At a glance, it would seem the cryland marquee had a fresh new headliner, Opal Voss. But on arrival, I recognized her as the evolved form of their former Thursday night residency holder. I work as a music reporter– I’m familiar with the strategy behind changing your moniker to something punchier– but this was more than just a name change. Opal looked more elegant than normal, more comfortable in her skin. I’ve often attended Cryland for nights out with the girls and had seen Opal perform her previous work many times. In all frankness, I was never that impressed with her set, which consisted of dark and foreboding songs about loss. But a few months back when she started to play, her sound was something totally new: sparkling synthesizers arranged into tightly-woven pop opera (the plural of opus, in this case). This change in sound corresponded with other changes in Opal’s life.
I got to watch first hand as this change in sound helped to expand the audience from a dozen or so locals chatting while she performs in the background to 3CC’s coolest kids struggling to get a ticket to sold-out shows. The sonic combination she’s concocted on her debut album, Start 2, is intoxicating. Her newest single, ETA, has long been a favorite of mine during these sets.
I caught up with Opal right after her cover shoot for this month’s issue of Idol Chatter, her body still glowing slightly from the magical effects used in the shoot (magical effects she generated herself with additional work from Franz Cristine).
First off, tell us about this shoot. I know you were involved in conceptualizing it.
The shoot was a lot of fun! Having a sword pulled from your chest symbolizes a lot to me. It subverts the usual way that a sword and a chest interact?
You mean stabbing?
Yes! Stabbing! It’s the opposite of stabbing…the sword is coming out of my chest, where emotions are born, and instead of going to my heart where I would feel them, they’re turning into a sword where I can… weaponize them? Kind of like a sad song using notes to make others feel what you feel.
I know you did a lot of the magical effects yourself. Were you scared you’d lose focus and end up with the sword solidifying in your body?
I was nervous beforehand, but Franz is a great magical technician and I knew he had my back if anything started to go wrong.
Let’s talk about some music.
ETA…is it a break up song? Is it a love song?
ETA is a love song to a partner you really should break up with. You’re out of their league, they’re inconsiderate, they’re a loser, but you know there’s potential, so you just keep waiting for the fantasy to come true!
Wow, that's a little brutal.
Moving on, it’s time for the signature Idol Chatter Idol question: who are your idols?
My musical idols are kinda all over the place.
That’s probably what makes your sound so distinct.
Maybe…anyways. I love False Idol, but who doesn’t, ya know?
Mmm. We love False Idol at Idol Chatter.
Of course. Product01 was a HUGE influence on my sound design and thinking about how fun music can be. My dad was a huge fan of Duke Leblanc and we really bonded over that. They taught me so much about how people see you impacts how they hear your music. Finally, and I know he’s kinda a cheeseball, but I do love the earnest storytelling of Dean Domonic.
What other artists or pieces have inspired your work? - Kobe00kk
Outside of my idols I do really love DJ Lilcrunchyleaf (we may or may not have a collab coming up…) the way they use minimalism really inspired me to pare back my own sound.
My neighborhood in the Sapphire Coast really inspires me. I can see the lights from the skyscrapers turn on one by one reflected in the river and that really makes me feel calm. It gets me in the right mindspace to reflect and write.
Thoughts on metal music?- Koolestk2d
I really respect how hardcore it is, but the sad truth is that this girl’s core is very very soft.
What's Opal's favorite restaurant in Three Cloud City? -Joan
Lichen Share (and I'm not just sayin that because they gave me a great deal on that ETA billboard). I love their Crustose sharing platter; it's an appetizer, but I usually just get it as my main lol.