The shack is like a treehouse that I never had,” Luísa Matsushita tells me of the Halloween cat vampire dracula Meowcula shirt moreover I love this 13 x 10’ tool-shed-turned-studio she built by hand in Garopaba, a Brazilian beach town. “I have electrical energy from the grid, but no internet and a low phone signal,” the musician shares of the lo-fi reality that is her “shack life.” Inside, a lofted bed is positioned across from a bubblegum-painted wall lined first with kitchen spices, then with everyday essentials like a machete, a hammer, a tree saw, a lopper. Outside, a deck big enough to host a birthday dinner overlooks a gravity-fed shower and a homegrown forest of fruits and vegetables. Here, Matsushita has adjusted to simple delights: Brushing her cat Fabinho while hugging a hot water bottle and cry-listening to Joni Mitchell is, just as it sounds, heaven on earth. Still, it was just a couple of years ago that she was letting go of her “dream apartment in São Paulo” for a self-sufficient lifestyle that swaps consumerism for environmental responsibility–with style. She’s always made art by doing things her way. The first time I was introduced to this knowledge, Matsushita was dancing on stage in rainbow sequins at Stubb’s Barbecue, the enormous outdoor music venue in Austin, Texas. Under her pseudonym Lovefoxxx, Matsushita fronts the Brazilian indie band Cansei de Ser Sexy, and the mixed-media artist has proudly represented São Paulo for decades. Take her lyrics for CSS’s highly remixed early-2010s single “City Grrrl,” for example. Years of city-hopping and life on the road led to Lovefoxxx collabs with artists like Kavinsky for Drive’s soundtrack and Brian DeGraw’s bEEdEEgEE solo project. Eventually, we crossed paths again in SoHo on Sway’s dancefloor a few months before she went on a “life-changing” trip to Argentina. It was 2014, and at the time I was living in Woodstock, New York and touring with CSS,” Matsushita remembers of the time. Then, she traveled to Argentina as one of 24 volunteers on an Earthship Academy build that sparked a “slow burn” of change in her lifestyle. Developed by Michael Reynolds and popularized in 2007’s Garbage Warrior documentary, the Earthship process is founded on creating autonomous eco-structures that turn waste like old tires and glass bottles into high-functioning, otherworldly homes that can exist off the grid. Volunteers spend weeks camping out, studying, and assisting at remote sites, often designed to help impoverished communities learn sustainable housing skills. “I love Earthships!” Matsushita enthuses. “It was my first experience building and working with power tools, and I was paired with another lady who was a pro.
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