A N I M A is not about yet another “Star” | Interview with Anima

What best way to describe ANIMA than through their own words: ‘Trial and Error’. Exploration, discovery, deep interaction and creation of sounds which speaks to the soul. Read our interview below.

  • Describe your sound in three words

genre bending, experimental, ambient

  • You mix organic sounds like horns with electronic elements in a very interesting way. Would you tell us a bit about you and the concept of ‘Anima’?

WHO WE ARE

Behind A N I M A – voice and mastermind of the entire project, – there is a team of top artists who contributed their talent and expertise to achieve this high-end production. All artists are currently based in Vienna, Austria.

Our music team: ANIMA (concept & vocal artist), Oszillator (Max McManus and Benedikt Meschik, main music producers), Elf11 (musical concept & co-producer), HighDee (vocal engineer), Franz Hautzinger (solo trumpet)

Our music video team: Soleil Jean-Marain: choreography & dance, Shyam Jones: camera & editing, Mael Blau: costume design.

Our visual art & design team: Ariana McManus: artistic CI & art props, Marion Kunst: A N I M A‘s homepage.

CONCEPT: The original intention of the project under the working title JazzPeriments, was to create modern versions of classic jazz standards as a personal tribute to afro american women in music, and as an honoring of the african culture per se. Created as an ode to his wife, John Coltrane’s Naima seemed like the perfect starting point for this tribute.

However, Naima in a very headstrong way, became what it wanted to be: a deeply spiritual and alchemistic journey back to the roots of the feminine Goddess in ancestoral Africa, moving onward to a transformative and bridging moment in our present (reflected in Coltrane´s track), all the way to the resurrected Goddess in a future world. The spiritual aspect apparently was embraided in Coltrane’s song all along. Like musical archeologists, we excavated the sacred secret from in between his notes and translated it into visibility.

THE MUSIC

Oszillator says: The most important influence in creating our music is our emotional state in every moment of the process and the emotions we want to bring forth. This precedes the influences through various musical styles which source in many different genres and musical periods (Middle Ages until today). In our view, listening to contrasting music creates freedom and tools to produce without the boundaries of genre.

Collaborating with and realizing someone else’s musical vision gave us the experience of artistic freedom within a frame.

When creating the various layers of the soundscape, our intention was to set Coltrane’s composition into a modern context without compromising the harmonic and melodic structure and without neglecting its original feeling. We worked towards expanding the original jazz flavour into a contemporary musical language. We did a lot of experimenting regarding our sound design by fusing real instruments (trumpet/voice) and synths. Creating all these different layers from scratch resulted in a lot of trial and error to see what blends in naturally with this modern version of Coltrane’s Naima.

Elf11 says: my music often sources in a vision, a sudden inner space opening. images surface, accompanied by connected emotions, eventually translating into constructs of internal sound. technically, my music is influenced by different epoques and styles. one of my favorite approaches is using drones and ostinati as a foundation for my melodic motifs, not voicing the melody until later. in my creational process i am influenced by the alchemistic idea of melting, blending and dilluting substances, which leads to experimenting with electronic and analog elements until an organic merging is achieved and a new unprecedented tapistery of sound is being born.

As i am not an expert in programming beats, i had the opportunity to collaborate with Oszillator who ended up creating all soundscapes within the framework of my vision and an ealier layout of Naima as a compass. working with Oszillator was one of the rare experiences where another creative source translated my vision in such an accurate way (only minor adaptations were necessary) without compromising their own unique style.

Should we keep an eye out for an album? What are your plans for the near future?

Yes definitely! A full EP is planned to be released in 2021. A full album will follow in 2022. In the very near future (most likely by the end of January) Naima remixed by Oszillator feat. A N I M A will be released. 

You have said about your single ‘Naima’ that is ‘dedicated to women of all times’. What is feminism to you?

In my view, feminism needs to be redefined and expanded. Honoring all the pathways that have been carved out by the pioneers, it is time to level up and expand on our vision of generating an equal standing for all genders.

In what I like to call “New Feminism”, i see inclusiveness versus exclusiveness, i see a great relevance of inner work in addition to external work. I firmly believe that it is imperative for us women to shift our perception of ourselves and our value on a very deep level. The indoctrination of our inferiority throughout history is so deeply embeded in our genes, that mere external betterments and changes, will only be like repainting a house on the outside whose insides are mouldered. We need to reinstall a genuine sense of self worth, dignity and authentic power, because as often proved in history, we cannot expect fundamental change to happen from the outside, restoring our rightful, equal place of at the side of men. If we manage to shift on this foundational inner level, thereby restoring our own sense of worth, the exterior will be forced to adapt (because we are no longer willing to bend to imposed values) and all external activities will have way more impact, coming from a well founded standing in our awareness of our equal right as a women.

“New Feminism” encompasses inclusiveness of our male counterparts in so far, as we female pioneers will then have shifted into a new paradigm intrisically, enabeling us to create the room for men to outgrow the antiquated patriarchic paradigms. 

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

A N I M A: Billie Holiday, Amy Whinehouse, Björk, Sevdaliza, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Debussy, Webern, Carl Orff, Leonardo da Vinci

Oszillator: wild mix of every genre, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Berlioz, Schumann, Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Johann Johannson, Charlotte de Witte, Amelie Lens, Umek, I hate Models, Skrillex, Dedmau5, Virtual Riot, San Holo, Stephen, Cecile Mclorin Salvant, Tigran Hamasyan, Robot Koch, Lorn, Danger,….

What is your favourite album of the past year?

Sevdaliza’s new album Shabrang is one we can all agree upon, but there’s also Stephen’s Akrasia and Olafur Arnald’s some kind of peace and we also discovered the outlaw ocean music project!

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Tenet, watched it in one of the very short periods when cinemas were opened.

One last thing you’d like us to know about you?

A N I M A  is not about yet another “Star”, it’s a soul place, it’s a state of mind, it’s an inner revolution
It’s about A N I M A in us. Oh, and we won a prize for best music video at the Toronto International Women Film Festival only three weeks after releasing the video 🙂

Thanks Anima!

Follow Anima
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