Sarah Blasko | Interview

Meet Sarah Blasko, the girl who fancies classical film-icons and historical costumes, and who grew up learning to love vintage clothing out of neccesity.

Sarah Blasko is an unknown name to most scandinavians, but that is going to change, it seems. Being an ARIA award winner (compare to norwegian ’Spellemansprisen’) and dear to the australians, her music is now launching in Europe for the first time. This is also the first time she works with the swedish producer Björn Yttling, who did Lykke Lis album debut. We wanted to talk to Sarah, not so much about her music, as about her thoughts around artist clothing and her love for vintage.

Being an artist, how important is the visual part of it all?
It's always been quite important to me. I'm a deep believer in how an image can just quickly attract your attention. The right image on a cd-cover can just draw you into it all. As time has gone by, I've thought about my music more in visual terms, and when I write I often have visual pictures in my mind. It's a bit of a landscape that you create, and you always consider it. Well, it is indeed a soundscape, but it always has visual connections.

In terms of clothes and style, what kind of visual image do you represent?
Well, pretty much everything that I wear is old-fashioned things. I've always loved old Hollywood films, and the icons like Greta Garbo. The strong, classic styles....I think...the way that you dress, it really changes the way you perform. For me....haha, I can't wear pants when I sing, I have to wear a dress. There's something about the way that you feel and the way that you dress that affects the way you perform.

Is it like a costume that you take on for stage?
Yes, I've worn costumes on stage as well, and it's amazing how it can help people connect more directly to the visual ideas of your show. It somehow makes it all a bit larger than you as a person.

How do you prepare for a concert or video shoot, do you work with many stylists or do you pick out stuff yourself?
I don't tend to work too much with stylists, I think it is important to develop you own style. Especially when it comes to music, its important to feel comfortable in what you are wearing, and take a pretty active role in that. It's got to represent who you are. But I think stylists can help you enhance that. And I've worked with some people who are really good at that....seeing things that you yourself don't see, or bringing to life what you see in your head. But it's gotta make sense with your own personality, otherwise it is pretty obvious when people are overstyled... And music is a lot about individuality and expressing your own style.

There's one video from a concert where you wear this white dress with enormous puff-sleaves and a red heart on your chest..?
This is a costume that a girl in Melbourne made. The costume pulls apart as the performance goes along... Theres one flap that I pull off at one point, and the heart is revealed, and another part where I pull off the sleaves, and colors of the rainbow come out of them...

Fancy! Why, does it symbolise something?
Yeah, my idea is many shows it's all about huge projections and generated visual effects, and you see a lot of technology being used. But I wanted to do a show with anti-technology, so everything we did in the show was hand-manipulated and arranged. We had bursting confetti too, and the costume was part of really wanting to do these old-fashioned tricks. But it also symbolises the transition from night to day, which is the theme of the album.
To me, the album is about really actively chosin to see a positive perspective in life and try and
to try and pull yourself out of a negative experience. So that’s how it all came together. And this girl has got this ’nothing is impossible’-attitude, so when I told her I wanted a dress like this, she was like..’yeah, I can do that!’

You've studied English literature and films, and you're fond of the old classics. Is this why you fancy vintage so much?
I used to watch a lot of old films as a child, and also I grew up in the 80s with the puppetry of Jim Henson and naturally developed a love for costumes and old things. And also my family was quite…we weren’t poor, but we certainly werent wealthy at all, so we always shopped at second-hand clothing cause that was all we could afford. And I would always find some unusual items there…I really enjoyed it, it was almost like being a collector.

Your lyrics are very personal...

Well yes…in particular this album. And at times it can be quite difficult to lay yourself bare, it’s such a scary thing to do. But I wanted to deal honestly with those things. Still, I really like the idea that as soon as the instrumentation is worked upon and all the other things come into place, it becomes a hardened version of your reality. Music and song-writing is a distilled version of your reality and your experiences, and it can take on a really dramatic turn. It is always important for people to remember that; at the same time as things are personal, they are also an extreme version.

So, what are your expectations for this launch in Europe?
I'm just happy to be playing music. It's like this; people are gonna embrace what you do or be indifferent to it. But you always hope for an audience, so you can keep on doing what you do.

(Photos: Ruben Kristiansen, words: Rut Helen Gjævert)

2 kommentarer:

Cath sa...

Supernice interview. Sarah Blasko is wonderful....

Anonym sa...

wow! Kul dame.