The violin-toting half of NYC-based DJ/performance duo The Dolls, strikes out on her own.
I'm sitting with Margot in her East Village apartment/mini recording studio/relaxation station. There are Dior dresses and vintage kimonos draped over a rolling rack against an exposed brick wall, while piles of eye-catching accessories are stacked haphazardly on a wooden vanity. We've all seen I Dream of Jeannie, and well, I'm in the bottle. A slight figure, pale with mischievous big blue eyes, the singer and classically trained violinist laughs easily and is just as easily moved: she is the ultimate heartbroken optimist.
The plan was to talk about new solo project, in particular her debut song, and its accompanying video, premiering above, but instead I'm playing with her tiny piano and we're discussing Ace of Base and the Spice Girls and how Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" and Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart" are in fact the exact same exact video. Except Toni's is a little more dramatic and sexy because Toni is very good at crying and her video features Tyson Beckford doing karate on a lawn in silk pajamas. (This makes his eventual death all the more heartwrenching.)
Suddenly Margot remembers another video in the same vein, "It's by that guy Meatball!" Meatloaf, Margot, but close. Fun fact about Meatloaf: meatloaf muffins comes up in google search before Meatloaf musician. Who the hell is eating meatloaf muffins? Answers on Twitter, please.
But I digress. Lifted from Margot's forthcoming album, the first track, "No One's Gonna Miss You," features production duties from Cory Enemy while a portion of her full length is also a collaboration with Boots. You know, that producer/songwriter dude responsible for a bunch of the songs on Beyoncé's last record. The collection is a clutch of dreamy love songs with lots of synths, reverbed guitar, and Margot's sultry, spiked purr. The violin is heavily featured (more on that later); lyrically Margot's heightened tales swirl with hope, seduction, destruction, reflection, and sure, murder.
Back in May, during Jazz Fest, I was fortunate enough to see Margot perform live in a mansion that rests on the edges of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Her show was part of an evening called CONVERSATIONS, which shares a name with their all-female arts collective founded by Cleo Wade, Kate Greer, Liza Voloshin, Mia Moretti, and Margot herself. These women are intent on re-imagining the creative worlds they populate through music, poetry, art, and performance.
In attendance were painters, photographers, and everyone from the mayor Mitch Landrieu, to fashion designer Stacey Bendet, to NOLA's resident queen herself, Solange, all of whom mingled among a mix of local and out of town art enthusiasts. We were treated to delicious jambalaya, an all-female brass band, an art exhibition and of course Margot's first ever performance of her EP, which she delivered, with just her voice (sans mic), her violin, and a pianist for accompaniment. Pulling from a range of influences including Fiona Apple, Little Dragon, Phillip Glass, and Stravinsky, Margot creates the kind of music you'd shush people over—that is if everyone wasn't already completely rapt. Her songs are ear glitter.
Margot performing in New Orleans as part of CONVERSATIONS.
Originally hailing from Florida and classically trained on the violin for fifteen years, Margot started touring with the Trans Siberian Orchestra fresh out of high school. At the height of their performance schedule the TSO clocked up 70, three-hour shows in 60 days. Margot, for her part, was regularly propelled forty feet into the air surrounded, by fire and lasers, all while playing her tiny guitar (violin). Very hardcore Margot, very hardcore.
You may recognize Margot as one half of the duo, The Dolls, which she formed with international super star spinner Mia Moretti. Formed in 2010, the pair bonded over a love of music, as well as being blonde baddasses. With Mia behind the decks and Margot out in front playing violin, the pair toured the globe setting the soundtrack to fashion parties and curating musical performances inside both The Louvre (where they opened for Diana Ross) and the Guggenheim museums. And along the way Margot has been featured on albums by Sam Sparro, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé.
If I lost Margot and Mia in a crowd and had to describe them to a pack of wild strangers I would say Margot dresses a bit like a teenager who just discovered Bikini Kill, while Mia dresses a bit like Frida Kahlo, if Frida was on a couture kick. While each have a distinct styles their common thread is their ability to mix vintage and modern and twist it together with a bit of fantasy—much like Margot's music in fact.
But back to the video in hand. According to Margot the song is about "burying love deep within the layers of an emotional state, meanwhile the video is meant to represent that from a very simple aesthetic standpoint."
Shot by Rony Alwin and directed by Cleo Wade, Margot's performance is harrowing, the tasteful simplicity of the monochrome shots transport the viewer inside the mind of the truly brokenhearted. Here's your new break up anthem, because let's be honest—it's always good to have one on hand.
Margot's debut album will be out early next year.
Molly assures us she will be trying meatloaf muffins soon. Follow her on Twitter - @mollyoaustin