Evvol are a dark-wave duo consisting of Irish woman, Julie Chance, and her Australian partner, Jane Arnison. Speaking of the lyrics for ‘Release Me’, the duo explains, “musically we wanted to create something that had a more upbeat vibe juxtaposed against darker lyrical content. We’ve actually had this song for a couple of years now and always wanted to do something with it so it was exciting to set it free. The inspiration for the video came as an extension of the idea of ‘release’. We had wanted to work with the director Matt for a while and love his sensual approach to explicit content – it all just came together at the right moment.
“We don’t really want [the queer community] to take any specific message or meaning other than for female queers to feel represented.”
The video was co-directed by Chance and Matt Lambert, who is well known for his queer photography and film-making in which he aims to portray realism and intimacy. Julie and Jane say working with Matt was “a dream”.
“We love Matt. He is a great friend and also a super talented director. It was great to be in the presence of people who are on top of their craft – there is an ease and calmness that impacts everyone and results in really great performances from everyone involved.”
Women’s bodies are so often fetishised as something that should be hidden away. Evvol say playing a part in countering this narrative has been an “empowering” experience.
“It’s nice to take the power back against a male gaze of what females do and say, more specifically the notions of lesbian sex that have been countlessly misrepresented in film and other media.
“It’s also nice to take the power back against the conservative, shame-led perspective that sex is bad or dark and should be hidden away – we present sex happening in a fun, relaxed and community setting far away from ideas of shame and secrecy. That was important for us.”
Upon release of the video, they initially faced censorship from video hosting sites, with YouTube declining to host it. “Let’s take the specific moment when this video was censored – we talked about how it triggered a regression, a kind of reversal of all our personal work that we have done to de-program ourselves against the concept that what we are and what we do is wrong. Whilst also saying ‘fuck you’ to the censors, we also felt fear and shame and had to process all those conflicting emotions. So it still has a lasting effect on our psyche.”
The pair attribute Peaches as an inspiration for this video, as someone who has been confronting the mainstream media about female sexuality for decades. “We are inspired by everything- the world around us, current events, our peers, each other. Peaches was a specific inspiration for this video. Also, we both love music and always dig out new sounds and listen together and send each other stuff.”
There has been a recent feminist movement where we are beginning to see women taking sexuality into their own hands. For instance, Janelle Monae’s recent visuals to accompany ‘PYNK’ depict a utopian universe where an all female cast celebrate their love for the “pink, like the inside of your [wink], baby,” or like “the tongue going down (maybe).”
Julie and Jane are hopeful that this will open the door to “a more open, diverse and understanding society. When alternative lifestyles become more normalised and less fetishised, people don’t care so much and it makes society a more safe environment for those that are different.”
On how the queer community can support queer artists, Evvol say “we push back like we always do. We organise, we assemble and we shout. Whatever form that shout may take. And changes are happening. Could we have a video like this ten years ago and have it posted on such big media sites? We’re not so sure.”
Along with the gift of this beautiful and powerful piece of work, Jane and Julie say if they could gift every queer woman with one thing it would be “EMANCIPATION FROM THE PATRIARCHY!!”
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