Sonic Monsters: A Guided Tour Through SOPHIE’s ‘Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides’

Those of us who inhabit bodies that do not align with societal expectations are at risk of falling prey to those who seek to enforce them. There is a long and storied history of queer fans finding strength and power in identifying with the Monster. Tied in with the above is the societal fear of the artificial body: the idea that humans can be constructed in part or wholly. From Altered Carbon to The Fly, popular culture is rife with anxieties about what technology can do to humanity, to our very definitions of what humanity is. It’s easy to see why: so much of the media we consume has been tweaked and enhanced, from CGI superheroes to tightly autotuned pop songs. And it’s in this intersection of artificiality, horror, queerness and pop culture that we find SOPHIE and her debut album, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. (The title is important, but I’ll get to that later.)

(I recommend listening along while reading. I also recommend using headphones for full immersion.)

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Creator Spotlight: Holly Bones

Holly Bones is a UK-based EDM artist with an interest in making things sound dark, spooky and aggressive. She loves horror in many mediums but considers herself kind of a horror film buff. She has even made numerous scrapped attempts at creating her own horror narrative, the only surviving evidence being a video teaser for a single she released. GenderTerror had a chance to interview her about her music, her style, and her inspirations. As always, interviews are unedited from the answers the interviewee gives us.

GT: What inspires you? Is there anything specific you really feel you vibe with?

HB: Oh well god there’s lots of stuff that inspires me and pushes me to be better. I see a lot of musicians doing really well for themselves around me every day, I see my wonderful girlfriend doing better and better and most of all I see that people enjoy my music and want to hear more. That’s what really pushes me forward and in to better things, but if we were just gonna talk about like, influences on my work I’d say the three biggest things I draw from are the Castlevania series, the metal I grew up listening to and horror films! Hopefully if I’m doing my job right it should be easy to pick up on those in my music. I love the metal growl and those big sweeping symphonic arpeggios and just the general vibe of sampling like, hammer horror films or demons laughing or whatever. It’s just good!

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Creator Profile: GRYPT

Their Twitter bio reads an “unholy trinity based in LA creating music + interactive”. Having been together since 2013, GRYPT is more than just a band. They are also writers as well as sound designers. Their music is available on Spotify, with the first chapter of their monthly horror serial available on Bandcamp.

This mysterious trio is made up of Romie Romak, their vocalist, writer, and narrator. The other members, Taylor Shechet and Myrrh Ka Ba, are much more mysterious as to their roles. Fitting for the band, their eerie sound, and the content they create.

Eerie is the best way to describe GRYPT, in my experience. From listening to The Blob Stares Back, to listening to their first album Thy Flesh Consumed, an eerie tone and sound is pervasive. It drips and oozes this eeriness in sound and word. As eerie as one would say a glass crypt would be.

Below is a small interview with front woman, Romie Romak, about the band, their work, and her influences.

[Interview appears as was written by Romie with minor corrections]

As most interviews start, what is GRYPT?

GRYPT is a horror themed multimedia project. At the core we are a band, making tracks and playing shows and such, but we also create fiction and other audio media.
We’ve recently been working on an audio drama that I write and narrate each month, accompanied with sound design and scoring by GRYPT.

Why GRYPT? Why interactive horror media?

GRYPT, the name, is a made up magic word we coined by combining the words ‘glass’ and ‘crypt.’

Having been brought together by the shared influence of the Horror genre, it was unavoidable. Being horror themed as a project, I mean.

As far as creating original multimedia Horror, We wanted to show the scoring capabilities of GRYPT, as well as an experiment with bringing my story ideas to the table. Our recent audio fiction piece is an exercise in channeling the classic Americana of War of the Worlds or EC comics.

What are some of your influences?

Musically, we (GRYPT) are varied but all come from a place of having been into industrial, IDM or trip hop or whatever at some point or another..

We harbor a semi-secret plan to make nu metal influence cool, in a myriad of different ways, varying in directness.

Fiction writing wise, personally, I’m a total retrophile. I have a passion for the time period of whacky, cash-in, increasingly obscure VHS horror. I’m just drawn to stories where the concept itself is the only real character in the movie. And, as I think I mentioned, I live for old horror comics. There is a certain magic to those things I try to recapture.

The Blob Stares Back. I listened to Chapter 0 and I must say the combination of your [Romie] voice and the soundtrack is absolutely amazing. How long does it take to do a chapter?

Thank you.
We do each chapter the month before it is released.. I go in, record my narration, then Taylor and Myrrh Ka Ba the score and sound design landscape.

I have no idea how the story will end. I’m writing each chapter as I go.

Will people be able to get the full story anywhere? Like an audio book of sorts?

We plan to release The Blob Stares Back, when it’s finished as an album and perhaps a companion book of illustrations would be in order.

In the meantime, anyone can subscribe to receive the next chunk of the story each month if they support us on Patreon. There is no minimum donation required to get The Blob Stares Back.

Also, the first 7 chapters will be aired October 13th on KXLU. We’ll be there on the air with our homie Jarrod from Girl Pusher.

Where to go from here?

We have new music to succeed our last album, Thy Flesh Consumed, which will be released soon.

In the meantime, we’re also figuring out how to finish The Blob Stares Back..

 

If you enjoy spooky tunes or a good old school style audio serial, check out The Blob Stares Back. Chapter 0 alone is filled with wonderful ambiance that matches Romie’s perfect tone for this type of work. Taylor Shechet and Myrrh Ka Ba provide a wonderful soundtrack that could be released alone. The Blob Stares Back matches the worlds and feeling of old school horror VHS, making you feel involved even if you aren’t.

If you want more on GRYPT you can find all the necessary information on their Patreon or Twitter.

Support GenderTerror and its creators by becoming a part of our Patreon! Every dollar counts!

Kanye vs Kimmel: Racism

*This piece was co-authored by Olivia Quin.

After Kanye West publicly called out Jimmy Kimmel for his skit on his show, twitter and the internet exploded. The skit is trying to spoof an interview that Kanye recently gave with the BBC. It was a rare in-depth and personal interview in which he bared his dreams and insecurities for the first time in a long time. His newest album, the critically acclaimed ‘YEEZUS’, deals with issues of racism and the lack of acceptance of black people in culture, even after they have made it far in society. In both the interview and the album, Kanye brings up how he is never taken seriously in his life, by the media and as an artist and a creative person because he is a man of color. An extremely passionate speaker, Kanye repeatedly brings up how his passion for his art and life has been mocked by others and the media, exactly what the Kimmel skit did.

Instantly people began to take sides, people saying Kanye couldn’t take criticism and that Kanye was basically overreacting. Several articles have appeared on the internet, discussing the issue, however most of them just scratch the surface. Most of them focus on the disrespect Kimmel threw at Kanye and how Kimmel’s skit focused on ignorance and highlighted Kimmel’s ignorance of pop culture. None of these articles, from what I have seen, highlight the deep racism behind the Kimmel skit.

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Problematic Allies

No one is perfect. In fact, it seems that to be imperfect is part of what makes us human. Despite what mainstream media likes to tell us, our favorite celebrities aren’t perfect either. Many of them are actually extremely problematic, to the point of harm. Intent doesn’t solve everything, nor does them being a celebrity. It does not shield them from criticism of their actions or cultural critique either. With the recent awarding of Macklemore’s Same Love and his subsequent speech, there needs to be a discussion about problematic celebrities, their place in the queer rights movement, and people’s ability to enjoy them as they are.

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