During recent years, obsessive food lovers have turned to a new video genre called ‘mukbang’ that has taken over YouTube. It’s launched personalities with hundreds of thousands, even millions of followers. The word mukbang is a mash-up of the Korean words “muk-ja” (let’s eat) and “bang-song” (broadcast). If you’re unfamiliar with the video genre, it’s often live footage of a host eating copious amounts of food in front of a camera while interacting with their audience.
And if you think that’s odd then check out the millions of people who have watched a video of a woman whispering into a camera. She doesn’t do anything particularly interesting. She just whispers and makes seemingly random hand movements. Yet millions of people are mesmerized by it. Want to know what the hell is going on? This is the world of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response).
All of which brings us to Margarita Shamrakov, a songwriter, producer, musician, and engineer, from Ukraine now based in New York, where she lives with her daughter. Her new song “I Love Mukbang”, is based on the popular YouTube trends of Mukbang and ASMR. “We live in the world bombarded with quick gratification and it is difficult to practice self-restraint and self-discipline instead of complete indulgence and giving in,” explained Margarita.
“However, afterward, it feels even more empty – the food indulgence or shopping, or listening to psychics who will tell you it will be ok, is not really leading you where you really want to be,” she continued. “Yes I love Mukbang and food and overeating, but I want to be beautiful and skinny too. It’s a complete contradiction. I hope this song resonates with Mukbang lovers. I have struggled with food addiction all my life. When I am sad or lonely I overeat. I used to be an anorexic as well, so I know how it feels”, she clarified.
I personally have no interested or passion for Mukbang and ASMR, but I certainly have a deep interest for Margarita Shamrakov and her music, including “I Love Mukbang”. Margarita’s strength is her ability to infuse her songs with eclectic sounds, interesting lyrics, and alluring vocals; amidst the bevy of synths and beautifully saturated and shimmering soundscapes, her music never pales to clinical and cold.
Margarita infuses “I Love Mukbang” with jangly and funky guitars, twinkling keys, bubbling basslines and slapping drums. Above it all, her ethereal voice twists and turns within waves of echoed effects, as it gives the song a gleaming glisten of pure alt-pop perfection. Margarita knows what she is doing, and she knows how to bring in varied sounds and experimentation without letting them dominate what else is going on in the music.
With “I Love Mukbang”, Margarita Shamrakov takes the listener on a journey through her style of electronic music and all that it can do, in under 3 minutes. This is a track that is made for the present moment. It gathers together many influences that makes music what it is today.
Margarita Shamrakov experiments with textures, rhythms, space and her voice, and this song is a further demonstration of her extraordinary ability to make great electronic music that dips and dives, and reaches ecstatic highs, all while she communicates her narrative which is never banal. Such is the case with “I Love Mukbang”. She’s totally unique in that respect.