This interview originally ran in the printed edition of WUSSY vol.05.
You can still order your copy here.
MIKEY. has embraced metamorphosis with rapport and risk to emerge actualized and effervescent in their story-songs and videos. A welcome presence in Berlin’s illustrious queer community, the 2018 release of the PATHS garnished the artist an introduction to the indie music scene with global echo. Though PATHS is a mere four songs, it is epic in scope, melding genres seamlessly in gorgeous wistful energies, full of anthemic ballads and tasteful synth revivals. Deepened with orchestral sophistication, MIKEY’s melancholic and sultry vocals are undoubtedly the focal instrument, blissfully and omnipresently crooning on matters of conflict and connection.
Though producing works for a decade, MIKEY has found their kink for cohesion in more recent years. Writing on acoustic guitar first, upon learning their musical background is soul and 90’s R&B, this surprising approach to songwriting all makes perfect sense. Childhood in Newcastle, Australia was not necessarily ideal, but through exploring artistic tastes mirrored in Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged or Damien Rice songs, MIKEY found their own voice. Being ensconced in the support of Berlin has been all the better, not just in terms of music, but also for their identity.
MIKEY’s main focus has been on the practice of “trans-trance” or “tran(s)ce”, terms appointed to an approach of re-balancing gender. “It’s being aware of potential altered or higher states of consciousness. Building and strengthening these like any other muscle in your body, in order for one to experience the mystical workings of the universe and what one usually doesn’t perceive with just our basic senses,” MIKEY explains. “Rebalancing gender within ourselves, so that neither the male or female overpowers the other, I think this is an important step in discovering our potential and what we are truly capable of as humans.”
There is no wrong or right way to live one’s truth regarding queerness and elements of this sentiment peeks through the fabric and structure of MIKEY’s beautiful debut. “There’s such an enormous pressure to fit in constantly. I feel that everybody is searching for acknowledgment and discovery of what they think they identify as, when really the only thing that’s important is to just BE,” MIKEY passionately exclaims. “I think these songs help me reaffirm this within my own deep rooted intuition. Though just BE-ing isn't as easy as it sounds. I think you have to go through all that searching in order to realize we are everything and nothing, all at once.”
This is not conceptually far from the collective consciousness and MIKEY’s immersion of explorating gender infiltrates every aspect of their musical expression, especially as they have become more and more attune with oneself and approaching art with an openness. “At the moment I’m moving towards rebalancing to a neutral state, transcending gender all together to become much more connected and aware of what is really happening, what is not visible to the naked eye,” MIKEY says. “As far as rituals and practices, I’d think an important thing for grounding here in this world is to be and stay creative. Find your creativity if you haven't already. We all have it in us. Creativity is the core of our existence. Offer your creativity back into the world & the universe rewards you. You only get back what you put out.”
Along with a featured short film projected during a Depeche Mode’s live performances, MIKEY incorporates philosophical vigor in all their composition and choreography. The music videos host a very varied queer dance entourage, all clearly passionate about the music, stylized to the nines while the storytelling unfolds like crystallis. Part professional dancers, others close friends, the involvement has made for beautiful works that leaves new fans craving more. MIKEY’s newest music video for “Genitalia”, the most subdued but intimate song on the PATHS EP (and the last song to have a music video created for it), has released today.
“'Genitalia' started out as a song about gender, but by the time the EP was released it became a story about how unconditional love is conditioned by fear. It's something that's as old as life itself, so in the video I go back into the water and I re-evolve as 8 new kinds of lifeforms,” MIKEY explains. “The making the film helped me understand that in order to reclaim my maximum potential, I mustn't lock myself into one story line, but rather play many potential roles and identities. I visualize myself branching out like a tree in every direction where I am able to play an entire spectrum of many egos, though still be everything and also nothing. I hope that 'Genitalia' can serve as a signpost for anyone who wants to carve out a sphere of love that fills the entire universe.” The “Genitalia” video is also a peek into the vibe of MIKEY’s next EP, The Tran(s)ceformer, which they are currently finishing.
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Sunni Johnson is the Arts Editor of WUSSY and a writer, zinester, and musician based in Atlanta, GA.