The intersection of nerd and mainstream cultures have been doing the tango for years now. We are seeing an evolving industry; one that is beginning to respect nerd/geek culture and continues to absorb it into big media features. This means, more opportunities for incredible folx to flex their talents within subcultures that were previously ignored. This brings me to BlackKrystel, cosplayer and gamer, who recently dropped their gaming music video called “Party Up.” I was lucky enough to be able to interview them, so please enjoy!
BlackNerdProblems: Please tell us a bit about yourself! Where did you grow up, and how did you get to where you are today?
BlackKrystel: I was born in New York but grew up in a small town in Florida. I started my online personality back in high school where I would make weekly gaming YouTube videos and stream; but when I moved back to NY for college, I wasn’t able to continue so I found another way to express myself through cosplay. Cosplay opened a lot of doors for me and once I graduated, I was able to pick back up streaming again. Through streaming, I got into eSports as a host/assistant producer. As for music, it’s always been a part of my life and a lot of it was while I was gaming. I grew up in my church choir all while catching the lead roles in my high school musicals & local playhouse.
Playing guitar and piano was my favorite escape, other than gaming. I even became VP in my college’s acapella group. I love arranging covers and mashups of songs or anime themes, and I’d post them on social media. While, recording music has always been a dream of mine, it was one of those “maybe one day things.” Then, after some people had heard my covers and started telling me I should take it seriously, I did. I got introduced to this awesome music collective called Geeklife and started writing music. Then, the team at Lost Rings heard one of my covers and wanted to meet. We spoke about their goals, and I shared mine. Immediately, they wanted me to be one of their debut artists; now here I am!
BNP: How has the term “gamer” evolved over the last decade in your eyes?
BK: Gamers have always been looked down on; we are the outcasts, nerds, dweebs, the ones no one wants to hang out with. Even now, main-streamers want to act like being a gamer is “cool” but still complain when they see us all over mainstream media. The term gamer hasn’t evolved at all, the change you’re seeing is us gamers now embracing it. Gamers and geeks alike now own their weirdness and refuse to be afraid to be themselves anymore.
— LostRingsOfficial (@LostRingsMusic) July 19, 2019
BNP: Do you incorporate any socio-political commentary in your work? If so, does it ever get controversial?
BK: I don’t incorporate that in my work because what I do is about celebrating and sharing my passions, but I will never shy away from any social-political conversations. I go out of my way to make sure my opinions are heard regardless if it gets controversial.
BNP: If you could pit two video game characters against each other in a kitchen brawl, who would they be and why?
BK: GLaDOS from Portal vs Flowey from Undertale. I think the pre-brawl conversations between the two of them would be unbearably hilarious. Although, I’m not sure what that fight looks like lol.
Photographer Credit for Cover Photo: Andrew Fennell