At only 24 years old, Kristina Bazan is a complete artist, touch to everything and multifaceted. Internationally acclaimed It-girl, author, songwriter, she is now one of the digital personalities that counts, ranked by Forbes among the 30 most influential people under 30 in the world in art and fashion. Thus, on the occasion of the release of « Clockwork« , the first excerpt of her new album, Angela Anz, the Business Developer exchanged with her.
KODD MAGAZINE: Tell me about yourself and your career.
KRISTINA BAZAN: My name is Kristina Bazan, I am 24. I was born in Belarus, Minsk but travelled a lot during my childhood. When I was four my parents and I moved to the United States and then at the age of 7 we relocated to Switzerland where I grew up until the age of 20. After that I decided to go back to the States, Los Angeles to pursue music more seriously. I just moved to Paris about a year ago as I signed with my record label to work on my first record.
In terms of career, I’ve always been a free spirit and put creativity at the very center of my life. I constantly feel the need to create and to get inspired. Creation for me, gives purpose to everything, good and bad, everything is worth living and experiencing if it can serve creation and stimulate imagination. I love writing and photography, so when I was 17 I opened a blog that eventually became quite popular. This allowed me at an early age to develop an audience and share a part of my life. To me this blog, which I still have today, is like a diary where I share thoughts, pictures and document my travels. However, I always had one big dream, which is to make music. I’ve had a longing for music and songwriting since I can remember myself. I began song writing when I was about 13 and joined a rock band with my friends around the age of 15. But I’ve always been quite shy about it… Writing and composing was very therapeutic for me, and as a shy and introvert kid I was writing more for myself that to share with others. Eventually though, the wish to make out of music a living started growing and it became my biggest obsession. Music has always been at the core of my life as it is for me the ultimate manifestation of creativity. Even though my blog started gaining a lot of attention in the fashion world, I always felt a visceral longing to go towards the music industry. And so progressively I started making the switch, eventually connecting these both passions together too.
KM: After imposing yourself in the luxury and fashion industry, why did you finally choose the music ?
KB: Like I said previously, music has always been there for me through good and bad. I’ve always been a very shy, introverted person, although that’s not necessarily the first impression I give off. I’m always better off reading a book somewhere by myself in a quite place that running off to party (although my wild side can suddenly wake up aha). But I enjoy playing the game sometimes too, it’s just a matter of balancing it correctly. There’s always a million things running on my mind and I feel much more at ease in a music studio, creating, song writing, playing guitar or piano, spending time with people I have a true bond and deep connection with, where there’s no judgment, just purity, rather than attending some fashion event and feeding on small talk. As much as I absolutely love fashion industry and celebrate the magical beauty of it and the incredible thinking and craftsmanship that goes into it, to me, it’s a world that can be dangerously superficial. I have to say that there came a point where this aspect was really affecting me in a negative way. I am very sensitive and as soon as I feel like I am in an environment that’s lacking integrity, or where judgment is solely based on perceptions, I had to step back. I want to take the beauty and the magic of fashion, the self expression, the good out of it and transpose it an environment that for me, at this point in my life, feels more real and authentic. I am so scared of emptiness, of shallow waters… But music, music is always there to come back to what really matters. You can’t really pretend anything with music. It needs to come from the soul. Of course like in any industry, especially in entertainment, there’s superficiality everywhere. I just much prefer the creative process making music as it encompasses so many aspects. I love the sweat, the introspection, the difficulty that goes into it… You have to find complete mental clarity to express your story in the best, most clever way possible, tap into the core of a feeling, of an emotion, accurately enough so that someone who listens to it, can feel that same thing too. It’s incomparable.
KM: How is your single « CLOCKWORK » born ?
KB: It’s a track I wrote a little less than a year ago during a session with my producer Louis Côté. We were having fun with some urban beats and had the idea of making a track with two tempos. I just wanted to make a song that had an electronic, futuristic feel, yet a certain melancholy and darkness, a song that would sound cinematic, and that hopefully transported the audience into another world… So we played with a lot of weird sounds and eventually they inspired the text and the general meaning of the track.
KM: Besides, what story is hidden behind the clip « CLOCKWORK” ?
KB: I promised myself to not give too much of a interpretation of the music video or the song because I think the beauty of making something with loose ends, is to let people make their own stories about it and raise conversations. But what I can say is that it’s a song that can be listened on several levels, you can listen to the lyrics and make an interpretation as if it was a song about love, or you could go further and hear all the little hints and hidden messages. Of course the song being called Clockwork, references the Stanley Kubrick movie “A Clockwork Orange” which talks about this young guy who expresses himself through violence. It’s kind of story about the casualty of violence and cruelty. I think our generation has something of that nowadays with social media and the extremes we’ve taken it to. With my experience of social media, and the kind of position I play in it, i definitely wanted to raise question marks and make a slight critic, in a very metaphorical way. It is a track that can appear to be quite “dark” at first, but to me, it’s actually very bright and light, as it is a prayer for hope after all.
