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|Mariya (Mary) Ocher|
self portrait, January 2011
November 10, 1986 |
|Genres||Avant pop, experimental, post-punk, art rock, garage punk, folk|
|Instruments||vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, synthesizer, piano, keyboard|
|Years active||2006 - present|
|Labels||Haute Areal, Buback Tonträger, Related Records, Hairy Spider Legs, Klangbad|
|Associated acts||Mary and The Baby Cheeses, Mary Ocher + Your Government|
Mary Ocher ("Oh-chur", born November 10, 1986) is a singer-songwriter, poet, director and visual artist. She was born Mariya Ocheretianskaya (Russian: Мария Очеретянская, Hebrew:מאריה אוצ'רטיאנסקי) in Moscow, an only child to a voice and puppet theater actor (of the Obraztsov theater) father and an unemployed engineer mother both of Jewish/Ukrainian descent. Her family immigrated to Israel in 1991, first to a kibbutz in Negev and several months later to Tel Aviv.
While studying at a religious Jewish school in Israel, she was forced to change her name to Miriam for several years. In her teenage years, she studied film in an art high school in Tel-Aviv, which she then left at the beginning of the 12th grade. At the age of 18, she adopted Ocher as a last name.
Ocher's grandmother, Julia, was married to prominent Russian historian/author Natan Eidelman, in the last years before his death.
Alix, her dad was named after an SS officer who saved his father's life during WWII, her mother, Yelena took part in the mapping of the moon in the 1970s in Moscow.
At age 14, Ocher had recorded her first song, produced by Idan Raichel, who later went on to become a successful mainstream world-music producer. Amusingly, out of the same film-class in high-school sprung members of the synthpop act Ne'arei Poster (Poster boys) and one-half of the hip-hop duo Cohen@Mushon.
Ocher is married to German pinstriper and custom artist Tom Plate.
Ocher and outsider art
While sometimes miscategorized as an outsider artist, for being "too difficult to categorize", Ocher doesn't quite qualify as one, though being an advocate of self-taught methods and DIY culture (she's been invited to lecture on it at Hamburg's Operation Ton music convention and The Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, organized vast tours around the globe without assistance from within the industry, made films and exhibitions and participated in dozens of events organized by collectives and individuals not supported by any official body), the work itself is quite rooted in popular culture and its counter-culture and lacks the naivety of the work defined as "outsider art". She's never been institutionalized, though sent like many teenagers to be examined after dramatically leaving school, the doctors advised to keep her coming for lack of other suggestions and/or diagnosis. She sternly refused.
In December 2006, she formed a band, Mary and The Baby Cheeses, in Tel Aviv, and in October of the following year, the band moved to Berlin, where she would later change the entire line-up. The band produced several DIY releases, the most notable being a collection of studio recordings titled Analog music for a digital generation. In December 2008, she released a solo album recording titled War Songs, with 13 acoustic apocalyptic folk songs about war, crime and other related themes.
In mid-2009, she took part in Voices - a fundraiser event for Physicians for Human Rights in Gaza organized by Eleanor Cantor aka Sister Chain and a small group of volunteers, that was held twice at Filmbuehne in Berlin and once more on 10 May 2010 in the city of Muenster.
In January 2011, she joined the German Indie band 1000 Robota, on the 2nd leg of their German tour.
The re-issue of War Songs by the German label "Haute Areal" came out in Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Austria on 11 March 2011, and its first single, "On the Streets of Hard Labor" had been released two weeks prior, on 25 February 2011.
On December 2, 2011, Haute Areal released a 7" EP with four new tracks: King khan's version of "The sound of war", the synthpop "Address Yourself Entirely to Me", "Man of 1000 Faces" and "Ugly, Ugly Girls" - the latter two from the War Songs sessions.
She also accompanied musically the short play based on Andy Warhol's autobiography with German actor Peter Pagel at the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam.
In October 2012, Ocher went on tour with the German bestseller author Sibylle Berg, alongside actors Katja Riemann and Matthias Brandt to promote Berg's new book Vielen dank für das Leben ("Many Thanks for Life"). The tour visited most large German cities, as well as Zurich (Switzerland), and it was entirely sold-out. Along the shows, a video was made for the song "The final embrace (Toto's song)" (Toto is the main character in the book, of which Ocher resonates on stage).
