Sienná’s Sounds And Visions, Plus Cavern Club Gig in Liverpool

Sienná, the captivating Norwegian electronica artist, has just released her second video in two months, both from her new release, “Q.o.S.” Each is quite different, yet both are equally difficult to define—just like Sienná’s stylish musical creations. I asked her for some insight into their creation and meaning:

The first video, for the groovy dance tune “Quintessence,” was created by TrustStudios UK and released April 5. It features a rapidly-changing array of diverse images, including some jarring images, others esoteric, based on Sienná’s concept for the song. She writes: “The only request I had for the video director was to be ‘dark,’ as ‘Quintessence’ in general is related to the idea of dark energy. I like the abstract, metaphoric images that can widen your imagination with no sense of what´s right or wrong.”

I asked for more information; Sienná clarified it for me this way:  “A video with a clear story line can sometimes limit your imagination. It’s up to you how you perceive a ‘Quintessence’ type of abstract video. ‘Dark energy’ is what I had in mind when I wrote it, but not necessarily what/how you perceive it. And dark energy doesn’t necessarily mean anything to do with morality, but could just mean ‘light/dark’ or something ‘unknown.’ That´s a matter of free association.”

Aha. I get it now. Whatever your particular interpretation of it, the “Quintessence” video offers lots of sonic and visual treats that act upon the imagination in interesting ways.

The most recent video, created in India and released May 12, is for the tranquil, ambient “Iwashimizu” and based on ideas that came to Sienná while reflecting on her hometown, as well on as a scenic spot in Britain. She explains:  “The ‘feeling of being home’ came after I added some Japanese instruments to the song. I told my video director briefly where my original inspiration came from – which was me sitting by the Ouse river, looking up to the clear starry sky in a little town Lewes (UK). He had a freedom to interpret my basic ideas as he liked, but also picked up the mood quite well. “

Liverpool and Sienná’s DJ Set
In additional Sienná news, she will be playing at the historic Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, on May 31st. “It´s time consuming to tour, ” she writes. “I’ve started to spend even more time on songwriting and production, so I’m trying to focus on quality gigs instead of accepting everything and anything.  Only The Cavern Liverpool this time. Not often they let any DJs or electronica artists to perform there, so I must be very lucky. “

“I tend to say that my favorite Beatle is Sir McCartney. But I’m mostly in love with the works he did together with The Beatles. The Beatles were a pure divine magic. I wish I lived in the ’60s.” Sienná 

As The Cavern is the club made legendary by the Fab Four, I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask Sienná that eternal question, “who is your favorite Beatle?” Her answer: “I tend to say that my favorite Beatle is Sir McCartney. But I’m mostly in love with the works he did together with The Beatles. The Beatles were a pure divine magic. I wish I lived in the ’60s.”

I also asked her about the format of her DJ set. “I’m performing my own music and impulsively mixing any good grooves that I have on my playlist,” she explains. “As a DJ I feel that my main responsibility is to watch and follow what´s happening on the dance floor, so I really don´t plan anything particular in advance – except preparing for my playlist.” Sounds like a great time!

For more information, check out:

http://sienna-web.com/

https://www.facebook.com/siennamusic/

 

 

 

Secret Music Info: Snowcat Origins, ’80s and ’90s, And More

We know Gilles Snowcat as the energetic, polyglot creative musical force with roots in Belgium, Vietnam and Japan, for his brilliant lyrics and proficiency on several instruments, including genius level keyboard skills. But before Gilles appended his name with the Snowcat moniker, there was a younger Gilles, founding member of the Brussels-centered European/Vietnamese Hybrid “Awaken.”

Aside from traveling the world collecting experiences to write songs about (beginning in the ’80s with Awaken and culminating in 2015’s “Nama Time”), Gilles is also a sharp critic of rock music and culture. I asked him to comment on his 1989 tune “Memories of a Teenage Cat,” which was just re-released on Bandcamp in its original form, and asked him about the tune’s connection to the origins of the Snowcat persona. I got much more than I bargained for, including a lengthy critique of popular music in the 1980s and ’90s. Check out his provocative thoughts, and the classic tune below!


Q.  Is this the beginning of your transformation into the Snowcat being?

Gilles writes: “The Snowcat exists since he’s born, though I can locate the explosion, the big-bang that made him come alive for real early, very early 1988. 1987 was when he tried to pop out, and suddenly 1988 came and so did the Snowcat. It was exquisitely exciting, because from that moment on everything became a song. Life was a huge source of inspiration, and in return songs inspired life, and that’s how the early Snowcat grew.”

It was exquisitely exciting, because from that moment on everything became a song. Life was a huge source of inspiration, and in return songs inspired life, and that’s how the early Snowcat grew.” Gilles Snowcat

“And the music was organic, since my understanding of music was rather low, and my ambition was devouring and set up too high, so I had to suck lots of energy from reality to create what I wanted. That’s why the early songs are full of magic, they’re very much libido-driven, that kind of beautiful sadness, romanticism and mixes of alcohol. It had a lot to do with seduction too, and huge buckets of fun and spleen. Strange cocktails. That’s why I still love that early take of “Memories Of A Teenage Cat”. There was a technically much better version [in 1996] but it had lost the spark. F@#%ng ’90s…”

Q.  So what were the ’80s like for you? Please reflect.

Gilles: “The ’80s were the last decade of creativity, musically speaking. It’s the last part of what started in the cotton fields, that led to jazz, evolves into rock, then all the fusional music of the ’70s and then the synthesizers and all that crazy stuff. It was meant to be mostly commercial and still wonderfully out of control, the sounds were out of this world, the Fairlight, the DX7, all those machines created incredible moods. You like it or not, but you can’t deny there was a real substance to it. It’s the best evidence that money and art can work together pretty well.The ’80s were a wonderful boom of excesses, it was all too much but in the most superb way. An elegant decadence, a party that goes too far but if it doesn’t go too far it goes nowhere.”

The ’80s were a wonderful boom of excesses, it was all too much but in the most superb way. An elegant decadence, a party that goes too far but if it doesn’t go too far it goes nowhere.” Gilles Snowcat

“Then the ’90s came and the party was over. Like someone had decided to remove colours and taste from music, as if it was too dangerous. And suddenly safe music was born, and art should never be safe, so it was a very bad move. The ’90s created condom-music.”

“Most of the radio-friendly stuff of the ’90s and beyond are terribly boring. You hear the first chords of anything from Natalie Imbruglia or Oasis and it screams boredom, it pours safety from every note. Or Joan Osborne, you know ‘One Of Us’? Same chords.”

“Sure there was some uneventful music in the ’80s too, Simple Minds or U2 to name a very few, but it wasn’t the rule. In the ’90s, it was. It seems that no one was able to write songs anymore then. Some say the ’90s were a return to the guitars of the ’70s but it’s complete bullsh!#. There’s nothing interesting in the guitars of the ’90s, just dull chords played boringly by some idiots who got a recording contract for reasons that I don’t really get. Even those who seemed to have an attitude and good ingredients were just releasing inoffensive, safe sh!#. Look at Oasis, how come with such a good background and great ideas the result was so annoyingly normal? Yes, that’s the word: music became normal in the ’90s.”

Thanks, Gilles!

Original “MOATC” Lyric sheet:

gilles snowcat teenage cat lyrics

finis