Sarah P. Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Sarah P. Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout
Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe
yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer:  I would say that I’m making conscious art pop, with electronic and rock
music elements. My new sound is way more organic than my previous work, but
still very hypnotic and dreamy. In regards to my lyrics, I take inspiration
from my generation, as well as from our societies and current affairs. Some of
my songs are autobiographical, while others result from my ultra vivid
imagination.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for your latest record?  Is
there a story behind the name?

Answer:  I became drawn again to the ancient greek mythology! Of course, I was
taught about the Maenads in school, but as a child, I was more keen on learning
about historical events rather than reading about myths and fairytales. Going
back to it, I got fascinated by the analogies between the myth and the society,
as well as by the symbolisms and different readings. Overall, I thought that
Maenads represented perfectly the message I wanted to pass along with my
record: that of empowerment, dedication to a cause and how that might turn you
the enemy of a community or a society. The Maenads were the female followers of
god Dionysus – the god of wine, fertility, religious ecstasy and theatre. They
have always been depicted as the “crazy women” who’re acting in an erratic,
absurd way. I drew a parallel between today’s strong and emancipated women who
are often disrespected, feared and demonised by the society. In the past couple
of years, women have come together and have started fighting back at this toxic
narrative; to me these are the Maenads of our times. A title that I give to
them as an honorary badge.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your
album (influences, etc).

Answer:  Mythology, Ancient and modern Greece were reference points for me.
Musically, I experimented a lot with sounds and loops, in an effort to create a
dreamscape, a soundtrack to a lucid dream. I’m a very visual person, so I made
mood boards collecting poetry, photography and other pieces of art, in order to
get inspiration for this project.Sappho’s Leap is my first greek song
that’s borrowing (in an abstract way) from greek traditional songs and poetry.
Mneme is a lullaby inspired by more carefree times and a mending broken heart –
reminiscing of the past and putting things into perspective. Lotus Eaters is a
song about our societies sleeping on backward change. It’s also about our
constant need to grasp from somewhere “bigger” (a saviour, whether that’s a god
or an influential person of
power), without realising that all we’ve got is ourselves and each
other. Cybele’s Dream is a very dear song to me; it’s inspired by my heritage,
my ancestors. In 1922, all my great-grandparents were forced to leave their
homes in Smyrna and come to Greece as refugees, due to the Catastrophe of Smyrna.
Cybele’s Dream is a song from the perspective of a young girl – how she
experienced these changes and how she coped with trauma and hardship.
Obviously, this song is a nod to present-day refugees and their stories. It’s
very sad to me that instead of learning from our recent history, we tend to
repeat the same mistakes over and over again. This is a recurring theme in my
artistic output – “we can’t undo our history, but we can learn from it and
shape our future”. Lastly, there’s Maenads – a fun, disco-inspired song dedicated
to my city Athens, its cliques, its colourful nights and its overall unapologetic badassvibe.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have
over your music?

Answer:  All of it! It took me years to reach to this point, but now I have 100%
creative control over my work. Of course, I’m always open to advice from my
team – the people I’ve chosen to work with, but I’m always the one making the
last call. I do think that it’s harder for women songwriters to stand
their ground and defend their creativity. Founding my own label and being very selective with the people I work
with has definitely saved me from this headache. That said, I see more and more
men coming forward as female empowerment allies in the music industry, which
makes me very, very happy and hopeful for the future. I hope that very soon
we’ll see more women engineers and producers, as well as in A&R and other
executive positions.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music
scene versus its past
and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer:  It’s a fact that new technologies have affected the way we consume music
and therefore contributed in changing the landscape of our industry. Nowadays,
we see trends come and go even faster than they used to. At the same time, there
are even more tools for discovering new music, which is great for young talent
that wants to break into the music stardom. Streaming and the conversations
around it, as well as the social media have democratised the music industry,
but have also harmed some sectors such as press, record labels, distribution
etc. For the time being, I see us trying to get used to this ever changing
landscape. However, I do believe that in the future people will turn to quality
over quantity and stray from the previous years’ overconsumption. Lyrics will
matter more, and so will the artists’ opinions on topics such as politics and
culture. That’s my feeling, at least. Let’s see what happens!

