Today we welcome back Maple Glider with a new track, ‘Don’t Kiss Me’, the first new slice of original music from the Naarm/Melbourne-based artist since her breathtaking debut album, To Enjoy is the Only Thing.
‘Don’t Kiss Me’ takes Maple Glider’s sneaky-catchy psych-folk and turns it into a powerhouse slow-builder, and was written as a counterattack on unwanted sexual attention and the objectifying gaze (“I was just a baby until you made me into a lesson to be learned”). Those in Australia who’ve seen Maple Glider play live will remember the song as one of the most moving moments in the set – moved to feel sad, angry, and empowered all at once.
She adds: “I didn’t think much of this song when I wrote it. I had a terrible recording of it on my voice memos where I wailed out of key, and it got buried somewhere in there for two years or so before I uncovered it again. I felt so connected and ready for it when I found it again that I started playing it regularly at shows. It’s a song about consent, and the experience of being predated on by older men as a girl/young woman. I think many of us are aware of that strong urge to say ‘fuck off’ and be left to our own.”
Inspired by 60s-90s fantasy and gothic films, the accompanying video for ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ is a comedy-horror shot on handycam, co-directed by Maple Glider and Joshua Tate. It follows Maple Glider on a journey to find some time and space to be alone in peace. There’s a little turbulence along the way, but thanks to her goth-witch doll pal, anybody who gets in the way of her dream is LASERED with superpower-laser-eye-beams. Featuring members of the Maple Glider live and recorded band as “villains”, it’s a playful lo-fi visual accompaniment to the song.
Speaking about the video, Maple Glider says: “When I was a kid, my great grandmother used to give me really weird porcelain dolls. They freaked me the hell out, and would poke their heads out from the top of my wardrobe and unsettle me as I was trying to go to sleep. I wanted the video for ‘Don’t Kiss Me’ to be a bit unnerving and weird, and for some reason I kept thinking about those porcelain dolls.
“The basis of the storyline is that I am trying to get out of the city to get some time alone, and anyone who gets in my way is LASERED by Wanda the doll. I imagined the whole clip as a comic book, and thought it would be cool to never really define who the villains are. In the end, my nemeses all come back as zombies, and I must learn the power of laser beam myself to truly end them and to find peace in my alone-ness.
“I liked the feeling of playing a powerful character, especially to this song, which has felt quite empowering to write and to perform. It felt like I was kind of conquering little fears I have surrounding it through humour and play.
“We had the vision of filming the video as if it were a school project – super lo-fi and very cheesy. Sure, I think there will be a heap of people who probably won’t get it, and that’s totally fine (LASERED). For those who do, rock on, I hope you find your peace.”