So often we are stuck looking for support acts that we like in cities we don’t know anything about. Relying on booking agents who live half way across the world from said cities who don’t really know whats up in the deep, community based DIY music scenes (where the magic happens!) can be difficult.
And so, if you are a new music-maker and a band or musician you really like comes to town, write the promoter of the show and tell them you wanna open. Cause you will probably get to open! And if you like the band, chances are they will like you, too. They have probably been searching for you.
I interviewed M Blash about making the Hurt Me Now video. We talk about Medusa, his friends in Portland, and the corporate funding that we never got.
Where did you get the idea for the Medusa?
i was talking to Romy (lightman) about different ideas and things we had been reading and looking at lately and somehow medusa came up. I was afraid of medusa when i was a kid and i thought it would be cool to see her at show and rip her head off.
Is there a story in this video that could explain a bit? I know there was a whole story behind the LOSE IT video about saving the world from a bomb attack but its pretty difficult to decipher just from watching it.
this story changed so much because there was so little money then the corporate money came in then it went away when we decided not to “clean it up” to their standards. then the story shifted, eventually you end up with the pieces that last… i really wanted to show a discordant dance party around a song. kind of show the loners who show up at something that isn’t cool enough for the masses. and have this family drama too, with the girls i call the “gossip vertices” - the blonde women who are abandoned by their mother. so there really isn’t a story. i wanted to riff off all the sexy dance videos happening lately but have the girls hold up SOS signs. i just think its funny how many sexy girl videos are out there or how they’ve been pressured to show their booties a lot in the vid world… or maybe they want to show their booties. booties are cool and all but i was kind of riffing off that. maybe its a cry for help, thats why they do the SOS thing.
When we approached you about doing another video we wanted to see if you would make the video for HOME but you were only interested in working on HURT ME NOW. What struck you about this song?
the beat stuck with me. i wanted to show people dancing. i had just been through some sadness in my life and so the beat was attractive.
Did you have ideas that you wanted to put to film before we approached you? Or did all the inspiration come from the music?
from the music and from talking to Romy. but then it all changed a million times up to when we were shooting. i never know who’s gonna actually show up, so i just wing it. i don’t like to plan too much and make things look too fancy.
I feel like this video took forever to make cause the original funding didn’t work out, the company thought the images of ladies dancing and the medusa was gonna be too much for them. Doesn’t that seem pretty crazy now? And they must regret it cause the video is so sick.
haha, yeah that was weird. i rememeber going to a meeting in NYC so we could get the funding and they were really into the idea, then a few days later they sent notes saying we had to remove this and that and this and REALLY? for a music video! haha, so we said no and just made it really with nothing and had to shed some of the bigger set-ups.
Actually, nobody really wanted to fund this video becuase HMN isn’t a real single, so you and I both ended up putting our own money in to make it work. I think its cool that both of us really felt like this video had to happen, despite the fact it didn’t fit in the regular band-marketing formula. It feels like it has a greater purpose. What do you think about it?
yeah, its alway better to do things that way if you can. i did it, cause i love you guys and the song and i wanted to work with Ashby and my other friends from Portland. I feel really safe in portland so that i guess plays into the story/song…. Ashby plays Medusa and one of the Blonde women (along with her real sister and mom). Also the prod. company Burbank Gamma Ray is really supportive of doing random projects like this.
How did you find the cast members? I knew some of them before cause most of them have some connection with the Portland Queer scene. Was everyone in the video a friend of yours?
Everyone was a friend of mine except the four female dancers were new people i met and all the teenage boys. that would be funny if they were all my friends. but yeah, they are portland artists and performers: Brenna Murphy (standing still woman), Nour Mobarak (peek-a-boo woman), Daniel Long (dancing man) and Ashby Lee Collinson (medusa and gossip vertices #2) and Paul Parson (motor bike man)
How did you find the location?
its a space in Porltand called Yale Union. they have art shows and music shows and other events there. i’ve always loved the building and saw Charles Curtis perform there a few months before and thought it would work and be sparse enough.
I hope that we get to make more videos together. I have dreams that our music becomes synonymous with your video work, kinda like MIA and Roman Gavras. Would you be into working together again or were you scarred by all the hurdles we had to go through to make this video exist?
Neil Young is killing it right now. Standing up for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation people in Alberta, whose land is being mutilated for money by the Harper Government. Legally silencing scientists, spending billions on pro-oil propaganda, and pulling out of Kyoto in 2012, Harper is probably the worst environmental terrorist on the planet.
Since “Beyonce” was released a few weeks ago I’ve found myself so obsessed that it seems the only way to release myself from this rare enthusiasm is to write about it. Would this obsession be so great if it wasn’t released all at once somewhere between productivity and the repose of the holidays? If we had time to digest a single, or if there was some sort of anticipation or knowledge that this album would exist, maybe there would have been less of a drive to thoroughly listen to it immediately. As such, we have been forced to decide for ourselves what our favorite songs are. We have had to pick out the singles that mean something based on our own thoughts and reactions without any million dollar influence hovering over our stereos. We feel the need to absorb it in its entirety because that is how it was presented to us: as a piece of art that MUST be absorbed in its entirety.