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music
industry?

Answer:  While others see it breaking together, I see light in the end of the
tunnel. If you’re asking me, the music industry is still very conservative –
something that has to change. We need polyphony, we need better representation
of the minorities – whether in the foreground or behind the scenes. What is
more, all other industries (especially the creative industries) talk and
practice sustainability, while we’re pretending we’re in the 90s where more was
more. We all have to slow down and produce, release and consume in a more
conscious and mindful way. But as I mentioned, I see light in the end of the
tunnel. I see the topics that are discussed at big industry conferences and the
discussions are all towards the right direction. We need to be patient and
resilient to bring the change in mindsets and what’s been considered as normal
for… decades. More and more young people are taking the reins of bigger
corporations who still (for better or worse) influence the market. I have faith
in these young people and their fresh look on things. There’s a long way to go,
but we’re onto a new path, which is exciting!

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change
something about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer:  Definitely what I mentioned before, in regards to minority representation
– we need more voices in the industry. As we do need better support systems,
up-to-date laws that protect the artists, health care programs for all people
involved in the music industry. It might look like a fancy industry, but it
most certainly isn’t. Many artists have no health insurance. Far too many
musicians and music business professionals struggle with depression and
anxiety. Eventually, the industry and the society have to come together and do
something about this. I can talk for ages, about all the things that have to
change in the music industry for it to become a healthier and fairer field of
work. As said, we have a lot of work to do. I make sure to contribute in these
efforts, through IAO and our lobby work.

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as
recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite
activity?

Answer:  I would say that I enjoy the recordings the most. Taking to the studio
something I created at home, hearing my collaborators’ opinions and starting
working on the material – turning the material from demos to songs… that’s my
most favourite part of the process. These are the most transformative moments –
very technical and very magical at the same time.Ever since I’ve startedproducing my own music,
I’ve become very fond of the more technical bits of the job. The studio is a
learning environment for me and I love that! I’ve been recording and producing at the same studio for the past 8
years and it’s safe to say that Artracks Studios are my second home in Athens.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music
beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?

Answer:  My artistic persona has always been very non-conformist. I never really
follow the rules of the music industry – I always do my own thing, act upon
what feels the most natural to me. I’m not sure if I’m taking music beyond its
current borders, but I surely offer something different from what’s out there.
I’m one of the many voices and I exist in a very complete and true-to-myself
way, taking up the space that belongs to me – no more and no less than that. I
do think that my music is impactful in a way – I say that because of the lovely
messages I receive from people from all over the world who connected with the
music I’m putting out there. To me that’s truly amazing and I’m very grateful
to them for spending time with my music and taking a moment to send me a note
of solidarity. To me that’s crossing the musical borders – making music
listening a more meaningful experience for everyone involved. I wouldn’t be
able to achieve that without the interwebs and all these incredible people out
there. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, that if I’m doing it, I’m not doing
it alone 🙂

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

Answer:  The thirst for a much needed change. For a better, more forward-thinking
and healthier society.

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in
music business?

Answer:Getting heard. There have been numerous times where I’ve been silenced or
ignored because of my gender, the way I look, my age, or simply because they
thought I’m not as talented… My mother has taught me to filter the importance
of what says who. Sometimes, you simply have to pick your battles.

Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or
others?

Answer:  Definitely myself – I’m very harsh with myself. I’m a perfectionist and
tend to overthink things very often. But to be very honest with you, I don’t
care that much for my critics’ opinions – at least not anymore. I was recently
thinking of my early years in the music industry – when I was in a dream pop
duo and we were a blogosphere sensation at the time. I could recite to you the
most horrible reviews I’ve ever received – they were so mean and hateful that
have been carved to my memory! Back then I was so hurt – I remember crying to
my mother asking what have I done to these bloggers to hate me so much. What I
couldn’t understand back then was that these people were so problematic and
troubled that they didn’t even deserve my tear/my time/my click on their
website. We all have to learn to filter constructive feedback from
ill-intentioned criticism. Who has time for toxicity in their lives?

Christian Lamitschka (Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de) for Country
Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

 Photo (c) Sarah P. x George Geranios Lotus Eaters

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