EXCLUSIVE GUEST BLOG: MELISSA AUF DER MAUR ON HER COLLABORATION WITH SHINING’S JORGEN MUNKEBY
When Melissa Auf der Maur, one of the most metal not-really-metal musicians on the planet today, tipped us off that she was going to be collaborating on a new project with Shining’s Jorgen Munkeby, well, we pretty much got down on our hands and knees and begged her to write a guest blog about the experience. Luckily for us, Melissa is used to having men beg her for things, and she took mercy. And so here are her recollections of how she came to learn about Shining, befriend Munkeby, and the collaboration that ensued. Enjoy!
Belgium, Summer Festival 2010 : My bearded Dutch booking agent friend, Bob, insisted I check a band he works with: SHINING. Since I saw and heard them explode out of that festival tent, they have topped my favorite albums of 2010 list with their one of a fucking kind blend of industrial, metal, and jazz: the phenomenally original Blackjazz. Check this Shining shit out:
We became fast friends, bonding over full-time music making, independent music making, intensity, keeping a hold of wicked band members on top of doing absolutely everything else that needs to be done in a band, and much more. Shining leader/visionary/detail-oriented hard-ass worker, Jorgen Munkeby, became a friend and peer. Later in the year, Jorgen, his sax, and his snake scream joined us on stage during my Out of Our Minds Tour in Europe, in both Istanbul and Oslo (below):
Next stop, NY region, March 2011: We decided to collaborate together for the first time in the studio for an EP, tentatively called Song of Influence. Munkeby arrived, just in time for the most amazing black metal album cover art work of an ice storm in upstate NY.
Out of this world crystal trees for miles and miles greeted our Norwegian friend, and we entered the studio to take a bite out of Danzig, Type O Negative, and Killing Joke.
The catalyst for this recording project was when I was invited to be the guest of honor at a Montreal Arts Festival, “Voice of the Americas.” They gave me a theater for the night and carte blanche to come up with a new kind of show, one which would be break with the straight-forward full rock band format. We created audio/visual projections involving the wise words of David Lynch and philosopher Joseph Campbell orbiting around themes of space, fire, electricity, and Isis, Queen of the Throne. We built the show in chapters, bringing in our special guest mid-way though the set for our synth-based tribute song section (download the program here, check out photos by Francois Papillon below):
Song of Influence in the Studio and on Stage: Norwegian madmen and fragile Swedish synths do not mix. Munkeby has a way with things — like dropping his Sidstation synth the night before our show, then dropping my Nord at soundcheck (both suffered damages):
More importantly, Munkeby has a way of approaching my songs of influence with fresh blood. The idea behind the EP was to revisit some influential songs from my life, but having never listened to Type O Negative or Danzig, Munkeby found a way to take them into totally new places — whereas I am, of course, so married to the originals, that it’s harder to step out of them. Noisy synth, jagged edges and less bluesy lilts in the vocals are some of the stylistic directions in which we went. We played the versions live at the show, and plan to release the EP later this year.
The moral of the story is, the sax man and the bass woman can trek through ice and snow and make sounds together. It was wicked fun and inspiring! This man is the real deal… and it’s also very entertaining to watch him order at a Dunkin’ Donuts truck stop…
Keep up to date with all things Auf der Maur here.