Siamese’s debut album The Mesmerist is inspired by late 1700s German physician Franz Anton Mesmer and his cult of mesmerism, and it addresses everything from sexual identity crises to colonialism. The four-person performance group will perform at the Texas Theatre on Saturday to celebrate the record’s release and give us a glimpse of their album art-inspired alter egos.
“I feel like we’re a gaggle of glam rock debutantes at our coming out ball,” guitarist/vocalist Teddy Waggy says. “We partnered with ArtCon to throw the album release party at the Texas Theatre, which feels like the perfect setting for the world of The Mesmerist: a vaunted, haunted film house borne of yesteryear’s luxuries. We’ll be premiering a new stage design and costuming based on the album art, and we’ve also been working with choreographer Danielle Georgiou on our performance.”
The Mesmerist boasts six tracks. Vocalist Nicole Marxen-Myers describes the first single, “Chromatose,” as a sardonic shout out to the neighborhood dilettante who’s always pursuing a new, true calling.
“It was inspired by the Truffaut film Bed & Board, and the lyrics are intended to mirror the playfulness of the French New Wave genre,” Marxen-Myers says. “I worked in a restaurant washing dishes at the time and as I was brainstorming professions to address in the song, I realized I had written ‘Olympian’ next to ‘dishwasher’ in my notebook. It became a comical image, an Olympian dishwasher.”
Marxen-Myers is most proud of the track “Stars Grow Cold” and the blood curdling scream in its outro. “Our producer Alex added so much dirt and reverb to the scream that when you hear it isolated, it sounds like a demon is being born,” Waggy says.
Alex Bhore of Elmwood Recording tracked The Mesmerist and collaborated with Siamese during their first ever studio experience.
“He’s a fantastic collaborator to have in your corner,” Waggy says. “He helped us round out some of the arrangements, and his production style gives the album its darker, heavier edge. I’m still pleased with our first two demos, but this album is a juicier and more well-rounded representation of our work. It’s got some meat on its bones.”
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The extravagance of Siamese performances motivates the band to find new ways to be vulnerable on stage, while simultaneously cooking up a visual feast for the crowd.
“I’m always looking for new challenges to connect more deeply while on stage, or for things that will terrify me to do, but may inspire others to find their own fears and face them,” Waggy says. “Our alter egos exist in the world of the album artwork, and our choreography collaborator Danielle has been coming up with some reverent yet revelatory moves to help us embody the characters. I’ve been sewing some very fancy pants for my costume, and Paul Alonzo and Paul Grass are building set pieces and a backdrop for the show. I think this is our most cohesive and fully realized visual theme yet.”
Can’t catch the epic album release featuring experimental act Honor System this weekend? See Siamese on tour through May with Texas stops in both Austin (March 15) and Denton (May 5). The Mesmerist will be available March 3 on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Tidal and Bandcamp.
Siamese Album Release Show, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4, Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd., $10, thetexastheatre.com.