Makeshift Happiness – Interview with Christa Vi!

by | indieBerlin


When life gives you old newspapers, make origami!

Indieberlin: Tell us a little bit about your musical background.
Christa Vi: My mum was a flute and piano teacher, so I’ve always been surrounded by classical music. I played piano and guitar from a young age but always fought against reading music and the theory side of things as I just wanted to use my ear. I used to learn all my classical pieces by heart, which got tricky when you’re playing pieces with three movements! I got interested in Jazz and studied Jazz vocal for a year at university, but at some point realised I just wanted to write and sing pop music. I sang in a few bands when I lived in Australia, but I only started to take it seriously about six years ago when I moved back to London permanently. I decided I finally wanted to make an album, so I put alll my money and what time I had between working day jobs to get it done.

Indieberlin: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Christa Vi: Lots of things inspire me, but mostly it’s listening to people and getting a sense of their desires, fears and hurts. My bedroom is right next to a pretty crazy street in Hackney and I often hear parts of people’s conversations as they walk by at all times of the day and night. Sometimes what I hear is totally insane, people are fighting, making dodgy business deals, singing to themselves. I use to keep a notebook by my bed and write down words and phrases I heard people say. Living in London is so different from my suburban upbringing in Australia as people live so much closer together. It means you get confronted with the inner dialogue of strangers – things they normally want to keep private. Like when you see someone crying on the London underground. I’m really sensitive to people’s feelings to the point where I really need to protect myself from it, even when I’m just walking around the city. But seeing and hearing raw humanity around me like I do in London feeds me with ideas and feelings to write about.

Indieberlin: You describe your music as “Origami pop”. What do you mean with that description?
Christa Vi: I find most music genres to be so meaningless that I decided to make up my own! I like pop music to be angular and fragile, but also bold and brightly coloured.

Indieberlin: Tell us a secret about yourself.
Christa Vi: I have a phobia about bubbles, like the ones you blow from soapy water when you’re a kid. It’s OK when they are really small, but when people blow big ones that go all wobbly I freak out. It know it’s insane.

Indieberlin: What was the last concert you went to?
Christa Vi: I saw James Blake play at the Hammersmith Apollo. Such an amazing voice. Also very impressed how he performed all the electronic stuff as live as possible – that’s difficult to do.

Indieberlin: How do you feel about covering a song?
Christa Vi: I’ve actually been thinking about that lately but really struggling to find the right song to cover that really works for me. I think there is a fine line between just doing a ‘karaoke’ version of someone else’s song and really making it your own. James Blake’s version of ‘Limit to Your Love’ by Feist, is a great example of a cover done really well. James Blake really owned that song to the point that a lot of people have no idea it’s a Feist song.

Indieberlin: Do you dream in colour or black and white?
Christa Vi: Even though I have so much colour in my artwork I can’t actually tell you what it’s like in my dreams. I don’t notice whether my dreams are in colour or black & white. I think I dream about concepts, ideas, places, relationships and colour is not really a factor. That’s an interesting idea, I’m going to try and work that out next time I remember a dream when I wake up!

Indieberlin: If you had to describe your music in three words , what would they be ?

Lamenting, wistful, synthy

Indieberlin: Which artist would you like to share stage times with?
Christa Vi: I’m a fan of both Shura and Jessy Lanza so I’d love to support either of them.

Indieberlin: Who is your favourite Superhero and why?
Christa Vi: She-Ra, Princess of Power. She’s a badass and rides a unicorn.

Indieberlin: You are living in London. What is so special about this city and where do you think I should go?
Christa Vi: London has been at the centre of so much music, fashion and art for decades and it’s definitely the most international city I’ve ever lived in. I hope that doesn’t change with Brexit, and sadly it’s become too expensive for a lot of creative people now. If you’re new to London, go see all the sites like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to get that out of your system, but then avoid the west end in the evening, head east to Kingsland Road instead. Three places I love to visit are Columbia Road Flower Market in Bethnal Green, The Barbican for Brutalist architecture and the Tate Modern top floor cafe for a fantastic view of the Thames.

Indieberlin: Have you ever been to Berlin and do you like it here? Any chance of a concert in the near future?
Christa Vi: I love Berlin and I’ve been a few times, the first time I went was in 1997 when I was living in South Germany and I just fell in love with the rawness of the place. I was seriously thinking of moving there later in life, but I ended up choosing London, but I still sometimes wonder what life would be like if I’d chosen to move there instead. I’d love to play a show in Berlin one day. I’m still working on my live show which I hope to have ready for next year so we’ll see what happens.

Christa Vi’s debut albumMakeshift Happiness” out NOW on Tangelo Records!.

Please listen to this great playlist with some of Christa Vi’s favourites artists on Spotify!

Christa ViAustralian/German Singer Songwriter:

Photo credit: Jon Enoch
Interview by Norman Zielasko

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