Hailing from the beautiful city of Montreal, Canada, Blond:ish duo Anstascia and Vivie-Ann have secured a place in electronic music industry with their ethereal ability to spread love and expand consciousness through their music.There is nothing “diva-esque” about these hippie souls, as they demonstrate a fierce determination to break the quintessential molds in electronic music to cultivate a more inclusive music experience for their fans. Their sound is infused with both inspirational and intoxicating basslines balanced with seamless textures and tenacious vocals, that magically blend into a style of house that resists being classified into any specific genre.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Blond:ish as they just released a new EP on Get Physical and another one on Katermukke, that embodies the sound of their Abracadabra parties, which take place on sunny beaches from Tulum to Mykonos.
EG: Hi Vivie and Anstacia, thanks for your time. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own style of playing and producing?
Viv: Thanks to you for inviting us. When I did ‘Kambo’ last week (it’s a venomous secretion from a green tree frog – aka medicine) – it made my face plump up big time and I looked exactly like a frog – at that moment, the practitioner called me a shapeshifter – and I always felt like I was a chameleon – absorbing everything from all the different cultures and just my surroundings – this can be translated to us – that we’ve been lucky enough to experience all these sounds and cultures travelling all around the world and bringing it back or sharing it with you guys. This can be applied to our music, our playing, our productions, our flexitarianism, our lives, our everything! It’s never-ending inspiration and ever evolving!
Ans: Like Viv said… our musical journey can be best described as ever evolving. we are in a constant ebb and flow with our surrounding energies and environment, which is why it’s hard to really pinpoint the exact kind of music we play or produce. Whenever we have set out to make a specific type of track in the studio it usually ends up completely different than what we had anticipated. You have to learn how to dance with the wind and never go against the flow of life…
EG: Tell us about your studio and workspace, please. How important, relatively speaking, are factors like mood, ergonomics, haptics and technology for you and your creative space?
Viv: I miss a studio. We’ve been on the road for too long – studio-less, I realize I need the spaceship, the cockpit, aka BUTTONS and KNOBS! Ergonomics… I mean my back is an ongoing project that needs lots of care so ergonomics is of high importance – technology wise it’s pretty simple – I love a good eurorack but can also make all the sounds we need from the kitchen utensils.
Ans: My studio right now is in my MacBook. We’ve made it a point to schedule out weeks at a time during our full-on touring schedule to go into the studio in London and Berlin, but I love to gather ideas and get lost and creative in Ableton on the go especially on longer flights. It’s probably something to do with the natural high from the cabin pressure! Mood is extremely important with everything you do. And especially when making music. you don’t want to be angry making music (which is where I assume a lot of bad music comes from)
EG: What sparked the creation of your celestial and magical Abracadabra parties and how did you come up with the party name?
Viv: (Laughs) Imagine four girls trying to make a decision. Super hard! It was actually the first name we came up with after I saw a book named Abracadabra — I asked Liana (¼ of ABRA) if she knew the meaning because she speaks Hebrew – and then we realized it’s a universal word, it has the same meaning and basically spelling in every language. We went through hundreds of names for a year before we came back to the idea and decided the first name we chose was the most fitting.
Ans: We had been toying with the idea that it was time to finally have our own party and event concept as we had so many ideas that we needed a creative outlet and canvas to explore. So finally we got together with 2 of our best friends to create this magical journey.
EG: Tell us a little bit about your recent released EPs, ‘Colocada’ on Katermukke, and ‘EEEYAAA’ on Get Physical. What was the inspiration behind creating them and what do the names mean/how did you come up with them?
Ans/Viv: ‘Colocada’ is a word we used a lot in our circle of friends, a lot of them are Colombians to describe someone when they are wasted and on fuego so we casually borrowed the word forever.
‘EEEYAAA’ – when we were making the song on loop in our living room in Tulum, a lot of friends would come through the house and everyone heard the track on repeat and repeat and repeat – the vocal kinda says EEEYAAAAA so it stuck 🙂
EG: I understand that you are equally passionate about meditation and yoga. Can you tell us how you became interested in them and how they’ve both contributed to the evolution of your sound and the way you make music?
Ans: With meditation and yoga we are able to really quiet our minds and all the chatter that gets in the way of our true creative potential… It’s an integral part of how we help manage stress and our hectic lifestyle.
Viv: When you start learning more about these practices, it opens a whole other world of possibilities. Endless other techniques like sound meditations for example, and with that you start to learn about specific frequencies, their effects on emotions, moods, and their ability to do unimaginable things. Then we learned about gongs and their overtones, or any overtones for that matter. Also, how important breath is, and 1000001 different ways to use your breath and your own voice to again do unimaginable things. With all this knowledge, sometimes we add hints of it in our music, sometimes just super subtly in the undertones of the music, barely audible, but your cells can feel those resonant tones. It’s all a friendly little experiment!
“We are definitely not in a competitive spirit and are really open to collaborating with artists that we believe in”
EG: You have had a string of successful releases on labels such as Kompakt since your inception. Have you entertained the idea of creating your own label?
