Aussie born, UK-based female singer/songwriter Christa Vi is prepping for a big 2012. With the recent release of her debut EP and another on the way, we felt it was the perfect time to have a chat with her about what’s going down in Christa-town.
Christa, please set the scene for us.
I’m in my flat in Hackney, East London – the sun is setting on a really sunny, warm March day. My flat is pretty unglamorous, but at least I have a little garden and big windows. I have a thing for 1950’s Danish furniture, so I’ve spent all my money a while back on some rosewood sideboards and retro lightshades which make the main room look cosy and a bit early 20th century modernist (in amongst all the IKEA).
Your bio says you’re an Australian/German based in East London. What’s the story there and where do you call home these days?
I call the UK home now as I’ve been living here nearly 9 years and don’t have any plans to move. I first came over here with the idea of doing the two year working thing and ended up staying!
I grew up in Adelaide, but my family often went to Germany and Switzerland a lot which is where most of my mum’s side of the family live. I went to school in Germany for 6 months when I was fifteen and also did some of my studies there later (I am an occupational therapist – day job!). I speak German but (Aussie) English is my first language.
Did any shenanigans go down at the London launch of your debut EP?
There was one incident of people dancing in their underwear. It was after the gig finished and it all turned into a bit of a party involving rather a lot of alcohol! Luckily nobody got offended and it was all in good fun. Not the normal type of thing that tends to happen at a Christa Vi gig.
Are you happy with how ‘Your Heart’ has been received so far?
Definitely. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how people have responded to the song and it seems to be the one that people sing along to when I play live. I’ve had a fair bit of online interest, remixes too and UK radio play which is exciting. It’s been a good first single to present myself as a new artist I think as seems a wide range of people like it, or if they don’t like the original, they might like one of the remixes.
Talk us through the preparation process of the EP.
I wrote the song back in 2010 on guitar, which is how most of my songs start out. It was one of the earliest tunes I took to my producer George Shilling. I wrote and played the piano parts for it and George added his unique touches too. I really liked the basic synth bass that George came up with and I wanted to keep the whole thing really simple.
At the time I was listening to a lot of Au Revoir Simone and liked the combination of simple vocals with an almost naive synth-based arrangement. So, maybe we took some inspiration from them. The track probably turned out a bit more pop, but I’m glad as I think it’s lent itself well to remixes, which was the next stage of preparing the EP.
I first contacted NuDisco producer ShowYourShoe via Soundcloud and was thrilled that he agreed to remix it as I really like his music. South London producer Reggie Pepper is a friend I worked with a few years back on some tracks, so again was really pleased he agreed to remix. He’s pretty elusive online and releases under a few different names.
The Dark Lights are an Australian/UK band and I know some of the members from my Adelaide days. They are more of a live indie-electronica band and hadn’t really tried their hand at remixing before so it was something a bit new for us all. I really love lead singer Paul Andrew’s voice and how the song became a duet with us both singing on it. I’m really happy with how each remix turned out and how they all take the song in a different direction.
Is there an Australian tour in the works?
I’d love to tour Australia but as I’m completely D.I.Y (no management or label as yet) and self-funding it’s not really possible right now. We’ll see how things pan out this year though!
What else can we expect from Christa Vi in 2012 and beyond?
Lots I hope! I have a second single EP Long Way Home coming out end of May, again with three remixes I’m excited about, including one by chilled dubstep producer Asa and Eleven8. There’s also a glitchy remix by East London based producer Mint and a remix by a Texas-native/London-based producer called Super Class, which is more along the lines of a Four Tet/Mount Kimbie sound.
Hopefully next year I’ll be ready to release my debut album if all goes to plan. I also have a couple of collaborations on the go with other producers – details soon… I’m going to be busy!
Take a listen to ‘Your Heart,’ the first single/EP from Christa Vi:
Now, the above mentioned follow-up single, ‘Long Way Home’:
‘Your Heart’ is available from Christa Vi’s official webstore. You can pick up ‘Long Way Home’ in May 2012.