YabYum Seven: Lou Cruz

lou cruz 01

All photos courtesy of Lou Cruz

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Lou, and basically I am just some dude in the Phoenix scene that loves the arts! My main gigs are creating art under the name Tapedeck.art, and singing/screaming in a local hardcore band, FEMBOY, with my best friends. I am starting a podcast with my partner that will discuss pop culture, politics, mental health, and more, called Brain Stew with Matt and Lou! Basically it is just another outlet where I can express myself, and talk about important current events.

I am also a social worker, and an advocate for the trans/queer community. I am a trans guy myself (he/him pronouns), and love to help other people with gathering resources, and spreading positive/accurate information. Another big passion of mine is mental health, and de-stigmatizing the idea of getting help. I currently work at a suicide prevention center.

How did you get your start?

Two very vital things happened to me that really helped me get involved in the music and arts community. First I met the local band Phantom Party (RIP), who introduced me to so many wonderful people. I was also given the opportunity to work live sound for 51 West (also RIP), which helped me build so many strong connections to people in the scene. I made a lot of friends, and that really helped kick start my creative projects!

lou cruz 02What inspires you?

Man, so many things inspire me, but the biggest one is risk. Creating art and writing music is a risk because it is exposing yourself to vulnerability. That has always been something I was scared of. My wonderful partner, Matt Slusser, has taught me so much about vulnerability, and how important it is to express yourself, and let yourself grow, as a person or as an artist. My biggest goal has always been to grow, and I guess that is fueled by my fear of regression.

Music has also inspired me to create as well. Most of my visual art comes from things I imagine when listening to music. Watching my favorite musicians grow into their sound and gain more attention always pushes me to continue with my own music and art.

My other inspirations have come from seeing my loved ones conquer their mental illnesses, and seeing my wonderful friends in the trans community grow and fight to become who they want to be.

What do you like about AZ?

Arizona is such a beautiful place. It may sound cliché, but I love the landscape and sunsets. I have also met some of the best people out here. There may be some hiccups in the scene, but overall everyone in the community works together and some really cool things come out of it!

OH ALSO – I love El Paisano, which is a little convenience store in Tempe that serves Hot Cheetos burritos until 4 AM!

lou cruz 03Where can we see you(r) work?

I am active on most social media!

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook:

@femboyaz (Also on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, etc…)
@amigxthedevil (personal)

What would you like to accomplish before you die?

Oh gosh, well, my biggest goal is to just live a happy and fulfilled life, dude. I have spent way too much time struggling with depression and anxiety to do things that don’t make me happy. If I make a living with art, that’s cool, but if not, I’m not going to feel like a failure. I have so many friends that are so obsessed with “leaving something behind,” and “making it,” that it seems like a stressful way to live. There has to be a balance of hard work and having fun in my opinion. At the end of the day, I want to spend time with my loved ones, be creative, and live a healthy life.

I also want to grow a beard. That would be pretty rad.

lou cruz 04What is your mantra?

“Be More Kind.” Frank Turner coined this phrase, and there’s not much more you can add on to that. You never know what people are going through, so Be More Kind, and make this world a safer place.