Interview: Mary Ocher


Photo by Sandra Thiedecke & Stefan Busch

Steadily forging a passionate and devoted fan base through a distinctly uncompromising attitude to recording and performance, Mary Ocher is set to delight her followers in releasing her much anticipated second album, Eden. The diversity of Mary’s work, and her ability to excel in many fields outside music have earned her significant praise. After first releasing the politically charged War Songs (2008), her second full length offering signals a confident expansion on her unique brand of anti-folk in working with the acclaimed rock performer and producer King Khan.

Throughout her career Mary has proved herself to be one of Berlin’s leading multi-talented artistic voices in branched out into various spheres such as documentary making and art curation as well as being a published writer. Her writing work has drawn strong approval, and she has regularly appeared at events to recite her poetry.

With the release of Eden Mary will be unveiling a new video each week, beginning this weekend with Baby Indiana – a fantastically freaky sequence of eastern-inspired scenes backed up with Mary’s trademark display of oscillating vocals to provide a rousing a listening and viewing experience.

Mary Ocher is set to delight her followers in releasing her much anticipated second album, Eden on Buback (CD and digital) and Haute Areal (vinyl). Grab a copy here! Mary is on Your Mom’s roster.

LSD: Your first album War Songs is obviously politically geared, it’s definitely a confident message for a debut album, was this a direction you always imagined your career taking?
Mary: I wanted the writing to reflect my life up until that point. Most of my life up until then was somehow connected to nationalism and militarism, and in order to let go of some of the that baggage in needed to be captured, so i could move on and do other things.

LSD: What influenced you to move to Berlin from Israel?
Mary: I never really felt comfortable there, never felt at ease with the mentality. I wanted to be living in a place with lots of other different types of people, not just one idea or one nationality.

LSD: What attracts you to basing your sound in folk music?
Mary: I feel it’s a type of music that’s always been on the outskirts, and because of that – is ideal for saying things outside of a conventional mindset. Folk music has quite a long history of relating to social critique, and very little mainstream affirmation. it’s heyday in the 1960’s is long gone, and it’s perhaps as far as one can get from fashionable and temporary fads.

LSD: In what way do you think your second album has expanded upon War Songs?
Mary: Soundwise, it’s much more diverse. The subjects are still largely based on identity and society. I guess it’s a continuation of the first album’s themes, but not so focused on the army.

LSD: Your work is certainly very experimental sounding, to what extent does improvisation come into play when recording in the studio?
Mary: On the new album the song “Thunderbird/Eden” is probably an exception. I really didn’t prepare for it, didn’t know how it was going to come out, it was entirely improvised – Afterwards i compiled the tracks into one long piece (that was later cut into three).
Though that WAS an exception, usually when writing a song, I try to be very careful and rewrite it constantly. Normally I know exactly how a track is going to sound and most of the editing just involves cosmetic changes during the post-production.

LSD: Eden is an interesting name for the album, it implies perfection, or perhaps rather a countering lingering imperfection. How did you arrive at the title?
Mary: It was just completely accidental really. I somehow got the name in my head and it fit. I suppose it’s a little bit sarcastic in that sense though yes.

LSD: What are your plans for an upcoming tour?
Mary: I’ll be playing mostly outside of Germany… been actually been touring outside Germany mostly anyhow. I’ll be performing solo and with my band Your Government with two drummers.

LSD: What do you feel is the best thing about being a lead singer?
Mary: To be honest, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. For me it was always about creating the concept and starting from scratch.
There was never any other option in my head even growing up, I just always wanted to be a musician, and I always wanted to do my own thing.

LSD: In working in so many different art forms do you find it challenging to find the time to manage your many projects?
Mary: Music has always been the main focus. I love working on other projects in other fields, but I needed to be recognised as a musician before I could branch out; suppose my priorities would go something like first music, then film, then poetry, then visual art… but it always changes, so it really depends on when you ask that question even! Music is definitely what I’m most comfortable with. at least on an identity-level.