| in the land of wicked women |
| in the land of wicked women |
Women of Note is growing up. We’re in the process of transitioning from baby bloggie to full-on functioning website. This will involve a bit of rebranding.
Firstly, we’ll be changing our name to Lola Novella. The switch is based on a few things; one being that the original title simply feels dated. Forward-thinking feminism involves commending women more inclusively within society, not just for their success amongst women. Though this was (obvs) never our intent, you can see how the title could allude to such. We aim to celebrate great human character + stories that can further illustrate the capacity of women in a non-preachy or overly academic way.
Also, Lola Novella is the penname of the writer/founder of the site, and she is tired of this confusing tirade of typing in third person. Thinks she might be contracting some kind of personality disorder because of it. Looking forward to sharing the new and improved site.
(Photo by Jenny Bundock)
It’s been a while since I’ve spoken to Animalia– also known as Jill Krasnicki– about her music, and 2014 has proved itself a pivotal year for her stance as an indie artist. The 29-year old Aussie has been quietly building a life for herself in Toronto for close to 6 years now, but her journey as a musician has been a much longer and winded road, one that she tried and failed to give up many times.
This year, between navigating a coffee addiction and her ever-increasing number of household animals (mostly cats and fostered babes), she’s spent her time escaping comfort zones and breaking down the elements of herself as a working artist. Her drive to understand the industry and engage with a greater audience was the push she needed to set aside loner tendencies, and in what’s only been a matter of months, she’s created a new indie record label with friend and doom rapper, Garbageface, released her debut full-length album (Mouth Full of Teeth), and rocked a slew of exciting performances to include a collaborative effort with the amazing Sook Yin Lee, all before hitting the road for an Ontario-wide tour this month. The brand new video for the album’s first single, Stifling (see yesterday’s post), is the suiting accompaniment to her dimly-lit, emotive style of electronic grooves.
Read on as I talk to Animalia about the business side of music, her new indie label, and her artistic inclinations.
What’s 2014 been like for you?
It’s been really cool. I started 2014 finishing up the album and making plans for the release. So much has changed from the start of the year to now. At the start of the year I felt pretty alone in this music journey but now I’m starting to feel like I have a bit of a team growing. The indie label, Killjoy Collective, I started with my friend Karol Orzechowski (aka Garbageface) has been a big part of that.
What’s the idea behind the new album, Mouth Full of Teeth?
It’s centered on the concept of feeling frustrated. Frustrated with my music, my life, the world I live in. Some songs are very personal and are about things that actually happened, whereas other songs are about how I feel due to certain worldly topics, like animal cruelty, or the destruction of the natural world.
I’m always curious about the songwriting process for artists. What’s yours like?
I tend to write pretty fast, which worked out well in this case. I had originally planned to do a half electronic – half acoustic album, but as it approached recording time I just wasn’t feeling the acoustic stuff anymore. So I sat down and wrote pretty much the entire album in two months.
What comes first varies. Sometimes it’s a bass line, a beat or the vocal melody. I spend endless hours creating the music on Logic and when the song is complete, I send it to Remy Perrin and he adds his special touch: nice effects, better sounding instruments. We also record the vocals at his studio together.
Now that I’m electronic a lot of people ask, “Who makes your beats?”- I do. I do everything! I am very fussy about what my music sounds like. Very little changes – as in structure and feel – when Remy producers my music. But my original versions sound very 1 dimensional. He adds a lot of depth and riches to the sounds.
Why do you create?
Cause I can’t not create. I tried to give up music so many times. I didn’t want to do music anymore. It was just an endless struggle. But every time I gave it up, I got so miserable and then really inspired and then the next thing I know, I was making music again.
Who do you depend on as an artist and how so/why?
There’s no one I really depend on as an artist. It’s always been such an introverted thing. Obviously there are people in my life that help me, either musically or just to keep me sane, but my music is a solo journey thus far.
Can you tell me about your work ethic?
Obsessive. I can’t stop moving, or thinking, or doing. It drives me crazy. I can’t just sit back and relax. Something interesting has to be happening at all times other wise I get really bored.
Any music-related regrets?
The biggest thing I regret is not diving into the “business” end of music earlier. When you’re young you think you’re music will just get magically discovered and everything will work out. But, especially now with so many artists, you really got to work hard at getting your music discovered. There’s no “right” way of doing it, so it’s something that takes a lot of time. I’m still working so much out.
