19 Sep 2020
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VÏKÆ - Interview with Vikae

12 Sep 2020 // An interview by Darryl Baser

Originally born in Ukraine and seeking refuge in New Zealand post Chernobyl; classically trained musician VïKÆ has done a full 360 dance through the music sphere. Trained as an opera singer, she switched genres when she felt the need to create art that provokes thoughts, is catchy, exciting and fresh.

VïKÆ’s Veronika Bell sat down for a Covid19 friendly chat with Darryl Baser from Muzic.net.nz, to talk about her brand new Finelines EP and upcoming tour with PRINS:

Where have the songs on Finelines come from - the words predominantly?

Hey nice to chat! Thanks so much for having me.

The songs from Finelines come from a poem I scribbled in my songbook somewhere between the hours of 2 and 4am. I have really bad insomnia and there are some memories of mine which often play out as horrendous nightmares. It's the same few dreams recurring and it's very frustrating for me sometimes because I can't wake myself up. It's like... Man I don't wanna see this I know what happens. Normally I lucid dream (it's totally a thing) and the last memory I have of this dream is that (like all dreams where I am trying to wake up) I was trying to find a bathroom. When I did and looked into the mirror, it took me into an exact memory of a moment in time I wished that it hadn't. I saw a young girl: frightened by her circumstance and obsessed with self-sabotage. I woke up with a jolt and wrote down the verses first and the bridge. I was ironically seeing Abby (Abigail Knudson) my producer a few days after that so it seemed fitting to work on this when I went into the studio.

Lyrically it's pretty raw and vulnerable; how does that feel for you, from recording, to playing them live?

It really is. It's probably one of my most honest songs yet. Which is terrifying in itself! Recording it was a really big deal actually. I don't normally cry listening to my own music I feel like that's kind of weirdly narcissistic BUT when I finally listened through the final demo at the end of our studio day... my eyes were just leaking without warning. I couldn't help it. It was like this river of emotions was waiting to flow through me - I just needed to unlock a part of my mind which was harbouring these thoughts and feelings. By doing so it allowed me to start working on tackling some demons that I had repressed and refused to talk about for a very long time. It was like this natural cathartic process.

It seems like you're writing words as a way of processing life. Fair comment? Can you elucidate?

Absolutely. Writing for me, ever since I could read and write, has always been an escapism. You would often find me with my nose in a book or playing with my barbies and soft toys creating my own story lines for characters when I was a child. I was far too engrossed with my own fantasy land to bother too much with large scale friend groups. I always found them really intimidating. So, I used words and poetry and stories as my friends. It sounds kinda sad when you put it onto paper like that but I can honestly say that I wasn't a neurotypical child. I had no desire to play sports or be in big social situations (unless on stage) and I had LOATHED doing school trips and camps... I just wanted to read, play with my toys, sing and dance. Nothing else. In fact, when I was a child I used to enter essay writing competitions just for fun. I entered 'The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competitions' maybe 4 times? I don't even know if they still do it anymore. I honestly can't remember much about the competition but I remember 2 of my essays received Gold Awards. I don't think I knew what that really meant at 10 years old. I was just stoked to get some fancy stickers and a cool certificate from England!

Now, musically, you've got more chops than a butcher's shop, and you seem comfortable playing piano or guitar... What are you more comfortable writing music on, and why?

Haha woah that's a compliment and a half, thank you! I will always and forever be most comfortable about playing piano when I write a song. It's just what I've grown up with using. I love playing the guitar - don't get me wrong - but it's just not the same sensation as when you sit at the keyboard and press the keys down with your fingers. I started playing the piano before I even had lessons (I was like 3 or 4) and was enamoured with 'the cool buttons' so just comes naturally to me.

You've worked with Abigail on this, how has that been?

I mean she's amazing. I accredit my growth as a musician, vocalist and songwriter entirely to her tutelage. She is kind, compassionate and very honest about her thoughts and feelings about the creative process happening at that time and I think that because of this we work really well together. We do definitely hang out outside of studio time but we also know when it's time to do some serious mahi. Her expertise and knowledge is phenomenal and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to connect and create with her. I am excited for the future!

So, the 'C' word: Covid 19 - how did that affect you (your health) and your music?

I mean, I'm immunocompromised so during the first lockdown my partner and I packed everything we could (ALL my music gear being of the most importance haha) into the car and we went down the line to stay at his parent's place: a 1500a farm in the middle of nowhere! I was supposed to release the EP in March around my birthday with the original title 'VIRUS' but it seemed too ill taste to release it in March so I thought that I would wait. Well, the longer I waited the longer I realised that Covid isn't going away any time soon and I needed to release something asap. I was already behind in my schedule (I live 6-12 months in advance). So, I changed the name to Finelines (which seemed the second best most logical option) and decided for the release date to be in September. I picked September because it's Mental Health Awareness Month (worldwide) and Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month (worldwide). I suffer from both of these so it was really important for me to showcase a body of work that touches on these subjects during a month which shows its support to them!

You're planning to tour the Finelines EP with PRINS, is that looking to happen if the nation stays at Covid level 2?

YES the tour is definitely happening regardless of if we are in level 2 or not. We've worked so hard on this and invested so much it would be a shame. We would rather play to a handful of people than to no one at all. Besides.... everyone needs a bit of entertainment at the moment. We have been so deprived of anything entertainment-wise for over half a year now (it's nuts to think it's been that long) with other parts of the world for longer than that. So, we want to do our best part in spreading joy and excitement to people. I think that's so important right now. That and connection... which music is intrinsically.

What's next for you after touring Finelines?

New music 200%. More shows (Covid permitting) 200%. I'm not going to reveal too much more but all I'll say is you'll have to be following my socials and get on board the Easter-egg train to see what clues I might be leaving for the future. My biggest idol (Taylor Swift) leaves them for her fans all the time so I thought it would be cool to honour that narrative but with my own twist.

If there's anything I haven't asked, that you'd like to say, please say it here...

Thank you to all who have shown their support with the Finelines EP release so far. It really has been so humbling and I am really excited for what the future has in store for me!

Thanks for having me Darryl :)

 

About VÏKÆ

Originally born in Ukraine and seeking refuge in New Zealand post Chernobyl; classically trained musician VïKÆ has done a full 360 dance through the music-sphere. Originally training as an opera singer, VïKÆ switched genres when she felt the need to create art that provokes thoughts, is catchy, exciting and fresh. Finishing her Bachelor of Music (Performance Voice) from the University of Otago (2016) VÏKÆ has finally landed where she describes as feeling ‘most at home’. Personal experiences provide a voice for the voiceless and an homage to the underdogs. Breaking stigmas to showcase the true magic behind closed doors for those living with disabilities and those who suffer from mental health, VÏKÆ is not shy about her was diagnosis with bipolar; saying “being creative is a great form of healing”. VÏKÆ lathers her songs in silvery and powerful vocals and her lyricism is raw, clever and a little peculiar. Taking inspiration from Taylor Swift, Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald and traditional Ukrainian instruments, VÏKÆ is certainly one to watch.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for VÏKÆ

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