Maybe it”s her ethereal voice or eccentric tracks, or the fact that she wears Balenciaga… Whatever it is, we are diggin” Jamie Krasner.

Jamie-Krasner

written by CARISSA GAN

When I met Jamie Krasner at Argo Tea Café last week, she wore a long puffy jacket that wrapped around her calves, which she later removed to reveal a black and white printed vintage jacket, a frilly skirt and fishnet stockings. “I just got back from Paris,” she smiled sheepishly after I complimented her on the jacket. “I found this old Balenciaga jacket there.” Her personal style reflects how eclectic her music is. Branded on the internet as the girl with an ethereal voice, she sounds like a cross between Lana Del Rey and Lorde — hauntingly beautiful, but laced with a distinctness that is purely her own. The four songs on her latest EP “Rum” provide a little window into her new album, which will be released in 2014. Think edgy, electronic and unconventional.

“There’s a really important growth period when you change from imitating adults or things to having substance in knowing what you’re doing and thinking for yourself, and I think that moment really affects the way you create in a huge way. It really makes the creative process a really honest process.” — Jamie Krasner a.k.a. James K.

COOL OUTFIT, JAMIE! IS FASHION A BIG PART OF WHAT YOU DO AS WELL?

Thanks! I’ve been making clothes for a long time. I do some styling jobs sometimes, here and there. New York is very intertwined with that. A lot of my freelance jobs have been in the fashion world. My roommate’s a stylist. She styles for a bunch of cool people, and we’re gonna try and do a video.

I’m always thinking about clothes and I make a lot of my clothes. My artwork in the past is based on a lot of personas. I’ve had like 20 different personas. I think it’s based on stereotypes I’ve grown up with, like the ideas of different people I’ve fantasized and wanted to be. It’s kind of like Cosplay.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JAPANESE FASHION?

I love Japanese fashion! It’s a huge inspiration. I feel like they’re 20 years ahead of us. I’ve lived with a lot of fashion designers and stylists, so I feel like I’m very in touch with that world, naturally. For me it’s an outlet to express a world. It creates a mythology behind the music and visual art — it’s all intertwined.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

I think it fluctuates. I’m usually inspired to put on something that makes me feel playful. It could be tomboyish at times, other times it could be like a teenage schoolgirl. I’m trying to be more elegant. [Laughs] I’m usually just finding random shit and collaging random things. It’s like my music — I’m always collaging different things together.

“Drone On” by Physical Therapy ft. Jamie Krasner

I KNOW YOU STARTED OUT WITH GUITAR… AND THAT YOU USED TO LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE AND PLAY IN BARS? DO SHARE!

Yes. I played the guitar at 12 or 13. I used to write folk songs. I’d go to the Sidewalk Café — a pretty legendary open mic spot. I was 14 or 15 and I did that until I was 19. I played at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. I was a girl with a guitar, writing songs that were kind of dark.

What I’m doing now is an extension of what I was doing. It was more lyrical, but the chord progressions were pretty dark. I was inspired by grunge, Nirvana, blues and jazz and Skip James. I was also listening to weirder stuff. In high school I listened to a lot of noise music like Black Dice — and when I went to college, it shifted into more experimental music, which is where I’m at right now— a mix of pop, folk and jazz.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR MUSIC IS STILL LACED WITH A DARKER UNDERTONE?

Yeah, I think so. It’s moody. I’m kind of moving into different moods. Now that I’m producing and really able to have complete control over the sound, I’m more open to possibilities. It’s challenging me to change it up all the time — not to stick to one thing. When I’m making music, everything has that certain veil that’s like “me.” It sounds like it’s coming from me. But I’m interested in morphing it. I want to try different things. To be making something, it has to come first from inspiration from other things.

When I was making music when I was younger, I was probably imitating stuff that I liked, and there was a distinct point when I realized that I wasn’t imitating anymore. It was just coming from being able to have your distinct taste without imitating. Because all that’s in your head already, and it comes through.

YOUR MUSIC HAS MANY DIFFERENT LAYERS. WHERE DO YOU GET INSPIRATION FROM?

I don’t listen to a lot of current music. I listen to a lot of techno, actually. The music I make comes from just singing. That’s why I started making music. I’m inspired by sounds. I collect sounds, be it samples from record stores or working with different sounds. When you start each song with a different sound, it goes into a different place. Sometimes I start with a synth, or a guitar or just my voice, and I see where it goes from there. It’s really more of an experimental process where I’m starting with pure sound and seeing what that morphs into.

