A street-stranded mermaid fends off a kitsch beast in Monster Love, a new VHS-recorded promo directed by Soko, who also stars alongside Morgan Krantz and actor, model and marine activist Hannah Fraser. Filmed in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, the short is soundtracked by a song that shares its title, the French polymath’s brand new duet with Los Angeles’ lo-fi underground star, Ariel Pink, that will feature on her forthcoming album. “The whole thing was super DIY and felt like making a school project video with all my friends,” she says. Born in Bordeaux, Soko has starred in a number of films in her homeland, and recently attracted much acclaim in Augustine, a sensuous, César-nominated tale about a 19th-century maid consigned to an asylum. But despite her passion for acting, music remains Soko’s most cherished source of creativity. She has just released her debut album I Thought I Was an Alien in the US, which opens with the stripped-down and haunting track that also features here: “I Just Want to Make It New With You,” written with her collaborator Pink in mind. “We were friends, falling in love, but he was just out of a relationship and I—as always—was broken hearted,” the singer says of a near miss that was the catalyst for today’s film, in which she falls for the luckless protagonist. “We hadn’t shed the heaviness of our past. I imagined that after relationships, we all turn into some sort of monster, and only if we stop being monstrous will we ever be able to be real lovers again.” We got the two together to talk about recording, acting, and the logistics behind becoming a mermaid.
Ariel Pink: The song “I Just Want to Make It New With You” has to do with me a little bit, right?
Soko: Yeah, I wrote it for you Ariel! And you’re singing on the first song in the film, “Monster Love.”
AP: I saw the video and, like all your work, it’s so good. It’s touching, I can’t help but feel for the character. Who the beautiful mermaid lady?
S: She’s actually a real mermaid performer—it’s my friend Hannah who does performances in Las Vegas. She goes swimming with sharks, whales and dolphins all over the world, and hand makes her own costumes. She’s really incredible. She gave me some footage of her swimming under water so that the monster could dream of her. Morgan’s costume was actually a Halloween costume made by my friend Diva: it was perfect, a monster costume with a heart on it.
AP: It’s so great, all this attention you’re getting. And your new movie [Augustine] just came out. How do you feel about the movie and your performance?
S: It was crazy, insane and one of the best things I have done in my whole life. It was the best adventure and experience because it was so far from me. The only reason why I wanted to do movies was because I want to experience things I would never get to experience in my real life. And then I get to be in a film where I’m back in the 1880s in costume, wearing a corset, being a patient in a mental hospital and getting diagnosed.
AP: You’re not acting. You probably would be committed to a mental institution.
S: Yeah right! Well I was paralyzed in the movie, I had my eyes shut for half of the movie and I had my hand paralyzed. I don’t have that in my real life.
AP: Well let’s hope not. I think that’s amazing. I want to make a video with you sometime. I want you to be in my movie when I make it.
S: I wanted you to be in my video.
AP: Me too, but you know how busy we are.
S: But I’m glad throughout the years we always get to collaborate and you are always a part of my creative work as a constant pole and an inspiring muse. It is really important for me, and I love making music with you too.
AP: Oh my God, we have to make so much more together. There is so much left to do, we have just scratched the surface.