London Perry wants to be uncensored. It’s why she wears lingerie when performing and why her songs are so gut-wrenchingly emotional.
Perry performs as Dazeases, a name inspired by the banned Czech film “Daisies” — a madcap ’60s feminist farce. She sings sad, lo-fi pop to tracks that she’s written and programmed into her laptop using Garageband, a music creation program with a sound library including software instruments and virtual session drummers.
The bare-bones performance method stems from a lack of musical education.
Childhood violin lessons and voice lessons helped, but Perry says she still doesn’t understand formal music theory progressions: “The notations and mathematics of Western music are not how I think about music.”
Working around her limitations, Perry keeps it simple by walking onstage and pressing a button on her laptop.
“I want to focus on singing and moving my body, being as emotional as possible onstage,” she says. “I want to perform in front of people with a level of vulnerability and emotionality as if they weren’t there.”
Much of that has to do with wanting to use a conceptual space to oppose and censor the projections that she says men put on her in modern society.
A Wyoming native, Perry grew up in Williamsburg and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in December. After a year of occasionally playing as Dazeases, she was ready to use her personal songs to commit to a consistent musical effort and persona.
The uncharacteristically poppy “Sad College Kids” was written in a weekend, the result of a friend’s request to write something for his short film. Composing a second work for film proved just as effortless because, unlike her own songwriting, she didn’t have to pour her emotional heart into it.
Lyrics such as “I’m down to the filter / Chain-fuck, never sober / You tell me baby you should pray / But I don’t know a higher power than desire” all but force the audience to relate to her through the sheer drama of her voice while she prowls the stage.
“Like with my song ‘Shadow Bastard,’” she says, “I opened the door to be hyper-explicit without losing poetic, nuanced language.”
After an intense writing period, resolved to be as open as she’d been with her original material, she self-released a new EP in April.
“It feels like there are lots of things that go undiscussed or not heard, and I need to say those things,” she says of laying bare her life. “I’ve had exes come to shows and it’s frustrating when a song I wrote two years ago still feels relevant.”
An admitted melancholic, Perry accepts that happy songs aren’t her thing. Right as her last serious relationship ended, Dazeases really took off, a means for her to exorcise demons and move on.
What’s important now is growing as an artist.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be making music,” she says. “I don’t want to hear someone’s debut and then the third album and nothing’s different.”
During recent shows at Gallery5, Hardywood and Strange Matter, not everyone gets the combination of revealing attire and soul-baring songs, with crowds split between fans clearly relating to the emotion and a few merely admiring the messenger.
Perry says she identifies as a sensual person and wants to be that way onstage.
“I want a visual juxtaposition with my song lyrics,” she says. “When I sing about being exploited, who’s going to remember she’s hot and who was really listening?”
Dazeases performs May 5 at Rag and Bones, 3110 W. Leigh St.