We don’t just do music, we do all these other things, like fashion
An interview with Livia Rita
When I talked to Livia Rita this morning, she was in her kitchen getting ready to bake a big cake for her single launch in two days. “Cake for the Brexit-wedding?”, I asked. “Yes, it is going to be big. My friend is now in the supermarket getting the ingredients. There will be someone with a big cake costume too.” “Is it going to be massive?” “Well, I will see how heavy it gets!” she said.
Your work is colourful, delicate, sharp. The music and the visuals are linked together in a strong performance. How do you do it?
The music is at the centre and then I create a visual image for it. Together with six dancers we create a visual world for the music. The visual keeps changing. We develop bolder and bolder ideas and they become more specific also. The creative process feels like a puzzle of accumulated ideas. A moment is created with the music. The lyrics come from various ideas. It is like several things keep being mashed together. In my notebook I write down ideas, ideas and more ideas. Sometimes it feels like a vomit of lots of thoughts and experiences. It is about what I feel.
Tell me more about the connection between “Brexit Wedding” and London.
First of all, it has been very exciting to create the music and the visual work for the wedding. It is London made. It is a London night thing and it probably won’t happen again. The next work I would love to do that in the mountains somewhere. But I wanted this album to be about London and I am eager to finish creating the album in the city over the winter. The experiences of the songs are much more intimate than big city lights so maybe this visual overload of the London cliche has to do more with the presentations of the songs.
The way London feels and your experiences of it, have they influenced your music?
Well, in London you wanna create something that goes forward since you are in the forefront of what is going to happen. So you are following that London drive. I have seen it incremented by being in the process of search, take risks and being surrounded by people who are willing to go through this experiences. London is a town with a lot of playground. A town with lots of other kids to play with. It is very two sided, which sometimes goes into my lyrics, but I like to focus on the energy that drives you to get through the ups and downs.
The single launch on Saturday is a testimony to teamwork and of our expanded understanding of music. It is about creating a moment. The Brexit Performance is a very ambitious idea. We don’t just do music, we do all these other things, like fashion and dance. It’s very inspiring to work with dancers and you get eager to perform and do it really well. I am very excited about presenting this work on Saturday and it feels very relevant to London and my experience of it.
I am curious about the thoughts, experiences and feelings that inspired you to create "Sunscar".
Well, inspiration always comes from a place that I don’t know that well because it’s something I cannot fully understand. This is something that keeps me interested and excited about my work. I grew up in a little place where you can grow up so optimistic and green. Since I have been in London, going from somewhere like this to London, I started to realize that it is important to reflect on how you handle all the disappointments of living in a big city. Often, things don't really help you, the impulses on the street are not positive, the atmosphere is not supportive.
So, for me "Sunscar" is about the process and the reaction of how you handle that. The story in the lyrics is about how painful the sun actually is when it falls on the horizon and the blood that you bleed then is for me about creativity, about the price you pay. You pay a high a price for creative, especially in London and this is fine because it is still a sunset and it is going to be beautiful.
I wonder if this duality of beauty and pain is something you feel relates to wider experiences?
It resonates with everything that has a value, everything that we believe in, everything that society is struggling with, everything that has a very big meaning to everyone. I think that the price is having to find a way or the capacity to keep those ideas that we wanna fight for. It feels like a tornado, it is busy. Within the rhythm of the experiences that are non-stop, we stop and think, where can all of this lead?
On Saturday the 23rd of September you are invited to Livia Rita’s Brexit Wedding. Taking place at the Total Refreshment Centre, the launch of Livia Rita’s second single “Heart Tattoo” has been developed in close collaboration with East 15 Angels, Nwando Ebizie, Hannah Ringham, Brigitte Aphrodite, former hysterian Ama Josephine Budge, Rowena & Maisie, Ale Marzotto, Virgin Xtravaganza and more. Today, Livia stressed the importance of mentorship and nurturing environments in the process of creating original work, especially when one does so in a big city like London, where apathy and individuality often lead to disenchantment and disappointments. Lucikly, Livia is being mentored by Lindsay Kemp & Lea Anderson, from the Barbican, in the creation of her first album “Rewild”.