SASAMI – new single is out
SASAMI shares a visualizer for “Say It,” her new industrial-influenced single. “‘Say It’ is a rage anthem dance track about spinning out because someone isn’t communicating with you,” says Ashworth. “I feel like when I hear the song I see a hot femme with a mystical flamethrower engulfed in emotional blue flames throwing elbows alone in an industrial dance club in outer space.” SASAMI’s anticipated new album Squeeze is available for pre-order now and due February 25th via Domino.
SASAMI announced Squeeze this fall with a dual single release of “Skin A Rat,” which was hailed by Rolling Stone as a Song You Need to Know, saying it “lands a whole bunch of different blows, each harder and more unexpected than the last. And, like all good rock & roll bruisings, the moment it’s over, you’re ready to spin it back for more,” and “The Greatest,” which Nylon called “an electrifying rock opera.”
Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner recently selected SASAMI for Variety’s ‘Up Next’ series, where she was asked to pick the artist she believes is going to be the next big thing, saying “what SASAMI is doing musically is that perfect blend of music that can be really heavy and hard and aggressive but is also melodic and enjoyable and catchy.” SASAMI is hitting the road next year, dates include a headline run, and support in North America for Haim and EU/UK support for Mitski in the Spring and Summer of 2022. All dates below.
On Squeeze, SASAMI explores her wide spectrum of moods—from raging at systemic violence to wrestling for control in her personal relationships. Throughout, the singer-songwriter and producer surveys the raw aggression of nu-metal, tender plainspokenness of country-pop and folk rock, and dramatic romanticism of classical music.
Squeeze hammers home a sentiment of “anti-toxic positivity” and showcases SASAMI’s vicious honesty and brutally uncompromising vision, partially inspired by the Japanese yōkai folk spirit called Nure-onna (translation: wet woman), a vampiric deity that has the head of a woman and the body of a snake.
Based in Los Angeles, SASAMI is a descendent of the Zainichi people on her mother’s side, a diaspora of ethnic Koreans who lived in Japan during Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945. Though some Zainichi moved voluntarily and others were forcibly kidnapped, these people and their progeny continue to experience systemic discrimination and oppression in Japan to this day. While conducting a deep dive into her family’s mixed Korean and Japanese history and culture, SASAMI stumbled upon stories of Nure-onna and was immediately drawn to the water creature’s multiplicitous nature. According to legend, the deity is feminine and noble, yet powerful and vicious enough to brutally destroy victims with her blood sucking tongue.
The fluidity of the Nure-onna can be felt in how Squeeze naturally flows through musical influences—from System of a Down to Sheryl Crow and Fleetwood Mac, to even Bach and Mahler. A classically-trained composer, SASAMI constructed the LP in the form of an opera or orchestral work that has different “movements” that take the listener on an emotional journey. Compared to the introspective indie rock of SASAMI’s 2019 self-titled debut album, Squeeze is a full-throttled expansion.
The dark, fantastical elements of the Nure-onna legend feeds into SASAMI’s use of heavy rock elements throughout Squeeze. She hopes that listeners will identify with this new sinister, intense sound and use it as a soundtrack for processing their “anger, frustration, desperation, and more violent, aggressive emotions.” Her ultimate desire is for marginalized folks, including femmes, BIPOC, and queer people, to listen to Squeeze and find catharsis from the oppression and violence that they experience.
In reclamatory fashion, SASAMI assumes the form of Nure-onna on the record’s Japanese horror film-inspired cover art, designed by Andrew Thomas Huang (Björk, FKA twigs) and Rin Kim. She chose to pair this Japanese folklore-referencing image with Squeeze written in Korean calligraphy by Myung-Ja Ashworth, SASAMI’s mom, as another act of Zainichi empowerment. On the back, the title is written in Japanese script. Squeeze was produced by SASAMI, with a handful of the tracks co-produced by Ty Segall. Other notable contributors include: Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy, King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas, Christian Lee Hutson, Barishi, Moaning’s Pascal Stevenson, Jay Bellerose and No Home.