Perfume Genius is playing at the Perth International Arts Festival’s Chevron Festival Gardens on Friday, February 13, 2015. Here’s AARON BRYANS’ chat with him from earlier this year.
Known as Perfume Genius, Mika Hadreas has made a name for himself through his lyrically moving and instrumentally engaging indie-pop, ensuring that all aspects of his recordings are influential and recorded within the proper environment.
Now after two albums, Perfume Genius is set to return, taking a new turn in his career with Too Bright, an album recorded within the non-isolated environment of a studio with themes focussed on current issues rather than the past.
“The first couple of albums are about processing bad experiences that have already happened and trying to heal things that have already gone on,” Hadreas explains. “This album’s a lot more immediate and how I’m feeling now and how I want to feel going forward, it’s still very personal and I’m still very connected to it but in a different way.
“When I first went into the studio I was very worried I was going to lose the minimal, gentle qualities that I liked about the second album (Put Your Back N 2 It). I was very paranoid about not putting too many things on there or over-think anything and this album is a lot different I almost wanted to pile everything on and then twiddle it down. There are even instruments in it like sax freak-outs and a bunch of stuff that didn’t make it on the album but there are still a lot more elements going on. And also I found out a lot more about the music I was very much focused on the message and lyrical content of the first two but this one I was equally invested about how it was going to sound.”
Hadreas has had his fair share of unpleasant experiences as a result of being openly gay, including the removal of his promotional video for Put Your Back N 2 It from YouTube after footage of himself and pornographic actor, Arpad Miklos, embracing in underwear was deemed unsafe for viewing.
“It definitely helped more people listen to it and watch the video, it was weirdly helpful, the label was really stoked about it,” Hadreas laughs. “I’ve gotten shit my whole life for being gay so it wasn’t that surprising to me for something that I thought was really innocent and cutesy, they thought was offensive. To me it was ridiculous but there was a tiny uproar that happened from it and people wrote some really supportive and helpful things so I took that away from it more then the death threats because those are usually written very poorly and not very thoughtfully.”
Hadreas’ experiences have resulted in the artist turning to music for emotional expression and therapy, and whilst he feels his public acceptance is improving, there will always be a fear of being put down.
“I have my guard up a lot, things have gotten better but I still carry myself like I’m going to get shit on the street. Nine times out of 10 they don’t, but the one time that they do that’s what you remember and that’s why you think you need to be so defensive and it can lead you to feel like a victim. A lot of this music is me trying to get over that and be more defiant and empowered instead of feeling self-conscious.”
Tickets for Perfume Genius are available at www.perthfestival.com.au.