By Will Yannacoulias
Saskatoon's own YXE Drag Collective are currently touring Saskatchewan, celebrating Pride province wide with stops in Moose Jaw, Regina, Humboldt, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Lloydminster, La Ronge, Creighton, Swift Current, Kindersley, Battlefords and Yorkton. Covering so many miles in such a short period of time on the "Drag Me Across Saskatchewan" tour, we had to ask the Collective the burning question on everyone's minds; what are y'all listening to? Without further ado we present to you the YXE Drag Collective Summer 2021 Mix Tape!
Any great mix tape should kick off with a rock tune, and the mesmerizing Majik Trixx was happy to oblige. A Saskatoon drag performer intent to "jiggle, wiggle and dance my way to the grave", she's spinning hometown heroes The Sheepdogs' groovy stomp "The Way It Is".
"They may not be indie" she shared, "but they are a rock band that formed right here in Saskatoon in the year of 2004. Growing up my family raised me on some good rock n roll, and The Sheepdogs are no exception. The Sheepdogs have come out with some amazing hits such as "I Don't Know" and "Keep On Lovin You". But the song I chose is "The Way It Is". This song is a good example of how I go about my life. Everything is the way it is and that's that. It's that simple. This is a feel good song with great rhythm and is perfect for a summer day. Definitely a song I blast while cruising around Saskatoon as well as on Saskatchewan's many highways."
The former Mr. Gay Saskatoon/Mr. Divas 2019 has felt the support and love of the Saskatoon scene, so he paid it forward by giving a shoutout to local indie rockers The Raidant's latest single "Project Mastermind". Stony praised The Radiant, stating that "this band local to Saskatoon hits it hard. I love their energy and mashup of styles." He kept the local love going with Begonia's beautiful groove track "Juniper", sharing that "this Winnipeg-born indie artist's music makes me either want to sing and dance or cry. Her music hits me so different."
Sad Sally stayed true to form, choosing two tracks with dark, sensual beats and powerful, passionate vocal performances. Sally shares that the first, "Vices" by Mothica, "was a song that I discovered mid quarantine when I was in a very rough place, Mothica is able to portray emotions and struggle in a super unique and way that really tugs at my emotions." "Fresh Laundry" by Allie X is also in Sally's regular rotation. "Allie X is a queer Canadian artist that I discovered in my first year of university and instantly fell in love with. Fresh Laundry is a song I have performed so many times, it presents camp in a new modern way while still taking inspiration from older songs."
Miss Gay Saskatoon/Miss Divas 2021 Mia Beretta is a passionate performer whose first love is to entertain. It should come as no surprise that Mia Beretta chose two songs with broad pop appeal, feel-good sunshine tunes that everyone knows by heart. She offered up guaranteed crowd pleaser "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston as "a timeless classic that never goes out of style, and such an incredible song to perform to. It's a song you can't help but bop and dance along with even if you are in the audience." Mia showed some true patriot love with Canadian classic Shania Twain's "Up". "My first concert I ever went to was Shania Twain's Up tour with my mom when I was 13," she remembered. "That experience sticks with me till today. Positive songs and music are necessary, especially in this day and age."
Karma K Meleon
Karma K Meleon chose to contribute a track every bit as beautiful, delicate and poised as her stage persona, the haunting acapella "Hide and Seek" from England's Imogen Heap. Karma shared that "this song for me was one of my weird finds when shuffling through music. It really has an ambience to it that struck with me and my feelings as a trans woman under the public eye." Karma then changed gears with a guilty-pleasure pop standard, "Holding Out For A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler. Karma explained the song's layered appeal. "This song is so good for high energy performance and everyone knows it. Plus it’s in Shrek so like... duh."
Junior Mint keeps things fresh and sweet with the alt-pop track "Your Sweater" from another of Saskatoon's sweethearts, singer/songwriter velours. "This song to me is an incredible winter jam that is written and performed by an incredibly strong Saskatoon local woman." Junior shared with us. "You can hear the strength in her voice and in her lyrics. You can feel the pain behind the story of resurrection in the song and to me it is incredibly powerful." Junior Mint closes out the playlist with another inspired local artist, the fun alternative-folk harmonies of In With The Old. "This song is a stark contrast to my choice of my velours song" he confessed, "but this song I think is equally as intriguing. By a local Saskatoon band, the lyrics are so quirky and fun and catchy, making a great song for the drive to work to put you in a great mood for the day. On top of this the music in itself is stunningly layered, with too many strings to count, it is clear that there is true musical talent with fun and quirky lyrics found throughout their music."
The YXE Drag Collective can be followed on Facebook or at www.yxedragcollective.com. The "Drag Me Across Saskatchewan" tour is underway, with tickets available for eight more forthcoming dates. NSMZ will be at the Prince Albert performance on June 19th, stop by and say hi!
photo courtesy YXE Drag Collective