Mary Ocher has never been one to shy away from politics or personal slant. Born in Russia and raised in Israel, Ocher has consistently explored her heritage, life experiences and cultural observations in her music beginning with her 2008 album War Songs . Her latest, The West Against the People, is both a reflection on and dissection of the mammoth global superpower.
Musically, her outsider pop demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of genres and eras. She glides from defiant, punky new wave to prog-electro; she conjures ‘60s pop then howls over an unrelenting sitar; she raises her voice to a falsetto that recalls Kate Bush at her most eccentric, weaving in elements of classical music and opera before downshifting into psychedelia.
In advance of The West Against the People’s release, Ocher issued a compilation of remixes of her track “Arms” with proceeds going to benefit asylum seekers from war-torn countries. She’s also written a companion essay for the album that explores the its themes in a more overt, academic fashion.
We spoke to Ocher about “questioning everything,” the role of protest music, her habit of hopscotching across genres and the value in being an outsider.
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