Q&A with Kerli

If there is one word to describe Kerli’s music that word would be magic. I experienced magic when I saw her latest music video “Feral Hearts”. I got spellbound by the video and her voice is simply amazing. During the easter I had the pleasure to interview her about her sound, her influences and her creativity.

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E: How would you describe your music?
K: I recently spent 9 months living in extremely humble conditions by myself in the woods of Estonia so the art I created there is quite different from anything else I have made before. I would say “cinematic” would be the word as I was mostly inspired by the magic of my land and my bloodline. I dug really deep to my core when it comes to the lyrics and I’m bringing in a lot more organic elements into the process again, both musically and visually. For example, the Feral Hearts video was 100% practically built and shot, no special effects or green screens.

E: Who are your musical influences?
K: Björk, Imogen Heap, Anouk, Enya – as far as the female artists go. Sigur Ros, Lamb, Massive Attack are some other names I can think of right a way. But I also love classical music, ambient music, industrial music. Just music. I’m constantly battling with the question of importance of art because it’s so torturous and all consuming to be an artist. But then I’m reminded of moments like hearing Björk’s Homogenic for the first time and how much it saved my life. It reminds me that there are those 15 year-olds out there, not feeling like they belong in the world the way it is. So building beautiful alternate worlds that they can relate to can be life saving. I would have definitely killed myself if there weren’t artists out there who spoke to my spirit while I was growing up.

E: Who’s idea was it to produce the music video for Feral Hearts in that visual way, and how did the idea come to mind?
K: I always creative direct all of my own visuals, from the treatments to making sure the edit and color is just right in the end. In between there is a lot of character design, costume making, location scouting and whatever needs to be done – making a music video is all consuming and all nighters are a part of the process. The visual for Feral Hearts was shot in Estonia so the main inspiration really was our beautiful nature. I also wanted to tell the story of this little girl wandering into the unknown and chasing her vision (the white stag) because that’s what I did last year in my own real life. I quit my big city existence and moved to the forest to discover who I really am. It was frightening but it was also amazingly liberating.

© Kerli

E: What inspires you to make your own outfits?
K:I don’t even know what inspires me. Everything inspires me. To me, colors, shapes, sounds, numbers – they’re all intertwined. I do quite a lot of inspiration searching by reading books or examining nature but often times the visuals and the songs happen at the same time. I feel like the visual is just as important as the song to me – it makes the experience whole.

E: What is the main difference between your musical sound now, compared to Love is Dead and Utopia?
K: I feel like my new stuff is a combination and evolution of everything I’ve done before. There will be the honesty and depth of “Love is Dead” but without the teenage angst. And there will be some electronic beats like on Utopia but they’re much more intricate this time around, more ambient.

E: Why the change?
K: What one creates is an extension of who they are. People change so their creations change. I also really enjoy being an independent artist and making my own decisions about which songs to release and make videos for. I always felt like I had all these insane ideas that I couldn’t bring into the world because of company politics and fear. It really held me back from being the artist I actually wanted to be.

E: What are the best and worst things that had happened during touring?
K: The best thing is seeing my moon children. I love them so much and it’s so nice to actually meet them after the shows and get to hear their stories. The worst thing I guess was this one time when our keyboard caught fire and I had a massive panic attack on stage.

E: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
K: You have no other choice than to do your best and not stop. I remember this one time when I was performing to a 70 000 people in Estonia during an independence day show and I only had a few days to learn the songs, which were some national songs that are super important to people. I had just been touring and my ears wouldn’t pop because of constant flying. I also had a high temperature because of exhaustion. So I got a minor ear surgery like one day before the show and the doctor prescribed me some steroids so my body would really get it together. I was so worried I would mess up the lyrics of the songs so while I was singing to the whole country, all I could hear was my thoughts going “fuck, I better not mess this up.” Fortunately, everything worked out and it ended up being one of the most touching moments of my career. It was epic when all the people who sat down on a hill started standing up one by one, waving their flags and lighting up their cellphones.

E: How will you break through with your music in Norway?
K: I feel like Norway has a similar energy to Estonia when it comes to people loving nature and magic. You guys also have a rich history and interesting mythological beliefs, so I hope that your people will connect with the vibrations I’m creating.

E: Thank you!
K: Thank you!

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For more about Kerli check her out on Facebook

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