Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Bara Hari. Together we discussed world-building, costume design, Pandora’s Box, their newest single “Violence Rising”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing?
Hey Mustard! I am doing well. Thank you for reaching out!
2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up?
As a kid, I loved to sing. It started with all the Disney movies I used to watch. My parents put me in piano lessons at the age of 10 even though I never had any interest in doing it! But I’m grateful that they did cause it has been a huge help. As a teenager, I started getting into darker and heavier music I guess as a rebellion against the glossy pop music that my parents were into and I feel like finding these angry bands came at a time when I needed it most. It became an obsession for me. Music became my personality. It formed my taste in media, culture, personality, political opinions, etc.
3. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you? Could you share more?
When I discovered Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge from My Chemical Romance, my whole world changed. It was angry, loud, theatrical. It incorporated strong visuals and dramatic performances. I was completely obsessed. It made me realize that creativity didn’t have to end at the music, it could extend into the videos, world-building, costumes, and album art.
4. Who (or what) influences you?
I am influenced by so many things! Classical art, nature, history, movies, fashion, movement. I am influenced by anything that has genuine human emotion behind it. As far as musically, Florence Welch, Marina, Nine Inch Nails, Kate Bush, Amy Winehouse, The Doors, and The Killers are some I can think of off the top of my head.
5. You have this incredible ability to build worlds through and for your music. Could you share more about your creative process?
Thank you so much! That is high praise. I never imagined I would be making music as I come from a visual arts background. I Iike concepts and metaphor. I guess it even comes a bit from a place of shyness. I feel like if I shroud my work in concept, metaphor and imagery, I am writing from the perspective of a fictional character instead of myself. Even though it all comes from my experiences.
6. When did you get into fashion design? How long have you been designing for your own costumes? Who are some of your favorite designers?
Growing up, my mom used to like to sew outfits for me and my sister. I always loved Halloween and I would look forward to being whatever I wanted to be because my mom could sew for me. I have always loved expressing myself through my clothing but being on a tight budget limits your accessibility to the things you may be drawn to. So I learned how to make things for myself. I officially started sewing in 2016. I am very inspired by the works of Jean-Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, and Thierry Mugler.
7. You are a noted film buff. If you could turn any film into a concept album, what film would that be and why?
I think they kind of already achieved it in the movie but Only Lovers Left Alive is a super creative interpretation of vampire lore with an incredible soundtrack. In fact, the sonic palette of that film is greatly inspiring the things I want to produce at the moment.
8. According to your Spirit Halloween costume “Melancholic Songstress” you have poems in your note apps. What does a typical note apps poem look like?
Oh my god I would be embarrassed to share. At the time I think they sound good but to others they might just seem like a teenage girl’s diary. Though every now and then I share them in instagram stories or turn them into song lyrics.
9. What is something within human society that you would consider to be in “Pandora’s Box.” What do you believe is something that should be spoken about more?
I wish there was more understanding and help when it comes to people with disabilities. I have an autoimmune disease that makes it hard for me to be steadily employed and I feel extremely passionate about the horrible way that disabled people are treated in this country. We live in a very ableist world and that needs to change.
10. How did the concept of “Pandora’s Box” influence your EP of the same name?
You know, what’s funny is that I have this very supportive internet connection that once left a comment that said “you are a Pandora’s Box of surprises” and I loved that so much I named my debut EP after that comment. I wrote that EP at a very tumultuous time in my life and I think by learning to express myself through music, I opened up a Pandora’s box in my own life.
11. You followed up “Pandora’s Box” with your Kill-Bill inspired single “Weapon.” In an interview with Post-Punk you said “art is the best revenge.” Could you elaborate more? For humans afraid to speak up, what advice would you give them?
I have gone through my fair share of traumas at the hands of people in creative fields and it made me want to quit everything creative. But it would honestly be so sad to let horrible people be the cause of shrinking myself. I guess my only advice would be to weigh your options. Sometimes it can be really scary to speak up because of the way that society tends to victim blame but by putting the message out there in your art, you attract a group of supportive, like-minded people.
12. “Tempest” and “Violence is Rising” have ushered in a new era for you. Are both these singles set within the same universe?
Yes! They are both part of my upcoming full-length album. I got started with electronic music because it was the only way I could get my ideas out with the skills that I had but really, I have always wanted a rock band. I am lucky enough to have an amazing partner and co-producer who plays guitar and bass as well as access to a fantastic drummer. I wanted this era to be louder and more cinematic.
13. On “Violence is Rising” you have become the wolf. Can fans expect to meet the wolf again?
Haha, I suppose the wolf comes out fairly regularly. It’s basically a metaphor for the vitriolic way that we approach opposing viewpoints.
14. What is next for Bara Hari?
I have a full-length album coming out in April, a new single and music video on March 7th and this year, I truly hope to get my act onto the stage.
15. Where can readers listen to your music?
It’s available everywhere that music is streamed but I recommend going to YouTube to watch my videos!