Melissa Auf der Maur is a Sensory Experience

by Kelly McClure

Melissa Auf der Maur has spent the last five years working on her second solo album, Out of Our Minds, and she will totally punch your lights out if you let it leak before the March 23rd release date. She told me as much, and much more, during an early afternoon phone call where we touched on such topics as aliens, David Lynch, and the “C word.”And by “C word,” I mean Courtney. Melissa is probably most known for having spent five years playing bass for Hole, as well as her stint with the Smashing Pumpkins. But guess what? Her solo stuff is better. True story. Melissa is independently releasing Out of Our Minds, together with a graphic novel and 30 minute film, and she says that at this point she’s ready to lay it all out there, even if she has to put on a show in someone’s backyard. 

Out of Our Minds sounds really goth to me. Were you a goth in high school?

Oh yes. I went to the Thunderdome, which was the big goth club in Montreal from like before having breasts, through graduating high school. I guess in many ways this record has not only been me bringing my visual and musical roots together, but I also wanted to bring all of my early youth musical influences, and marry those to my adult, ’90s era musical roots as well. 

The packaging of this project is interesting, in terms of how you’re releasing it with the graphic novel and the mini-film. It seems like artists are starting to do similar things more and more. Do you see this as becoming the norm? 

Well I started this project five years ago and during that time, so much has changed in the way we consume audio and visual content. And also, the music industry has crumbled massively during that time, and my decision to branch out was simply creative survivalism. My relationship with Capitol Records ended while making this project, so the fate of how I was going to share this music was very questionable. So then I just started creatively expanding and figuring out different ways to share art with people. I gotta make art, or I will die an unhappy woman. So I better make art in as many ways as possible. 

The video for the title track has a very Lynchian feel. Is David Lynch one of your visual inspirations? 

I don’t even know if we were consciously visually pulling from him. What I love most about Lynch is not even the visuals so much as the surrealism. I’m a surrealist. I love fantasy and the non-linear part of the world. Ever since I was a child, I always got my greatest inspiration from dreams, and Lynch makes stories in the language of dreams. So really it’s the dream quality that I find comfort in when I watch Lynch’s work. 

You were previously in a band called The Chelsea with a bunch of other artists, one of them being the super amazing Radio Sloan. If you were to be in another collaborative band like that now, who would you pick to be in it? 

My dream has been to collaborate with all of my heros since I was young. That’s how I ended up joining the Smashing Pumpkins. And I mean, would I want to be in the same studio as Karin from Fever Ray? Yes. 

So since your new album has all of this stuff going on, are your shows going to be these monumental productions?

Well it’s not like I have the budget to have horses, Vikings, and fire balls in my live show right now. But getting back to the whole survivalism aspect of this project, I’m also self-financing it. So the point of that is like, give me any room and I will tell the story of Out of Our Minds. 

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