Spirited #1 [Full spread in Spirited #1 "Dreams and Illusions"]
Interview with Katie Chastain
by Amanda Maciel Antunes
Sometimes the best talents sneak up on you. In a culture where a bold tweet sometimes takes priority over a bold talent, songstress Katie Chastain is increasingly refreshing. After the release of her debut album “Firecracker” in 2008, Katie has spent months on the road, writing, singing, working and marrying her partner and producer Nathan Johnson. I’ve worked with Katie at one of the most unforgettable days of my life (filming music video Snow Show) and the impact of her ethereal and ladylike beauty cling to your guns. She’s committed to creative and passionate work and we are committed to her success and what makes music matter by keeping audiences swarming and smiling. Her new project to be released in 2011 called Faux Fix is an impressive body of work that will evoke all your senses because some people just have that innate thing that allows them to express.
What inspired you growing up to be a musician? Was it something you always wanted to do?
I actually never thought growing up that I’d pursue a career as an artist. Though I always loved music, I mostly viewed it as a hobby. It wasn’t until college that I started to view it more seriously. I think it actually took attending a semester-away music program on Martha’s Vineyard for me to really set my sights on music as a career path.
It’s amazing what you have accomplished and how many wonderful talents you surround yourself with, how does that influence your work philosophy and your art?
As an independent artist, I’ve found that an artistic community is absolutely necessary. I’m continually inspired by my friends who are making art, and when they succeed it renews my hope in the possibility.
I know you’re very interested in Fashion and Film as an art form. What is your favorite movie and how does Fashion plays a role in your life as a performer?
My favorite movie is Amelie largely due to the other-worldly, Parisian aesthetic. I’d say fashion is a huge part of my art, in that it almost lets me play another character from stage. I love the idea of a holistic performance where the audience experience is sculpted by not only the music, but also the set, the lighting, the stage wear, etc.
Your album debut “Firecracker” was defined by a combination of beauty, sculpted and seductive, and almost simplistic in its form. How are you approaching this new music project “Faux Fix”? If you can, would you tell us a little bit about how it’s coming together and how the name came to be (ps. I love it by the way)?
Thank you, Faux Fix is an ethereal art-pop project mixed with theatrical and electo-arrangements. It’s a bit dark and dramatic at times, but it has light and delicate leanings as well. The name Faux Fix hints at the idea of art as a beautiful escapism into experiences beyond ourselves. That’s the great thing about books, movies and music – they allow us to live vicariously, which only broadens our horizons and understanding of humanity.
Who do you envision listening to your music? Do you write your songs with someone in mind or you let your creativity take control?
I usually start writing without much of an audience perception. The hope is always that the work will eventually find it’s complementary audience, but it feels unhelpful to think about that in the conceptual stages. I try to be as creatively free as possible during the songwriting process.
Any collaborations with other artists in the works?
Yes, there are a few performance and recording collaborations in the works with other artist friends like New York-based Son Lux, who is co-producing the next album, and New Volunteer, a fantastic indie band from the U.K.
How do you feel about working in a second big project with such a talented partner, husband, musician and producer Nathan Johnson?
We both really enjoy working together. There is definitely a rhythm you have to establish with anyone, especially when it comes to writing. At times it can be difficult, but I definitely prefer co-writing because the musical discoveries are always so surprising and usually surpass either of our expectations.
In the increasingly celebrity – obsessed world, do you see the music business more of a marketing-driven maneuver that diminishes the importance of an unknown artist?
I actually believe it’s an exciting time for independent artists. Although it may be more difficult at this point in history to crack the music industry, in some ways, there’s less need for the industry in the first place. It’s becoming easier and easier to self-record and market your own music, which is freeing as a creator. I think there’s some very interesting music being made right now without much restriction, possibly because it’s so hard to get a record deal.
When do you know you’re done with an album or a music project?
When the work smiles back at you.
In Fashion, as much as in Art, change is almost obligatory for the artist and the work in this so called “Future”. As a musician and artist how do you change without loosing identity?
Artistic evolvement should be a natural process. With each work that you complete, you’re continually learning how to make better decisions towards what you like and away from what you don’t like. It’s sort of a trial and error process. But I think it’s actually that process that brings about an identity by way of self-discovery.
Now, the spirited in me would like to know, can you share a dream with us?
I recently had a dream before my wedding day that my dress was locked in the cleaners because it was a Sunday. In the dream I was frantically trying to find a back-up dress on the day of my wedding! Unfortunately, I only remember my stressful dreams.