The latest video by Mood Killer, “Liquify” is out, co-produced by Chicago-based DJ Shubu, this twisted take on 2000s LMFAO-era dance anthems is a dark celebration of dismantling social norms. Mood Killer shape-shifts from a femme secret agent to a DJ bro to a genderless pop star. Directed by Mood Killer and produced with long-time collaborators Dorian Electra and Weston Allen, this powerful team leaves their distinct mark with slick pop visuals, dark themes, and a healthy dose of camp.
Mood Killer elaborates on the track:
“As a society, we all believe in mutual fictions. Ideas like gender, money, language, the sovereignty of nations have no physical basis in reality. Liquify is a radical call to dismantle those rigid divisions. On the dancefloor, all those social constructions melt away and we’re just fleshy, throbbing blobs having a human experience.”
Aesthetically “Liquify” is a melting-pot of inspirations, taking from a diverse spread of pop culture points ripe with symbolic meaning:
“I’m fascinated by the performative masculinity and joyful hedonism of anthemic music groups like LMFAO, Psy, and The Black Eyed Peas. With Liquify I’m trying to tap into that spirit of escapism while confronting head-on what it’s trying to escape.
I’m constantly inspired by science, history, and sociology, but I’m also fascinated with the aesthetics of these ideas as they appear in pop culture. I wanted to embody presentation aesthetics, The TED Talk being the most iconic example. I’m poking fun at the slick silicon valley performative solutionism that will supposedly save us, but I’m also poking fun at myself for consuming those very ideas with the same blind passion that I consume pop music.
I was already obsessed with the Marxist mythology of the Matrix series, but after both Wachowski sisters transitioned I found it hard not to read the Matrix through a queer lens. It made thematic and aesthetic sense to pay tribute to my favorite modern myth of queer awakening”
In the last year, Mood Killer has risen as a member of a thriving community of creatives and devoted fans. In 2018 Mood Killer joined Dorian Electra and Charli XCX for a series of performances around the US and Europe. They’ve also performed with the likes of Kim Petras, Allie X, Daya, Pussy Riot, and more. “Liquify” is the first single from Mood Killer’s forthcoming debut collection of music, check out our interview below for more details!
Where did your artist name Mood Killer come from?
I wanted a persona I could slip into. Something that was dark but tongue in cheek. Everybody’s identity is fluid and chosen. It‘s been fun creating one from scratch. A twisted and ridiculous, genderless, cyborg-clown identity. Nobody wants to be a “Mood Killer,” but everyone has felt that try-hard desperation. Our emotions can be so volatile sometimes and I wanted to embrace that chaos. It’s also a bit funny since I really love to ELEVATE the mood.
In your latest video for “Liquify” you shape-shift between a range of diverse personas. Which persona, if any, resonated with you the most?
Any time I inhabit a character I feel like I’m accessing a new and very true version of myself so really they all resonated with me. But the most fun character was probably the yellow DJ superstar. I love playing with male characters as a way to process my non-binary gender.
What kind of world do you think we would live in if the “mutual fictions” such as gender, money and language did not exist?
Well, we would just be like any other animal, wouldn’t we? It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the biology. Our ability to cooperate would deteriorate. We’d probably retreat into small bands of 150 individuals or so, like chimpanzees. Return to foraging our own food. Engage in violent conflict with nearby groups. Return to the garden of Eden, essentially!
Liquify is a radical call to dismantle social constructions, but really a more measured approach is what I hope for. I want people to be shocked into realizing that all these divisions and fictions are inherently meaningless, and therefore subject to revision. We have the power to change our reality!
“Liquify” contains an abundance of layers, meaning and juxtaposing elements that combine to ultimately dismantle social norms. If you could instantly liquify any 3 social norms what would they be?
Ooo I wish there was a product that did this. I can see a sham-wow type late night infomercial. “Instantly Liquify any social norms in two easy steps with LIQUID8!”
I think I would tackle abolishing gender first, to warm up. Then follow it up by eliminating the idea of private property. Then maybe I’d round it out by eliminating the concept of money.
Tapping into the spirit of escapism seems to be a common theme for Milennials and Gen Z’ers. How important do you think it is for us to just take a second to embrace our surroundings, rather than trying to continuously escape, or find the next best thing?
A balance is definitely necessary, but I also think those lines are more blurred than we think. Escaping for me can mean taking a moment to be present and embrace my surroundings. We are so obsessed with escaping because we’re locked into these rigid systems of oppression that are focused only on accumulating wealth for other people. How could we make those fat cats rich if we’re enjoying the moment? So we retreat to the club, a corny movie, fantasies, so we can live for ourselves in the moment for once.
The Matrix-inspired scene in the video where you become ‘disconnected from the Matrix’ was visually stunning. How did this scene come to life?
The Matrix trilogy is my favorite modern myth of queer awakening! Both Wachowski sisters are trans and transitioned after those films came out. It’s impossible not to read Neo’s journey as a trans experience. Realizing the world isn’t the way you thought it was, hacking “reality” and twisting it to your will, and fighting systematic forces that want to keep you oppressed and conformed. It’s such an incredible movie because it has so many ways to read it but those themes of rebirth and self actualization are what I wanted to homage.
Since I didn’t have a blockbuster budget, though, I turned to Amazon and Home Depot for simple items I could use to build the world. Then I enlisted Weston Allen, the best editor I know, to build out the world with post-production video effects.
Can you share with us any details about your upcoming debut album?
I’m holding off on an album for now, but I will be releasing an EP this summer. All I can say right now is that it’s an intense love letter to anger and dance music.
Photography: Lissyelle Laricchia @lissyellelaricchia
Clothing: Whatever 21 @whatever_twentyone
Chainmail headpiece: SKNDLSS @skndlss
Additional styling: Rare DM @rare_dm