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Celebrating Trans Joy – An Interview with Desert Mambas

Desert Mambas, the new project from Foxx Bodies guitarist Bailey Moses (they/them), recently released their debut EP …But It’s a Dry Heat. Over four tracks, with shades of the classics of country, roots and generations of singer-songwriters, the listener is taken on a journey not just of working through the trepidation and thrill of Moses’s own transness, but also of a reconciliation of the past, love letters to an Arizona home that the singer has left behind, craving love despite knowing it comes with sharp teeth and dealing with transphobia in a Home Depot. 

We chatted with Bailey about writing songs for a solo project and their musical influences.

Hi Bailey! How’s everything going right now?
Not too shabby!

What classic album cover is your current mood?
The Dolly Parton “Here You Come Again” cover. Feeling a little loopy but ready to celebrate! Haha

Your fabulous debut EP “…But It’s A Dry Heat” is out this week. When did you write and record the tracks?
Most of the tracks were written during quarantine, like so many records were, but “It’s Been a While” was actually written almost 8 years ago! It was one of the first songs I wrote as Desert Mambas so it felt fitting for it to be on my debut.

You’ve said that the record is about “celebrating trans joy and expressing a lot of things that I held back for so long”. Was this easier to do as a solo artist rather than being part of a band?
I think it has less to do with being in a band and more about the genre for me. I find it easier to express trans joy through this kind of music versus with my other band Foxx Bodies, which is more punk leaning. I think Foxx Bodies is more about queer rage hahaha. Which is also important!

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Shannon and the Clams – Dreams in the Rat House

Where did the Desert Mambas name come from?
A stranger at a Waffle House bestowed the name upon me. We’ve never crossed paths since. They might not even exist for all I know! But the legend has carried on. I am really indecisive at coming up with band names otherwise so this was like a gift from the heavens.

What were your musical influences when you were growing up and getting onto music?
I was obsessed with Elvis as a kid, which I think still informs so much of the music I make now. I wanted to be him and Johnny Cash so badly…which again…not much has changed haha.

You have a release show scheduled on 7/15 in LA (at Resident DTLA). Are you planning to play any other shows to promote the EP?
Yes! I’m actually doing a little series of EP release shows in California!
-6/30 at 924 Gilman in Berkeley, CA
-7/3 at Satellite of Love in San Luis Obispo, CA
-7/16 at Resident DTLA in Los Angeles, CA

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Oh, man. I know it’s divisive, but I love pepperoni, jalapeno and pineapple pizza so I’d have to go with that. I guess in honor of my EP I’d call it something like “The Dry Heat.”

What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
I’ve been in the studio working on a bunch of new songs! There will definitely be some new tunes, touring, and a split EP with one of my pals!

With years in their pocket as a key member of the Los Angeles-based Foxx Bodies, Desert Mambas is Moses finding space with which to honor the journey that has delivered them here. Working through stage fright and a cursed show that left the singer-guitarist with a split chin, …But It’s a Dy Heat is a celebration of all that thrives in the bones and spirit of every inch of Desert Mambas. 

You can find out more about Desert Mambas at their Bandcamp page where you can buy the EP and get some merch. Also, follow them on Twitter and Instagram to get all the latest news.

Feature Photo Credit – Candace (@backwardzrakker)

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