With her latest single “Coal”, Icelandic singer-songwriter Mr. Silla (Sigurlaug Gísladóttir) offers an emotional roller coaster of feelings. In addition to the outstanding vocal performance you’ve come to associate with Mr. Silla, today we present to you the music video to the single, directed by Anna Maggý. Mr. Silla told us the lyrics are related to being transgender, how important it is to find your way out of loneliness, and how Star Trek is helping her do that.
How was the collaboration with director Anna Maggý ?
The collaboration was very interesting and fun. Anna Maggý is such a creative brain and it was fun to figure out a common ground for the vision we had for the song.
Coal is a very emotional song. What made you want to produce this song?
To be honest, it actually came from a time when I was thinking a lot about the experience of trans people as one of my family members had recently come out as transgender. The stories of trans experiences I was reading and listening to at the time sort of came through in the lyrics quite naturally, and even though the specifics are not completely there I think there are aspects of these experiences that we can all relate to. The thought of not feeling seen or heard as your true authentic self by the people that are closest to you and you love sounds so torturous. The lyrics explore what that might feel like, and what problems you might face in your relationships in adulthood when the need for the unrequited love of your family is put on a spouse or partner.
How important do you think is it for humans loneliness, even if one may not necessarily be physically alone?
In a way that is partly what the song tries to address. That feeling of loneliness when you are around people but you do not feel seen or heard in a way that satisfies your needs. I feel it is something most people have experienced to varying degrees, and finding our way out of that is important to our mental health and all-around wellbeing.
Anna Maggý ‘s visual interpretation of your song is simple but very meaningful and very different from your previously released music videos. Where did the idea for the video come from?
Anna Maggý had worked with Lóa on another project and we both just loved her presence and look. The idea was to interpret the contrasting inner and outer realities in a way that would not feel too on the nose. I think the overall effect is so beautiful. Anna Maggý has a very specific aesthetic eye and I’m such a fan of her work.
What song would you most likely listen to when you’re feeling lonely?
When I’m feeling lonely I tend to watch TV and my absolute favourite go to cozy place is Star Trek the Next Generation. The combination of silly and smart premises and cast performances just makes for the perfect loneliness cure in my book. Not to mention the score and sound design of that show just puts me right in my happy place.
Have you ever felt that very absurd feeling when you are sad or really lonely and try to get even more into this emotional state with the right music to be able to fully enjoy it? If so, how have you experienced it so far?
I remember one album in particular had that effect on me. Secret Name by Low is just one of those albums that seems to understand the pain you’re in without judgement, and allows you to live in it oddly comfortably until you are ready and have done all the crying needed for the moment. Such a beautiful album.
What was the creative process of producing “Coal” like in general? Does the very unique and almost melancholic vibe also have something to do with the current pandemic situation?
The song was written quite a while back before the pandemic, so no pandemic feels on this one. The production process was quite simple actually. I found the demo for it yesterday by coincidence, and was surprised to find out how little had changed from the writing session to the finished product. It was one of those songs that just arrived ready. Mostly we added the space and hugeness of it in the studio but the melodic bones and most of the lyrics stayed exactly the same.
As a creative person, do you have some tips on how to keep yourself mindfully occupied during lockdown ?
I’ve been quite enjoying this time tbh. Obviously apart from losing my job essentially, and missing friends I’ve been really enjoying having the time to learn new stuff and revisit old passions that needed some nourishing. For example, I’ve been painting a lot and will be opening an exhibition in Gallery Port in Iceland in a couple of weeks.
I probably would not have had the headspace to make that happen had I been running around playing shows and stuff like that.
So I guess my tip would be to give some love and patience to the things you already know you like doing. There are always some more cool things to learn about it, whatever it may be.
Your fantastic make-up skills have unfortunately missed us this time with the music video for “Coal”. Could you imagine publishing a tutorial series (because we are really a big fan of it)?
Oh my I never thought about doing that, but hey it’s not a bad idea! Who knows, maybe I’ll try it out and see how it feels!