GAMORA: Hieroglyphic Poetry
By Laura Li
Gamora is an alien Marvel character possessing superhumanoid strength, accelerated healing and divine battle power. It’s a biblical town of hedonistic, wicked sin. And it’s the quirky musical universe of raven-haired Jessee Egan. She fills her dreamy soundscapes with mythical imagery of a lost world, creating monochromatic visual techno with the divinity of Botticelli’s Venus and primitive signs of ancient ancestors. It is said that telling or reenacting myths enables us to detach ourselves from the present and go to a place of greater spiritual depth, returning stronger in the now. In the Book of Genesis, God destroys the cities of lust with a rain of fire and sulfur. But Sleeping Beauty has superpowers and a new star-swept bed in another galaxy, slumbering with one eye open.
Gamora is an adored Brooklyn gem and her music sounds like aliens making love.
Li: What is “Birth of Venus” about?
Gamora: When I wrote Birth of Venus I knew I wanted the video to be somewhat of a performance art piece, something that included dance and primitive themes. It was the first video I ever made, and it was very low budget, so I had to really crunch in a few things. I worked with a great team that really made it pop, and it became more of a fun activity at the time. It turned into this exploration of the life cycle, focusing predominantly on the female’s (Venus) role as the eternal life-bearer. I wanted the storyline to begin at the infancy of abiogenesis and work its way up. I thought it was important to depict Venus as a being of great culture and expression, but also one of mysterious origins and powers. I guess you could say it was a celebration of the metamorphosis, birth and resurrection of life converged around evolution’s most cognitively-responsive organism. I specifically addressed the female, rather than the male, because she encompasses the power of embryonic growth, in which without, the cyclical nature of life is defunct.
Li: You depict the human evolution scale in the video – if you were to continue it, how would the next steps look?
Gamora: This is an interesting question, because I’m not too sure if I think the steps would carry on much more of a phenotypical expression. I think humans will start to evolve in a more cognitive way, since we live in a world of artifice, and predation is no longer a gradual sculptor of our bodies. I think humans will split genetically by alterations in their cognitive styles and habits.
Li: What do you feel when you listen to your own music?
Gamora: Besides knowing exactly what is coming next, and the familiarity of it, I feel pretty satisfied with the shape of the sounds and placement of the samples. Sometimes I can be a bit criticizing, though.
Li: First associations that comes to your mind… Memory?
Gamora: The hippocampus! I’m super logical. I know a lot about the brain. I have a penchant for neuroscience.
Gamora: I think about the book/movie The Secret Garden.
Gamora: Sometimes a struggle.
Gamora: A strange and abstract concept of ongoing decay.
Li: How do you perceive the correlation between the visual and the auditory?
Gamora: I think my brain starts with an atmosphere of color or tone. Perhaps strewn phosphenes. Light and darkness. Then it can build beyond that with specific imagery. I sense all kinds of things when I listen to music.
Li: What’s your spirit animal?
Gamora: Marilyn Manson I think, or maybe a Greek sphinx.
Li: Three musical heroes?
Gamora: William Bevan, Richard D. James, and Brock Van Wey.
Li: Slow motion or fast-forward?
Gamora: Slow motion. It’s nice to hang on to things sometimes, before they become no more.
Li: Describe your creative process?
Gamora: A few years back, I had a friend that I would stay with quite often. Her roommate at the time had this huge, beautiful harp. I remember when I was alone I used to record myself experimenting with it. I had no idea how to play it, but I really liked creating little melodies. Eventually I started manipulating and even using those samples in some of my songs. I like to record things. It could be people screaming on the street, or the sound the radiator makes. I even like to bang spoons on the table. I like to shape and sculpt these sounds. I’m very interested in arcane and strange noises. Sounds that seem almost eerily familiar, but at the same time so unheard of, almost unreal. Like something you heard when you were unborn. I’m interested in capturing those sounds and I want Gamora to play off that idea.
Li: Gamora is a biblical place of hedonistic, wicked sin – do you know of such a place in your own life and do you ever visit?
Gamora: I think I used to know this place, but not so much anymore. Which is probably a good thing, though perhaps boring.
Li: When do you plan to finish your album?
Well since I work pretty slowly, and it takes a lot of time to make the samples I need, I haven’t figured out a definite release date yet. I’m hoping to get it out by springtime though. It’ll be out on AY and probably be titled Birth of Venus, since I have shaped most of the other tracks around it. It’s also my favorite I think.
Li: What’s currently occupying your mind?
Gamora: Hm… Well I would be lying if I said just art and music, which do in fact take up a lot of brain space. I actually have been seeing someone I really like recently, so she occupies a lot of my thoughts. I’m also working on a pencil drawing series depicting comparative anatomy of organisms in phylogenetic order. This is something I often have on my mind, because I enjoy the process of examining the structure of change as I’m deep in rendering. But I’ve been very happy lately and my life has taken on somewhat of a steady and uphill pace. I think for the first time in a while my life has reached this descent of emptiness. For the past few years I have felt pretty emotionally desolate, perhaps unfulfilled. I wouldn’t say it was a terrible thing, but I feel much more alive now. I have a lot of new ideas always spinning around. I can’t wait to get started on new projects.
Li: What is divinity to you?
Gamora: Well I definitely don’t think of anything God-like. I reject that whole idea, of course. I think it’s a sort of deep affinity for something very ideal to you. It could be something unknown or perhaps unattainable, but it’s special and abyssal. Like an apparition of one’s principles, standards and personal affections. It’s a mind thing.