Russian-born, Tel Aviv-raised, Berlin-based songstress Mary Ocher on the political undercurrents behind her new record The West Against the People, out March 10 with an accompanying show at SO36.
“The new album was written during last year’s waves of xenophobia and the US elections. Trump’s promises to build a wall were resonating in my head, as well as Brexit and the results of the AfD in Berlin. I’ve been an immigrant my whole life and I’ve seen the wall outside of Jerusalem – which, by the way, is a lot higher than the Berlin Wall was. Living in Israel in the 1990s, in constant fear of an explosion or a terrorist attack, you’re saturated to the point that you can’t bother to think about it. You have to keep your daily routine… and your eyes peeled.
The sense of protection we have here in Europe should not be a given; we should realise how fragile it is. It’s a luxury to be so removed from war and be able to make a living from music. This album was made with that knowledge in mind. I didn’t care one bit whether it would get people’s attention. I didn’t know what they’d think about its theme, whether it would touch or interest them – of course it would be wonderful if it did, but it’s not something I was concerned with.
More and more people who previously had no interest in politics seem to be awakening to it, realising that it is affecting us all. Even if you are lucky enough to still be comfortable, you have to be aware that not everybody else is. This album was an excuse to engage in a discourse on subjects that really matter.”
Mary Ocher record release at Ich Bin Ein(e) Berliner(in) March 10, 23:00 | SO36, Kreuzberg