired by Inferno and I worked on many of the pieces while I was making the record so they go hand in hand. The main thematic influence apart from the record was Rave Hell, and what I would wear to a surrealist satanic fetish rave so it also goes hand in hand with the music video for “Heresy.” Most of the collection was featured in the “Heresy” video as well. I was really focused on darker and deeper colors, so red, black, gold, silver, to an extent, dark purples. I was also thinking a lot about things that refract light. A big reason why I work with rhinestones with Yaz Mania is because they’re a multifaceted material. They have color and shine, and they reflect light in general, but they also refract light and can shine off one another. It’s the same reason why I like patent leather, PVC, and latex, they’re multidimensional materials. So I wanted to integrate those elements as well.
With the “Heresy” video. I wanted to make a fashion film as well as a music video, and it also needed to be an art film. It had to serve all of those functions. I’m such a maximalist when it comes to my art, everything has to be detailed and extreme. So it was two sided, the collection fulfills the need of accessories and props for the video, and the video fulfills the purpose of bridging together a high art fashion film with a music video. It brings the music to life, because it really creates the world I envisioned from day 1 when I had the idea for this record. It tells the story in a way that only visual art and fashion can, and it provides more layers to the narrative and the world of Inferno. And that’s what I wanted to do with this collection. I always integrate the music throughout my design work because for me it’s already there. I can look at something I’ve made that’s not tied to an explicit album collection and I can tell you sonically what it would sound like. It’s just part of how my brain works. So it makes sense to have it all together because in my head each component is an integrated part of the complete whole. The collection is a visual representation of the album, and the album is a sonic representation of the collection, it’s all connected and all part of the world of Inferno.
Spencer: I love the way your brain works.
Yaz: You want my brain? I’ll give you it, it’s a nonstop never ending roller coaster ride.
Spencer: I don’t know if I can handle your brain.
Yaz: I don’t know if I can handle my brain either.
Spencer: I am so excited for you. You always have something up your metaphorical sleeves. You’re not actually wearing sleeves at the moment, but you always have something up there. Leave us with your parting words.
Yaz: The album is out February 18th, and the “Heresy” music video will be out after that. I’m also releasing a full album visualizer in March, and we have a BTS of the “Heresy” video that will be coming out. The Yaz Mania Inferno collection launches in April, and I’ve already started working on my next music project which should be out in the fall, so there’s a lot going on as usual.
Spencer: Well, it sounds like you have some work to do. I love you. Thank you so much for joining, this has been a real pleasure.
Yaz: I love you too! Thank you so much for having me. This has been really fun.