Photograph by Nir Arieli
through iris lune, frontwoman and songwriter ella joy meir creates affecting, atmospheric art-pop. with ‘stories in glass’, iris lune’s recently released third ep, the project mines deeply intimate and emotional territory. newly based in nyc, iris lune will play a hometown headlining show in zone one at elsewhere on 10/27. ahead of the show, meir took the time to answer a few of our questions and share their new video for the song “screenshot.”
What were some of the influences for your recent album, Stories in Glass?
To me, Stories in Glass is the middle point between my first 2 EPs. The first one is a lot more ambient and abstract, whereas the second one, Lost in Chatter, is much more groove centered and dancy.
I remember listening to a lot of Sylvan Esso, Bon Iver (specifically 22, A Million) and Thom Yorke (Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes). Asher Kurtz, who produced the album, also cites Tyler The Creator (Flower Boy), The Books and MF Doom as inspiration. Fela Kuti and Herbie Hancock (early 70’s Herbie) also played a big role in what was actually happening in those grooves.
Lyrically, I was inspired to tackle topics that are dear to my heart, but haven’t been brave enough to do so beforehand. “Headlights,” for instance, talks about having a panic attack, and “Chirp Chirp” is about feeling trapped and wanting to be set free.
Are there any inspirations behind the Screenshot music video?
The video for ‘Screenshot’ is the brainchild of director James Berry—a “what if” scenario where his father dies. He plays out the effects this would have on the deceased’s child, wife, and ex-wife (the child’s mother) who had formerly been ostracized from the family, but has been invited to the funeral to say her goodbyes. It also shines a light on how, in the midst of this familial catharsis of epic proportions, humans can sit content in the oblivion that is their phones rather than seeing the beauty and fragility unfolding around them.
What musicians would you love to collaborate with?
My dream collabs are Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and James Blake. I’d also love to work with Bjork, Jon Hopkins and Thom Yorke. Recently I’ve been listening a lot to Flock of Dimes (aka Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak), and I’d really love to collaborate with her on something. I think she’s incredible and super versatile.
With the recent release of your 3rd record, how do you think your music has evolved or changed over the years?
My music has grown with me, and changed overtime. It has become more honest and vulnerable, and I’m less afraid of being direct and delving into darker places like mental health, the loss of a loved one and politics.
It has also become more collaborative. I used to write songs and then bring them in to workshop with the band but overtime the whole writing and production process has shifted quite dramatically. My guitarist and producer, Asher Kurtz, who started the project with me back in Boston, is who I write songs with these days. We’ve both gotten really good at taking each other out of our comfort zones and pushing through our own boundaries. Stories in Glass in a true collaboration and I feel so lucky to be able to share our musical vision together.
From Tel Aviv to Boston to New York, how have the different place you’ve lived influenced your artistic process?
Every place that I’ve lived in left its mark on me, and helped shape the way in which I view the world. The culture, the food, the music and experiences in each particular city have influenced my artistry in ways that I’m not always aware of.
I think, more than anything, it’s the people I have encountered on my journey that have impacted me so much–friends, artists, activists, neighbors, collaborators. I think of myself as a storyteller, and am very much drawn to stories and to the people telling them. One of the things I love most about NYC is that you meet people from all over the world, who are trying to “do their thing.” It’s a tough city to live in, but so easy to get hooked because it’s also magical and inspiring, and it’s the people who make it that way. To me, it’s the first place I really feel at home. It’s funny, because I’m an immigrant and a lot of my friends have also migrated from other countries to live here. But, in a way, I feel more at home here as an outsider than back where I grew up.
Interview by Toran Spence
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