Generally, I have an aversion to top 40 pop music. Not all of it. Like any genre there is always music you will especially prefer, but I find the disagreeable extreme-pop to be particularly offensive. I dislike music that sounds like it was written with money on the mind rather than some sort of larger artistic purpose or intention. Choruses that assault you with aggressive rhythms and predictable melodies, vocals that are manipulated to such an extreme the person producing them is almost made unidentifiable, and arrangements that use an obvious “formula for success” such that it probably went through a little machine rating the “hit” probability before it was released make me want to crawl into a hole and die. This is why Beyonce’s new album is a rare bird: an artist who basically embodies the definition of what it means to be “top forty” has produced something so engaging I can barely listen to anything else.
2. WE DID A SICK COLLAB WITH GERMAN LEGEND GINA X FOR RECORD STORE DAY
3. THAT Go made us a video for Home and in doing so pushed me to “act.” Very much out of my comfort zone, I feel like the experience has strengthened my abilities as a performer.
4. Maya released LOSSLESS on vinyl her debut album as Princess Century.
5. Air Berlin lost all our intruments and we played a show in Finland on the fly to 5000 people (it was our favorite) 6. We toured in a board-room and took lots of photos of eachother sleeping
7. We finally got to tour in Japan (and while enjoyng Yakitori in Tokyo found the servers couldn’t keep up with our alcohol demands)
8. EXPLODING MOTOR CAR who are pro-puppeteers from Toronto made us a sick 90’s Sci-Fi video
9. Sari and Romy release TASSEOTAPE and started touring as Tasseomancy again
10. DIANA supported us in the US and Europe and we fell in love with this romanctico track:
11. One of our all-time fav bands “the knife” came to our show in stockholm 13. We played one of our biggest headlining shows ever at Koko in London
14. I got $5 thrown at me by a frat boy in Calgary whilst I was soundchecking 15. The XX took us on tour in the USA (we fell in love with their music) 16. Ryan did a collab with an LA fashion desinger and created his own wardrobe of neon vinyl
(photo cred romy lightman)
17. Maya got contacts 18. Claire Edmondson made a video for Forgive Me using night-vision cameras exploring queer love
19. Matt Lambert used some old unreleased Katie Stelmanis tracks and some new Austra tracks in his gorgeous rendition of Le Jetee 20. The Chinese opera in Toronto leant us their hand-painted backdrop for our album cover and we took it on tour and lost it. We are forever indebted to this organization and would have rather lost all of our possessions combined.
21. Olympia felt like a lesson in representation: the world of media wants austra to be a single iconic popular “star”, but austra wants to be a complex group less marketable, more fractured, always varying. I hope for idiosyncrasies in everything. 22. Our fans have grown closer and more visible to us, we are greatful for you who continue to support our music.
Much love to all of you. We wish you prosperity in 2014.
I went to a bathhouse with my band in Munich two years ago that was co-ed. On our first tour, we all took our clothes off and bathed and steamed and saw each others sex-parts. We also saw a lot of other people’s sex parts, and a lot of other people saw ours. It was slightly unnerving to be fully naked in front of so many men and women, but everyone at the bathhouse seemed so comfortable we decided to go with it. It felt good. It felt liberating. And, the most liberating thing about it, was that I didn’t see any boners. Generally, people tend to assume as soon as a boob is visible a boner is born, but that wasn’t the case in this Turkish/German bathhouse.
What a shock, to be in an environment in which nudity is normal. To be in an environment that wasn’t oozing with judgement of each others bodies, insecurity and restraint. I felt like an animal. I felt like a sexual being who didn’t feel like having sex in that moment, and that was ok. I felt liberated as a human, and I felt liberated as a woman in control of my surroundings.
Sexulity is something each person should always be allowed to control for herself. I do not believe a woman should be judged when she chooses to sell her body for money. I don’t believe a woman should be judged when she chooses to get naked on TV, or get naked at a party in front of her friends. We are all sexual beings, we practice and engage in sex in different ways, and we identify our sexuality in different ways. If a woman wants other men and women to see her naked body, that is her choice. She is chosing to express her sexulity in her own way. She is choosing to engage with the rest of the sexual beings on the planet in that way, and she has a right to do so.
And when a woman exercises that right, it MUST not overshadow all the other work she does. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think that sex ACTUALLY sells. It takes a lot more than just boobs to sell anything. If that were not true, everyone in the world with a vagina (or a great plastic surgeon) would be rich. I think it takes brains, creativity, work, and most importantly: a bit of luck, to be wildly successful. So next time you see a woman in the public eye bearing all, please don’t disregard the amount of work it took her to reach that position, and give her some credit!
I am a believer that we need to be more open about sex and sexuality. Men and women need to get used to being around each other in all sorts of environments so that when a woman shows a bit (or a lot) of boob it doesn’t throw off the entire infrastructure of society.
Basically, I think there needs to be more women everywhere, doing everything. Women who have boobs and have sex sometimes. Women who are qualified and have sex a lot. People need to get used to having women of all shapes and sizes on TV and in the workroom, accept the fact that they have sex and they have boobs, and get over it so we can all continue working and making art and expressing ourselves however we want.