Today we are talking about The Virgin Wash a.k.a Marcy Angeles, (an indie artist from La Mesa, New Mexico.) Her sounds are nothing less than genre blending. Angeles’ distinctive soft spoken vocals filtered through a delayed effect, echo with a poetic and emotional intensity.
She finds value in the experimental and abstract and uses various electronic sounds. I have heard her dabble through the genres, creating trip hop, post-industrial, grunge rock, dark pop, and synth wave songs.
She produces songs with lyrics and themes that are direct outlets for productive rage and rebellious agony. Her vocals stay assertive yet gentle, in its recitations. She plays on our fears, thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future, as we brace ourselves for watering the wells that can be human emotion.
While creating, Angeles plays all parts in her one woman band. She is the vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer for all of her projects. This includes “Western Obsidian,” “TVOD,” “HERosion Decay,” “Fleurish,” and of course, “The Virgin Wash,” which are all named after Marcy’s musical aliases.
The Virgin Wash achieves freedom of creative finality, as a patented music brand and ally founder of the FB group, the (SoundCloud Community of Doom.)
In her spare time, Angeles is a painter and her art & writing pieces have been featured in the magazine publications “Rest For Resistance Magazine” & “The Musician Diaries.” (Links to these sites are listed below.)
The song “Ohmblatt” for example, (a spawn of the post-industrial TVOD project,) produces Virgin Wash signature musical patterns that are consistently planted throughout the track. The song is about 3-4 years old (possibly older) and is described by Angeles as “both very dark and very curious.” There is a mellowness to her sound here, that is both intentionally depressing and yet eerily soothing. Her poetry reflects energy through a static background delivering to us an apocalyptic landscape, where one can imagine humanity fighting for its life and failing, thus giving up in the end. Cryptic riddles filter through sounds of a machine, bringing together the disturbing impression of someone’s spirit being stuck inside an electronic box, that could be comparable to an illuminated battery powered coffin. This song takes you to a place where the typical person might feel both unsafe and uneasy. It’s as if you’re having a nightmare, that you can quite wake up from.
It brings out a whole new side to The Virgin Wash’s voice and there are blatant dashes of Sonic Youth influence, complete with guitar feedback moments that are both polished and precise. This track seems to be the ultimate super punk, “fuck you of fuck you” songs. Bark At The Moon’s fiery energetic voice, perfectly adds to Angeles’ whispers.
ALLOPHANE & FLEURISH MUSIC VIDEOS
Finally I’d like to take a look at the song “Allay,” from the “Allophane” project.
While watching Allay as a YouTube music video, the footage starts off with Marcy under a blanket of skulls. Her glasses are on the table implying that she no longer needs to see. The water is running and bright shining stars are in the distance. These images almost seem to be symbolic of her name, and can indeed be interpreted as a “Virgin Wash” of sorts. Trapped in a dream world that is her home, the lights shine brighter and it’s as if one is about to, or has already left their body. A lantern hangs unlit, perhaps symbolizing the fire of a life about to go out. Death stares closer into the light, as its curiosity peaks. The water continues to run, the lanterns continue to hang, and the glass windows continue to just be as they are, as we fade to black and end the video. This is just my interpretation of these images, but what do they all really mean?
“The video took place at home, where I find most comfort. I feel that the video itself was very lazy & last minute, but that it captures my absolute need to be home more often. I would say that I am definitely a homebody, and I think the video shows that. I would rather be at home working most of the time than out & about, as nice as it feels to get out of the house. The lyrics themselves are about healing from long lasting trauma. I’m not sure if you’ve read anything about me, but I was recently featured on “The Musician Diaries.” I’ve been very vocal the past few years about the trauma I experienced. A theme in my music chronologically began with “TVOD,” where I wanted people to feel afraid, sad, and angry because that is baggage I carry and that we all sometimes carry,” said Angeles in reference to her video.
I asked her why she chose the name “The Virgin Wash” to begin with, along with the names of her other aliases and projects. This was her response.
