Ariadne Randall is a precious gem, a slow-paced Sunday morning found in the middle of today’s societal rush. Randall, a newly born transgender artist, releases her first piece of musical work under her chosen name, a double EP named Her Water Dream / A Blue Thumbs Up.
The project is boundless space, born from New York City's pessimism and constructed through mystery, synths, digitally transfigured textures, and Ariadne’s own voice, one that she has recently found. It is not just a musical journey but a life one, in which the artist recognises herself in the mirror and comes out as who she really is. As her music liberates from genres, time limits, and TikTok-bound melodies, so does she, stepping towards freedom and truth.
First, of all, for those who may not yet know you, who is Ariadne Randall? What is her message to the world?
Be yourself and trust that. That’s what I’m trying to do. I find that it’s always useful to say yes to reality, however hard and scary it can be. That’s also why these pieces are the way they are: they’re a way of saying yes to their moments, taking listeners along with me while we discover something together. Is that a message to the world? I’m not sure. As for me: I’m a trans composer, writer, and visual artist educated in Los Angeles  and New York, now living in Vienna. Originally from liminal spaces somewhere between American Gothic and Breaking Bad, I looked to art for truths and experiences that were missing around me but felt within — like many other queer folks.
It felt like the single you just released, Her Water Dream, was a journey through your own self-creation — a very raw and extended piece of art, like the birthing of life itself. What made you push towards such a risky direction musically in a world of TikTok sped-up songs?
What a lovely way to ask this question, thank you. I felt that the risk of it failing due to length was less important than the possibility that it could offer what some people might need, as I needed it in the moment of composition: immersion, perhaps an antidote to the kind of media-rhythms and shiny surfaces we’re all waltzing with now. At some point I noticed my body really wanted something different than that sense of time. I always assume I’m not the only person to feel whatever thing, so I hoped it might resonate.
Did it feel liberating not to follow the lead?
Yes – but also: what’s the lead? Before I came out I was always trying to be something or someone. I studied genres, techniques, trends, and gender roles. But, to quote Ralph J. Gleason from the liner notes to Bitches Brew, all that lacked the “snapping fire of when you step out of the spaceship for the first time.” I’m tired of following. It doesn’t work anyway. People feel imitations a mile away, and computers will copy things perfectly soon enough. Become untrainable.
I think the way you expose your own journey on social media and your music, is beyond brave. What is the biggest lesson this project has given you?
Thank you so much, that’s very kind. The most important decision I’ve made as an artist and person in recent years is to trust that what is genuine for me will speak to others. It’s an ongoing trust fall, and scary at times. But it’s also practical since hiding doesn’t work either.
You say “Improvised before I accepted I was transgender. I later understood whose voice it was and why she sang.” That is a beautiful statement, what made you write those lines?
That was just the truth. I came out to my girlfriend some weeks later and we wept and this song that had mystified me became clearer in its meaning. Improvisation can be like dreams in this way, showing things you didn’t know you knew and weren’t aware you needed.
Which piece of advice would you give to those people struggling to find their true voice or letting it out?
Perhaps all advice is bad advice, but this worked for me: try practices that force you to finish lots of things quickly, whatever the results. Morning pages, pressing record,   meditation, whatever. Eventually, you’ll get good at whatever it is. If you are lucky, sometimes you’ll end up with a pearl in your hand. In this pearl will be a hint to what is true for  you. You can’t avoid it, actually. Even a stubborn horse will eventually turn its head towards the hay. The poet William Stafford, who recommended writing a poem daily, was asked how this was even possible. He simply said, “Lower your standards.” Failing better works.
Back to your double EP Her Water Dream / A Blue Thumbs Up —could you give us a headline for it?
Above all, it’s a vocal record: almost every sound is made somehow from my voice. It’s also a record of attempts to find a relationship to a body and voice strange to me, documented in real-time. Listeners will hear sung and spoken word, oceanic landscapes of electronics, sh*tposting poetry, and sincere songs of the heart.
I can’t help but feel like the EP is deeply intertwined with encountering your own identity. Would you say Her Water Dream / A Blue Thumbs Up mirrors your coming out as a woman?
It happened this way, you’re right. I came out as non-binary around the time the first EP was composed and as a woman after the second. In A Blue Thumbs-Up, I hear a certain queer, ironic New York pessimism: here we are in the heart of a certain kind of dream, that dream isn’t always what was sold to us, and anyway, a monster’s in charge and we’re gay despite it all. This was a laptop record and I was living as a man and looking for sounds and modes I’d never heard before. I wanted a voice and had never found it. I kept trying and got here. Her Water Dream, for me, is the continuation of that search. The record has to do more with themes traditionally associated with the Feminine: softness, growth, spring, but also death and the underworld, fecundity and youth. I wanted a voice and had never found it. I kept trying and got here. It was different than I expected, and there was a softness in it I had not before allowed myself.
You say you mainly tuned into improvisation for the construction of this piece of art, which mixes electronics, spoken word, and infinite landscapes and environments of resonance and mystery. Is there someone that you look up to creatively for structuring your music?
On the one hand: Robert Ashley, Laurie Anderson, Éliane Radigue, Morton Subotnick, and the Troubadours and Trouvères of Medieval Europe. On the other: club basements, the old Spectrum and Ghetto Gothic parties, Berghain at five in the morning as the sun rises, time stretched out into a material one can feel.
This release is definitely the beginning of an amazing and exciting path. What’s next?
Next are four things: first, another full-length record called Our Mouths Are Spring, on love, big data, and how they’re all mixed up these days; second, the next part of the Reverse Cowgirl trilogy, which (fingers crossed)  will premiere in 2025 and has a pretty exciting team including some queer legend elders; third, a June concert at the Vienna Volksoper on queer joy, which will feature four new compositions of mine for opera singers and piano on texts by local LGBTQIA+ poets. The fourth and final thing is, a group exhibition at Galerie Peter Gaugy, also in June, on the theme of Dark Botanicals — death, rebirth, biology, and growth.