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New Wave Art-Rocker Black Dahlia Debuts Her Quirky and Avant-garde Video for “Bodyguard”

I’m just an alien on the run from another time and place.

Avant-garde and experimental artist Black Dahlia creates a captivating quirkiness that casts a colorful shadow in the experimental music scene. She weaves her unique artistry across the cultural expanses of the United Kingdom and Australia, with few modern parallels to her exquisite art rock theatrics. Coming from a rich background in theatre and dance, she explores the intricate mazes of performance studies and jazz theory, resulting in a diverse spectrum of progressive-infused musical projects.

Her latest offering, “Bodyguard,” marks a significant chapter in her artistic chronicle, showcasing an audacious exploration of sound and performance. Adorned in an oversized suit and Steve Strange-inspired makeup, Black Dahlia channels the pioneering spirit of Laurie Anderson. Her work also resonates with the avant-garde echoes of icons like Talking Heads, Klaus Nomi, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and David Bowie, drawing on their groundbreaking approaches to art and music.

Black Dahlia stands distinct in a realm often dominated by superficial tributes, plunging fearlessly into the enigmatic and the eccentric. With “Bodyguard,” she embraces a bold defiance of conventional norms, offering an invitation to her audience to immerse themselves in the vibrant and often surreal waters of the avant-garde. Her work is not just a listening experience but a call to engage with the transformative power of music as both spectacle and deep personal expression.

“I’ve been performing within theatre and music my entire life,” she explains. “My heart lies there – in the theatre. My stage performances often have elements of mime and embodying different characters, and I have no limit in what I want to do and feel is necessary for my art. It’s really important to me to bring more theatre into the music scene in general.”

In the latest visual offering, helmed by none other than Black Dahlia herself and captured through the lens of cinematographer Throne, a flamboyant journey through musical genres unfolds. Within this avant-garde realm, the boundaries blur as eccentric art pop takes centre stage.

Bodyguard is a theatrical exploration of gaining a new body but your soul remains,” the artist explains. “It is a sonnet to your past physical body in this realm and the new union that will inevitably be formed. A harsh and gentle celebration of your capabilities, your limits, and your destiny.”

In addition to directing the music video, Black Dahlia served as producer, art director, choreographer, and concept creator for the project. Through a stunning array of roles, she epitomizes the essence of performance art, seamlessly weaving together elements of contortion, mime, surrealism, Dada, the avant-garde, and body horror. With nods to the irreverent spirit of a John Waters film, her portrayal exudes a mesmerizing blend of wit, creativity, and daring exploration.

Bodyguard also features cameos from Melbourne-based artists: Bura Bura as Dr Barget Hower, Manda Wolf as Dr Avanti and Cong Josie as Dr Cong. The artwork for the single was illustrated by artist Colin J Thompson and pays homage to surrealist artworks.

The video goes full throttle, unleashing a whirlwind of eccentric choreography, whimsical montages, and daring green screen exploits. But it’s a particular scene that steals the show, evoking the hauntingly surreal hospital musical sequences reminiscent of Dennis Potter’s iconic series, The Singing Detective.

Watch the video for “Bodyguard” below:

Black Dahlia’s formative years were split between Germany and the UK before settling in Australia, profoundly shaping her eclectic musical palette. Early exposure to experimental music in her youth, combined with formal training in dance, vocals, and keyboard from kindergarten, laid the groundwork for her artistic development. Throughout her childhood, she showcased her talents at local events and competitions, eventually attending a public performing arts high school to further hone her skills in both drama and music.

It was during this period that Black Dahlia began her foray into songwriting, composition, and production as a teenager. Drawn to the echoes of New Beat in Düsseldorf and the atmospheric allure of dark streets, she found inspiration in synthesizer pop and art pop. Her dedication to her craft was recognized with two honorary scholarships from a performing arts association, affirming her burgeoning talent and commitment to musical innovation.

She then moved to Sydney in 2015, where her art direction and eclectic style found a home. Amidst the vibrant Sydney art scene, she founded and led the hyper-vintage-pop project Daisy, gracing stages at events like Beams Festival 2015 and Heaps Gay. Embracing constant reinvention in an avant-garde fashion, she became renowned for her flamboyant, 80s-inspired attire and wigs. In 2016, she took on the role of keyboardist for Sydney-based alternative Prog band, Zu Khanu.

The Black Dahlia’s performances are often compared to artists such as Klaus Nomi and Peter Gabriel. Along with multiple international music releases and premieres, she has performed alongside artists such as Kris Baha, Buzz Kull, Zanias, Enola, Rebel Yell and has also performed at acclaimed Tasmanian music festival, Dark Mofo, alongside artists such as Kim Gordon, Nils Frahm, Spiritualized, and Chelsea Wolfe.

Find Bodyguard on Bandcamp and Spotify.

Follow Black Dahlia:

Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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