Embracing the Darkness

Looking for cozy comfort music? RiotgrrrlDarko has another suggestion.


Darkness shrouds Minneapolis-St.Paul in February. 

The sun, even when it’s “out” during the day, can hide behind cloud cover endlessly, creating a night-into-dusk-into-night-again pattern of perpetual gray. Pillows of fresh snow and holiday glow give way to dirty brown ice ruts. There’s a reason the Nordic trend of hygge—soft, cozy warmth—has found such favor in this matching latitude and culture. 

Then there’s what’s inside. Even though the Twin Cities have arrived in a kind of “post-pandemic” time, the constant uncertainty of work, of sick colleagues and kids, canceled performances and supply chain issues is enough to make anyone scream.  

Dark, frustrating times call for dark, riotous music. Enter RiotgrrrlDarko. 

If Peaches rose to musical prominence with low-res rhythms by trying to ‘Fuck the Pain Away,’ Riotgrrrldarko is doing the same—but keeping the pain around. 

The music overflows with lines like “Bitch I am so cutthroat you can watch my lyrics bleed” on songs like ‘Head Full of Muck,’ ‘Die Mad,’ and ‘Blood Bath.’ 

A self-described creator of “grime-core,” 24-year-old Bray’Jana Coleman’s alter ego, Riotgrrrldarko, combines elements of frenetic trap beats with dirty distorted sounds and overtly explicit lyrics. More than anyone in recent memory, Riotgrrrldarko’s music captures this specific moment. It’s music for the end of February 2023. It’s the opposite of hygge. 

“A lot of times when I’m frustrated, I use that for art purposes,” says Riotgrrldarko. 

The music instantly projects grime: The subsonic bass furiously shakes, the screeching and scraping musical lines reject any sort of melody in favor of uneasiness and aggression—and doubly so for the increasingly frequent live shows she plays. 

“A lot of times when you go to shows, and people have stage presence … As for me, I’m getting on stage and getting off, I’m letting the music speak for myself. You see me in public, I’m not Riotgrrrldarko, but that’s my art, that’s how I feel inside.” 

Does such an intense sound manifest itself right in the moment of an argument? Or does it build up over time and explode into a new track? 

“However it comes out, it comes out,” says RiotgrrrlDarko. “It’s weird, honestly. A lot of time, I’m doing chores, freestyling in my head, something sounds good, and I’ll put it in my notes.”

Thanks to the emotional element of the music, it’s no wonder the music has been resonating with listeners, who have helped RiotgrrrlDarko put up enviable numbers on places like Soundcloud. (Check it out at soundcloud.com/thesegirlseatmen).

“It’s funny, because my fiancé (producer 6RIPS), who’s been making music since 2016, he’ll look at my stats—for me it’s just fun, this shit is just fun—he’ll be like, ‘You should take this more seriously,’ but for me, it’s fun.” 

Following up on a strong run of shows and releases in 2022, RiotGrrrlDarko’s 2023 and onward shows no promises of slowing down. “It’s just recently that I started wanting to make this a career,” she says. 

The weather will break, but socially, who knows? Might feel bleak, but it means grime-core and RiotgrrrlDarko will continue to make beloved, dark music, and she looks forward to evolving her art as well. 

Enzyrose, Obi Original, & Riotgrrrldarko
Thursday, March 2
The Hook & Ladder
3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Mpls.,
8:30 PM doors, $10/$15, 18+