The Alterhuman Media Project

Alt+H Presents: CRIME And The Forces Of Evil

Band Lead Dana Korra’ti Talks Supervillains, Reinventing The Drumkit, And The Tautology Of Being An Elf

Her music was not what I knew Dara for first. As R’ykandar Korra’ti, she founded the mailing list Eflinkind Digest where the word ‘otherkin’ was first coined. To learn later that she was a musician was a pleasant surprise.

CRIME And The Forces Of Evil boast jaunty instruments that speak to the part of me that secretly enjoyed social dancing class in high school; paired with lyrics that enliven the part of me that got kicked out of said class for misbehaving. If you want some recommendations: My Boyfriend is the trans-body-positive anthem I needed when i was 16, Stars’ chord progression takes me to a higher place and Kaiju Meat is just plain fun.

Given that, it was an absolute delight to be able to talk to Dara herself over the past few days. Read on for our conversation.

So how did the band get started?

ha ha HA so... It's pretty much Alexander James Adams's fault. I don't know if you know who he is, but he's got a following, and managed to make a living at music most of his life, and that ain't easy. I've known him for a while, and I used to make flutes - there used to be a registry of combat flute makers in Washington State, and I was on it, and I swear to you I am not making any of that up - and after one of his shows locally where we'd met up, he was talking to fans, and I was showing off some flute I'd made, and he just out of nowhere turned to me and said, "Dara, you need to be doing this." And I was all " are clearly high," because I'd been in a Great Big Sea cover band at one point as a flautist, but he was all, "no, I mean it" and things just kind of evolved from there.

Where do you start when you're writing a new song? What's your workflow like?

My songwriting workflow is a mess and should not be emulated by anyone. I have so many snatches of incomplete songs floating around in like three or four different storage media (including one I'm not even sure where is) that it's just ... really stupid. I try to make myself stick to my iPhone's little voice recorder app when I have ideas and mostly that works, but my follow-through is terrible.        Seriously, it's the weakest part of my whole deal.

But once I actually start working on something, it's like any other writing, I think? Where are you going, how are you going to get there, write it out step step step. Sometimes it may have to sit a long time, sometimes it all comes out in a tumble. It just depends.

You describe C&TFOE on your bandcamp as 'elfmetal'. How would you define that as a genre?

Elves hear metal and go, 'hey, that's neat, we can do that,' and start trying to figure out how to make it work with their instruments.

Which is why there are zero guitars on any of my albums, and why the drum kits are made of glass and Celtic and Japanese traditional drums and so on. My drums are very much like early jazz drum kits of the 1920s, really - something which I only figured out later and now I kind of adore. "Hey, look what I reinvented!"

How much of your elfness seeps into the music - lyrically, conceptually, musically?

Well, it's kind of a tautology, right? I'm an elf, so it's all elfmusic in that it was made by an elf, namely me. Even when I bring in other people (generally humans, that's who I know), I'm still the one making the decisions. Dick Tracy Must Die was an extremely personal album; probably Cracksman Betty the least so, though even that's shaped by what and how I think and such. As for Bone Walker - I've had an affect on that entire storytelling universe because I've been giving a lot of input, both into mechanics and into the long-term politics of... aheh. That's getting into serious spoilers so I should shut up now. :D

You've been involved in the alterhuman communities for over 20 years now. What's changed since then, and how do you feel about it?

It is dramatically more public. Even going online in the form of posting news about a restricted mailing list was terrifying - and I did get a fair chunk of derisive hate in my inbox over it. But now people just go start blogs and humans all just go, "eh, whatever."

I think as a part of that there is also much more drama; in a mailing list-based forum, you could more easily talk people down if they started getting ramped up, but that's obviously not an option when everybody has a Tumblr.

What are your hopes for the future of the alterhuman communities?

I am 100% not going to try to tell the otherkin what they should be doing. All I was ever trying to do was find more elves; I had a little success with that, but I have to admit I'd hoped for more.

What are your hopes for the future of C&TFOE?

The shtick was always a band of supervillains. But - supervillains being supervillains, of course - I knew that the lineup would be ever-shifting, because let's face it, supervillains are rampaging ego muppets and mostly don't work together real well. (Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy being, of course, my favourite exceptions. <3 ) So what I'd hoped is that I'd build a network of people I could perform with in different places, right? And whoever was on stage with me at any time would be the current lineup of supervillains.

It's probably just too complicated to work, in the end. But I'd still like to have the actual band.

Are you working on anything right now?

I have a bunch of irons in the fire, as they say, but none of them really far enough into that fire, and I need to sort that out - particularly with the rather nasty political situation. (Being an elf does not make me immune to human civil law, and being a dyke makes me particularly susceptible to it.) The next album is actually in progress, and I need to get down to it and get properly into the studio and recording again.

And finally, how can people support the band?

Listen to the music. Tell friends what you like. And, you know, maybe tell me, maybe by downloading stuff. It's not really different to supporting fan artists and fan writers - I, too, have the Day Jobbe, and while I do make some money on this, it's not likely ever to be my living, any more than it is for most musicians. So we survive on the love.

Also, I have a mailing list, and joining the mailing list gets you bonus tracks. I think the two up there right now are a live performance of USSR, and Russ Birch's remix of Kaiju Meat:

You can find CRIME And The Forces Of Evil and all of their music at Dara can be followed on tumblr at solarbird​, on twitter @solarbirdy and on dreamwidth at

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