What happens when music is born from curiosity and not intention? When sound becomes a story and production becomes a playground? For industrial goth pop persona, iRis.EXE, the answer is innovation.
Based in St. Louis, MO, iRis.EXE is driven by the mind and imagination of Madelyn Munsell. Both a solo and collaborative project, Munsell acts as the primary songwriter and performer, bringing in other minds for production, features, and instrumentation.
The color and texture that makes up her musical background are both a juxtaposition of classical and contemporary influence, as well as a deep-seated understanding of the connection between art, history, technology, and humanity. Ultimately, those connections make for a mosaic of sonic expression.
Munsell’s love of music technology surfaced at a young age, watching her musical parents record and produce their own goth rock duo. Sustaining their legacy, she earned a degree in vocal performance and then shipped off to Boston to get her Masters in Opera Performance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. All the while, touring with her other band and writing massive amounts of solo music in a variety of different genres.
Her latest musical endeavor took shape in the thicket of the pandemic. “In April of last year, I had started at a new job as a software engineer, and the discomfort of starting this job really energized me,” she says. “I had a thought — What if I wrote a song that was just a shit ton of noise, all of the instrumentation was destroyed and warped and buzzy, but followed a pop structure?”
The entire scope of Munsell’s influences — ranging from art song and choral music and opera to metal to drum and bass, trance, metal, hardcore, pop, J-rock, and darkwave — can be found in her debut EP release for iRis.EXE, SMiLE. And while such influences are deeply personal, their role in iRis.EXE is dictated by the music alone.
“I intentionally severed my personal identity from iRis, and in doing so, I've created something that is so inherently me. iRis is the most authentic I have ever felt and sounded. It's no longer about how I assume others want to perceive me.”
Learn more at iris-exe.io.