In a world where the future is so unknown, we often forget about the past — something that, with the slightest alter, can totally erupt the universe as we know it. With this pondering at the crux of S1NGULAR,Ramón J. Goñi explores an alternative past where our future has already happened — focusing on the birth of a nano-tech human species. The experimental short film premiering this week raises questions about our sometimes narcissistic, sometimes solipsistic relationship to technology — shaping both our digital personas and our human nature, present and future.
Captivating audiences with little to no dialogue, Fin Argus remains at the forefront of the thirty-second teasers and a longer, exclusive and erotic scene - preamble to the short film - inciting mystery and apprehension with his emotive yet controlled performance. Starring alongside Sean Ford, the pair engage in almost contemporary choreography, depicting a story through the movement of their bodies — blurring the fence between science and nature effortlessly.
Most commonly recognised for his own passion to break through barriers, Ramón often hones on LGBTQ+ narratives within fashion, entertainment, sci-fi and film. Turning outsiders into relatable figures, the Director and Cinematographer inspire others to develop new perspectives — a true ode to his vision to inspire a better future. Or as Ramón puts it, “Essentially, I see queer narratives as ways to make people think and feel in a way they’ve never done before. To spark their imagination, instead of being stuck in identity politics. I.e.: the classic “us versus the queer people” scenario. It’s time to throw light on the imaginary boundaries that we have created. S1NGULARis my first step in this endeavour.”
And while S1NGULAR made its debut at the 2022 Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, held from July 14th to July 24th, the teaser clips are ready to view now. And, in lieu of the release of "Exposure", read our exclusive interview with its the star below…
I feel like you don’t have a traditional actor's energy, so having seen you in real life, and seeing you perform, I feel like there’s an exorcism happening. Are you aware of that difference? Are you using acting as an outlet to behave more loudly?
Yeah, for sure. That’s why I write music, it’s why I act. I feel like I’ve always been a shy person but when I have a role to play or an instrument in front of me I feel like I can flip a switch and express myself however I want. I’m also a very emotional person and I feel like acting gives me an outlet to express that. I would always stifle my emotions and I felt like the only way I was allowed to express those emotions was through performance. I feel like I’m at a point in my life now where I can express my feelings with friends and relationships, but there was a long period of time when my only outlet was music and acting.
When you’re performing it is so interesting because you are so raw, and what makes the performance so good is you’re so clicked in. Your emotions are right there on the surface. Are you aware of that? Do you understand how you’re being perceived?
I think I’m a very sensitive person and when I act I like having a project where I can expose that vulnerability and I’m good at it. So, I think that’s where I’ve found this niche of really tragic characters.
When did you realise you were good at it?
It was actually over the period of time when I wasn’t acting at all. Which is sort of funny, I was doing a lot of Disney-type things where there wasn’t a lot of emotional depth at all. Which was cute, but I had nothing to really sink my teeth into.
Let’s talk more about that.
So there was this long period of time where I didn’t care if I booked any acting work or not. There was nothing I felt passionate about so that’s when I started writing a lot more music. I started writing a lot of queer shit which was the first time I’d done that, it was all more explicit than the metaphorical stuff I wrote when I was younger. There was this point, again, where I wasn’t booking much acting work, and the stuff I was booking wasn’t fulfilling. So, I needed another way to feel fulfilled. Music was fun, but it didn’t feel so much like a musical release anymore, as it did when I was 16/17. The first song I wrote that was super explicit was called “boy dear girl” and it was this bi anthem. I’d just broken up with my first boyfriend and I started dating this girl, and she was my best friend, but it was all very confusing because I’d already realised I was gay. So, I wrote this song and that sort of set off this chain or ripple effect of me writing explicitly queer stuff where I was analysing my own queerness and trying to figure out what it meant to me.
So, let’s talk about your music because it’s sort of your number one thing. Then acting second then modelling third? I don’t even know what sort of genre your music would be. It’s its own thing. I feel like you’re sitting on a treasure chest of things you haven’t released?
