Mary Ocher is a Berlin based singer with roots in Tel Aviv and Moscow. She headed up the band Mary and the Baby Cheeses for several years but is now venturing out on her own again with a set of simple, poetic punk/folk anthems.
Her 2008 limited release lp “War Songs” is being re-released on Haute Areal Records on 11 March 2011 and is available here as CD or download.
I caught up with Mary recently and here’s what she had to say for herself…
JW: What is one of your favorite sounds and what does it mean to you?
MO: the sound of my phone receiving a long awaited text message. yup.
JW: Tell me about one of your most cherished records and why it is so important to you.
MO: That’s a tough one! I might go with Lou Reed’s “Transformer” which I first discovered in high school - then it had some brilliant tunes and great lyrics and a very interesting presentation/story telling and that’s all it was for me.
But I’ve been listening to the Velvet Underground for a while and I’ve recently rediscovered something in Reed’s fascination with an outsider’s persona in his solo work. I’ve read his biography and listened to most of his other albums but none dealt specifically with this theme, only the notion of romanticized violence popped
up here and there. Of course, having already been a fan of David Bowie and his glam-era guitarist Mick Ronson, their participation in the record was a bonus along with the playful cabaret style.
Since I moved to Berlin and most of my friends here are trannies and divas of all kinds, genders and preferences, the album changed into yet something even more personal and the sadness behind the make-up was not just another vague expression. New York of the 70s has become an everyday scenario for me.
JW: Who is a woman that has inspired you in your life, musically or otherwise?
Oh, I can’t think of just one. I guess it’d have to be a Frankenstein creation made of bits of Buffy Sainte-Marie, a young Patti Smith, Nina Hagen, Odetta, Peggy Lee, Nico, Marlene Dietrich, Eartha Kitt, Diamanda Galas, Grace Jones, Dusty Springfield, Lydia Lunch and recently Betty Davis (the foxy 70’s funk singer). Maybe also a little of Sylvia Plath, though i think that today she seems much less impressing to me than she used to.