A premiere of the group's new music video, as well as a Q&A with member, Krisztian Buzas
Electronic duo, Peter Kedves and Krisztian Buzas, better known as Belau, have been making music together since they were ten years old.
And that remarkable history and chemistry can be heard in the group's uniquely organic sound. It is rare that you come across an electronic act that can trick the ear into forgetting about the synthesized sounds that go into it. But the song behind Belau's latest video does just that – the duo blends both ethereal and earthen sounds into a hypnotically relaxing soundscape that begs the listener to let go of her daily stresses and be whisked away to a calmer place of introspective bliss. And the video for their latest single, "Essence," which features Sophie Baker (of Zero7 fame) on vocals, captures this sonic transportation perfectly. Belau's Krisztian Buzas kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the "Essence" video, working with Baker, and Belau's origins (as well as their future destinations):
What is the story behind the name, Belau? How do you see it connecting to the group's sound?
Peter and I have been friends since we were 10. We grew up together and have always loved geography. We would browse world maps for hours. However, it took a long time for us to notice that minor country in the middle of the Pacific ocean, Palau. Aboriginal people, however, have a slightly different name for Palau: Belau. The word is indicative of pleasure, being by the sea, and looking within oneself. Just like the music of Belau. We were always driven by the intention of bringing people to another state – where they can redefine themselves and dive inside themselves to find a sense of serenity, which glows just like the sun on the waves of the ocean. However, we have to admit: we have never been to Palau, but want to go so badly.
The video for 'Essence' follows three solitary women who all drink from an apothecary jar of sorts. When they do, they are each doubled and tripled shown, then to be in the company of other versions of themselves, no longer alone in a sense. Can you speak a little bit to the vision behind the video, and how you see the themes connecting to the song (either on a lyrical or sonic level)?
Through the song, we were trying to capture individual milestones of existence – isolation to freedom, solitude to interaction. We were trying to inspire people to discover their lives outside of physical boundaries, by drinking the so-called 'Belau cocktail' when they suddenly start to see more sides of themselves ... things that they did not know before, experiences that they've always wanted to have, and emotions that they want to feel, even if they have never felt them before. The three girls represent the human, who seeks greater truth from within.
Sophie Baker is the guest vocalist on 'Essence'. What was it like to work with her? What was the writing and collaboration process like?
Sophie is a very down-to-earth woman who always welcomes you with a warm heart and a gentle smile. In the middle of the process, she told us that she has some Hungarian ancestors from the city of Esztergom (a wonderful town in northern Hungary). We met in London, where we were playing a symphonic set at St. Covent's Garden. It went very well. We even tried to create the basis of the rough vocal melodies and the lyrical theme for the instrumental [that night]. Afterwards, she sent us some demos, I wrote the lyrics for it, she flew to Budapest to record the song, and we had some great times together. I think it turned out pretty rad.
What can fans expect from Belau moving forward? Any albums in the works? Tours? More videos?
We are working on our second full-length, which will contain "Essence" and "Breath" [a 2018 single] as well, and try to go on with the job what we have already started with "The Odyssey." We are upgrading and improving (both live and in the studio). And yes, we will keep on the touring this summer. Our next big opportunity, for example, will be the Primavera in Barcelona, but we will try to impress the audience this year at Sziget [festival] and at Electric Castle as well. We have some big things coming soon! Get ready!
BELAU / ESSENCE ft. SOPHIE BARKER (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) www.youtube.com
Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.