Billboard caught up with Trixie ahead of her tour announcement to break down what fans can expect to see, when her documentary is coming and why it's her money on the line when it comes to her makeup venture.
Your last couple tours, Moving Parts and Skinny Legend, were a combination of comedy and music. What's gonna be different about the new tour?
It's a hat on a hat — in true drag queen fashion, I'm like, "How can we do more?" I really loved doing Moving Parts, that tour was probably, like, 75 percent standup, 20 percent music and maybe 5 percent video. But there was very little music — I love music, but standup is my bread and butter, making people laugh is my favorite thing. So for this tour, it was like, "How can I one-up that?" Well, I want to do more music, I want a much more developed presentation of my music. And I also found out how much people drink at my shows, so I was like, "Ok, let's give them something to drink to, music."
On my old records ... Two Birds was very country, kind of melancholy. And then One Stone was this sweet, introspective, folksy kind of sound. My new sound is much more, like, plugged in AM radio in 1969. It's hand-clappy and sweet, it's a little bit of a surf-rock, Fountains of Wayne vibe. I've taken this Maude retro deep dive for my look, and I sort of fell down that hole too with my new sound. And because the new sound is more plugged-in, I needed more musicians, because I want the audience to be like, 'Bitch, that was good.' And, oh my god, the costumes and the wigs? It's so fucking over. It's over. For this show, now that I'm secure in writing some cool music and in writing some really hilarious jokes, I need to make sure these bitches leave with their wigs fully snatched off their heads.
Your last few tours have very much been one-woman shows. How do you think having a band on stage will change the dynamic of the show?
Imagine Blondie. I grew up listening to Blondie, and I was always very inspired by these, like, four or five men in mop-tops and identical suits, and then the girl was like this glamorous thing in a dress. That's the vibe. I want them to be like little retro robots, like reverse femme-bots. So I want them to be present on stage, but I also want them to be beautiful decorations.
I also feel like, conceptually, if Trixie was touring with a band, they wouldn't necessarily be supportive. Like, I want a Hedwig [and the Angry Inch] vibe where they're just there for the checks. In a show called Grown Up, it's not a show about turning 30 and being like, "I'm garbage!" It's about getting older, and the older I get, the more absolutely happy and certain I am with myself. So I'm writing bits for them, where maybe the rimshot jokes are against me, instead of in my favor.
Earlier this year, you had the premiere of Skinny Legend, your first comedy special. As someone who loves comedy and has always wanted to do a special, how did it feel getting to do that show?
Oh my god it's crazy! I was talking to Margaret Cho at the beginning of the special, and I was like, "Remember your first special?" She said, "I kind of do, but I've done like nine of them." I don't know, I think with anything else in drag, the first time is the most difficult. I felt confident in the material and I felt confident in the looks, but I was like, "I'm not afraid of this not working," but of course when there's cameras you're nervous. But it went fine. I loved it. I'm so happy I did it. And then it was charting on iTunes in the first week, which was so cool.
Again, like, normal celebrities have people and production companies that step in and pay for things. Bitch, every album I've made, every video, every thing, all my own money. Even this makeup company, it's like, if nobody buys this makeup, I'm the one holding on to thousands and thousands of lipsticks now. Even I can't get through that in one lifetime.
Your documentary Moving Parts has done the film festival circuit, and now, you guys have been teasing that the film will be available for fans to watch later this year. How are you feeling about your fans finally getting to see this very personal project?
Well, I'm sick of being spammed. As much I love how people are interested, I'm so tired of people being like, "Release the movie, you coward!" My fans will deadass just @ me and say, "Release the movie you fucking bitch." They don't care.
But I'm excited for it to come out, though I haven't watched it in a while — for me it's a very ... deep cut, it's a queer Polaroid picture of a certain time in my life. And you know, my life isn't really like that anymore, but ... just because your relationship in real life changes and improves doesn't mean the snapshot of it in that time improves. I think that most people who see it have a response that's like, "That had a lot more depth than I thought." It's intimate, it's me in the studio writing songs, it's literally on set when Katya walked out, it's very intense.
You also now have Trixie Cosmetics, your official makeup line, and you're joining a couple of other queens like Kim Chi and Miss Fame in making and selling your own makeup. What, to you, has been the hardest thing you've learned about the makeup business?
The amount of work, oh my god. I worked at a Sephora, I worked at Ulta, I was at MAC for five years. So I used to be the one getting the makeup from the shelves into the people's hands, I literally watched people shop for makeup for five years. What I didn't know is, when it's your company, you're up in the middle of the night, emailing China, trying to get the dimensions of the box correct! There's so much stuff that you don't think about, and it is not a turnkey operation. I have a college education in theater! I had to learn how to buy a UPC for a product! I had to learn the FDA requirements for what's allowed to be in makeup! The employees at my company could fit in a car! So it's very much, in true drag queen fashion, a thing where, if you don't know how to do it, guess what bitch, it's time to figure it out. But I do know product, and I've been in drag at the lab trying out products and formulas, because I know what works and I know what people like. It's been wonderful, so believe me, as someone who spent tens of thousands of dollars to start this company, seeing the actual sales in has me in tears. It was like I was starving in the desert and saw a glowing sign for Exxon.
Just looking at this list, you are juggling so many different projects and now this tour. Like, you are booked.
Oh, I know it's crazy. You know how some people are like, "I'm booked and blessed"? I wanna tell myself that all of the time, but it's hard. All my friends from home think I'm a celebrity who has money. They say things to me like, "Oh just have your people do it." Who are my people? What, Katya? My people is a crackhead! But that's the cool thing about drag, is you are in charge of everything. So for this tour, I wrote all of the music, I wrote all of the videos, I picked out the costumes ... and when it works, you get to pat yourself on the back because you're not just a piece of a giant team who did everything for you.
Tickets go on pre-sale for Trixie Mattel: Grown Up on Wednesday, Oct. 23. Click here to get your tickets.