I took a long break from releasing music because the stuff I was putting out was reflective of a much younger me. I was worried that the audience I already had would feel betrayed because I took such a 180 from what I was doing so I got nervous to put stuff out for a while. But I was just really focused and I planned to release it and not care what happened. Rip off the band-aid, because it was explicitly queer and I had people telling me it could have a really negative impact on my career as an actor. That was a while ago. People did tell me that and that scared me because I didn’t have money. I needed to pay rent and acting was the thing that paid my bills, so I was nervous to put it out because the things I was booking were very Disney and family-friendly. So, it was a very real concern but a lot of it was rooted in internalised homophobia that I had to unscramble. It’s so weird to be in the limelight and have conservative eyes watching you.
So when did you come out?
It was like this weird sort of waterfall where I would talk about queer rights on Instagram posts, and I started referring to it as our community rather than the community. But I never ever made a post saying I am this, this and this or anything like that.
Was this when you were writing queer music?
Yes, but I hadn’t released any of it. It was a matter of time sort of thing. I kept pushing the release of my music because I kept booking acting work. I also really wanted to do live performances with my band, but I needed to be in LA to do that. I was planning on releasing a song called “Jailbait” in October 2019 but then I booked Clouds so I flew to Montreal. So, I had to pause the whole process. I knew I was a good actor but from a political standpoint I was a blank slate, and it was a very family-orientated film and I was very worried that my explicit queerness would deter them from wanting me to play the character.
Were you worried about this being the first thing you were noticed for?
I read the script and knew I’d love to do the project. It was a very wholesome script but the way it was described to me was that it would be more bitter. It was true to Zacks and the family's experience. Justin wanted to make a film to remember Zack’s legacy. I remember Zack's music from when I was a kid. When I was born my aunt had brain cancer, so I was very in tune with the story and anything in the news that had to do with cancer. And I remember Zack's song coming out and when he passed. I never thought I’d book it because I didn’t really look like him. I was excited that they were making a movie about him. So, I was really passionate about it but there was this concern that I knew I wasn’t Zack or that character so because there was this blank slate I was worried people would see me as this character type. I didn’t think people would want to know who I really was at that time.
Did you feel pressure to play a real person with the family involved?
It was weird and difficult for everyone. The thing that made it easy is that I didn’t feel direct pressure from the family. They were really nice about it. His mum Laura would tell me she appreciated us telling his story. That made it all doable. It was confusing because I was still processing my aunt’s terminal diagnosis. The process of filming was really emotionally taxing because I was processing that loss while coming to terms with my aunt's own terminal diagnosis. I was almost constantly thinking about what it means to die. It was just a tough place to be in for months at a time.
You joke about playing those parts where you’re always crying, however, is that something you seek out or do you want to diversify? Do you want to switch things up?
I definitely want to switch things up. I also feel like the characters I’ve played in this environment usually have a sense of comedy in some way, in Clouds Zach was very quirky. It was fun to play into Zach’s teenage dorkiness. Same with Stay Awake, the character I played was a strong older brother type but again I played into his dorkiness. But then Mingus was a totally different thing where she was just a sassy bitch and that was a totally new side of things. I think that was the start of me creeping into this comedy side of things. This was something id never done before.
What do you mean?
The personality was just so uninhibited. I play a lot of really shy characters. Mingus is more verbal. Playing a character who would just say what they were thinking was just great fun
Talking of Queer Folk, can you talk about the character of Mingus?
Mingus is a punk bitch who doesn’t give a fuck but also gives every single fuck. They’re very creative and self-assured but they also have this deep sense of longing and validation. She is that affronting queerness in the school and over the course of the show you get to see them seek out the queer community.
Steven did an excellent job of casting Queer Folk, each person who plays each character has a certain element of them in them. Where do you end and Mingus begin?