Ans/Viv: We are starting our own label called ‘Abracadabra’ in spring 2018 🙂 The direction is music that tells a story… We will release our first single ‘Cheek On’ followed by other amazing releases that we believe in or artists who are Abra residents…
EG: I read a really poignant Cassy Britton quote about being a female artist in a male-dominated industry. I really believe she sums things up nicely:)
“But I guess, it’s always how you look at it in the end. All the negative experiences that we have in life, all the mistakes we make or challenges that come up are the ones that are actually going to shape us. In a sense, that’s how you become a good DJ, or how you become a better person. It is a male-dominated world and you have to deal with it the same as in relationships with a man and woman. Sometimes it’s just difficult.”
EG: Does this resonate with you and can you share some of your thoughts about your own experiences as women in the industry?
Viv: Honestly, I never really noticed. I see ego everywhere, but never paid attention to the gender thing. We gotta move on from that. Without focusing on the female aspect, we are moving into the time where this strong female energy will be present in every aspect of our lives. This isn’t a female/mael thing, it’s just about bringing things into balance. You’ll see – the blockchain and female energy and many different intersects will be the most beautiful thing this world has ever seen.
Have you ever seen the hero’s journey diagram? It basically shows that all the challenges you face in life – it’s what leads you to your revelations & transformations – it’s all a part of the process you can choose to always see things in two different ways. For example, there’s a certain DJ that always cockblocks us in this industry. He is male, and it might not even be intentional but it keeps happening. But we choose to see it as motivation to excel in what we do, and we even laugh about it! Life is here to give us tests, it just depends where you are on your karma’s journey.
EG: The theme of collaboration over competition is something that seems to also be a popular topic of discussion in the industry these days. What’s your take on this and are there any artists you’ve thought about or have enjoyed collaborating with?
Viv: Amazing question, this is our goal for 2018 and beyond, to be collaborative in so many ways. Late 2017 was about building the foundations, and about speaking our truth and authenticity, then 2018 is about collaborating with many artists, especially up and coming ones to give them more of a platform to launch.
Also, we are very excited about collaborating with different initiatives to help our planet earth, currently with Tomorrowland, Oceanic.Global, and the ‘Dark Side of Tulum’ project. We are really making efforts to figure out how any artist can collaborate with their community/fans on whatever is closest to their hearts, because when there is a community spirit, there is strength – when there are many communities with overlapping goals and competition, there is a stagnation and energy which leads to nowhere.. only more problems.
Ans: We are definitely not in a competitive spirit and are really open to collaborating with artists that we believe in… this is the way of the future ahead… anyone that is living in the old paradigm of competition, we wish them good luck, but want nothing to do with them.
EG: This question is for Vivie-Ann, how did you become interested in the phenomenon of Bitcoin and all things cryptocurrency? What do you think are some societal implications of such technology being implemented to scale?
Viv: Growing up, I never really liked rules in general or queues or governments or the way the system worked. I never really fit in, and I never understood it. At the age of twelve, I started to build computers and attempted to code my way around doing mischievous things. If someone told me no, I took that as a yes, and found another way! Fast forward to university, I got a computer science degree but then ended up becoming a DJ and forgetting about that path until cryptocurrencies showed up in my life in 2017. I always wanted to use my computer background, and saw this as an incredible opportunity to be a part of this potential to change the human experience. Music is already everything. Mix that with cryptography, abundance and love = pretty exciting times in evolution.
The blockchain is bringing money into a new form, money 3.0. First, we had commodity money like gold, silver, things you get from the earth. Then came fiat money, the money that you can trace back to almost all the problems on our earth that we are facing now. The blockchain is creating a smarter system of $$ that is customized, $ that catches up with our modern economy and that reflects our values of today.
What does a world look like where money isn’t a dying issue for most of the population? The blockchain and true decentralization networks have the potential to create a world of abundance for all of us, so we can all go back to our natural state living out our passions… in abundance. Yes, please!
“We are starting our own label called ‘Abracadbra’ in spring 2018″
EG: What, in your opinion, are the markings of a successful music festival? How can artists and festival goers reduce or eliminate the types of environmental impacts that are sometimes brought about by these types of festivals?
Ans: I believe a successful music festival has to do everything in its power to be as green as possible. We have attended and played at many that have really disappointed us in terms of their waste management and use of plastic but have also attended many transformational festivals which make you bring your own reusable water bottles and have zero plastic policies. We found that most of the more alternative health conscious music festivals in the USA like Lightning in a Bottle are great blueprints of how you can organize a sustainable festival. We have heard that Boom Festival in Portugal’s green practices are some of the best in the world. The best way for festival goers to eliminate these impacts is to inform themselves about the sustainability efforts of the festival they plan to attend, and boycott if it’s not green. Also, make sure to bring your own bottle of water you can refill at the festival if available. Free and fresh drinkable water should be standard at all festivals.
EG: Could you tell us your experience as seasoned burners? Can you share some of your most memorable Burn moments?
Ans: Definitely the highlight for us last year was hosting our first Burning Man Abracadabra vibes at Cirque Gitane. As a surprise to everyone, even to the camp itself, we rigged the entire camp dance floor ceiling (it’s an indoor tent) with a sprinkler system with purple dye and lavender essential oil. When Viv played an edit of Purple Rain… we made it rain purple! Really epic.
EG: I hear you are both big foodies, have you always been food lovers and what would you say is your favorite cuisine?
Ans/Viv: Yes we have definitely always been food lovers. If we had to pick one it will always be Italian — then comes Thai and healthy vegan.