From spring 2012 on Ocher has been auditioning various drummers for an act with two drummers. On October 6, "Mary Ocher + Your Government" premiered at the performance festival "Foreign Affairs” at the Berliner Festspiele.
The second album, EDEN, produced by King Khan of King Khan and the Shrines and The King Khan and BBQ Show came out on Buback on 14 June 2013. Guests on the album featured King Khan himself (on Zither as well as other instruments), The Shrines' drummer Mirko Wenzel as well as Kyle Gibson, drummer of The Fresh & Onlys. The first single "Baby Indiana" was released on 1 June 2013 and second single, "The Android Sea" on 28 July 2013. The second vinyl edition of the album includes the bonus tracks Lullaby for a murderer and Poor boy from the wild lands Due to the unusual amount of videos that were made for the album, they were released once a week, for 2 months. The music video for "Baby Indiana" featured King Khan, Jessie Evans, Drop Dead festival's Polina Y and Art Stars' Nadja Sayej.
In November 2013 Ocher joined forces with German avant-garde poet/songwriter Hans Unstern and the Great Hans Unstern Swindle for a wide German/Austrian tour.
in January 2014 she joined Die Goldenen Zitronen for a couple of dates.
In late February 2014 she set out for North America for a 2-month/50 date grandiose tour - of which 48 dated were in the USA and 2 in Canada. with only but a few days off, the route went from the west coast to the east - with stops at SXSW, various gallery shows, colleges and locations as odd as vintage shops and a couple of house shows - the tour had been documented for a film.
In the summertime the crowdfunding campaign for Ocher's debut album with Your Government was launched, it featured a series of episodes of Between Two Drummers, a friendly nod to Between Two Ferns. some of the guests were Nina Hynes, Ned Collette and Molly Nilsson.
In September 2014 Ocher returned to the US for a few selected West Coast dates, around the GENESIS show for The Art of Elysium charity at LA's Ace Hotel, to which she was invited by Karen O and Rain Phoenix. Among the other participants were SoKo, Moses Sumney, Ariel Pink, Moby and Cat Power.
On March 31, 2015, Ocher has released a double anthology of home recordings (titled The Fictional Biography of Mary Ocher - The home recordings (2006-2015) (parts I and II)) with over 40 tracks recorded between 2006 and 2015, available for free streaming or purchase on Bandcamp.
Two of Ocher's songs are about to appear in the horror film Ava's Possessions, of which soundtrack is curated by Sean Lennon and will be released on a limited edition 10" on his label Chimera Music. The film is directed by Jordan Galland - a fellow musician/director.
On January 7, 2016 the debut full-length album with Your Government was released on legendary krautrock/experimental label Klangbad (led by Faust (band)'s Hans Joachim Irmler). Its follow up "The West Against The People" was recorded at the Faust Studio with Irmler in the summer of 2016 and released on March 10, 2017. The album features an essay analyzing the current sociopolitical climate, as well as solo tracks, tracks with Your Government and collaborations with Die Toedliche Doris and Felix Kubin. A further collaboration with Julia Kent is planned for a later release. A special edition of the album grants access to further tracks that will be revealed gradually throughout 2017.
The release of "The West Against The People" was announced in January 2017 in Fact_(UK_magazine), with the tag line: "Prediction: one of the best albums of 2017".
The same month "Arms" was released with a video shot in Israel with Israeli soldiers and a multitude of guns, and released alongside a collection of remixes - all of which profits are donated to a Berlin-based NGO helping war asylum seekers.
Ocher has collaborated with electronic producers Snax and TUSK and recorded background vocals for the German act Jolly Goods, the English Glen Strachan, Spanish The Mustache and American Skiing, on the track so long off their 'Another wave' album. She's also sung backing vocals for King Khan's collaborative project with Die Ärzte's Bela B and Rummelsnuff - Kuschelsnuff.
An adaptation of the Snax-produced version of "I, human" is out on October 4 on Buback along with 5 remixes, as a digital remix EP. The cover photo and the music video were entirely made with an Israeli team from Moshe Rosenthal (the director) - to Hadas Hinkis (visual artist and Ocher's primary collaborator in 2012) and Yehuda Swed (photographer). The music video features Ocher's father, as the head of the Victorian family.
She has been awarded a scholarship by The Music Board / Berlin Senate for artistic development.
