WE LOVE YOUR SONGS BLOG
New Interview: Christa Vi
Christa Vi is a talented Australian / German singer/songwriter, based in East London. Her debut EP is produced by George Shilling (Coldcut, Yazz, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream etc), and is due for release on March 26. Visit her page on WLYS and her website for previews and remixes.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your musical background?
I grew up in Australia but have also spent a fair bit of my childhood in Germany as my mum comes from there. I am bilingual and definitely was brought up with a lot of German culture as most of my family live there. Music - especially classical music - is simply part of German life and everyone seems to learn to play an instrument growing up. All of my family play classical instruments. I learnt classical piano from the age of 7, went on to learn some jazz piano, jazz vocal training and learned acoustic guitar from about the age of 10.
I've always liked to write my own songs and have been in original bands since about 2000 including a live electronica group in Australia called Casper. My writing for this solo project is a bit more folky but also includes an electronic element as I love electronic music. I like to collaborate with electronic producers to see how the sound of my songs can be translated into something new. At the end of the day a good song is the most important element though. I try to write accessible pop/folk music that I hope will stick in people's minds a little bit!
2. Music is a big part of your life, when did you know this was your way to go?
Well since highschool and in church as a teenager I started singing in bands and just loved it. I guess being brought up in churches does encourage you to sing and perform music from a young age. But when you have the desire to sing, play or write music it's something you simply have to do so you just do it. I've always had other day jobs, so have not yet really tried to make a living from music. With this project I'm hoping that by doing it all myself without a label etc, I'll produce an end result I really love and one where haven't had to compromise too much. I do want to eventually release a full length album on a label though - probably an independent label - but we'll see what happens....
3. You moved from Australia to London in 2003; what would you say is the biggest differences between the music scene in Australia and London?
Well the sheer population of the UK, especially London, provides so many more possibilities to play to a good audience who might be interested in the music you are making. There are so many more opportunities and creative people here but it is also a more intense and competitive life - thus it has taken me many years to get to the point where I can afford the time and money to record and release my music again. The music scene in my home town of Adelaide in Australia is small but supportive and you kind of know everyone. Coming to London was a challenge as it is so huge and nobody knows or cares who you are, so you have to kind of start from the bottom again - not the easiest road but character building! It been nice recently as a few musicians friends from home have now moved to London and we're playing gigs together over here. The band The Dark Lights have even remixed my song 'Your Heart' so it's great working with old friends from the Adelaide music scene again.
4. What’s the story behind ‘Long Way Home’?
It's kind of a collection of thoughts and images I experienced when I worked in a job that required me to travel outside London on trains a fair bit. Although it was a nice change from the hectic pace of London, I was often alone and felt foreign and isolated in those small English towns I went to. I spent a lot of time daydreaming, reminiscing and thinking while looking out of train windows into the rainy countryside and sometimes would only talk to one or two people in a day. I made the song into something more wistful and included the bit about the boy who was travelling on trains hungover after a night out - something else I have done a fair bit of myself! It's more a metaphor for life than a tangible story. 'Take the long way home' is about your approach to life - do you stay in your safe zone or experience new things, and risk feeling out of place and alone I guess I've tried to push myself to live in new places, try new things and sometimes find myself feeling a bit lost, but wouldn't change this about my life. It's the dreams I have and the memories I've made that make up my experience of life and I think I'll probably keep living this way until I die. I often don't really know what my songs are about until after I've written them, so that is my meaning at least for now. Hopefully it sense to other people too - although I'm very happy for others to derive their own meanings from my lyrics as well....
5. Your debut EP is going to be released early 2012, what can you tell us about it?
Well I have a few releases planned actually. The first single EP 'Your Heart' comes out on 26th March 2012 including three exciting and really contrasting remixes of the track. I'm launching it with my band at a gig on the 23rd March in London at the Lock Tavern. 'Long Way Home' is the next single due for release around May/June - also with some remixes. I hope to release a four track EP of new songs sometime around October. After that, I'll see about a full length album release, but that's a way off yet!
6. What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
I met the UK band Clock Opera recently as I was interviewing them for Rooms Magazine who I do some freelance writing for. The lead singer, Guy Connelly, said that whenever they perform they are trying to win over the audience - like a new kid in the class making friends. I agree that you should never assume that people will like your music, rather you should try to 'win them over' - it's important keep this kind of respect for your audience.
7. Apart from your EP release, what's up for you in 2012?
There are a few collaborations with electronic producers in the pipeline, which is exciting, including a Brooklyn/NYC based producer called Wealth and an electronic duo from Sydney called Coupons. It's also been exciting to work with other electronic producers on the remixes of my songs including NuDisco producer Show Your Shoe from Switzerland, UKBass producer Reggie Pepper from South London and Southampton based dubstep producer Asa. I'd love to do more electronic collaborations in future, so will see what happens!
Interview made by Acuvi, a music blog focusing on new and unsigned music, and the people behind.
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