The newest incarnation of the synth-pop chanteuse—a trend that still reigns supreme in clubland—is Nomi Ruiz, a well-proportioned 24-year old who emits orgasmic moans over gloomy harmonies set down by her band, Jessica 6. Last Tuesday night, the trio crammed onto The Box’s small stage with some horns and strings to perform its trademark “dark disco” in honor of the new EP, Fun Girls.
high patent leather boots and standing in front of a fan, which blew
through her black tresses, Ruiz “oohed” and “aahed,” through several
numbers to a packed house.The crowd was familiar with Ruiz’s sound from
her turn as guest vocalist with breakout disco revivalists Hercules and Love Affair. Standing toward the back, two young women cooed over keyboardist Morgan Wiley’s Adonis-like
good looks. “Was he ever on Dawson’s Creek?” one of them gushed.The
music that Ruiz moaned over was an eclectic stew of heavy synth-pop
blips, a drum machine and classical orchestration.
minutes after the set, Ruiz fidgeted through a few questions backstage.
She spoke repeatedly of wanting to bring “more emotion” into electronic
music. “I’m more human. My music isn’t as robotic,” she said, taking a
swipe at Lady Gaga. But in her own way, Ruiz is just as much a
cipher as Gaga. Responding to a question about what inspires her
songwriting, the chanteuse opened her eyes widely and smiled. “They’re
about personal things,” she said. Asked if she was a full transsexual,
Ruiz, who is extremely feminine, was even more oblique. “Why? Are we
going to have sex?” she asked.Told that it very much depended on her
answer, Ruiz stamped her foot and opened her eyes wider still. At that
point, a Box employee dressed like a circus ringmaster came whisking
through the dressing room and unceremoniously told the group to leave.
Ruiz finally spit it out: “I’ve always been like this!”