Moscow artist Kate NV makes fantastic music for the future

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Photo by Richard Johnathan Miles.

Like many of us, Kate shilonosova had plans. She was going to release a series of singles and videos, followed by her third album. Room for the Moon, then goes on tour with his band. But then the coronavirus pandemic struck and suddenly all the plans became stale.

Ironically, one of those singles was called “Plans.” He ruminates on “how everything collapses and constantly changes” and “that it is impossible to plan everything,” Shilonosova wrote in a statement for publication.

“We shot the ‘Plans’ video in December, and it has nothing to do with the coronavirus and the crazy news we get every day, but it just got more relevant, which is crazy! I still can’t believe it, ”Shilonosova said on the phone, calling from her apartment in Moscow, Russia.

“I had planned to stay home through March and April and edit videos, and maybe make new music. Then the pandemic came along and I was like, ‘What?!’ It’s like, I wanted to do this, but not like this! It’s too much! ”She laughs.

Photo by Talib Shillaev.

Fortunately, she had already written and recorded Room for the Moon, an eclectic and playful pop album that draws inspiration from Russian and Japanese pop music, and films from the 70s and 80s. Shilonosova sings in Russian, French and English, her voice rising to post-punk basslines smooth and tinny and spare percussion. It sounds retro and futuristic at the same time.

Room for the Moon is also heavily inspired by Viktor Pivovarov, one of the leading artists of the Moscow Conceptualist movement in the 1970s, and the kind of radical, childlike imagination that we can grow up and then lose as we age. “I know that in English ‘Room for the Moon’ means more like ‘a space for the Moon’, but the idea was more like ‘the place for the Moon ”, like the little room I’m sitting in right now! ” she laughs.

“I compare it to children’s films from the 70s and 80s, because they also create a very fantastic world using very simple things, like a sponge or paper,” Shilonosova continues. “It’s all about the imagination, and allowing yourself to be like a kid and see the magic in stuff… and create something very big, but at the same time in a very small thing.”

Kate-NV-Room-For-The-Moon

Photo by Talib Shillaev.

She says this way of thinking is especially relevant in your 40s, when you often have to “find something fascinating in very simple things, because sometimes you forget how interesting and beautiful the world is.”

Shilonosova’s own quarantine wasn’t filled with the creativity or productivity she had hoped for (again, like many of us). She admits, “I just couldn’t relax for the first three or four weeks, it was so stressful and uninspiring! But she found unexpected joy in TikTok. “I know a lot of people have trouble with TikTok because they see shit videos, but my feed is awesome. I laugh every time I open the app.

She also fell in love with watching Tonight’s Show with Jimmy Fallon (“It got so sincere! It made me feel calm”), and the apocalyptic anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. “It’s the end of the world, basically! she says. “The story is very dark. But it’s about finding some kind of harmony within yourself, which is sort of the purpose of quarantine as well. It really helped me get through the first part of containment. I think everyone should watch it.

Shilonosova says Moscow has never officially introduced a quarantine like other countries. “Our government is very scared of the word itself… Putin never said ‘we are in quarantine’ – they called it ‘the vacation’,” she laughs. Nevertheless, Moscow has imposed strict limits. “In fact, we still need a permit to go out,” says Shilonosova. “I mean, if you walk it’s okay, no one will stop you.” But you have to get a QR code if you travel far and take a taxi. If you get caught by the police and you don’t have this authorization code, [the fine] is 4,000 rubles, which is equivalent to 60 dollars [USD]. “The country has since lifted these restrictions, although the lives of many, there and elsewhere, continue to feel in limbo.

Artists like Shilonosova are used to having to adapt to extreme circumstances. When she got out Room for the moon Friday she wrote on Instagram: “I finished this record during the loneliest period of my life. I had my own moment of isolation a year ago and had to figure out how to be alone. So these songs are now really my closest friends.

The songs are dark and twisted just like our current reality, but Shilonosova’s delivery offers glimpses of light. Many artists like her now find their long-standing ingenuity and imagination to be useful. Another video that Shilonosova made before the lockdown, for “Sayonara”, also feels oddly relevant to this time in our life. The black and white clip is modeled on “70s dance test videos”. It portrays Shilonosova on her own, doing what she calls “fashion mime,” twisting and contorting her limbs for the purpose of entertainment.

She filmed the video with a friend in Malmö, Sweden where they had gone to do another performance which she describes as using ordinary kitchen items to tell a dramatic story. “For example, a boiling kettle might look very dramatic in the spotlight. When you put something on a stage, it immediately gets bigger than it is in normal light. We were trying to get people’s attention to simple things, ”she explains. “That’s basically what everyone does now, because they spend a lot of time with themselves, at home, and they try to find beauty in simple things.”

Kate-NV-Room-For-The-Moon

Photo by Talib Shillaev.

Last October, Shilonosova performed this “fashionable mime” in the streets of Moscow. “It sounds very strange, but my friend is a clown, and we decided to play a few songs together,” she laughs. “We just took a speaker and I grabbed my mic, and we went to the center of town and performed a few songs from the record. I remember the street kids getting really excited about it all, because we actually looked like clowns! We had this makeup on our faces and fun outfits.

She was planning on performing on the streets again this spring. But that, like many other plans, will have to wait. “We can’t do it because we’re going to be arrested, that’s for sure. There is no one in the streets. I mean, can we do it for the birds? Shilonosova laughs. “But we still can’t go to the parks or the playground. They put police tape in every playground in Moscow. ”

For now, she will have to stay at home with her friends, her songs and imagine new landscapes to play.

Kate-NV-Room-For-The-Moon

Photo by Talib Shillaev.

Room for the Moon is out now.



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