Punk rock artist, Ember Mikayla is a transgender woman who suffered a rough life growing up, due to which she also developed mental health issues. Like many other afflicted and mistreated souls, Ember turned towards her art for an outlet to her frustrations with the world that surrounds her. “I used music to get me through life” says Ember Mikayla. “Now I write my own music about my experiences in hopes it will help someone the way it did me. I write music about life, what I’ve been through, and about my beliefs. I am a Social Anarchist and believe we should all help each other out,” she concludes.
The confidence in Ember Mikayla’s lyrics and approach is balanced against, and even at times emphasized by both, an ongoing vulnerability and a fervent volatility. She takes on her topics and subjects directly, never fearful of facing her own demons, and more importantly the evils of others.
In the process she enhances her convictions, and uncovers society’s loathsome traits. The EP “Dissociative Anarchist” plays testimony to Ember Mikayla’s revolt against humankind’s often repulsive and destructive obsessions.
“Dissociative Anarchist” is accompanied by blasts of high-octane, guitar-driven dissonance, and Ember Mikayla’s angst-filled voice spitting acid-tinged lyrics in an enveloping and visceral punk rock jaunt. Wholly devoid of the superficial trappings of corporate rock, the opening track “Anarchist Skirt” cuts straight to the chase – crunchy, abrasive guitars, are propelled by banging drums as Ember Mikayla digs into her personal past with a barrage of denunciations.
“My father was an asshole. He would try to fight with me, especially when he was drunk. He couldn’t accept the fact that I was just a girl, and I wanted to fight the government wearing a skirt,” exclaims Ember, externalizing her discomfort and distress.
“Untouchables” is no less explicit in its quest to repudiate the malevolence of governmental institutions: “They think that we are too stupid to know what the fucking government does behind closed doors,” vociferates Ember, on top of a driving rhythm and squealing guitars.
The title track, “Dissociative Anarchy” rides in on catchy guitar motif which breaks into a set of explosive angular riffs. The beat is relentless, while the grind of Ember Mikayla’s resonating vocal cords dominate the arrangement. “You can’t keep me down,” she yells.
The tone of her voice confirming the authenticity of her proclamation. The menacing skitter of “Folsom Prison Blues” – a punk revisitation of the Johnny Cash original – rocks with a vengeance, as Ember intensely assails the narrative, making it her own.
Alongside the stripped-down, and faded stars of a shrunken, humbled rock industry, the punk driven sludge of “Dissociative Anarchy” is a reminder of the rebellious spirit rock and roll was born out of. Ember Mikayla strips the genre of all its superfluous and slippery gloss, restoring it to its original, unapologetic and visceral state, uncovering its most intrinsic qualities.
In the process, she unashamedly rips out her own heart and soul, openly exposing her issues to the world. Despite the personal and mental issues, Ember knows exactly, who she is, who she wants to be, and who she is surrounded by. In a somewhat troublesome world, still cruelly unjust and prejudiced, can we honestly make the claim same?