|Voice Against Time, the ionnalee Interview|
|publishing date||March 9, 2018|
New soundwaves are penetrating our psyche. Some of the strongest, resonating currents that have passed through us lately have been generated by the audiovisual phenom known as ionnalee. As a world-renowned master-of-many-mediums, breathtaking performer, writer and songsmith, the anticipation of her first full-length album and accompanying feature film hangs heavy in the air. Last year, four singles were released by ionnalee on her Stockholm-based, independent record label and creative company, to whom it may concern.
These chillingly beautiful songs and immersive accompanying films, though individually enrapturing, alluded to a larger body of work that fans the world over have been anticipating with baited breath. One of these audiovisuals, “Not Human”, featured our Masks and through this collaboration, we are honoured to have the opportunity to speak with ionnalee about her incredible impending new album and film, EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN.
Fletch: After immersing ourselves in your recent work, we are thrilled to be speaking with you about your recent singles, upcoming album and accompanying feature film. You are a multimedia, multi-discipline artist, able to traverse roles with equal prowess, under incredible vision. Where does the vision begin for you?
ionnalee: thank you. it’s a pleasure. the vision... it would start with moods that would begin to form a song, and with the music comes visual ideas. then, the melody decides a lyrical idea, which determines where the voice should go to communicate that. i think all my songs have strong visual concepts within them. i don’t feel actively awake when i make things. it’s more like an obsessive idea that needs to come to life and then you feel great for a little while until it settles.
Fletch: Your work brings together so many elements, some harmonious, some dichotomous, which in my interpretation, creates the incredible tensions and atmospheres in the music. You seem to be exploring the floor of deep inner purpose while also becoming part of the natural world around you, which is something we can all relate to. If we were snakes, our art would be the rock we rub against to reveal our new selves. Is this in a sense what compels you?
ionnalee: yes, i like the sheer mixed with the raw. exploring is definitely what i see it as - pushing myself into uncomfortable or unvisited states. then, i try to get the sharp emotions out and put words on the sensations. i see your reference in each creative process being like shedding skin.
Fletch: Let’s talk about the audiovisuals released so far that will be part of the new album. The first one revealed as ionnalee was “SAMARITAN”, a marching manifesto that seems to be addressing a former perception of the self by outsiders and the need to set the record straight. This is a perfect showcase of how your audio, visual and film narratives weave together. The breath on the window, the crackling of the fire and ambience of a chattering TV set create cinematic tension that is released in and out of the musical performance in such a cool way...
ionnalee: thank you. SAMARITAN is a key scene in EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN. i’m very fond of the scenes in that cabin. watching the film, one will get the more of the narrative of the full story. the song is a manifesto and it raises some topics that are important to me, on what expectations we can rightfully have on the ones we build up to follow, and why we need to create these icons, as history shows we always have done. our consumer society is very focused on the realisation of the individual, and with that we seem to view our surrounding world more as a set design custom made for us. what happens when music is made to please the audience? to set the perfect mood, with the end goal being a spot on a playlist? who will be making this music and why? i’m stating with this song that i’m an independent artist and that i will do things my way.
Fletch: On your second single, “NOT HUMAN” we were honoured to have our Half Fox Mask included in the vision for the shoot. This audiovisual seems to deal with the human and inhuman condition, while also addressing potentially destructive relationships that we are strangely compelled to indulge in perhaps? You become a kind of luminescent changeling in the film, which is incredible to watch...
ionnalee: that’s an interesting description, yes, sometimes we need to unleash that inner urge. NOT HUMAN is made in a music video version, and as part of the EABF film chapter entitled ‘the unending party’ where the static guests, frozen in time at this party that never ends, are wearing your masks and they function so well for these scenes. now i hope to see lots of white foxes in the audience of my tour.
Fletch: “SIMMER DOWN” starts with a sweetly mysterious synth sequence, offset by the steely heartbeat of pounding industrial drums. Similarly, the lyrics seem to tell a tale of forgotten purity of purpose tainted by “shallow truths”. This orchestration and visual element seem to be stripped back to core components, yet the concept is as rich as the foliage you are lying amongst in the still - In my mind anyway. I love the dichotomy of electronic sound intertwined with organic imagery as well. The song seems to be worked around the words in this track, which gives it a unique freeform movement...
ionnalee: personally, i love SIMMER DOWN so that’s nice to hear. it’s kind of a defeat win in shadowboxing. a merge of the organic against the electronic as you mentioned. the lyrics are written a folk tale style about accepting ones own personal defeat. the nostalgic verses against the preaching chorus: “your shallow truth fractures and distorts our self views, and my tether beat echoes in the minds of a few”. it was a moment of looking around feeling totally out of place. being a bit narrow-minded to be honest, pointing fingers against the world of self-indulgence, whilst accepting one’s place in the shadows to be able to continue.
Fletch: In the latest audiovisual, “GONE”, your incredible vocals resonate as a kind of call and response to the spirit world – invoking Shala, goddess of compassion? There is a moving futuristic primitism to the tune to match the words, which seem to warn and reassure simultaneously? Finality and eternity become one and of course tie in with the title of your imminent album, EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN...
ionnalee: i’ve heard about this discussion and know where it stems from but there are no religious hints in GONE. it’s simply a “shala” a symbolic choir singing, like an olden day recording. i needed a typical pop choir backing up my doomsday song.
Fletch: Finally, ionnalee, we love your art and we (like so many others around the world) are looking forward to your new works. Your label, TWIMC, embodies what we think a 21st Century creative collective should be, forward-thinking, unbounded and ethical. You have some amazing artists and teams working together and we can’t wait to see what flowers from your hearts and minds. We would love to work with you in the future and wish you all happiness in your endeavours.
ionnalee: thank you so much, that’s heart warming. we aim to be a wholesome alternative and we will keep working from joy. thanks for supporting my release.
We'd like to thank ionnalee and the entire team at TWIMC for making our Masks part of this vision. Also, thanks to cinematographer and still photographer John Strandh for providing these beautiful visual elements for the feature. Follow the links below to get fully immersed in this audiovisual experience.