Boys – Imagine plying away at your discipline, making your art and music and for no good reason every new colleague/fan just assumes you are a girl; “Whoa you’re actually a guy – that is so crazy. Sorry man. I totally thought you were a chick. I don’t even know why I thought that.”-A little weird to imagine, huh?
Often when you are a female in a creative community (esp. online), unless you really stand your sex out, it can be taken for granted you are a dude. For a lot of gals it happens all the time. We all know so many talented men out there realizing inspired projects – but equally, so many incredible women are making timeless footprints on the paths of music and art. Playing very important roles as soloists, in bands and duos (some which are changing the face of music culture and history) their function far surpasses simply an aesthetic in a press shot or video.
Women musicians are an integral part of whichever movement they belong. However, music tends to attract good lookin’ crew so the seed is regularly sewn (even at emerging arts level where mentality is edgier/more liberal) that value and priorities should center around looking ‘hot’. Which is interesting considering that is basically a capitalist machination.
So, couple that with already existent mainstream social expectations on female beauty and roles , it can lead to some serious taking for granted of what women can accomplish artistically – or how worthy and visible their accomplishments actually are. Important factors such as conceptual and philosophical contribution to the arts landscape may be getting overlooked. Look I am allll for hot people and hot images. Everyone loves that – I’m just suggesting you balance your perceptions and be mindful.
The Beauty Within aims to uncover the philosophies and personalities of the amazing women who are our URL and IRL neighbors. Those who work hard to bring their vision to share in this ‘art life’ we all do.
First feature of this column – Mahr. She describes her own music as experimental sound design. Most know her as owner of experimental label, Pale Noir. The label was put on hiatus last year (exciting news on that to follow btw).
Mahr recently self released Hidden Veil – a 3 track EP of both robust and ambient truthsayers; soundscapes for the inner-voyager.
In late 2012 the stunning and immersive Mahr-curated remix project ‘Her Embrace’ got an in depth review on YouIndie (most definitely worth a read) and includes Silver Strain, ∆AIMON, Tash Willmore and Mushy just to name a few.
What attracts me to the music of Mahr is her vibe reflects her absolute comfort with wisdom. That style is for everyone. Anyone can get something deep and rewarding from a hard day of being wise. Frankly, many dont know what to do with it. Mahr, however, lives it.
She values a healthy perspective on life and doesn’t fake it. From all my years in the arts industry I know that can be surprisingly hard to find. It’s definitely out there but with the online underground inducing more and more social capital into the world – facades and ‘personas’ are all too easy for negative dysfunction to hide behind, solidified.
Mahr rejects these creative stereo-types and aims to live a genuine and good life. Her latest EP really being all about finding her own truth and honesty with herself. It’s surprising how many will live life avoiding that very primal concept. This is why she is the inspiration behind the first Beauty Within column. A real woman with a real vision.
“I am slowly lifting the veil for better clarity on my truth and a more awakened life.” Mahr
I am so excited Mahr agreed to launch The Beauty Within. On many occasions her level headedness, professionalism, generosity and utter kindness has blown me away. Admirable traits that encourages us to all be better people. In my mind these things are the essence of living a rich life. I bet many who have even just encountered Mahr online (like me) will agree I speak accurately of her. I asked her a few light questions to see what makes her tick.
TWPS: What projects are you working on right now? What’s happening in your creative world?
Mahr: Right now I just finished up a three song ep Hidden Veil. The thought process behind this project reflects my current emotions about the reality of life. The great illusion that has created cloudy minds. I am slowly lifting the veil for better clarity on my truth and a more awakened life.
TWPS: Pale Noir returns in 2013?
Mahr: Yes. We are releasing a debut album from Sons Of The Sludge later this year. No date just yet. It is Sludge Doom Gloom. WIKAN (Tony Stone) is in the group. Trying to take Pale Noir to a more organic realm. It will be a physical release only. Going to be taking it slow so I can do it better this time with only 2-3 releases a year. Here is a sample of one song:
TWPS: In a world of endless distractions, what tools do you use to keep yourself focused?
Mahr: I have learned not to force creativity. I let it happen when it wants to happen. Distractions can be a great tool to force you to take a step back at times that are needed most. Those moments of mental silence have truly been my driving force. When I shut my mind down listen to another artist that inspires me or go walking in nature that is when new ideas start to flow.
TWPS: What has inspired you this week?
Mahr: I like this question because life is a non-stop process in motion. What I may be into today I won’t be tomorrow. This goes for everything not just music. We are always evolving filled with traces of our past creations topped with new treasures. This is the formula that makes us who we are in every aspect of our create process. This week it has been the sun moving higher above us here in WI. Spring is getting closer and this week, that has inspired me.
TWPS: What’s some of your favorite personal ethics?
Mahr: Compassion. We are all human beings each with his/her own struggles as well as joys. This is not a competition. What is one persons beliefs, style, taste, ideas, creations etc.. is not going to be the same for the other. What we think is how this whole life experience should be, is only true for your own reality. If we recognize this we can learn compassion. Can you imagine the amazing stuff that could happen if we all stopped working against each other?
TWPS: What’s a formula you use for achieving your goals?
Mahr: Meditation. If I don’t turn off the facade and all of its chatter I won’t know what I am trying to achieve.
TWPS: Advice to other femmes carving it out in the music biz?
Mahr: Always make whatever your heart desires for you. Do not mold into what you think you are supposed to be for others or what is getting attention. As soon as you start feeding into that you will start to lose yourself and your own uniqueness.
TWPS: What’s your take on fame?
Mahr: It is not for me. But I do not have an opinion on those that seek it. To each his own. I may play out from time to time or get a little write up here and there but if I had the opportunity to be big time (which we all know is not going to happen to most of us) I would not take it. I like a simple life. I have a day job and my creativity has always been and will always be a hobby. This way I can always have my heart in it to better myself and my life.
My greatest memories in music are of my grandmother and I playing her organ singing together. She would record us all the time with her cassette recorder and I have these tapes now. She opened my world to music with loving intentions and I never want to lose that.
TWPS: What aspects of a ‘scene’ puts you off?
Mahr: I don’t really consider myself to be part of any scene. I try to avoid scenes as they can be quite negative. Besides why limit yourself to one ‘scene’ when there is a world out there of amazing talent in all styles.
TWPS: Your personal values and etiquette for 2013?
Mahr: This year is a major one of self growth. My focus is on breaking down the created layers and finding the jewel in the lotus. A lot of healing is taking place so I can start living my true potential. I am looking forward to the good stuff to come.
TWPS: What does the human race have in store for the year ahead?
Mahr: My goodness. I know that I know nothing.
TWPS: What influenced you to make music?
Mahr: It started with my grandmother and then it followed with a life of choir classes through out school and a love for music in general. I was grounded all the time so I would lock myself in my room and play my tapes and records. I had an eclectic collection that I acquired at thrift stores. I would listen to Industrial, Folk, Gothic, New Wave, Rock, Metal (on and on and on) then later I discovered electronic music which became a huge motivation for what I have now become.
I started going to rave parties in 1993 and worked hard to purchase my own turntables. I did the DJ thing for a few years and started throwing events on a minimal scale. Allowing myself to get consumed with my ego in it all I had to step away to figure stuff out. Towards the end of that I was starting to toy around with making music and I have not stopped ever since.