Heavenly Creatures: An Interview with Intimatchine
Their music captures the uncontrollable forces in life and our emotional worlds. Intimatchine talk to Andrew Darley about how they want their music to make listeners somewhat uncomfortable, and their EP I’ll Eat You Last.
(Click images to enlarge)
Intimatchine is an appropriate name for a band whose music captures the uncontrollable forces in life and our emotional worlds. Entering into each other’s lives, Chelsey Rae Holland and Christopher Wormald began an intended fleeting romance that grew into something serious and formed a creative relationship.
The pair began writing and producing music together and are ready to release a new EP entitled I’ll Eat You Last in March. The record contains five songs that are looming, meditative and sometimes satirical; demonstrating a strength for songwriting and production. Speaking to Polari Magazine, they discussed how they want their music to make listeners somewhat uncomfortable, pushing each other’s boundaries, an infamous Belinda Carlisle classic and the social constructs they desire to challenge.
The first and most obvious question for new bands is: how did you get together?
When I first met Chris, I was already seeing someone. We started a “study group” to mask our affair. It’s a funny thing because my lover’s best friend was in our study group too. We both figured we’d idealize and then discard one another. But the discarding never happened and I started dating the both of them. I was into the theatre and Chris was programming electronic music. We had a great sense of respect for what neither of us could imagine doing by ourselves, and so we started doing it together. Once we realized our future in each other, we became exclusive. That kind of reciprocity and admiration has been exchanged ever since.
You’ve said that you both “derive from cardinal and mutable differences”. Can you tell me more about that and how it feeds into the music?
According to astrology.com, those are the terms used to describe our horoscope compatibility. Our results were insulting, but the language of the overall reading struck close to home. Where one element is the achiever and an unstoppable force, the other transcends. Our music strives towards that contest of strength. The machine used in our music and referenced in our title is an obvious influence of power. The latter – which for us means showing affection, vulnerability and on the brink of chaos – is its own covert controlling process. Anyway, fuck horoscopes. Who needs compatibility when you have astrological forces to exploit. By the way, I’m a Pisces and Chris is a Capricorn; very sensitive.
You’ve been together since 2008, do you feel like you’ve reached a strong place now where you want to take the band further?
We’ve been together since 2008 but only started releasing our music in 2013. The past five years have been spent pushing one another’s boundaries, as lovers and as musicians. I’d like to imagine what 5 years of shared sex and emotions could do for any band. Especially these #NoOpinion garage rock bands. Five years of bliss and possession and after that you reach a safe place where your partnership is indomitable. It’s all fundamental; now we can keep experimenting and the tears of shame don’t affect us anymore.
There’s a feeling of menace to your EP title I’ll Eat You Last. How did you come up with the title?
The title is the name of a contemporary play. I read the title and literally shut off all sensory capabilities so I could avoid finding out what the origin and synopsis of the play was. I loved what it meant, just simple rhetoric and I wanted to meditate on that alone. I still don’t know what it means in the context of the play, but for Intimatchine it’s an impossible declaration of intimidation.
Would you say there’s an element of humour to your music too?
Not just humour, but humiliation. We’re not really aiming for overtly satirical themes, I think it’s simply the natural vortex that comes with being. I’m not intending to dramatize what I consider to be typical female portrayals. My songs are written to give justice to those possessive, hysterical, and whimsical moments in everyone. I truly believe that satire is good medicine and I see where it’s connected in our music. Nevertheless, I’d prefer to think that people are laughing out of nervousness.
Have you established a creative process? It sounds like an intense experience, being in a band and a relationship together.
It’s intense because we’ve merged our passions into this common ground that is now the basis of our relationship. Between the both of us we have a lot to express so we do go head-to-head on some aesthetic decisions. It feels good though. We learn a lot just from being exposed to each other’s fiery temper. Despite having different influences and backgrounds, our politics are aligned, which has allowed us to embrace our differences and feel safe about exhibiting the hyper-personal. Although we’re a duo, we strive to go beyond telling a couples’ story. We are interested in emotions and relationships that are rooted in social themes far beyond us.
Although you are both straight, there seems be an engagement with both queer and gender issues within your music and image. Would it be fair to say that you are drawn towards these themes?
Yes and it resonates with us because it’s about gender incorporation and creating similarities rather than differences. We are particularly interested in themes of androgyny, pandrogyny, and cross-gender identity as part of our creative content and process. There is an aesthetic and feeling that go with tapping into one another’s social construct.
Even the artwork for the EP plays with gender identity. How did you come up with the idea?
The two opposing images on the cover come from early artworks that are inspired by mine and Chelsey’s internet interactions. Although they have gendered characteristics, my intention was simply to underline these symbols from our past. The artwork on the reverse side is the result of a nude photo-shoot of Chelsey and I, which was intended to produce an image of me wearing Chelsey’s makeup and body parts. Instead, we performed digital surgery and searched the Internet to find the right feminine parts for my frame. The decision behind this was to obfuscate our identity while retaining the concept without putting our bodies on display.
Are there any LGBT artists that you particularly admire?
Light Asylum, Ssleaze, Peaches, Genesis P-Orridge, Diamanda Galas, Wendy Carlos, Bradford Cox of Atlas Sound.
You’ve recently shot a music video for ‘Are You Rich?’ which we are premiering on Polari Magazine (see it here). How was that experience?
Filming ‘Are You Rich?’ was such an experience. We were out in Apple Valley for most of the shoot and got everything in one take except Chris’ topless scene. He had to take off his shirt 5 times in 30-degree weather. We were on a tight deadline and an even tighter budget so we’re really lucky to have a couple friends who were down to get DIY with us, even as seasoned film pros. They really were able to deliver a visual extension to our music. Thank you Jill Fogel for make-up, CJ Brion for cinematography and direction, and my dearest Aunt Kathy for letting us shoot all night on her ranch.
Following on from that, have you put much thought or discussion into how you want to visually present the band?
We really like the idea of having a male muse. You’re going to see a lot more of Chris in the near future.
On ‘Heavenly Creatures’, there’s the line “Heaven is a place on Earth”. Is this a reference to the Belinda Carlisle classic or am I totally off the mark?
Oh, Belinda. If only we knew. It was not intentional, but now that you mention it, I like my negative interpretation of her one-hit-wonder. Poor thing.
Listening to the EP, it sounds like you pay close attention to the production and the layering of the songs?
We really focus on the textures and tones of each sound and place them into the frequency range that corresponds best with the emotion we want to portray. This includes layering multiple instruments and even multiple recordings of the same instrument. There is a lot of trial and error often leading to an accentuation of the errors and formation of new, unexpected compositions.
Are there any bands or artists in particular that you admire or have artistically achieved what you would like Intimatchine to reach?
We’ve got a lot of admiration for the artists coming out of Mannequin, Blackest Ever Black, and Sacred Bones right now. Following the release of our first EP, we really just want to hone in on a cohesive sound and aesthetic. Once we can develop that, we look forward to seeing where we fit in within this community of artists.
Have you got an album or new music in the works?
We are releasing a track on a split 7″ with our friends of GLAARE. That will be released sometime this year, along with a 2nd EP.
On a final note, who would you eat last?
I’ll be eaten before I get mine. Let’s leave it at that.
I’ll Eat You Last is out next month. For more information and news about the band check out their official Facebook page