Moon Honey, composed of singer Jess Joy and guitarist Andrew Martin, is a group that’s all about challenging preconceptions.
Their new track “Mask Maker” features a hypnotic, rhythmic backbone; our first impression is of a catchy, albeit simple pop song. Yet this foundation is a launching point for more complex endeavors. Martin’s elaborate riffing infuses the song with a relentless energy. Joy’s vocals simmer with intensity as she breaks into a tormented survey of feeling, her voice dipping and soaring with the melody.
The duo, who relocated from Baton Rouge to L.A. in 2016, push boundaries beyond the musical. The video for “Mask Maker” is a lyrical and visual statement, a bold dive into subjects many leave untouched. “Mask Maker” explores the facades women feel compelled to present in our socially disparate society. Joy, who created and starred in the video, puts it best:
“Music videos sexualizing and objectifying women’s bodies for entertainment are a dime a dozen, so it was very important to me in investigating that theme to focus on expressing the internal experience of an exploited woman, as opposed to the external mask created to appease others. The consumption of women is usually presented as pleasurable for all parties involved, but for someone socialized as a woman, it can often feel more complex than that. For me, a dangerous cocktail of excitement, shame, rage, joy, sadness, confusion, and heavy self-judgment is the price tag attached to exploring and expressing my own sexuality. I want others to see the pain that we so often suppress and keep hidden when we are taken advantage of.”
The clever concept and unique visuals of the music video expand on the theme of performance. The protagonist performs constructed roles for others, imagining herself on a stage; such a venue is conducive to both self-expression and harsh judgement. The song accentuates the effect by taking on a Broadway musical vibe, letting the emotion in the lyrics flow freely into the viewer. The notable cohesion of the song and video is testament to the work ethic of Jess Joy, whose creative vision is impressively realized. She comments:
“I would like to encourage more women to pick up a camera (yes, iPhones count) and create content which shares their unique perspectives. I started this video with zero experience in stop motion and learned along the way. Stop motion is a wonderful way to achieve ambitious ideas without expensive effects, expertise, or staff. Film is a male-dominated industry, but the good news is that the times are a changing, and we can hope to see more and more diverse viewpoints being celebrated in media and culture.”
The music video for “Mask Maker” goes beyond a standard combination of audio and visual. Each element in the production complements and enhances the others, making the final experience more than the sum of its parts. Moon Honey utilize their creativity to confront prejudice, resulting in a stunning work of protest art.
Watch the video for “Mask Maker” below, and be sure to check out Moon Honey’s new LP Mixed Media on Woman when it’s released on September 4th.