Long before MIKEY began writing their four-track EP Paths, the songs existed within them -- not quite ready to burst out into the world. It's only now, as the queer nightlife icon and musicians has settled into their place as one of Berlin's most engaging artists, that the songs feel poised to turn everything on its head.
"These songs are the opening of a gateway for the octopussy to emerge and begin remaking the world," the Australian-born singer explains of Paths. "I needed to bring them into the world in order to heal traumas that exist here." Of course, if there's anything that the world is overloaded with lately, it's trauma, which makes their otherworldly lyrics so much more healing.
Related | Berlin's Queer Nightlife Icon MIKEY is Paving New 'Paths'
Baptized in the "illicit soul medicine" that flows through Berlin's nightlife scene, MIKEY has emerged with a face beat for the goddesses, an awareness of the inner workings of the universe, and an album they describe casually as the sonic equivalent of "a caged raptor breaking free & soaring above the battlefields of this lost dimension" -- Michael Bay take note.
To celebrate the EP that MIKEY hopes will empower listeners to create their own rules and get in touch with their inner octopussy, we had them go track-by-track to guide our Paths through the big dick of society, sigils, and Orpheus.
"Love Levitation" is a battle cry against all of the forces that try to restrict a person. That's why I built it around a kind of marching drum beat. It's the voice of love marching against limitation. I started out with a feeling that my gender & sexuality were unacceptable, but I learned that you don't have to get caught in the trap of narrow expectations. There's something up above that, and I wanted to write a song that tells people they can levitate there if they decide to, that there is something to rise to. The first thing is to tell that big dick of society that it'll have to grow wings if it wants to try to bring you down.
"Paths" is like a hymn to sing in the Temple of MIKEY. It's a reminder that there are infinite paths unfolding around us constantly. In the last couple of years, I started seeing and experiencing a kind of power that didn't fit anything I'd ever heard of before. I began making my own symbology for these things with sigils and rituals, and writing this song was a part of that. All we have to live for is this crossing of paths in this moment and we have to let the rest go, so the atmosphere of this song is a place of surrender.
"Species" is a song that draws a line in the sand around my own autonomy. Nothing is going to cross that line, and if that means I don't fit into humanity, then I will be another species - an alien, an octopussy. Part of what I do is creating looks for nightlife and fashion, and often people feel drawn to what they see, but then are afraid of what they've gotten themselves into. There's an interlude in "Species" with a translation of one of Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus that talks about how loving holds a space for a new animal, "and in that held space it raised its head, and didn't even need to be." That's the next level, where you can be real with each other without having to be anything.
"Genitalia" is, like it says, about genitalia. It's from an experience that I've had many times of being very connected and intimate with someone, but seeing them turn away because of their ideas about which genitalia they are allowed to feel what about. It took me a long time to realize that this wasn't happening because there's something wrong with me, but because of the narrowness of what other people have been taught to feel. It's a pretty direct song, something to help strengthen people who find themselves in this situation.
All photography by Tomas Eyzaguirre