The Silk War holds a charming melodic spirit with any tune. Many songs involve stories of love and wonder. Some are about the ability to dive deep into the curiosities of our souls, while others grasp onto the ideas of human connection. But no matter what, The Silk War consistently puts forward sounds of sweet ambiance that are sure to have us processing our world with a new light.
Sitting in front of a wall of inspirations and decked with a cool style of hair clips, fiery singer Alexandra Blair alongside fellow lyricist, producer, and guitarist, James Mullen shared with Beyond the Stage (BTS) what sparked their passion for music creation, and led to their beginnings.
For guitarist James Mullen, music was an evolution. From playing in punk bands, which turned into production and engineering gigs, then mixing for artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Interpol. Mullen was ultimately lead to a vision of formulating a concept of a band.
For singer Alexandra Blair, music was something that helped her at a very young age. Vulnerably speaking about her stutter, the musician explained how singing allowed her to “interact and not feel so bad about myself for not having the ability to relate with others,” and through singing, Blair was led to study in New York.
The separate paths these two artists have taken is something that in 2017 allowed them to come together. Introduced by a mutual friend, and unlocking immediate chemistry, the two “tapped into the inherent darkness we both shared,” Blair says. The couple’s meeting opened an opportunity for a connection to be formed on “a serious and vulnerable level right away.”
As the conversation continued, the two peacefully explained the meaning behind their name. As the members launched into its origins, a palpable feeling of electricity filled the virtual atmosphere.
Inspired by the diaries of Sylvia Plath and her consistent references to silk, the members gained inspiration from “doing something contradictory,” stated Mullen.
While the name, The Silk War, derives from the diaries of Sylvia Plath, it’s also connected to the ideas of liberation and equity.
Fought from 1392 to 1401, the historical silk wars were the attempts for the Roman Empire to be denied imports of silk. However, the group The Silk War has taken these encounters and crafted their own vision. Analyzing these events and seeing the sexism on how these wars were ” fought for the luxuries of women,” the group wanted to make a statement on how “the freedom of women is not defined by fabric that is worn or what is commodified to a woman, but more for what a woman has the ability to do in the now,” said Blair
The Silk War spoke on the artists who acted as influences when creating their own music. Listening to everything from PJ Harvey and Patti Smith, to Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and Led Zeppelin.
The pair shared that “If you listen to our music, you can hear these inspirations all through different sections,” said Mullen.
The Silk War speaks on their new single “Barcelona”
Filled with lyrics that beautifully swirl together like clouds coming in during a summer sunset, amongst funky rhythms that hold similar sounds to beats of The Cure. “Barcelona” dives deep into a tale of love and longing.
“”Barcelona” represents a place that I’ve never been to, while really representing Jimmy’s past and a place that I’ll never touch,” states Blair.
The four-minute and fifty-two-second song keeps you emotionally invested in every breath.
The pair begins to explain how “Barcelona” was crafted, and what was done differently in comparison to their other songs.
“I found a sense of anger, and I decided to do something different. Something a little more Stevie Nicks melodically. This immediately tapped into the head voice with the first line of “Barcelona,” which I really don’t like to do, because it’s not comfortable for me, I really like to stay in my lower register,” Blair said.
“Barcelona” offers a unique look into the minds of the group. The Silk War’s original 2021 single, “Blue Hour” holds a strong focus on the twilight between night and day, a time to which you only see when you’re on a bender. As the song’s visuals focus on a concrete narrative of adventure and wanderlust, singer Blair is consistently in motion.
The Silk War discusses their upcoming album
On May 14th, The Silk War will release their debut album Come Evening. Written during the pandemic, a major transformative period, the group seized the opportunity to gain inspiration and find creative outlets. Blair said the record was born from “wanting to write about New York City and one night, Come Evening derives from a four-line poem:
THESE CHAINS HAVE THICKENED
WITH BEAST-LIKE SUPPRESSION
OF THIS FLESH I TAKE LEAVE”
Translating to the idea of “where you really truly become yourself, that you’re not under a microscope, is where you can do whatever you want, allowing all of your inhibitions to be released,” stated Blair.
Come Evening is a reflection of New York, however, it’s important to understand what it means to be a New Yorker during the pandemic.
For The Silk War, “the streets were dead but it was sobering,” noted Mullen.
While the events of the pandemic were earth-shaking for many, the group took it upon themselves to birth resistance. The group’s ability to find their footing during a tumultuous time, and gain the ability to find inspiration from one’s backyard is something not to be overlooked. The Silk War is a group ready to fight for what they believe in, and more importantly, they’re ready to share with the world who they are and where they are going.
Subscribe to Beyond the Stage to stay up to date on all of your favorite artists.