Chances are you’re wearing sweatpants right now, lying fully horizontal on your couch, plotting how soon you can order your next takeout meal. You haven’t left your apartment all week, and you certainly haven’t stepped foot onto a dance floor in days, months, years? Enter: Rubby with a new music video that might just lift you out of your current malaise and transport you to the nightclub you’ve been missing.
“Tight Corridors” is the second single from the Dominican-born, NYC-raised, and now CDMX-based artist’s soon to be released first EP, PÁJARO MALO. The genre-bending dance floor anthem is set to steamy visuals and sharp choreography that nods to rave culture, public sex, and what Rubby calls “femmeraderie.” Check it out for yourself, and don’t blame us if you experience a sharp pang of nostalgia for life Before:
We spoke with Rubby about the project, quarantine, Grindr, and more. Here are some snippets from our conversation, edited for length and clarity:
Hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hey Grindr! My name is Rubby Valentin and I can be anything you want me to be 😏 I was originally born in the Dominican Republic but grew up in Washington Heights, NYC. During the day I'm a corporate girl, but at night I transform into a multi-dimensional fantasy. I've been singing, producing and directing my own music and visual art for the past three years. Some may say I'm a lot to handle, but I think I'm exactly who I am supposed to be. Star me and stay along for the ride.
Where in the world are you right now?
I am currently residing in the beautiful Ciudad de Mexico. I decided to move here three months ago after growing tired of my space and needing some new things to explore and look at.
What's getting you through quarantine?
Quarantining for me has had its ups and downs, but I've tried to keep it interesting with a couple trips to the Oaxacan beaches and mountains. I live with two amazing roommates that keep me entertained, and we might even get a new kitty this week to spice things up 😺
What are you listening to right now?
I've been listening to alot of old jazz, Sade, Jazmin Sullivan's new album, and lots and lots of Shygirl.
Congrats on the new release! Tell us a little bit about the project.
Thank you! “Tight Corridors'' was produced by NYC-based underground DJ Kilbourne and is the second single off of my first EP, PÁJARO MALO. The five-track work is a bilingual, multi-genre project that details the loud and quiet of the queer experience through a unique blend of New World Dembow, R&B, Techno and signature seductive vocals.
What was your inspiration for the song?
The song came about after going to a rave on my birthday, Feb 14, 2020, right before the pandemic hit. I met a guy there, we had a good time, and, the next day, still drunk off the lust, I wrote the lyrics with my good friend and collaborator Sam Pottash in my downtown Philly apartment. Kilbourne and I had actually made the instrumental for the track a year earlier and were trying to find the right vocals and sentiment. The Phil Collins inspired drums mixed with Kilbourne's knack for obscure and wicked sounds birthed “Tight Corridors." Little did I know that this song would inspire me to take my music and visuals to another level—taking more risks, showing more skin, and looking right into the camera.
In an ideal world, where would be the best place for people to stream this song?
“Tight Corridors” is an anthem for the dancefloor, the bedroom, the cab ride, the morning shower and the night time skin routine. Get into it!
How did you conceptualize this video? I’m getting dark room vibes (RIP), is this based on your experiences there?
OMG! Haha well... yes but no. Any room can be a dark room if you ask me, and that's kinda what happened in real life 🤫 Jokes aside, I conceptualized the video with set designer Sam Waxman and co-director Gabriel Mejia in NYC this past summer. I knew I wanted something outrageous, extremely queer, and, most importantly, empowering of non-normative sexual experiences! I wanted to show the importance of not only sex, but also femmeraderie through cohesive, organized movement and lewks, lewks, lewks (thanks to my amazing stylist Joe Van O). Shout out to my video husband Salvie for the illustration of intimacy, and to my sisters and fellow dancers Sevyn and Nick Wilkinson for breathing life and fluidity into this project. I couldn't have done it without any of these magical people.
You turn quite a few lewks in this video (ok corset!), tell us about your favorites.
Uff!! Bebe, you already know I had to pull through with the lewks! It is all part of the transformation and DNA of Rubby. My favorite look is the white one in the cage with red lighting where I devour my leading man and stare into the camera with my demon eyes. The imagery for that look was inspired by the name of the EP, PÁJARO MALO, which translates to "bad fa***t" (or bird) in colloquial Dominican Spanish. The look is accompanied by incredible special effects makeup by Steven Añazco. I transformed into something so wickedly scary and beautiful, which is kind of like how I felt about my sexuality growing up.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
I am inspired by people who push the limit and create their bodies into work and work into bodies. My biggest musical inspirations are Ms. Boogie, James Blake, Fefita La Grande and FKA Twigs.
Are you single? Looking?
I am happily taken but always looking :)
How do you use Grindr?
As someone who has moved three times within the past year, Grindr has been super helpful in finding new friends, lovers, and hot vegan spots to check out. I believe that promiscuity is a good and healthy choice for society (recommended reading: “Unlimited Intimacy: Reflections on the Subculture of Barebacking” by Tim Dean). But most importantly, I believe in the power of consent and intuition.
What's your profile say?
My profile currently says nothing! I get too hung up on which emojis to use and I like a little sense of mystery.
What's next for you after this release?
Life! And of course, my full EP, PÁJARO MALO, releases on all platforms everywhere February 12, 2021. I might even have a couple more tricks up my sleeve.
What are you most looking forward to doing post-pandemic?
I am most looking forward to not having to wear a mask. I am so tired of having to match them with my outfits!