The Bedroom Witch, Los Angeles-based dark synth-pop project of performance artist Sepehr Mashiahof, has just revealed ‘My Only,’ a video single from her upcoming album, “A Place of Hurt”, scheduled for 04 November 2022 via Psychic Eye and Ratskin Records on CD, vinyl, and digital.
In ‘My Only,’ The Bedroom Witch creates a blissful, euphonious sonic marriage of synthesizer, voice, and drum sounds all her own. Precise patterns of uptempo drum programming fortify a groove for Mashiahof’s voice to glide off, like ice crystal shards melting off a razor’s edge of an ancient cliff and falling into the darkness below. ‘My Only’ traverses equally melancholic and euphoric sonic landscapes rich with architecture, emotion, complexity, and soul, harkening to a futuristic Kate Bush that quantum leaps ten thousand years into the future.
Surrounded by latex and bondage-clad, dancing “healers” in a scarlet room, Mashiahof confronts her inner demons in the video, embodied as otherworldly circus-like creatures moving synchronously in bright red chadors. Ropes and roses restrain The Bedroom Witch inside a ritual circle, as she’s sacrificed to a statue of herself representing trauma and eroded identity.
Mashiahof states, “‘My Only’ is a song about coping mechanisms, like getting through difficult feelings through substance dependencies. It’s about those most honest moments of recognition of our own self-sabotaging behavior. We all go through it, but how do we get out of it? For me, it meant coming to terms with the fact that I am in this body, for this lifetime. Somewhere, there’s power in realizing you’re stuck with yourself.”
In the dreamlike video sequences directed by Sepehr’s sister Sepand Mashiahof, the healers and demons appear at once synchronized and distant. Sepehr explains, “The red room is sparse in furnishings but rich in color, and represents the tumultuous inside of our souls. The healers, the demons, the sacrifice, and the idol are all interconnected here. It’s about having terror of the pain you know will accompany growth, but promising yourself you’ll still go far in your healing.”
As ‘My Only’ spins delicately between moments of self-punishment and self-love, it sits squarely within “A Place of Hurt”, an album that as a whole, explores the resilience of the heart just as it’s being broken. Multilayered with both introspective and wider social metaphors, APOH addresses the fear of abandonment, hesitance to feel or receive love, self-sabotage, and romanticization of pain that comes with finding love as a trans woman who feels out of place in society.
APOH is described as a “love letter to heartbreak in the city” because it reflects on the confusing and crowded paths Mashiahof — or her character, The Bedroom Witch — takes to form human connections, find love, and self-actualize while combating societal dogmas projected onto her identity. Throughout the album, the sounds of a city grind against lush synths and angel-demon croons. Car tires screech above wistful synth lines and give way to shattered glass, while hypnotic sirens bleed into dissociative ’80s drum machines.
Mashiahof has found that heartbreak exists in many forms beyond romantic love. “Society can break your heart, inability to show up for yourself can break your heart, a bad dream can break your heart,” she states. “As a Persian immigrant, exile can break your heart. But there are also so many underlinings of hope in the album. There’s the hope to heal from the addictive, obsessive behavior that comes with a traumatized self, and the hope to one day be carried by love and support without feeling shame.”
“Above all,” Mashiahof states, “APOH is about yearning for and manifesting transformations, honing the ability to alchemize pain into power, and the puzzle piece effect of turning a fragmented self into something that feels whole and complete.”
As a conceptual artist, The Bedroom Witch has spent years building imaginary worlds, inviting us into the parallel universes of “Nowhere” and “Exile.” Both stand as metaphors for places in her life, with one being the homeland of Iran and the latter being the United States. APOH takes place in “Exile” and serves as the prequel to her 2019 concept album “Diaspora”, which chronicles the fantasy journey from Exile to Nowhere.
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