“I usually just describe Saint Taint as ‘trans-femme bxtch seeks meaning,'” explains Max Schaffer of their alter ego.”They’re this entity that I aspire to become. By making things as them and letting them out for performances, I get to slowly bridge the gap between us. Saint Taint represents all the proudest most uninhibited forms of my queerness, and trans-ness, and emotional expression. I just aim to be as bad of a bxtch as they are and I think I’m getting there by making stuff.”
The stuff that Saint Taint has most recently made is a new video for their track “I Got Lies (feat. Mïrändä).” It’s an upbeat, funky, pop-fueled little bop that, incidentally, just made it onto the Fresh Finds editorial playlist on Spotify. The accompanying video is a fun, weird, slightly disconcerting melange of floating green screen footage featuring the song’s artists that somehow seems to capture the mood of the song.
“The video was pretty much inspired by necessity,” explained Schaffer on working with Mïrändä. “We’re on opposite coasts and wanted to be in a video together. So I was just like, ok, let me utilize Amazon’s incredibly loose return policy to rent a green screen for free this weekend. Mïrändä had one at home, too. So we just shot some dancing and goofy takes separately and I edited them together into this absolute insanity. We both were just like, great. This is done. We love it. We really just wanted to capture a super DIY, totally janky, glam vibe where it looked like we really thought we were the shit but obviously did not have the money to afford being the shit. I think the only direction I suggested was I want people to laugh but also be weirdly turned on.”
The soon to be a Harvard grad came up with the concept of Saint Taint, who they describe as a “sexy bald banshee thing,” last summer while they were still living back East. It was after playing their first live solo show in Brooklyn that their alter ego was first born.
“After that it just felt right,” they said, “like just the perfect face for all the art I was making. And, honestly, the face I knew was mine even if I couldn’t fully show it yet.”
The debate between your digital self and your real self is just so intense as a femme in the modern social media age, and there’s so much positivity and negativity to explore in there.”
Schaffer and Mïrändä first met back high school in New York. (“Back then she was just Miranda Johnson,” they shared. “No umlauts yet.”) The pair were attending LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, a public performance arts school where she she studied drama and they studied technical theatre. But it was years before the pair would collaborate musically.
“I’d been listening to her make just totally amazing music for years,” they explained, “before I reached out a few months back with this track, ‘cuz I thought she’d just be perfect for it. I actually wrote most of it sitting in Cascade Coffee Works one afternoon, and just sent it off to her.”
“She came back like a week later with this just like bomb vocal track and these sweet lyrics,” they added, “and we just knew it was totally sick. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like she read my mind about all the stuff I was thinking about at the time/ It turns out we were just experiencing the same thing. The debate between your digital self and your real self is just so intense as a femme in the modern social media age, and there’s so much positivity and negativity to explore in there. So she just totally nailed it.”
The divide between our online and offline selves is something that many people struggle with as a sort of digital narcissism. The issue is often compounded for those of us who also suffer from any sort of structural or societal oppression, where a social media environment allows us to project an idealized version of ourselves to the digital public. For Saint Taint, a trans-femme artist, this particular divide sits between the expected and the actual when it comes to being femme.
“I didn’t know what I was gonna do in editing [the video],” they admit. “I thought about the classic, solid color, cool look, but then I just got lazy and stacked everything and it looked dope! Plus, it reminded me of this artist I love named Sakura Daijin. The mix of bodies is fantastic, because I think it seriously mixes up the types of femmes you’re looking at, and quite possibly mixes up the types you’re attracted to as well. That fit the album artwork too, which comes from a pattern series I do. We cropped intentionally. Whose legs are they? Man? Woman? A gay, even? Who knows? But they’re sexy.”
In the meantime, fans of Saint Taint can hopefully look forward to a full-length album in the next few months.
“Prepare for it to melt you face off,” they said, “because it is really weird.”
Mïrändä is an Electronic Music Producer and Artist, born and raised in NYC. Each one of her songs is its own textured world, transcending the limitations of sound and exciting all of the senses. While she identifies with Electronica and Dream Pop, her music, both playful and visionary, eludes genre.