APPLEONIA: "PRECIOUS VIDEO"
Jessica Chapnik Kahn is not interested in being a mere mortal. After years of mortality, she decided to give birth to something else: herself. As Appleonia.
For Prince fans, the immediate connotation may be that of former protege/Purple Rain co-star Apollonia--but this little apple is not she. This Appleonia was born from the ground and is inspired by all things that have kept the apple as a key symbolic figure in mythology and literature for centuries.
Here are some things about Jessica Chapnik Kahn that you might like to know: she immigrated to Australia as a child from Argentina. She lived in a migrant hostel. She was raised by Jewish Polish Catholic Italian Argentinian parents who joined a couple of cults along the way. She dreams in Spanish. Her first crush was Marilyn Monroe, followed closely by Lady Diana. She acts. She formed her first band at 17. As a teenager she studied the bible. As an adult she studies with a Rabbi. She visits a young saint in India. She was on an Australian soap opera. She doesn't know how to swim, but she lives by the sea. She has a cat phobia. It is tensions like these that have influenced her music-making to date.
It was whilst playing and singing for a few years with several well known Australian artists that Jessica met and began collaborating with singer Ben Lee. Lee was writing and producing a soundtrack for the Australian film The Square, and he needed a voice that was able to carry the weight of these songs. He found the perfect foil in Jessica.
Following from this, encouraged by Lee, Jessica wrote a collection of her own songs. Soon, the two began working together in Lee's home, experimenting freely and drawing from folk-pop traditions and electronic music. Fellow musicians Jimmy Tamberello (Dntel, The Postal Service), Ian Ball (Gomez), Nadav Kahn (Gelbison, Kahn Brothers), Lara Meyerratken (El May) and others came on board to contribute to Appleonia's debut record, "Oh".
However, it was in teaming up with filmmaker Penny Vozniak that Jessica began to bring her songs to sparkling visual life. Making a string of homemade videos together, the pair quickly became a two-woman show, acting as director, producer and crew while concocting frenzied one-shot ideas that often required life-threatening trial and error (all documented, of course).
First in line is their award-winning video for the song "Precious," a one-take masterpiece that finds Jessica physically embraced and affected by the natural world in a ritual full of theatre and gentle drama. It is the idea of transformation and the symbolic nature of things that has inspired her video art and makes them something of an experience. They lie somewhere between science fiction, a Greek/Hindu myth and Xanadu.
So, this is the birth of Appleonia. More music and more videos are on the way; many more ways to give yourself over to the siren song of Jessica's mysterious voice, where the brightest colors walk hand in hand with the dark.