It’s a tough sport. How do you survive?
I make music I want to hear. Because then if no one else listens to it, at least I get to enjoy it. There’s so little guarantees in music and so many disappointments – shitty shows, no press attention – but that’s the way it goes. The only way to survive as any artist, I think, is to have a bit of a “fuck you, I do what I want” attitude.
How do you feel about social media? Is it important for a new / upcoming artist?
It’s definitely important because the internet exists and that’s the world we live in now. The internet is both a blessing and a curse. Because of the internet I can reach thousands of people I would never be able to reach otherwise. But because it’s so accessible and music is so easy to make now, everyone is reaching out to everyone. So it’s a complete mess.
Your new music video is directed by Brandon Cronenberg. What was your idea behind it?
It’s for a song called Stifling, the first song off the album, and the song is probably the most intense song on the album. We wanted to do something very visual that expresses the sort of frustrated, intense energy the song is written around. We’ve got a few camera tricks in there, as well as some really interesting lighting. It was shot by Karim Hussain (DP for Hobo with a Shotgun, Antiviral), so the visuals are definitely somewhat unsettling.
What’s your favourite kind of dinosaur?
Definitely a diplodocus. All those really big, leaf-eating dinosaurs are amazing.
Jezebel reported some of Lana Del Ray’s thoughts on feminism yesterday. Real facepalm-type sh^t. She was likely trying to come across hip and intelligent– traits which require convincing if you’re a pop artist wanting the street credz– but she ended up coming off as a tad dim. Apparently she has no interest in feminism, and she’d rather discuss things like OUTERSPACE. Quotes Rolling Stone:
"For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept… Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested." She went on to say, "I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities."
How many more celebrities do we have to hear misconstrue feminism? You don’t have to sit around with your butches reciting Simone de Beauvoir to be a feminist. It’s not an activity. the only real thing required of “the feminist” is having a very basic, very general awareness of men and women not having equality in every aspect of society, and that you think it’s shitty.
Get wid it, lana. (i’ll still bop to her tunes, obvs.)
Jessica Lewis’ evolution through the fashion industry is a testament to intuition. The twenty-eight year old beauty returned to the scene just a year ago after breaking from her 10-year career as an international muse, and it’s on her own terms that she’s hitting career peaks like never before.
Trotting down runways throughout Europe and Asia doesn’t exactly represent the average adolescent experience, but when it comes to societal image and beauty ideals, Jessica grew up in the belly of the beast. Scouted as a model at the age of 15, she was privy to an industry with extra hardnosed views on image. Within the working-model world, girls considered ideal were sometimes the ones passing out from exhaustion on set. If this was happening inside the industry, what was happening on the outside? The message being relayed to women of the world was enough to make her take a step back.
It was at this point when Jess quit the business cold turkey and set off on a solo six-week expedition through the Camino Santiago to have her own Eat, Pray, Love experience of sorts. If anything, this was a chance to connect with herself in a way her lifestyle hadn’t previously allowed. After the Camino, Jess settled into her hometown of Toronto for the first time in over a decade. She found a bartending job at a local raw veg restaurant while prioritizing time to relax, refresh, eat, exercise, socialize, and generally cultivate her life force.
When her agent approached her about plus modeling, a year had passed and the opportunity felt right. The world of plus has truly bloomed over the past few years, allowing luscious babes over the sample size a platform to project a healthier body image for women. While Jessica is not a large woman, her sultry size 8-12 (yep, models fluctuate, too) figure is classified as ‘plus’ as far as fashion standards go.
Her dress size isn’t the message, though– diversity is. She knows that skinny women are entitled to insecurities as much as the next gal, and is geared more towards the promotion of quality of life. Being bogged down about your butt is no way to go through the world, ya know?
It hasn’t taken long for Jess to gain momentum again. Since returning as a plus, she’s shot for publications like Interview, Vogue (Elena Miro), C-Heads (incredible shoot by Cameron Davis here), and– this month’s issue– PLAYBOY. Just over the past few weeks, she’s worked with legendary photographers like Kenneth Willardt and Antoine Verglas, who were key players when it came to idealizing the image of a curvy body in the 90’s. Think: Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Pamela Anderson. Oh my.