“The Virgin Wash is a name I got from a painting I did a few years ago. It was for my private collection, but I eventually shared it. The Virgin Wash is a reference to that feeling of renewal; to wash ourselves clean to purity. One of the big reasons why I have so many different solo projects, is that each one should be individually represented. Each one is important. TVOD was essentially a noise rock/industrial art project that was meant to give PTSD a sound, so that people could better understand what PTSD feels like. Western Obsidian, on the other hand was an angsty noise rock project, but currently has a much more solemn ambience. I am Chiricahua Apache and ‘Western Obsidian’ is a reference to a legend of the obsidian stone titled the ‘Apache Tear.’ The stones formed where Apaches jumped to their deaths because they would rather jump to their deaths, than allow colonials to take their lives.
Angeles’ favorite music video to make was “Dirbyh” from the project Fleurish. “It gave me an excuse to cruise around at night with a dash cam. Recording a music video requires getting dressed & I’d really much prefer being in my pajamas.”
She continued to explain to me the point and purpose of her latest project, Allophane.
“The Virgin Wash is pretty much sad pop but its greatest purpose is healing and ‘Allophane’ discusses an array of issues, but it’s just a downbeat groove particularly made for Trip Hoppers. Allophane is this really hypnotic looking crystalline formation that is just so beautiful. It felt that it was a really fitting name for the project’s trip hop aesthetic.”
Miss Angeles then told me about her first album for the “Western Obsidian” project called ‘Hert,’ which she described as angsty and confrontational.
“It really helped me say what I needed to say. It was written in a really self-assured place, a place I’m not always very accustomed to being in. The track ‘Homogeny, The Body’ is a bold exclamation about being Two Spirit/Trans & being Sacred Beings just like everyone else. A few of the tracks were also written with that same feeling of not needing anyone’s permission to be oneself & existing in spite of constant disapproval (as the wholesome being that refuses to be torn down.)
My ‘Fleurish’ album however, ‘Deepłigai’ was just a lot of fun to make. The song ‘Soft Detergent’ on this album, was a really good way of reminding myself of the importance of self care. The newest ‘Western Obsidian’ album that I just released last month called ‘The Wind Howls,’ is something that I feel very proud of because it took the angst of the first Western album to a place that is much more peaceful. Apart from that, I am really enjoying recording the new The Virgin Wash tunes, as they feel like a renewal of sorts.”
Before we ended our interview, I wanted to ask Miss Angeles about the underground music scene and find out what other underground artists she has both interacted and collaborated with. She told me aside from Curses Coyote and Bark At The Cross, that she’s also worked with the SoundCloud artists “Myrh, Agitation, Lend Me Your Underbelly, Spirit Resonance, Dariusz Jackowski & Mu Tiny.”
“What are the musical tastes like in the region in which you live and what was the underground music scene like?,” I asked The Virgin Wash.
“Well,” she said, “the biggest musical genres in this area are electronica & indie rock. I have found myself spending time in both scenes at different periods of my life. It feels really good to just keep our music collections broadened & not sell ourselves short by listening to only one genre. It keeps things interesting. I grew up in the rave scene, but first started listening to music as a kid. My first cd was The Cure (1992).
As far as when I was going to shows, I started going to warehouse parties back in 2001. There were lots of underground scenes and I loved drum & bass and trip hop. The chill out rooms were always a big place for me, but I always went to indie rock shows & concerts, as well as the shows of new wave artists.”
“What sort of places did you go to?,” I asked. “I went to raves all over the place… raves in polo fields, junkyards, paintball venues, old malls, race tracks, the desert and pretty much all over the place. It was really refreshing to not have to go to the same venue all the time.”
Do you remember where in New Mexico they were located?, I said.
“I was mostly a part of the El Paso, Texas rave scene, but I went to parties all over the Southwest. To answer your question, no. La Mesa did not have much of an underground scene and it still doesn’t. I left the El Paso rave scene originally because of the blatant Transphobia that became a theme there. The majority of the old school rave personalities, DJs, party promoters & new party attendees very regularly made fun of & encouraged maltreatment of the transgender community. Because I am an LGBT rights advocate, I found that being in that environment was both toxic and disturbing for me. It felt of great importance to give visibility as a Native American ‘Two Spirit’ because ‘Two Spirit’ is the name we give to our LGBT natives. Being a two spirit is a sacred part of our personal existence.”
With that said, The Virgin Wash is certainly an artist and project that particularly caught my interest. If you want to look up the Virgin Wash for yourself here are links to her SoundCloud and YouTube pages.
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