Over the past several years, Neptunian electronic-pop composer Mei Ohara has been consistently releasing intense and engaging space-aged experimental music, with a knack of combining stunning visual elements with her increasingly-signature electro-violin style. Last fall, Ohara channeled her inner Blade Runner for the breathless video for “Bystanders”, and this week has topped that with a mystical turn of passion, entanglement, and tension in her new video and single, “Crypt”.
Directed by Matt Em Weston, the “Crypt” video was debuted last night live at WonderBar in Allston, the latest installment of the ongoing Intergalactic Dance Party. This morning, the sun rises on YouTube, and Vanyaland is honored to premiere both the track, with combines Middle Eastern influences with the rock drama of Muse’s finest work, and the video, which allows the mind to race in sync with the song.
There’s a lot going on in “Crypt”, so in advance of the release party last night we caught up with Ohara to allow her to break it all down in her words.
Michael Marotta: What was the vision for the video?
Mei Ohara: The song, in its shallowest layer, is about the tension between obsession and fantasy. In it, I have found a muse that I want to experience more, but simultaneously do not want to know or see too much out of fear of breaking an unrealistic fantasy created entirely in my head. For the visuals, I wanted to maintain my perspective on futurism, which in this case also includes a mixing of things possibly seen as opposites of a dichotomy. Fluidity in gender, a mixing of “alternative” and “corporate” fashion, and futuristic versus historic style influences. In the vein of gender and sexuality, I wanted this to be able to represent states of all kinds, and so while it may on the surface level seem to be a lesbian couple, I see it really as two identities of their own, in a seductive duo that is independent of and resistant to body. I may be representing the man of the future, or a woman, but I really leave that up to the viewer to decide what they want or need from the video. There’s of course some visual representation of my home planet, Neptune, as well.
What is represented in the relationship/interaction with the other being?
Back in November, I traveled around Europe and at one point ended up at a spot in Berlin called c-base Spacestation, an amazing bar that had a secret members area with a recording studio, hacking stations, a 3D printer, and various workshops in the basement. At this place, I met a fascinating girl who I would later refer to as “the girl I fell in love with in Berlin.” She’s a top cryptographer with a rather dramatic, movie-esque life, and is aesthetically alluring as well. Her name is Isis, sparking a whole range of inspirations for me that resulted in this song. The song actually features a sample of an undulating sound wave I recorded with her help at the Spacestation. She is the muse that I both want to consume more of, but again cling to a fantasy version that could (or perhaps would) shatter.
As for the song, I’m hearing a bit of Middle Eastern influences, which combined with your usual sound is making for a pretty powerful package. What was the influence that spawned the sound of “Crypt”?
Her name Isis comes from the ancient Egyptian goddess. I have always found the mixing of contrasting aesthetics to be my favorite mode of expression, and thought that the mix of a cryptographer with this ancient name was absolutely amazing. I wanted to incorporate as much of her into the song. “Crypt” both touches on her ties to ancient Egypt, as well as her job as a cryptographer. I also, in general, believe that the future will become the most artistically dynamic and forward if we truly explore a diversity of cultures in new and innovative manifestations.
Is this a stand alone single or part of another, larger release?
My plot is to complete my next album (finally!) for release before the end of this year, so it is intended to be the first single off of that album.