The Songstress | Jill Krasnicki
Jill Krasnicki, who performs under the stage name Animalia, has had a pretty a pivotal year.
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.
Between navigating a coffee addiction and her ever-changing number of household animals (mostly resued kitty babes), she’s spent the better part of 2014 breaking barriers and challenging her position as an artist. All in what seems like a number of months, Jill has switched from acoustic to electronic, attached her name to a (stelllaaarrrr) independent record label called Killjoy Collective, released a debut album (Mouth Full of Teeth), and rocked a slew of exciting performances on tour. Pew pew pew, what have you done lately? (kidding, don't compare yourself to others. #bless #loveu)
Jill's drive to understand the music industry and engage with a greater audience was the push she needed to set aside loner tendencies, and grab a greater audience she did. Performing sold out shows all over Ontario and getting the good time slots at music fests is just the beginning. It's one of the toughest industries out there, but like Kevin Costner says in Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." Just some KC for you there as a side, nbd.
The new video for her album’s first single, Stifling (see the culture page), is the dime accompaniment to her dimly-lit, emotive style of grooves. Check it out and read on as the artist talks about the business side of music, her new indie label, and those 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.
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.