[Written by Ruth Underwood]
[Image Credits: Mai Brightling]
LIVIA RITA was once described as “Bjork but on 3 tabs of LSD”. I, for one, thought Bjork was Bjork but on 3 tabs of LSD. Livia Rita’s music is like a serene harmony of naturalistic sounds but with the voice of a very stylish, queer angel. Even in her music video for Sunscar, she is a vision in tulle, with the light beaming off the curls in her dress. Livia Rita doesn’t just play music, she performs. I wanted to interview her stylishly and ecologically, I wanted to know how one becomes Bjork… but on 3 tabs of LSD.
Performance is very all-encompassing because you are so present, do you think this is crucial in terms of appreciating the music you put out there? Do you think there’s anything you would like to do to make people even more engaged?
LIVIA: No, not crucial, sometimes we also just play the music with full focus. But I feel like if I add other elements to the music, I can put a clearer, louder voice out there that is better understood by more people. Maybe that additional communication can also turn something slightly more challenging and ‘avant-garde’ into pop.
I’m always playing with ideas of ways in which I can overwhelm, seduce and tease listeners and audiences further so their experience can become fuller and more intense.
You make music and performance but you keep coming back to fashion as a central point from which all your work kind of pivots, why is that?
LIVIA: It’s a very straight forward way of playing with one‘s identity that is immediately super communicative.
What is your favourite material to use?
LIVIA: I love latex! It has such a skin-like quality and holds a certain vulnerability to it. It feels like created bodies, something that has sensitivity when touched…
(Read: Livia Rita works as part of a collaborative that, not so curiously, has a latex manager)
Do you consider movement when you’re making costume? What impact does it have on your performances?
LIVIA: The wearables are the most helpful movement guides in the performance, they are like my co-choreographer. They give everyone a clear language, bring everyone into the same world and vision.
How do you think about colour when you’re creating?
LIVIA: Colours are absolute victims of my momentary passion and current hunger for aesthetics… Different songs have their universe and with them a palette, almost. Sunscar is lush reds, pink hues, indigos and dusky oranges. The new single (soon to be released) goes into the underworld with ochres.
How does it work being collaborative with so many people?
LIVIA: Mainly, it’s about finding ways it can all come to life with different beautiful individuals who will all do it differently. I love embracing that individuality. That last process before each show still feels very vulnerable, relevant and open. I’m so grateful that my work gives me the opportunity to interact with different individuals, it keeps it alive and evolving.
So the performance is called “Kissing futures” but its themes are very ecological and pagan, and it explores them using 4D art. With all the fears about technology, the ecological state of the world and the future, do you think this fuses the two and confronts these fears? How?
LIVIA: The night gives space for individual artists to give their own intuitional answer to this contradiction.
Sometimes, my answer to those fears is to dream hardcore of how it could and should be instead. I think that imagination fuels half my life, at least.
Do you spend a lot of time in nature?
LIVIA: Not enough at the moment! Wanting to live as an artist / musician is a radical [time] activity so lots of things have come a bit short recently. But yes, nature is the temple and safe space I know I can always go to and escape into. Nature is where I can feel the most like myself and where my thoughts are the freest. Nature is also the most reliable trigger for my creativity and makes me feel calm, healthy and humble.
Thinking about the word “kissing”, do you consider matrimony of different outfits on stage and how do they fit together?
Well, if kissing is two creatures meeting in an intimate, sensitive way, creating a moment and ambiance, raving together, then absolutely. Super passionate kissing. But all much more volatile, juvenile and spontaneous than the word matrimony invokes in me.
LIVIA RITA’s performance, Kissing Futures, is a furious, dreamy and tantalising live show. A surreal 4D music video immersing us in her post-human utopia of future feminism and abundant queer ecology. She and her gang of dancing witches are playing STEREO on 18 November and she has a new single coming out soon.