C Z A R I N A: Thanks for having me! Everything has been so exciting!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Silence & Surrender”?
C Z A R I N A: “Silence & Surrender” is my debut single from my upcoming EP called Painted Holograms. The song has a very lush, cinematic vibe inspired by my obsession with 80s tech noir films and synthesizers. Even though it comes across very sensuous, the song actually talks about answering to a higher calling, letting go of control and surrendering to the unknown.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
C Z A R I N A: Yes, plenty! It’s the first song I wrote after I went through a series of breakups and life changes. For a long time, I was running a successful fashion company, was in a long-term relationship and seemed to have had everything from the outside. I was working extremely hard to juggle and make everything work, though none of it was really working for me. I wasn’t being honest with myself. At that point of realization, I had to reflect upon my decisions and what led me to them. Deep down, I am a multi-disciplinary artist with many facets on a vast spectrum. It was time that I gave myself a real chance to live and fulfill my own truth. That was my calling. Thus, I answered.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
C Z A R I N A: It was incredible! I wanted my first music video to be a true representation of all several dimensions of myself as an artist and storyteller, and I think I had achieved that with “Silence & Surrender: The Film.”
I wanted to create a vivid visual allegory, so when I was writing the storyline, I borrowed a lot of metaphors from Asian folklore and European myths and legends. The video is only about 4 minutes long, but is jam-packed with an eclectic mix of varying visionary elements and styles: Wong Kar Wai old world vibes mixed with John Carpenter tech noir dystopia, Lars Von Trier’s psychological thriller, and Siouxie Sioux and David Bowie’s Goblin King fantasy world with my native hometown New York City skyline as a backdrop (Represent!)
It was one of those projects where everything fell into place beautifully. It took a lot of work and preparation, and I had to wear so many hats – including director, writer, editor and stylist on top of playing 3 different character archetypes. I was lucky to have my longtime best friend, actor/musician Jeremy O’Shea (“Haze”) to be my co-star as a lot of the titillating scenes really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
The sets were to die for as they were so true to the vision and the narrative. Coming from the fashion industry, it was personally imperative for me that the costumes look rich and high-end, so we used pieces from several of my favorite fashion houses such as Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Balmain, Rick Owens, Iris Van Herpen, Zana Bayne and custom body harnesses by Chaos Theory.
I had to undergo a few weeks of physical reconditioning to get to my best shape to rock some of the badass costumes.
Then for hair and makeup, the inspiration ranged from traditional geisha and kabuki to futuristic samurais. Above all, it was amazing to work with Director of Photography, Stephan Schacher behind the camera to capture all the drama. He had such a beautiful and gorgeous eye that aligned so well with the overall vision and look we’re trying to achieve. Then when it came to editing, I had to step in at the last minute and put it all together. I had to learn all the programs from scratch and develop new skill sets (no big deal!) For coloring, I pulled a lot of references from cyberpunk imagery and had my boyfriend, London-based digital artist and designer DeadlyKawaii consult on the final treatment.
How was the recording and writing process?
C Z A R I N A: I have quite a story to narrate, and I needed it to come through in music. I’m a very emotional writer and lyricist. I wrote, composed, performed and produced pretty much the entire record. I think it’s the most honest body of work I have ever created. I don’t release anything that does not convey genuine parts of me. The challenging part was developing a fresh new soundscape that reflects my perspective and outlook. It took awhile for me to develop this, but after rewatching Blade Runner, I found a huge amount of inspiration from Vangelis and the synthwave genre. My music background is mostly metal, but synthesizers and retro vibes gave me new life and urged me to cross over to pop and develop a particular soundscape that’s a true reflection of who I am as a musician and an artist. For “Silence & Surrender,” I saved that one as an opportunity to collaborate with my dear friend and creative confidante Joe Peretore who has been involved in most of my music projects. I had him lead the production, synths and sound design. Our efforts together made it marquee hence I felt it was appropriate that I debut with it.
Does your fashion background influence your music and the other way around?
C Z A R I N A: Absolutely. Fashion, as much as music, is one of the many channels I have to exercise creativity and perspective. At the end of the day, it’s about having a unique perspective that’s true to myself – whether it’s projected onto my fashion or my music. I understood the power of branding during my tenure in the fashion world and a lot of those disciplines and know-how can be applied to music. Although, I must say music has always been the root of all culture for me personally. What I am into musically definitely transcends into fashion and design.
How have movies influenced your writing?
C Z A R I N A: I’m an 80s baby so I grew up watching a lot of tech noir films as well as Japanese animes. I am so heavily influenced by these genres and their transportive elements. I want to recapture all that in sound and transport people thru music. Like movies, music is storytelling with a potential to become an epic beauty that has to be preserved. It is a journey. Which is why I am not a fan of truncating songs in an effort to cater to short attention spans just to make a flash-in-a-pan “hit.” To me, that’s just a variation of laziness. Similar to many filmmakers I admire, I want to make good, undiluted, untethered art. I often say, it’s a devastating thought to imagine Game of Thrones truncated into a single movie with all the rich details edited out… Imagine never seeing the Red Wedding.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
C Z A R I N A: “Silence & Surrender: The Film” will be out August 3rd. I have another single coming out in the next couple of weeks, followed by another music video right before the release of my EP, Painted Holograms this fall. Watch out for a bonus cover track! It’s a surprise and it is shocking.
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
C Z A R I N A: My next single is entitled “BLAZE” which is slated to be released end of August.
Any plans to hit the road?
C Z A R I N A: Absolutely! The C Z A R I N A band has been formed and we are charting our regional tours for fall/winter. We are also looking into doing some European shows early next year.
What is happening next in CZARINA’s world?
C Z A R I N A: Expect more epic music videos, and… the relaunch of my footwear line. 🙂