Today sees the release of the debut EP by author, model and singer-songwriter, Kristina Bazan. EPHV1 follows on from her recent single, ‘VR’ – a post-futuristic image of her kaleidoscopic world that explores modern relationships and virtual feelings; or as Bazan calls them, “digital fragments of love.”
FMS caught up with the 24 year-old, multifaceted talent from Minsk, Belarus, who attended music school from a young age and – in addition to being an ambassador for L’Oréal Paris and the first MusicBeauty Talent for YvesSaintLaurent Beauty – has been working for years with various prestigious luxury and fashion houses such as Thierry Mugler, Dolce Gabbana, Dior and Louis Vuitton. In our Q&A from Mars, Bazan opens up about her recent single, her recording studio days, equality and more from behind the scenes.
First though, check out the science fiction video for ‘VR’. Directed by Giovanna Gorassini, the viewer is taken into a parallel world where a strange Fish-boy (played by Christopher Michaut) enters a futuristic nightclub. He puts on a VR mask and meets the surreal virtual woman who seduces him in a technicolour world. “Think Blade Runner, Shape of Water or even some of Lynch’s work, unveiling a psychedelic world full of magic and sensuality where seduction and illusion meets,” says Bazan. More from her below.
Q&A from Mars…
01 – Which colours do you associate visually with the recording and listening of this song?
“When it comes to ‘VR’ in particular, I see it in technicolour, a psychedelic ray of different shades that keep changing and merging together. When I think of Virtual Reality, I think of a parallel world to ours, where it’s dark but yet extremely colourful at the same time. It can be anything and nothing, different for everyone and forever changing.
“I definitely reflect a mentality that I think I definitely live and breathe, it’s forever changing.
“I am not scared by change, in fact, I really love it. I get bored by redundancy and expectancy… When it comes to the EP in general, ‘metallic’ is definitely the right colour. Black chrome, filled with notes of gold and also red. It’s a project that’s closely linked to technology, so to answer properly to your question: silver, chrome, gold, a deep shiny black filled with reflections, like an ocean at night, or some black venom…
02 – Which Records/Remixes were on your playlist, on repeat, before, during and after the mastering of ‘VR’?
“I was listening to a lot of music from the ‘80s while working on ‘VR’. It was summer and I wanted to listen to something sexy, fun, playful and psychedelic. A lot of Eurythmics, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kraftwerk…
“A lot of PJ Harvey too, and of course Blondie!”
03 – On being in fashion before the music career; how much do fashion and trends influence your outfits on stage and your stage-persona overall?
“A lot. I’m an extremely a visual person and what I see influences what I want to create, and vice-versa.
“I need music to trigger certain images in my mind. So definitely fashion has a big part in my music, and music has a big role in my love for fashion. I think both are very complementary to each other and actually necessary to exist together. What I wear and just my visuals, in general, are the continuity of my music in a way…
“So it seems to be definite linearity in terms of storytelling.”
04 – Have you managed to create your unique style for your music project perhaps combining your modelling and fashion previous experiences?
“I think any artist wishes to bring something new into the scene, of course, I do too… I try to make the best out of my past and my experiences to show a new perspective. I lived for many years a life ruled by social media and I still have that in a way. However, my approach has changed as well as intention. I think it was a necessary observation period, that’s how I felt it in a way. All the things I saw and went through happened for a reason and maybe the reason is the understanding and conclusions I made out of it, which allowed me to really point out what I wanted to talk about in my music.
“To really find myself.”
05 – Habits: Please describe to us your daily routine in the studio, and some key-situations, or funny situations that are reminding you of the process: writing-recording-publishing of the music.
“I work with one of my favourite persons in the world who is the executive producer of my album. His name is Louis Côté, he’s this atypical Canadian guy and he lives on his own little-twisted planet. He’s an absolute genius when it comes to music and I love it so much when we are in the studio, just the two of us. It’s like nothing else matters. There’s no judgment, only letting go, only purity, only creativity. We forget how old we are, where we come from, who’s the man, who’s the woman, we are just two souls creating. I wish life was always like that. We had so many incredible moments; it’s hard to name only one. He’s one of the rare people that can make me laugh until I can’t breathe, and then actually make me fall into tears. Luckily, it’s usually tears of joy.”
06 – You have been the first ‘MusicBeauty Talent’ for YvesSaintLaurent Beauty; can you please explain a bit about the experience and how that inspires you to release more music?
“It was such an honour to sign such an incredible collaboration with YSL beauty indeed, there is no other beauty brand I wanted to work more with than them because their aesthetic is so connected and influenced by music. I love how they work with so many different artists and support new talent. I’m extremely grateful and can’t wait to see what we will get to do together next…”
07 – What’s your favourite Social Media channel to talk to your friends/family, as opposed to connecting with your fan base?
