Interview: Felix Mufti

Following a couple of amazing Mornings With shows, we sit down with Scouse activist, performer, writer and chaos-causer, Felix Mufti! Accompanying rap and grime tunes with incredibly insightful takes on today’s modern world and society, we wanted to dig a little deeper into the array of forward-thinking projects Felix does. Find out more below… 

Hi Felix! We’ve been absolutely loving your Mornings With shows on Melodic Distraction. Can you please give us the lowdown on what you do?

So glad you enjoy my Mornings With! Thanks for having me on and enjoying my ramblings and tunes. ‘What I do’ is a very good question scream – I am mainly a writer and performer. I write and perform a lot of silly little poems, but I also co-founded ‘Transcend Theatre,’ an all queer-scouse Theatre company, which I write plays for and perform in them too. I do a lot of professional chaos-causing also, so as well as never being out of place on the stage/with my head in my notebook, you can usually find me with a megaphone in my hand or in a meeting room telling some institutionalised old rich white people off.

How did you first get into performance – were there any artists in particular that inspired you?

I got into performance because I liked pretending to be other people, it was a lot easier than being me. I went to an all-girls school where no one really went for the male roles, so I always found myself playing with gender expression and sexuality. As I got older and more comfortable in myself, I started wanting to be myself on stage as mainstream plays didn’t represent me. This is when I started to move away from being just an actor and into a performance artist.

Can you tell us more about Transcend Theatre? Why was it important for you to set it up? 

We set up Transcend Theatre as I went to LIPA Sixth Form and hated the texts we were studying. Even with the very few Queer characters involved, they were always attached to so much trauma and sadness surrounding their identity. I wanted to write Queer plays in which coming out/what they want to look like/who they’re attracted to, is irrelevant – just like it should be in real life. I started writing ‘How to Kill a Rose’ when I was 16 and last year, with Arts Council Funding, we sold it out at the Unity Theatre. I am so proud of my Theatre Company and we are only moving upwards.

How do you use poetry and spoken word as a means of expression?

For me, poetry is the rawest form of artistic self-expression you can get. Other creative outlets usually require a production team and a budget etc., but all you need for poetry is thoughts, something to write them down with, maybe rhymezone and possibly somewhere to say them. I don’t believe in any rules or structure of poetry and believe it’s a chance for you to say whatever you want, in whatever way you want.

Has Liverpool’s queer scene changed much since you first became involved in it? Where do you hope to see it in five years time? 

I think organisations like Homotopia who provide material support to upcoming Queer artists are massively improving Liverpool’s scene, but we still have a long way to go. A lot of organisations only care when it’s LGBT History Month/a project that’s getting widely recognised. My hope is that all organisations make sure they’re including and empowering Queer people all year round. Also, it’s so important when interviewing Queer people to not just focus on their sexuality and gender reality. These questions are a great example of focusing on positive projects and not centering around people’s personal experiences.

How does it feel to be part of such a powerful movement that is Reclaim Pride? How do you hope it impacts the queer scene both here in Liverpool and further afield?

The current model of LCR Pride and their involvement with damaging organisations like Barclays and Merseyside Police is failing intersectional Queer people in Liverpool. We cannot have a capitalised-fueled ‘celebration’ of our lives, when these contributors are some of the things actively opressing Queer people. I hope we can stop spending money paying the council to block backstreet roads off for a ‘protest’ and hiring stages filled with straight people. We need more education in schools, venues and workplaces. We also need more empowering projects and hypervisibility. Also, mutual aid funds like they have in other cities. We need ethical partnership and a complete separation from the police. These are some of the aims of Reclaim Pride and I believe with the way the narrative is going, we will be successful. 

Do you have any advice for young queer people looking to get into the arts? 

You are the only one with your voice, so do not censor it to try and fit in with what people expect you to say. Be unapologetic, find your niches and see what organisations are leading the way for your area. Surround yourself with other people making boundary-breaking work and attend events that showcase these, such as Eat Me and Homotopia events. Find your tribe, make your work and always have a good time doing it! Queer joy is one of the most powerful forces in the world.

What other projects are you involved in/what else is coming up in 2022?

I am currently working on my next play with our Theatre Company. It’s called ‘Be Gay, Do Crime’ and is a scouse-rap musical about gay drug dealers. Honestly, so exciting. I am also performing in the Barbican for ‘Transpose,’ three nights of Trans Joy where they have commissioned me and other Trans artists to create a celebration of talent. I am also very proud of our photography project ‘Here n Queer’, where we reclaim spaces we have been made to feel unsafe in. I have lots of other exciting things coming up that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but I can’t wait to share with the world!

Last but by no means least, what’s your favourite flavour crisp?

Arrr can’t beat a nice pack of Salt and Vinegar Walkers can’t lie.

Follow Felix here to keep up to date with all of their exciting projects. In the meantime, listen back to Felix’s latest Mornings With on Melodic Distraction Radio below!