Long before she was a MuchMusic VJ or played Olivia Chow in the 2013 TV movie Jack, Sook-Yin Lee was a young competitive swimmer marvelling at the older girls’ breasts in the locker-room.
“I was in puberty. I was a fast swimmer so I swam with the older girls,” she says. “They’d be in the locker-room with no clothes on and they’d do things like measure each other’s boobs by how many protrusions of the tiles on the wall they took up, or touch each other’s boobs. It was an electric atmosphere.”
“We’d swim on off-hours, so the public wasn’t there, and it was like you were among a secret society of girls — very ritualistic,” she says with a laugh. “There’s sort of a weird sorority there, of the naked women.”
Her new band, Jooj, which consists of her and Adam Litovitz, will release their debut, self-titled album on May 26. Lee carries over her fond memories from those heavily chlorinated days into the concept for their video for “Ghost of Love.”
Jooj’s music doesn’t fit easily into any genre, but it has elements of torch song and of soul and it’s minimalistic. “Ghost of Love” is melodic, wistful, almost melancholic.
“So many of my primary relationships have been confusing,” Lee says. “‘Ghost of Love’ has to do with shape-shifting relationships and how [after the fact] what we think the relationship was changes, and how we may not end up knowing what it even was to begin with.”
Directed by Yuula Benivolski, the video depicts a locker-room romance between two women, played by Lee and dancer Mairi Greig. They’re at the gym, connecting — sort of — from a distance. It’s hard to say what’s going on between them, but it’s deliciously tense.
“There is the possibility of connection between these two women, and it gets closer and closer until it’s in this steam room — and you think, ‘What will happen?’” Lee says. “But you also get the sense maybe my character doesn’t even exist. Maybe we’re just seeing the world through Mairi’s character’s wandering eyes; maybe she imagines this woman.”