“With my friends and family, I mainly use WhatsApp. I love how easy and practical it is. I usually love sending little voice notes to update everyone about what’s going on… because I really don’t like calling people usually (ha-ha); only if it’s truly necessary. Otherwise, I like replying when the time is right. When it comes to work, Instagram is definitely my favourite social media platform; it’s the one where I am the most active. I love posting things that inspire me in my IG stories while my feed is more editorial. Before I used to show more of my private life but now I am much more discreet and protective of it. So it’s more a page to show new photos and my new work.
08 – On top of that, what are your current top Insta Story filters?
“I just use the Tokyo black and white filter. I film very rarely myself in my stories. I mainly post images or videos of things that move me or inspire me.”
09 – Back to the music and the video:
“’VR’ has got a strong art direction throwing back some ‘80s vibes. How important is for you the visual communication to boost the message of your songs?
“Extremely important. I would say I love making music just as much as I love creating the visuals that go along with it. For me, a song without the video is not totally complete…
“If I really could, I’d definitely make a music video for each one of them. When I write songs, usually in my mind it’s like I am writing the script of a movie, it’s very instinctive. When I wrote ‘VR’, I knew right away what the visuals would have to be like. It was clear as water. And I have that feeling for most of my songs.”
10 – What’s the message that you like to share with the lyrics of ‘VR’?
“To question the nature of reality.
“I am fascinated by technology and our advancements when it comes to VR as I believe it will take over the entertainment industry and will have a huge impact on our social interactions. I see our generation and how we all interact today, we all have such little time, very little also to build solid relationships or find love. We are afraid of love, afraid to be hurt and so it’s much more easy to find instant meaningless pleasure online, thus the success of all the dating apps etc… So I was wondering what it would be like if there was a club where you could meet the girl/guy of your dreams in VR and enjoy a virtual seduction for a few hours. Even if it’s not real, as long as it makes you feel something, is it worth it?”
11 – Do you have a favourite country where you’ve played or would you really want to play next?
“Well, for now, I’ve only truly performed in France which is already so wonderful. When I used to live in L.A I sang in a few bars and tiny open mic venues. But I would really love to perform in Tokyo; it’s one of my favourite cities in the world.”
12 – Who was/were your idol/s when you were a teenager that made you decide to start singing and conquer the world?
“So many. I always had an admiration for strong people, for determination and especially for people who were thinking out of the box. I love people that push the boundaries of perception; it’s something that moves me a lot because I know how hard it is as we all judge each other so much… It’s so much more easy to fall into normality. My first real encounter with an icon that I’d say became one of my idols was Madonna. I loved how adventurous and provocative she has always been and hate that she had to justify herself for so many of her actions. Art should never be justified or explained, we really need to learn to take it as it is. As long as it makes us feel something, it means the artist has succeeded.
“Then growing up I became obsessed with Annie Lennox, again another strong female character. ‘Sweet Dreams’ became one of my favourite songs of all time. Also, Michael Jackson definitely was playing at home 24/7, my parents and I would listen to it all the time, especially when we lived in America. But I’d say one of my absolute life idols is David Lynch, I could speak about it for hours but I think it speaks for itself. I love the way he creates, it’s so pure, so atypical, he doesn’t follow any format, he’s ruled only by creativity, he always pushed boundaries and never explained, never fell into justifying himself, always stayed relevant, took so many risks and managed especially to find this sacred middle ground that is so hard to achieve which is make art that’s uncompromised and yet appeal to a large audience.”
13 – What does Equality in the music industry mean to you in this particular moment? What would you like to suggest to up-and- coming artists who perhaps struggle to find their own way with their music?
“Something that is very important for me and that I think I’ve expressed indirectly in this interview is tolerance. I think we absolutely, need to stop judging each other. I think creativity is the most beautiful thing in the world, and anyone who wishes to simply create should be celebrated, whether it’s good or not is purely subjective. Creativity should be encouraged and it’s very hard to figure out what we can all, as individuals bring to the table. But we all have an individual outlook and perspective and I am sure that we all have a message to spread.
“It takes years though to craft the right work, it takes making mistakes, changing directions to find something that’ll truly touch people and connect with many. But for me equality comes down to that, we should all be free to create, to change, to try, to explore. This is the beauty of life and the freedom that we should all have. And if there were less judgment and more tolerance, more kindness, more people would be less scared to show that side of themselves, to show their creativity and express themselves. So many artists are left unheard all their life because of the pressure, these hidden judgments, even in the silence, that are oppressing.
“There is something very cruel about the way people discuss artists, on forums or even in the comment section of YouTube, they forget that they are talking about real human beings just like anybody else. And artists are especially sensitive, emphatic people that feel things very deeply. It’s so hard to create and to be pure and free when you feel like everyone will knock you down all the time. So I hope that my message regarding equality is to push each other higher up instead of criticizing or judging, and spreading more love than hate.”
EPHV1 is out now and streaming HERE.