The music video for "Magnifying Glass" is out now.The Salt Lick Denver
The Salt Lick Records has just released its latest music video, this time for mlady's song "Magnifying Glass," which shows a solitary Hannah Beeghly sitting in the corner of an airy room, arranging dolls in a diorama. One by one, masked figures appear in the room alongside her. Beeghly, frontwoman of five-piece Denver band mlady, pulls on her own mask, a shattered collage of different faces. Then she smashes the dolls under her boot and throws the others on the floor. It’s a bloody mess. A muffled drum loop drops over the layers of serene, melancholic dream pop that betray a sense of turbulence just beneath the surface.
“The inspiration behind the song is feeling really disconnected and isolated and just super judged,” Beeghly explains. “You have to be really small. You have to be like everyone else, and [the song is about] how that feels when you are alone in all of that.”
Beeghly says the “wonky” mask she puts on represents that desire to belong, trying not to feel like an other but failing at it, over and over.
“Wanting to be in control of that means you don’t show your real self to anyone,” she says. “It’s not sustainable, and there’s this moment where everything will blow up and all your emotions are going to come out. To me that’s the scene where everything gets crushed.”
Mlady is currently signed to the Salt Lick Records, the record label offshoot of musical collective the Salt Lick Denver. The collective is a group of creatives who film live music sets in the basement of a Denver house with a series called Songs From the Pond. The label currently has five artists who all work together and appear in each other's videos.
The crew, for example, spent a weekend in October hiking through the East Troublesome fire burn scar to shoot a video for the Bear and the Beasts song “Into the Kiln." It was the first music video released by the collective, and carries the message that humans aren’t doing enough to combat climate change and its catastrophic effects on the planet.
The music video continues in the Salt Lick’s modus operandi to create a sort of universe involving its various artists. Members of Bear and the Beasts appear in the "Magnifying Glass" video along with all the members of mlady.
The Salt Lick co-founders Andrea Hoang and Jason Edelstein directed the music video. Hoang says she took notes from Beeghly and tried to impart a sense of not feeling seen and a desire to belong through the video. Beeghly’s vulnerable, emotional approach to songwriting strikes a chord with her.
“We kind of have a similar upbringing, growing up in this community as an Asian-American and not feeling like we belong,” Hoang says. “Especially being raised in a religious household where being different wasn’t celebrated.”
The disarming quality of mlady’s music coupled with the troubling imagery and setting makes the video unsettling.
“A lot of my songwriting sometimes ends up [unsettling], at least on the surface,” Beeghly says. “It’s very chill and dreamy sometimes, and calming. The lyrics and the intent behind them are a little bit darker, because of how hard things were for me for a lot of my life.”
She adds that she tries to not make her emotions too obvious in life, and that comes out in her songs, which can begin slowly at first and become more layered as time passes. The band’s sound evokes dream-pop band Beach House, where texture and mood often outweigh elements like melody.
“I think mlady’s music is definitely a type of music that hits differently after dark or when you’re alone or after every replay,” Hoang says. “Every time I listen to it, I think of something else I've been through. It’s good recall. It’s stuff I think I’ve overcome.”
Hoang says she enjoyed building an idyllic scene and bringing everything to life, then watching it all get destroyed.
“It was also a little heartbreaking because I spent a lot of that time on that diorama,” she says. “It was almost a relief, too, because it’s the climax of our video. Seeing that kind of perfect scene destroyed was almost a relief. … That kind of acceptance that you can’t force yourself to belong.”
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