The Intake Form: Briana Marela Will Fill the Sigur Rós-Shaped Hole in Your Heart


The Intake Form is Flavorwire’s questionnaire feature spotlighting emerging musicians worth your time, paired with a premiere. Here, we premiere Briana Marela’s video for “Surrender,” off the Seattle-bred singer and electronic composer’s atmospheric debut for Jagjaguwar, All Around Us, out August 21.

It doesn’t take much for Briana Marela to conjure a sound that’ll make you see colors. Recently, at her first New York show, Marela stood alone behind her laptop and, without more than a “hello” to the crowd, started looping until her vocals, electronics, and previously recorded strings reached the gentlest cacophony I’ve ever experienced live, short of a Sigur Rós show nearly a decade ago. So it made a lot of sense to me when Marela mentioned an interest in fiber arts as a side hustle/future career: her songs display a preternatural talent for weaving.

Speaking of Sigur Rós, Marela recorded All Around Us in Reykjavic with some of the band’s collaborators, producer Alex Somers and amiina on strings. What Sigur Rós do and what Marela does are separated by two factors: instead of having an undercurrent of post-rock, Marela’s songs start off as sparse vocal pop; and on a more obvious tip, you can understand what she’s singing about, with lyrics often tackling friendship, nature, and the self in the context of love. There’s a sweet shyness in her voice that’s matched by her words, which float above her whirling melodies. Needless to say, All Around Us transports the listener to an otherworldly place, which makes sense given that Marela will tour this summer with Jenny Hval, another proponent of mystical sounds.

In the “Surrender” video, which we’re pleased to premiere below, director Christin Turner offers what she describes as “an homage to Kodak’s early color film processes at the dawn of the 20th century.” She achieved this effect by “layering and compositing black and white film to create a kaleidoscope of vivid prismatic colors.” The result mimics the feeling of listening to All Around Us. Read on for our questionnaire with Briana.

What is your personal philosophy? Following the golden rule, treat others as you’d like to be treated

Something that makes you laugh without fail? Tie between Tim and Eric and older Simpsons episodes

What is your biggest fault? Procrastination

Whose career would you most like to have? Tie between Laurie Anderson and Björk

Place you most want to visit that you’ve never been? Finland

If you didn’t play music, what would you do instead? I used to be really into soccer, until I quit it for music, so maybe to become a professional athlete. But I also have an interest in sewing and fiber arts that I still see myself pursuing someday.

Weirdest childhood habit: Pulling out my hair

What’s one phrase you say too much? “That’s so cute!!!”

What’s the best thing a critic could write about your music? To recognize it as genuine

Tell us about the best day of your life: Most of my birthdays have been pretty great, whether it was one of my best friends Aviva renting a bouncy castle in my honor, doing karaoke on my 21st, or going to hot springs.