I’m always making music. I start with a sound and I let it figure itself out. There’s a distinct point when I know where I want to take it. Sometimes it happens really naturally, and other times it’s casino online more methodical. I’ve been doing this for a really long time, so that creative process is kind of ingrained in me.

It’s like writing — I’m sure you go through it. I write a lot of ideas and I piece them together. It’s like a journal. I think moving around — like going to Berlin — really helps me to keep that inspiration. Even if I’m not going to another country, just putting myself in different situations is important. I think having different elements of my work [art, music and video] is good because I can bounce ideas off one or the other.

IT’S INTERESTING THAT YOU MENTIONED “JOURNAL” EARLIER. THE WRITING ON YOUR SITE RESEMBLES A JOURNAL, WITH TIME STAMPS AND A RATHER PERSONAL APPROACH.

Those are pieces that I wrote. A lot of my visual work I try to incorporate writing into it. It’s a challenge trying to project writing into visual work. A lot of my writing is a part of the visual process for me.

Jamie-Krasner-EP

WHAT’S YOUR GOAL FOR YOUR MUSIC?

I want it to create another world for music and the visuals. I think it’s my outlet to be something else and also be really personal and intimate within that. It’s really like true expression. When I perform, it’s the parts of me that I wouldn’t be able to show people. So that’s how I feel about every performance — I’m really going inside and bringing it out. It can come out in different forms, but I think that it’s personal and intimate thing for me.

There’s a really important growth period when you change from imitating adults or things to having substance in knowing what you’re doing and thinking for yourself, and I think that moment really affects the way you create in a huge way. It really makes the creative process a really honest process.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAD TO ENDURE? AND LESSONS LEARNED?

Financial things. Living in New York is a challenge, but it’s also my inspiration. There’s such a grind here but it pushes me to do things. As much as it’s challenging, I enjoy the challenge. It gets me going.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT ELECTRONIC MUSIC?

I think it’s just the accessibility to it. I wouldn’t call my music electronic purely because a lot of my music is also recorded live. I think it’s also the ability of having a program to produce on. You can plug in one of your analog instruments or make a sound purely. There’s so much endless creativity to it.

You can do anything you want in it. It’s cool because I’m able to record live instruments and mix analog and digital together. I’m constantly trying to find something really fresh-sounding for myself. So it’s perfect — I can just layer until it happens.

Before I play the instrument, I kind of know what I want do with it. It’s a mixture of taste and knowing your practice and chance. It comes from years of making music.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM LIFE?

My dream life is to have the freedom to travel and perform in different parts of the world. I want the mobility. Traveling to a new environment inspires me.

YOU WENT TO BERLIN RECENTLY, RIGHT? HOW WAS YOUR TRIP?

I just needed to get out of New York. [Laughs] I wanted to have fun and make music with my friends. Berlin’s super inspiring for me, music wise. I listen to a lot of techno. It’s also a really cool city because it has a cool music scene, but it’s also really relaxed. It has that laidback vibe with a crazy music scene underneath it all. The time I spent there was relaxing but productive for me.

New York is like a grind here. And I like that feeling of getting shit done. But I like being in Berlin because it felt very natural making music there. Over here I feel very overwhelmed on all the different things I want to be working on— my styling, fashion, videos, art and my music.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN NEW YORK CITY, ESPECIALLY FOR THE ELECTRONIC GENRE? 

I hope my music would be interpreted in different scenes. I would love for it to be accepted in New York, and I think it could do really well in Europe — especially in London and Berlin. There’s a different appreciation or perspective toward music there. If you put out something that’s honest, it could be interpreted in any scene. I think that the music scene here is not one that I’m particularly attached to in any way or inspired by, but that’s fine. There are so many different types of music here. I don’t think it could necessarily fit in one scene better or worse. It should just be universal — that’s what I’m trying to do, at least.

jamie-krasner-music-shk-interview

ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING MUSICIANS?

Work really hard. [Laughs] If you really like doing something, I think everything is just about having the will to keep going, even if you’re not getting where you want to be. You just have to keep finding the things that do inspire you and then you’re going to base it off of that, and then you’re going to eventually have your voice and keep working at it. You have to really work your ass off. Being a musician and an artist is possibly the hardest job you can give yourself. You have to keep doing it because you like doing it. There’s not necessarily money to gain. You have to have a crazy work ethic and always challenge yourself.

 

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