You know her, but you may not know you know her.
If that sounds like a tag-line for a film, fair enough, for the artist is Nostalghia, and her work is ideal for a swoony, widescreen, THX experience. There’s something about her that’s immediately familiar, even while she’s rearranging the stuff you think you know.
Nostalghia’s new single, "Little White Moment," has just been released, so I asked the artist a few questions.
Congratulations on “Little White Moment,” and the forthcoming Imago. How do you feel, taking your music to this next level after Chrysalis? Does the metaphor hold?
Thank you, kindly. The metaphor certainly rings true in more ways than one. There was an infantile quality about Chrysalis that I'll never be able to replicate, nor would I want to. All these ancient feels funneling through an exceptionally young vessel at a speed too fast for even the most balanced of bodies to live through. It was difficult, and you can hear my voice pushing at its own seams — insecure in its ability to withstand its own birth. Imago, however, is a bit like womanhood. Still with ancient feels, but in a vessel more prepared for the beatings of truth. There's strength and hope sewn through the obscurities of experience. To be fully clear, Imago is the final and fully developed stage of a winged insect. Also, an idealized mental image of someone or something. I suppose you can get the picture from that alone.
Although it would be lovely to rise above everything and claim that humans have always been like this, it's kinda inarguable that much has changed since your previous album -- becoming more polarized and volatile, in politics, culture, gender relations, etc. With Imago, how, as an artist and a person, are you meeting this new climate?
I think that while I've been attempting to embody womanhood, the world has been attempting to embody adulthood. Everyone seems to be finding their voicebox and using it willfully. Perhaps in times of extreme pressure, people wail, and that wailing captures the attention of the world wide web, and the world wide web provides an arena for change. It is my hope that we are smart and compassionate in our wailings, knowing the affect they can have. Though I do not have a TV, nor do I watch or read the news, somehow, my finger still lands on the pulse and I end up siphoning communal thoughts through song. With Imago, I've tried to hold a sensitive space for life to bloom adoringly. Feminine in its ability to express the wound while licking it. Luckily my musical partner Roy Gnan is a very gentle giant and tends to relate to the songs in a way that nurtures them.
An earlier song, “Sunshiny Milk,” feels like a sensual, emotional reinvention of what a song can be, with a video to match. How much is performance, how much is you, and is there a line?
I was told once by a flame of mine — okay, perhaps by more — that I am a million times the intensity of my music in day-to-day life. So, I'd say that my performances are merely twinkling stars in the cosmos that make up my person. Whatever line there may be, I seem to color outside of it, but that doesn't make my performance any less honest. It just means there's more. A gift that keeps on giving? [She chuckles.]
What was once generally called “Alternative” might be where we'd find your albums if record stores still existed. How much do you reflect on the past?
I'm a bit plagued by it! But only because time hits me in a very present way. I can still smell my father’s cologne whenever I step into any bathroom, my mother’s long acrylic nails scratching my temples, the way it felt to cry consciously for the first time, the heartbreak from the first child to tear me apart for being a foreign spirit. I feel it all as though it's happening now. Time is transparent, there's nothing tangible about it. It's as ephemeral as life. It comes and it goes at such a constant rate that you wonder if it's even coming or going. Feels circular in nature, and parallel.
Your music’s in the John Wick movies, and you’re in the second. How'd that connect?
Indeed, I love writing for film and TV. It was all a very organic and relatively painless process. The director, Chad Stahelski, found me cinematic I suppose, and asked that I appear in the film as well. A strange series of events for a gal never striving to be in cinema.
When you're performing, do you “read the room”? Is there modification based on your feelings of an audience -- or even, since several blend within you, from a culture?
It’s in my nature to read a room, but I don’t always make adjustments. Sometimes the disconnect and discomfort produces something very special in the refusal to reach. I’m more interested in planting myself in my power for those interested enough to come. Power isn’t necessarily forceful, it’s just a force. Occasionally if an audience has an especially odd energy, I turn to Roy, we share a knowing look, and I'm instantly back in my catharsis.
Could you describe how an idea takes form? Especially with “Little White Moment”?
Typically I’m inspired by a sentiment, a couple of words. “Little White Moment” is the embodiment of something pure, of something selfless. The sentiment of someone taking on your pain so you can breathe, if only for a second. It's that first inhale of crisp air after rushing from a claustrophobic room, looking into someone's eyes and feeling genuinely loved, a remembering of the beautiful things worth living for. And it's a moment worth cherishing, because like all moments, it too shall pass.
Nostalghia Music: Official Site
“Little White Moment” on iTunes
Nostalghia on Spotify
Nostalghia on Twitter
Nostalghia on Instagram