Read on as I talk to Jessica more about fashion, beauty ideals, where she’s at, and her decision behind posing for Playboy:
You’ve been labeled “the comeback kid” for 2014. What’s it been like being back in the industry?
Lots of shoots wearing different hats as model, creative director, producer, and advocate. It’s definitely been a lot of firsts for me. I got back into modeling as a plus model, which brought me into doing advocacy work surrounding diversity in the industry. I also stepped on board at GLASSbook as their Creative Director. It’s great because all my jobs right now kind of feed and compliment each other. GLASSbook has been amazing with introducing me to the world of art and sub-cultures which in turn has brought more attention to my advocacy work. I’m realizing just how influential and supportive these underground cultures are becoming to mainstream fashion. Makes me stoked on the next few years.
What’s your mindset this time around?
I feel like now I know the industry on many levels, not just that of a model, which makes me more understanding of the creative process as a whole. Also, you know that older, wiser saying? It’s true.
It must be somewhat empowering approaching the industry on your own terms– how true is the talk about dieting extremes in model life?
I mean, any model that started at a young age will have stories. I won’t BS– extreme dieting, drugs– it’s all true. Though, if you have a solid pair of balls you’ll chalk everything up to experience and translate it into something positive.
Are body image and beauty ideals improving in fashion?
Progress is being made. Girls with curves are becoming a more prominent fixture in mainstream media and high fashion.
The thing is some girls are naturally skinny, some aren’t. It’s pretty cut and dry, or it should be. I don’t think the industry should have just one or the other. Be yourself, be healthy, and if modeling was meant for you, it will happen, cause it sucks being in Paris and not being able to eat a croissant.
You’re a big advocate for female nudity. Give me some perspective.
I think the female form is gorgeous. There’s just something very powerful about a woman who can be confident and happy in her body when she has no clothes to cover any areas she may not feel good about.
For me, I started doing nudes because as I got into the plus industry I realized that plus or straight size, women still relied on clothing and makeup to be completely happy and confident in themselves or, that’s the image that the industry projects, which has brought up a lot of questions when it comes to societies standards of beauty, the whole what’s real and what’s not debate.
So it’s about stripping down (literally and figuratively, ha) and embracing the radiance that comes naturally with confidence…. ?
Very good. Yes– I wanted to put a raw image and be very transparent for women to see just the person when she’s not being a model. My nudes are very lightly retouched, oftentimes I’m not wearing makeup, and don’t have my hair done. If you look really close you’ll see stretch marks or cellulite. I wouldn’t call myself an extremist in any regard– I work out twice a week, eat healthy, drink on occasion, have a healthy sex life, and all these things combined give me confidence. Some women give me props for empowering them, others tell me to put my clothes on. Oh well.
You shot for June’s issue of Playboy. Some may question: how is this a positive message for women?
Playboy is an awesome publication. Honestly, I think people don’t know the story behind the publication and the man, Hugh Hefner. He has done wonderful things for women’s rights and racial equality over the years. Until very recently, yes, Playboy was the go to for the spank bank, however since porn in so readily available these days for free they’ve changed their aesthetic up a bit. There are still naked women, but it’s not vulgar as it used to be.
What do you want to see change for women?
I’d like to see the industry really diversify itself size and ethnicity wise. I think we’re at that point in the evolution of not just our industry, but society where it’s important to project images that speak to everyone.
I suppose you’re able to piggyback your advocacy work between modeling and your role as the CD of GLASSbook?
Definitely. I help our Editor-In-Chief, Jasmine, comb through and evaluate the content we are going to put in the magazine. I also conceptualize and produce shoots for the magazine; this means sourcing our talent, location scouting, making post shoot selects… that kind of thing. Since GLASSbook is bi-annual we don’t concern ourselves too much with trends and just publish what we see as amazing creative images. This means we love publishing projects that can provide added context to popular culture and roll against the grain.
Describe the industry through your eyes.
It’s a very tight knit community and I know many people who aren’t in the industry perceive us as nuts… it’s fashion. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s shocking, repulsive and will anger you sometimes, other times its beautiful, romantic and fantastic. It’s an emotional roller coaster and never lacking in drama. To be honest I think all those emotions happen to your average person in their life too…we just manage to cram them into one day instead.
Very Good, then.