I think Mingus represents a little bit of me when I was at that age. Maybe a bit more explicit than when I was her age. There's a lot of overlap in style. Very eclectic and colourful. I might be slightly more muted. People would ask if it was my clothes or costume. There was a lot of inspiration drawn from my daily life that I put into Mingus. When I originally talked to the wardrobe team it wasn’t quite as gender bendy as they initially thought. They took inspiration from my Instagram after seeing what I like to wear.
Does this feel like the closest character you played to yourself?
110%. I would say Mingus and I have different personalities but they’re just a younger version of me. It was fun to play into that brattiness.
Is it crazy to think about 3 or 4 years ago you were scared to come out and now you’re playing a part that is so explicitly queer?
I didn’t think that it would ever happen. I thought I’d have to choose between a queer music career or subdued myself into mellow acting roles. It was a very happy accident. I don’t think it would have happened if I hadn’t explored my queer creativity.
Would you classify yourself as ambitious?
Definitely. I have big creative dreams and I really like making art. Whether its music or filmmaking. The creative direction of “jailbait” I was hugely a part of. I came up with the concepts behind the music video.
What do you want and why do you want it?
I want to be able to achieve the musical sound that I imagine in my head without having any financial restraints. I just want to make the music I want to make. It's my sacred space. What I want is to comfortably enjoy making music for the rest of my life. I want to live on a little farm with goats and make music and travel to wherever I need to be to do acting jobs then come back. There are a lot of things I want to accomplish but I just want to make music.
Does it feel weird not having music out?
I’m finally putting out new music. Exposure is a satirical comedy on social media and idealised versions of ourselves that I curate. I don’t know an exact date for an EP, but I hope to put out the EP in autumn this year. It’s sort of coming of age and exploring my own queerness. I like EP’s because my attention span isn’t that long. All my favourite albums are between five and ten songs. The EP will be around 5 songs.
Are you a little nervous about Queer Folk coming out? What is your relationship with fame and attention?
I’m not super nervous. I was more nervous about clouds because it was an audience I didn’t know. I’m less worried about Queer Folk because gay people are very fun and cool. It’s going to invite a lot of people to enjoy my music. In terms of my relationship, I enjoy making music, doing live concerts, and feeling that connection but I don’t enjoy the online attention. It does weird things to my brain. I’ve gotten good at dismissing comments that don’t represent me.
On some level, you must like the attention?
Yes, except when you do get the attention and it’s the opposite of what you’d expect. While I do love performing and acting, all the things that come with it like the press and people asking for a selfie can be very stressful. It’s a tough thing for someone with social anxiety. I have a pretty small social battery. While I am good at being around so many people it is tiring for me. Those experiences can be draining for me even if I love the people I meet. I feel bad when I’m not fully on it. Having queer people to look up to when I was younger was really important to me so I want to create a space where people can feel supported and respected. That responsibility has really stressed me out. It requires a sensitive touch and it's tiring. But I think I’m good at it and I think that’s why I’m in this industry. I’m good at holding that space. Next, I want to do something super easy and fun and comedy-like. My dream role right now would just be queer love. A cheesy romance, give me a gay rom-com.
Lastly, I want to talk about Kidz Bop.
That was my first real job. For an 11-year-old I was making money. I felt really special. We would fly to another place every weekend. I was fully just excited to be doing it because you know, it's Kidz Bop. The thing that was really confusing was going from being mercilessly bullied to going to these shows. But you know, my parents were always really proud of me, but they still made me do my maths homework. They didn’t put me on a pedestal.
Cast: @finargus and @theonlyseanford
Original concept and creative direction: @rjgoni
Writers: @pedropauloaraujo and @rjgoni
Director: @rjgoni represented by @neerfilms
1st AC: @sky.mars
Ronin op: @landgreven
Post sound and original music: @retail_space
Additional music: #dariasemegen #clararockmore and #nadiareisenberg
On set VFX sup: @coryisalive
Graphic design: @rhubarbagency
Article words: Ella West