FM PREMIERE: ‘Diana’ by Hazel Iris

This mesmerizing track is a haunting journey that echoes the ethereal spirits of the Brontë sisters
14 September 2023

Berlin-based, California indie-art-pop sensation and classically trained, Hazel Iris, has once again captured our hearts and imaginations with her latest enchanting release, Diana. This mesmerizing track is a haunting journey that echoes the ethereal spirits of the Brontë sisters, and it’s a poignant gem from her recently launched album, May Queen.

Diana transports listeners to a dusky twilight realm, where tremolo-heavy electric guitars set the stage for Hazel Iris’s velvety vocals to weave their magic. A lonely bass adds depth to the soundscape, creating a mood that feels like a spark-filled night. But the enchantment doesn’t end with the music; it extends into a visually captivating experience through the lens of filmmaker Mona Najma. It’s a visual feast that complements the song’s emotional depth perfectly.

She explains: “The music video for Hazel Iris’ ‘Diana’ begins with a soft red light glowing like an ember at the back of an ancient cavern. It cuts to a deserted Brontë-like landscape filled with longing and anticipation, where neither Heathcliff nor Mr. Rochester is in sight. I gave a humble nod to the legendary Maya Deren by taking pleasure in imagery, in the play with shadows, light, textures and shapes. As Diana is about abandoning common sense and embracing joy and desire, the filmmaking took a route into something that isn’t logical but is more of a sensory, atmospheric experience.

Diana and its accompanying music video explore desire and joy, boldly challenging societal expectations. “Diana and its music video – explains Hazel – are about the joy of desire. Overwhelmed with anticipation and lust, she ignores the ‘impropriety’ of talking about her desire. Drums begin to boil over while seductively soft synthesizers spur Diana’s lover to go to the climax, to surrender to ecstasy. Society has only recently become relatively used to women openly talking about enjoying sex, and so many still deny themselves the right to embrace desire. This is a glimpse of a woman who feels no need to bow to millennia of misogynist stereotypes by ignoring the existence of her natural needs.”

Comparisons to iconic artists like Kate Bush, Florence Welch, and Tori Amos are well-deserved as Hazel Iris crafts a musical journey that pays homage to all facets and stages of womanhood.

May Queen, inspired by the late Ursula K. LeGuin, delves into the power of feminine sexuality, challenging the status quo. It takes inspiration from the myth of Persephone, examining aspects of the female life cycle that remain taboo in today’s world. Hazel Iris shines a spotlight on the struggles women face in a society that often objectifies and diminishes them, emphasizing that women are fountains of strength, sensuality, and wisdom.

May Queen isn’t limited to themes of desire and womanhood; it extends its reach to broader topics like climate change and the interconnectedness of humanity and nature. The way we treat one another is a reflection of how we treat the environment, according to Hazel Iris.

The 10-track album can be described as a 1980’s synthesizer-filled dream pop splurge. It offer a space for open and honest discussions about love, lust, pleasure, nature, death, and rebirth, all free from the constraints of the male gaze.

Hazel Iris‘s sound, a blend of New Wave and Dream Pop, expertly crafted with the help of co-producer Maya Postepski and engineer Henne Müller, immerses listeners in a world where fantasy and reality blur into a captivating musical experience.

Hazel Iris is an artist to watch, a beacon of creativity, and a voice for a new generation.

Photos by Alexandra Richter