Among the festivals and associated events she played: Folkale (2008, Tel Aviv), Berlin Festee (2010, Berlin), Oddpop (2010, Berlin), Antifolk festival (2009, 2010 London), Mother - A feminist festival (2009, 2010 - Tel Aviv, London), Tel Aviv Music Festival (2010, Tel Aviv), What's Queer About Queer Pop Today? (2010, Berlin), Avant-Garde Festival (Tel Aviv, 2011), TRAMA (Porto, 2011), Steirischer Herbst (Graz, 2011, 2012), Chewing the scenery - 54th Venice Biennale opening (Venice, 2011), Kampnagel summer festival (Hamburg, 2011), Fusion (Laerz, 2012), The Queer Festival (Copenhagen, 2012), Jerk Off (Paris, 2012), Festspiele (Berlin, 2012), Treibstoff (Basel, 2013), Reeperbahn Festival (Hamburg, 2013), CTM Festival (Berlin, 2014), Slingshot festival (Athens, GA, 2014), SKIF (ST Petersburg, 2014), ROODKAPJE RADICALS (Rotterdam, 2015), Northern Winter Beat (Aalborg, 2015), 1,2 Piecefest (Darmstadt, 2015), Pop Kultur festival (Berlin, 2015), Pop Montreal (Montreal, 2015), Nordwind festival (Hamburg, 2015), Pop Freaks (Stuttgart, 2016).
- The West Against The People (2017) (LP, CD, digital (Klangbad))
- Arms / remixed (2017) (remixes compilation, digital)
- Mary Ocher + Your Government - Self-titled (2016) (LP, CD, digital (Klangbad))
- 7" - Man VS. Air/Thunderbird (2015)(double A-side, limited edition vinyl (W/ Your Government)
- The Fictional Biography of Mary Ocher - The home recordings (2006-2015) (double anthology) (2015) digital)
- I, Human (2014) (remixes EP) (digital (Buabck))
- EDEN (2013/2014, second edition: 2015) (EU: Buback(CD, digital), Haute Areal(LP) US: Hairy Spider Legs(CD), Related Records(TAPE))
- 7" (2012) (aka "Man of 1000 faces") (limited edition vinyl, SOLD OUT (Haute Areal))
- War Songs (2011) (CD + digital (Haute Areal))
Other work: Writing, art, film and other
In mid-2009 til 2011 several poems were published, later to be collected into a limited edition booklet sold at shows, and the The Origins of Evil, a photography project which has been published in several on-line and printed magazines.
In April 2009, she organized The Queens and The Rebels (of Unpopular Culture) Festival for theatrical music/performance art and multimedia at the legendary Tacheles complex in Berlin. The second edition of the festival was held on April 18, 2010 at the RAW Temple, Berlin.
In February 2010, Ocher organized The 15 Minutes Festival in Tel Aviv, on Rothchild Blvd, where several musicians and poets performed for a mixed crowd.
As of 2008 until mid 2014, Ocher has been working with Julien Binet on the documentary The Sounds of Softness with a variety of collaborators and guest appearances, amongst which members of Malaria!, Einstürzende Neubauten and Cluster (band) as well as Hanin Elias, formerly of Atari Teenage Riot and authors Ken Shakin and François Jonquet. The film is about a late-1970s avant-garde movement.
In March 2011, Ocher was asked to participate in a campaign for Lomography, "LomoAmigo", to shoot everyday situations for several months with their analog cameras.
She participated in group exhibition Zum Schein, at the Neurotital gallery/Berlin, and another at Quai de la Batterie (Battery Key) in Arras, France.
On December 18, 2011, Ocher created a site-specific installation titled Restaurant.
In December 2013 ARTE broadcast the episode of Into The Night in which Ocher spent a night wandering around the streets of Hamburg with Sasha Grey, meeting interesting characters such as Polish-German artist Mariola Brilowska.
in August 2014 a video retrospective of Ocher's work was shown at Berlin's Galeire Nord, as part of "A Room of One's Own" exhibition.
Ocher is a member of the art collective Autodiktat; along with Documenta performer Peter Baecker, Austrian rebel Kris Kind and Irani-Austrian, Cannes film festival favorite Kamikat.se - all conceptual artists. their first exhibition as a collective was set for the last weekend of October 2014 at the Berlin underground music/art space West Germany.
