Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I definitely don’t try to separate my music work from other daily routines. I am a fragrance enthusiast and work part-time as a perfumer. I fresh blend perfumes. I also create my own fragrances as a hobby. I think it helps me to reduce the intensity of music making. These two creative fields leak into each other. My music making will influence my senses and inspire my fragrances.
I try to connect all my passions, hobbies and activities. How much time I spend and when I work on my music, really varies. I often need go out first, sit on my balcony, have a cup of coffee, write a few sentences or read something. I like playing tennis in the mornings or doing short yoga sessions. It always feels like a good warm-up before the start of the day. I enjoy the idea of cultivating certain emotions or atmospheres and then allowing myself to work on music. It gives me space to explore how my moods affect my compositions.
Time wise, I sometimes start composing at 10pm and finish at 4am, or sometimes it will just be 30 minutes before breakfast. Whenever I feel I have an idea or I simply want to record, process, manipulate or play with sound material - I do it. I guess it would be great to have a fixed schedule. Unfortunately that doesn’t work for me at the moment.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I believe it would be the album I will be releasing with Phantasy Sound. I gave myself a few months to finish it fully. It felt like a long and difficult process - I was living with my ex-partner in one room, where I had no access to a studio and had to close myself in a tiny wardrobe to record my compositions.
I had to grapple with a lot of noise and disruption from my housemates. I was living with some very interesting characters, and there was always something going on in my house, which meant I didn’t have a very peaceful or private space to work. I had to grow up very quickly in London and my music was part of that process.
This particular project gave me strength and changed my way of composing. Searching for and capturing sounds felt as if I was rediscovering hidden aspects of the world. I was shaping every sound and enjoyed the chaotic nature of the music I was producing. My lyrics were very emotional and at times it could feel draining when it came to recording them.
I wanted this work, the album to be bold and speak for itself. I searched for a safe musical space where I could release this album. I am very grateful I found Phantasy Sound. They saw the potential in my compositions and I received the chance to be a part of their musical community. I am very proud of it and lucky at the same time to be able to share the process of developing and enriching my work with them.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
For me creativity links to openness. It usually helps, to get closer to the ideal state of mind, by focusing on other forms of art. Seeing new or unusual spaces, landscapes or even changes of weather, smelling contrasting and diverse combinations, or even focusing on the ordinary ones, are all things that inspire me.
There are definitely many distractions for me. I often allow myself to just fall into the procrastinating spheres, with video games for example. A few hours of life simulation and the sounds of a virtual daily life reset me and bring me back to reality. I find it important to have the time to clear my mind with a day of reading, arthouse movie nights or enormously long city walks. A break sometimes does you good and I feel we tend to forget that in these competitive times.
I also try to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible, even in everyday situations- it allows me to change my perspective and re-evaluate matters which occupy my mind and thoughts.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
“Music has charms to soothe the savage breast”.
Nature shows best how music influences every creature. Plants and flowers grow faster and better, animals rest and wind down and people heal to pleasant sounds. Music therapy can balance and support our well-being.
On the other hand, there have been plenty of times I have cried and struggled hearing or making music. I remember during composing "Wife" I felt so miserable I could barely record my vocals. I sat in my wardrobe and I can still hear in the song when my voice just breaks. It is a very emotional song written in deep sadness when I felt most vulnerable. I remember I re-recorded these vocals in the studio because I wanted them to sound ‘professional’, but when it came to mixing the track with Tobin Jones he decided to pick the raw vocals. I wasn’t sure about the decision at first, but soon realized the diversified emotions and perspectives are the main factor of the song and it only adds to the power of music.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
I believe the most important thing is to stay yourself and stay authentic. Inspiration is a positive factor and there is nothing wrong in searching for ideas, aesthetics and thoughts in previous eras and other cultures.
Of course, there is a fine line between a correct and delicate use of influences and a pure copy or shameful theft. Authenticity combined with respect for artists, religions and cultures should always defend itself.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
Scents and fragrance are my obsession. The most inspiring and shocking thing I find is the connection between the nose and brain. It is incredible how scents can take us to places from our memories. Sometimes the smell of old furniture transports me to my grandparents’ house at the seaside. I can see the furnace, I start to remember the touch of their cat’s fur and hear the sound of a toaster. The scent can bring all these flooding back to me.
Similarly to scent, songs you heard before remind you of places, people, moods or relationships. I find it very intriguing, how our bodies need these triggers to uncover memories hidden deep down.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I understand the importance of sharing opinions and perspectives about the world, through art. However, I tend to separate myself as an individual and as a musician for now. I find it gives me the feeling of safety and comfort what later allows me to create my sound world just how I want it to be. As a musician I feel I can be pure and undamaged from the world’s issues. I adore this feeling of freedom. I don’t think I am ready for now to leave this isolated space, but I am curious how my music would change if I decided to do so. I appreciate artists who make bold statements and am hoping to find this strength to do the same someday.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
Perceiving and understanding sounds is a very personal and individual experience. Various conditions, experiences or sensitivity create a unique relation to sound. I trust music expresses what the listener is ready and in need to feel and process.
Words alone are defined with specific guidelines and rules which are sometimes hard to interpret. Music with its interpretive, ambiguous form of expression gives space for a personal analysis.