Describe your sound in 3 words
Moody, vulnerable, plastic
Tell us a few things about your new EP ANOTHER LIFE. What is the main idea behind it?
The main idea is that I often imagine myself living other lives, having totally different experiences, backgrounds and beliefs than I do currently, and I wanted to explore those lives. Each song is about a relationship – two are exes, one is an ex best friend, and one is about my relationship with myself (When You Dream, Your Soul Grows Back – which contains the lyrics “I feel the pull to another life,” the title of the EP). Writing and producing the songs was therapeutic and allowed me to explore what I did in the past and some possibilities for how things could have gone differently. Coming from a more academic background with my music, where my experience was focused more on technique and execution rather than the feeling that inspired the music itself, it’s always been hard for me to push myself to be vulnerable, and so I hope I achieved that with this EP.
What first got you into music?
When I was 9, four musicians from a local orchestra came to our school to basically persuade kids to join the strings program. There was a violinist, a violist, a cellist, and a bassist. I remember sitting on the floor of the gym, criss-cross applesauce, and each one of them played alone for a few minutes to demonstrate the different features of each instrument, and I was completely blown away by how amazing they each sounded. I chose to play viola (because I’m not like other girls, rawr XD), and then ten years later I was doing that same presentation to a bunch of kids, which was really cool to see some of the kids’ eyes light up and ask a ton of questions. My dad is also a musician and has always played music around me so he probably primed me for that moment too.
Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?
Björk, Kate Bush, Blood Orange, Tom Waits, My Chemical Romance, Tori Amos, Allie X, Idina Menzel, Remi Wolf, Jesca Hoop, The Used, 070 Shake, Young Thug, Phantogram, Rihanna, Cocteau Twins, Peter Gabriel, Debussy, Rush, Chopin, John Mayer, Fair to Midland, Bladee, Brian Eno, Dorian Electra, Circa Survive, Erik Satie, The Dear Hunter, Grimes, Arvo Pärt, Charli XCX, Oneohtrix Point Never, Queen, Demi Lovato, Sigur Rós, Kaija Saariaho, Julia Holter, Ricky Eat Acid, Kitty, MUNA, Dan Deacon and my dad.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?
Probably letting other people in on my process. I kind of always thought I needed to do it all myself, from songwriting to recording to producing to mixing and mastering. But I’m learning that collaborating not only takes that weight off of you, it also blends the incredible beauty of someone else’s mind into your work, and that goes beyond workflow and efficiency, it’s priceless. It’s the whole point. Music is meant to be shared not only with other musicians, but the audience should participate. The audience are musicians too, just by listening.
In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?
Smoking a joint driving in your car after an exhausting day. Or on shitty phone speakers getting ready for a girls night out.
When was the last time you danced?
On a daily walk this week. To Vulfpeck on my headphones. You can just dance in the street, nobody cares.
Follow ESSA V