She is also associated with the Australian Colour-Parade collective - aka The Colour Kids, that gave birth to The Adornists movement.
In April–May 2015 Ocher has embarked on the 3.5 week Hovering Suns tour of SE Asia (Vietnam/Singapore/China and South Korea) as well as Australia and New Zealand. unfortunately, the Australian leg of the tour had to be cancelled, and new dates will be scheduled in the not so far future.
She has directed several music videos for herself, as well as the German/Spanish folk singer Fee Reega, the multi-national collective Lemercier and The Lala By, French electronic producer Jules Valeron, American pop-performance artist DUBAIS and German/Turkish crooness Susanna Berivan. in addition to the documentaries All of my problems are imaginary (but my friends are real) and Love Starvation Economy (aka 13 Conversations About Love). Many of Ocher's various video-art pieces with original music and texts, photography, typography and drawings are online on various platforms.
Interview Magazine (German edition) chose Ocher as their Superstar of October 2013 (offline).
List of music videos
- To The Light (feat. Your Government) (directed by Robin Lochmann, 2017) (taken from The West Against The People)
- Arms (2017) (taken from The West Against The People)
- The Endlessness (Song for Young Xenophobes) (2017) (taken from The West Against The People)
- Across Red Lines (2016) (release info TBA)
- (with YOUR GOVERNMENT) A new language (directed by Laura Cherrygrove, 2016) (taken from MO+YG self-titled)
- (with YOUR GOVERNMENT) Dream X3 (2015, taken from MO+YG self-titled)
- By nature (2015, taken from The Fictional Biography of Mary Ocher)
- I, Human (Snax VS Mary's Hi-fi Lo-fi Treatment) (video edit) (directed by Moshe Rosenthal, 2013) (taken from the I, Human EP)
- (with YOUR GOVERNMENT) Man VS Air (video by Robin Thomson and Tom Plate, 2013) (taken from Man VS Air 7" & MO+YG self-titled)
- The road (video by Hypertrashawonderland, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Thunderbird/Eden (Part I) (directed by D.O. 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Thunderbird/Eden (parts III-IV) (edited by Mary Ocher, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Sweet charity (directed by Steffy Pop, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Heartman (video by Mary Ocher, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- No lesson learned (directed by Mary Ocher, 2013) (taken from EDEN) (was nominated for Muvi award at Oberhausen film festival )
- The Android Sea (directed by Craig Mc Guigan, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- My town (directed by Mary Ocher, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Baby Indiana (directed by Frank Nagel, 2013) (taken from EDEN)
- Toto's song (the final embrace) (directed by Heta Multana, 2012) (b-side from The Android Sea single)
- Address yourself entirely to me (TUSK remix) (directed by Mary Ocher, 2011) (taken from the untitled 7")
- The sound of war (directed by Maria Heiligen, 2011) (taken from WAR SONGS)
- Six dead white men (directed by Yevgeniya Gapon, 2011) (taken from WAR SONGS)
- Smallhead (directed by Mary Ocher, 2011) (taken from WAR SONGS)
- Trampoline (directed by Florian Fusco, 2011) (taken from WAR SONGS)
- On the streets of hard labor (directed by Frank Nagel, 2011) (taken from WAR SONGS)
- Man of 1,000 faces (directed by Mathilde Nègre, 2011) (taken from the untitled 7")
Songs covered live
- "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" originally by Patti Page (occasionally, with the Cheeses and solo)
- On The Hedwig and The Angry Inch night at Berlin's Monster Ronson's - "Wig in a box",
- On Sibylle Berg's book tour shows: Riz Ortolani & Katina Ranieri's "Oh My Love"
- At Graz's Steirischer Herbst festival's protest song cover show -
- Patti Smith's "Rock N Roll Nigger",
- Bob Dylan's (though better known in Odetta's interpretation) "Long ago, far away" and
- Malvina Reynolds' "Little boxes".
- "Where are we now?" at the David Bowie Gala at The Berliner Festspiele in July 2014.
- "The Green Door Store – soro Live Presents Written in Waters Mary Ocher", Chat5stella.it, 12 June 2013, webpage: C5it-Ocher.
- Ulrich Gutmair, "Hier ist kein Platz für uns" ("Here is no place for us"), Spex Magazine, www.Spex.de, 27 May 2011, webpage: Spex-MOch.