Melissa Auf der Maur
Uniting conceptual story telling, music and visual art has always been my deepest desire. OOOM is my first step in that direction, and it has been a sensational experience. Thats how Melissa Auf der Maur has described her new multi-layered, otherworldly and entrancing record, Out Of Our Minds, which not only showcases her skills and vocal timbre to perfection, but is also an all-immersive 21st Century multimedia project that is accompanied by a fantasy film and comic book. She explained to Kitchen Sink: It started as my follow-up solo album, with a personal / creative promise to myself to expand not only as a songwriter, but to bring my roots as a visual artist into my life in music. But first, I had to write many a song to find the theme and concept. When the song Out Of Our Minds was written, thats when I was given my sonic and thematic direction for the whole project.
Addressing the films mythologies, folklore and vikings, Melissa noted: The central theme of the project is the hunt for the heart be it the heart of the matter, or the heart of a viking, it is a quest towards the emotional centre, symbolised by the heart in certain circumstances, as I am using the language of symbols, dreams, music and the subconscious. Ultimately, it is an invitation into a world of that. Although MAdM typically composes most of her songs alone in her bedroom, she is a keen collaborator and for this LP, as one woman and a hard drive, she worked with a number of different producers and mixers over a 3-year-period, in studios across Canada, California and New York, even singing a duet with one of her biggest inspirations, Glenn Danzig.
Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, from the age of 7, Melissa devoured her Mums record collection, went to music school, became a club DJ when she was aged 17 and later formed her first band in the early 90s, Tinker. Although she is undoubtedly best known for her roles as a bass-player in Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins, thinking of Courtney Love as her sister and Billy Corgan as her big brother, summing up her time with both groups as an invaluable life education and learning curve. However, after that period was over and she had pursued other musical paths, believing that life is about change and evolution, since 2004, Melissa has fully-embraced being a solo artist (citing recording the song Followed The Waves as a huge confidence boost), loving the freedom that it has offered her and even setting up her own label after leaving Capitol.
Stepping up from where her debut left off and broadening her dynamic range with a stream of sounds that will lap over you as to why OOOM took so long to complete, she told one reporter: The weird thing in my case is, I was always being creative and made no time at all for practicality. And now Ive had to learn to channel my creativity and live in dream land and music land when I need to, and also how to run my own label and finance my production company, embracing all the technologies from online to actual manufacturing of the things. For me, the challenge has been how do I learn to be practical rather than how do I find time to be creative. And from creator to consumer, check out www.xmadmx.com to purchase a variety of exclusive and bespoke collectible packages, with Melissa confessing to the Guardian: As much as I consider myself an artist in thrall to the Victorian, pre-Raphaelite and renaissance periods, Im actually a modernist at heart.
Renowned as one of the coolest and most beautiful
female musicians in rock, not to mention as an artist of distinction,
MAdM thinks of the bass as the mother of all instruments,
in that it nurtures and enhances all other players! Also a passionate
and published photographer, some of the red flame-haired sorceress
other inspirations include; Alan Moore, David Lynch, Anais Nin, H R
Giger, J W Waterhouse, Francesca Woodman, Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone
Age and The Smiths. Taking time out from her busy schedule with
a UK Tour hopefully planned for later this year Melissa has thoughtfully
answered some of my questions about her magical sonic potions and how
the bewitching musical cauldron that is Out Of Our Minds, helped her
to find her voice
1.To begin with, have you been pleased with the response to OOOM
and what have been some of your favourite events to help promote the
record, film and comic book?
#1 OOOM Film being curated at the Contemporary response? partner to the JW Waterhouse Pre-Raphaelite painting exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this past winter. Back in my photo / art school days, the pre-Raphaelites were one of my favorites and I was even then contemplating the contemporary version of the movement... The curator of the museum, had no idea of that or even my background in art, even I had actually forgotten what an integral part of my inspiration it was, she simply saw the film and felt the connection. THAT felt better than graduating with straight A's, not to mention the setting in which the film was placed high art high tech heaven! (Sundance Film Festival Premiere was great too!)
#2 OOOM presented at WOLRDCON SCI-FI Festival. Being invited to present the whole project at the 67th annual world science fiction festival was amazing! Exactly the world and dialogue I want to open up to this project of mine. I met Neil Gaiman there which was a thrill, and with every comic book store I visit with this project, I crave to be part of that mind-expanding creative community, more and more!
#3 Letting the songs speak for themselves. As I said, 5-years-in-the-making, holding these songs in HURT. The March 30th FULL MOON eve of the release of this album on my website, I took a 24-hour vow of silence. No blog, twitter, facebook... thank the lord, the music could speak for me. Knowing the songs are out there, for people to discover whenever they stumble upon them, brings me a deep inner peace...
A very special thanks to Melissa, and to Rachel @ Rachel Hendry PR, for all of their time and help.