KM: I listened to your single « OUT » released 2 years ago and the musical identity is quite different. How did you make such a transition ?
KB: Yes very different indeed… At the time, I already knew I wanted to go towards a darker, more sensual and melancholic sound for my music projet yet I was still in the middle of my artistic development and I think still trying to figure out what kind of music I wanted to do and what kind of artist I wanted to be. OUT also has some urban influences and a “tormented” vibe to it, which I think you can find in Clockwork too. But it eventually comes down to the teams I’ve teamed up with. OUT was produced by Brian Kennedy who worked a lot with Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson. It has a lighter, more “poppy” vibe to it. I think it was a sweet song to release at the time. With Clockwork, there was a lot of experimentation involved, months of trying different things out. I had already written with my team in Paris dozens and dozens of songs before writing the first body for Clockwork. To me, the growth is just as important as the people I began working with since I moved to Paris, which fits much more the long term vision I have for my project.
KM: What are your musical influences ?
KB: My music taste is very eclectic, this is always for me the hardest question because I listen to a LOT of different things. Naturally I always tend to gravitate towards darker, more sensual stuff. I really love bands like Crystal Castles for example, with all their electronic experimentations. They’ve been a big influence for my love of dark, twisted, futuristic music and yet they have some songs with I’d say almost religious connotations and sounds, like the song Femen on their last album. David Bowie has always been a big, big icon for me. I remember once an interview, where he said that he never liked his voice so he really focused on his performances and his song writing. When I first heard that, it was a huge turning point in my life because I actually also never really thought I had a special voice, I always dreamed of having a more raspy, interesting voice. But Bowie was a genius, re-inventing himself constantly, innovating not only with his image but by pushing boundaries of perception. To me, he is really one of the music artists I look up to the most. He’s always had a tight link to the fashion/visual world, his music videos have always been like short movies, weird and extremely cinematic. And, it seemed like he’s always been a very kind, simple, humble and authentic person. In terms of female artist, I am a huge fan of Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics, I’m a big fan of the 80ies and I think they’ve made some of the best music videos, “Sweet Dreams” is one of my favorite song and music video of all times. Last but not least, I’m almost religious about my love for Daft Punk, ever since I first heard Da Funk… I think I’ve listened to all the existing podcasts about them, watched pretty much every existing video. They are real entertainers, raising within their music real questions about technology, love, reality… I could write a whole essay about my respect and admiration for them so I’ll just leave it at that : pop music can be indeed smart, with real beauty and depth and make the whole planet dance. They are the proof of it. And the fact that they are two Parisian guys who never capitalized on their private life to promote their music is very important and inspiring for artists nowadays. All that matters is music.
KM: You perfectly master your image. What is your secret ?
KB: I don’t know if I master it perfectly but thanks ahah! Actually, I’d probably much rather wear a mask like the Daft Punk than capitalize all of my career on myself like I do currently. Sometimes, it’s a lot of weight to wear one one’s shoulder. There’s something comforting with the idea of disappearing behind an avatar… I find it quite restrictive and frustrating actually at times, that we can only be one person. Maybe that’s just me being so hungry for life and to get the most out of it. I kind of want to have several lives in one you know… The typical example is that people tend to put you in a box. For example, if you change your musical style mid-career, or change industries like I did. It’s like you have to figure it all out before you begin. So if you start an RnB project, you can’t mid way through your career suddenly decide to do rock music. People will much rather turn towards someone who’s been doing rock from the very beginning. That’s something I don’t necessarily understand. I am forever evolving and I absolutely love change. But I feel like most people don’t like change, especially not when it comes to music artists. There are so many examples throughout history that prove it. Sometimes feel like I can’t change as much and as I often as I’d like to… The only way to possibly do it, is to maybe have other, secret identities and release things under another name.
But I am indeed a perfectionist and kind of a control freak, I’ll admit that… although I think there’s so much beauty in a lack of perfection actually. I try to keep my content as spontaneous and quality driven as i can. I like to put thinking into it but let myself guide by the feeling and the vibe of the moment.
KM: One last word ?
KB: Words last, words outlast us, ideas outlive us. So whenever you have an idea, or a great thought, write it down, share it, spread it, you never know but a small idea can bloom into a big one and this is how the world grows and evolves. This gives us all a purpose as we might be indeed small, but we all contribute, with our words, our minds, and our ideas to the bigger picture. So dig deeper in yourself, and don’t be afraid to make a change.
Interviewed by Angela Anz – Thanks to: Julie Bougerolle
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