Mars89 (@_mars89) generates with his music a mental space to awaken our conscience against the system that governs us as a society. Driven by a punk protesting impulse, and influenced by artistic expressions such as cult horror movies or cutting-edge fashion, Mars89 builds experimental electronic music that ranges from bodily to dystopian.
Whether in the underground clubs of Tokyo or leading the city’s Protest Rave (@protest_rave) from the street, Mars89 inflames our spirits with his music, not as a form of escapism or an illusion, but to come face to face with the possible (fateful) consequences of our actions as humans if we don’t fight for a change.
This vision has led him to gain the support of projects that share it, such as the Bokeh Versions label (@bokehversions) and Noods radio (@noodsradio), both from Bristol, UK, or Jun Takahashi’s fashion brand UNDERCOVER (@undercover_lab), with which he maintains an active collaboration. His off-limits creativity has brought him closer to artists like Thom Yorke or Virgil Abloh. This year, again with Bokeh Versions, he has released his most ambitious album, “New Dawn”.
“New Dawn” is not a usual album. It’s a complex work in substance and form in which a variety of artistic elements not only musical but digital, graphic, and literary have been integrated while maintaining the activist background that has always accompanied Mars89. The album was released in a VR environment, conceived as a fully immersive experience developed by Mexican studios ZeYX Lab and Outsiders Gallery Art (@outsidersgalleryart).
London-based artist Patrick Savile (@patricksavile) has been in charge of the graphic side of “New Dawn”, contributing much more decisively than in his previous collaborations with Mars89. In addition to the artwork, details of the virtual experience, and the album t-shirt, Savile has developed an elaborate holographic print that is an art piece in its own right. This print includes an original conceptual painting by Mexican artist Salvador Herrera and the poetic prologue to “New Dawn” in Japanese, English, and Spanish, written by fellow Mexican poet Horacio Warpola (@hwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhwhww).
All the pieces of this new dawn for Mars89 fit together creating a complete work that presents a future that we probably deserve if we don’t do something to change it. I had a chat with him about the album, his career, and what we can expect as a new dawn for humanity.
Chorareii: This is the first question but I’m going to get to the point. Do you think the future will be as you express it in ‘New Dawn’?
I do not want the future to be as expressed in “New Dawn”, but there may be more hope in a future in which plants and mushrooms cover everything than in a future in which human egocentric capitalism swallows nature.
How did you come up with the idea of making ‘New Dawn’ not just an album, but an immersive sound and visual experience?
I previously made a 360 ° video for the song “Throbbing Pain”, included in my EP “End of the Death” which was also released by Bokeh Versions, in 2018. This album [“New Dawn”] started as a more developed version of that previous project.
The album has connected several creators from different parts of the planet: Japan, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. How was the process of creating such an ambitious project?
Due to the different time zones, it was difficult to find moments for meetings. I trusted all the artists involved, so nothing more was needed. If each one took care of their area, everything would be completed in the best way.
The prologue to ‘New Dawn’ is a poem by the Mexican Horacio Warpola that fits perfectly with the concept of the album. I would like to talk to you about the first and last sentence of the poem: “What is dust if it is not dust from thousands of grains of dust.” It reminds me a lot of the biblical phrase “Remember You are Dust and to Dust, You Shall Return” but at the same time it has a more universal nuance … What does that verse make you feel?
What I felt from this passage of the poem was the sensation of distinguishing the world, as if I could feel the universe from the smallest and with an overwhelming accumulation of time.
‘New Dawn’ it’s probably your most cinematic album. It has a very strong narrative and the sound immediately evokes a visual universe, even without immersing in the VR experience. Since you are quite the movie buff, tell me how this influenced ‘New Dawn’.
In terms of production, I’m influenced by the soundtracks of many films. When I make music I try to create a space, a world, and a story. Not only have I applied it to this album, but this time I worked with a stronger focus on that point.
For its sound side and the immersive and visual side, the album is also reminiscent of video game ace. Are you related to this industry?
Unfortunately not yet. I would be happy if I could make music for video games in the future.
The concept of rebellion has marked your personality and your music. What is Mars89 rebelling against in 2021?
I have always shown resistance to the deprivation of liberties, totalitarianism, and fascism, and that is not going to change. After the pandemic, I felt there was a growing need to resist neoliberalism.
You often mention the band JAGATARA as one of your great musical (and ideological) influences. Could you talk about this band for those who don’t know it, and explain why it marked you so much? What artists continue to inspire that same rebellious spirit in you today?
JAGATARA first attracted me because of their sound, which mixes various styles of music such as punk, funk, reggae, and afro. The proposal of Edo Akemi [creator of the band] was not an answer, but a question. If everything is shit, then what are you doing? I felt like he was throwing something like that at me. I think it has a spirit that resembles CRASS. Many artists are stimulating the same rebellious spirit now, but Moor Mother and Pussy Riot are among the most prominent.
You are still closely linked to Bristol: once again it has been the Bokeh Versions label that has released your album, and you continue to be a resident of Noods Radio. How did your connection to this city begin?
Everything was based on a relationship of the type “a friend of a friend of a friend …”. I don’t know if it was inevitable or accidental that it came to Bristol, but I’m lucky that it happened.
Your awesome new logo, album artwork, and also the ‘New Dawn’ t-shirt and poster were designed by Patrick Savile, which makes sense because he’s a designer who has always been inspired by music. How has it been working with him?
He also created the cover for my previous work “End of the Death”, released on Bokeh Versions in 2018. That was our first collaboration. He has also worked on the cover of other Bokeh Versions projects. This time, he was involved in the process and I also felt him in my mind because I was exchanging information with him about my favorite sci-fi movies for DM.
You studied fashion at Bunka Fashion College and to this day you are still closely linked to that industry through Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER (@undercover_lab), putting music to his shows, being part of the UNDERCOVER RECORDS label and designing capsule collections. What does this UNDERCOVER-Mars89 union contribute?
I hope that it will be a gate that connects each other with the new world and [that my music] will be an important element for creating a space.
You have come to meet Thom Yorke through your music. How is that connection today?
Thom Yorke found my song [‘End of the Death’] and put it on his playlist [for BBC Radio 3’s ‘Late Junction’ program]. Through Undercover, I was able to get to know him. Right now there haven’t been any other developments in particular, but I hope there will be in the future!
What would the ideal new dawn for humanity and the world look like for Mars89?
I have roughly the same amount of optimistic and pessimistic thoughts about humanity. Therefore, I do not rule out the possibility that the ideal new dawn for humanity and the ideal new dawn for the world are completely different.
If we can leave behind as soon as possible this society that considers all beings, including human beings, as resources for certain human beings, then we should be able to find a new dawn in a world where everything coexists.
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