Amelia’s Magazine | The Wonderful World of Prangsta Costumiers

“It was when we were awarded a giant golden penis at the Erotic Awards, pilule that has to be my best moment here so far. It was a fashion show that went really well and everything came to plan.” Holly Jade picked up, cure with grinning pride, a huge, winged and golden figurine of male genitalia. As manager of a successful London business, you might expect a more contained answer from Holly, who sits adorned with silver chains, ripped tights and purple streaked hair. Wait a second. Scrap that.

Prangsta Costumiers is far from conventional. “We don’t try and be something that we’re not.” And quite rightly so. Why play the fashion game when their concept already oozes the type of London decadence, imagination and crisp tailoring that one would expect from the likes of Westwood? Seem like an overstatement? Well, yes. But don’t knock this place until you’ve seen it.

I first came across Prangsta when strolling through the streets of New Cross with my mum (as you do). We stopped outside the barred up, clouded shop window and strained our eyes through the metal, trying to fathom what this place was. Despite my mum’s adamance that it was a brothel, she confidently ducked under the corrugated iron and called out for any possible inhabitants. A French lady emerged. She beckoned us inside, casually wearing a riding helmet (as one also does).

An Aladdin’s cave still is the only way to describe it. Trunks and dressers spilling with jewels, brooches, elaborate belts, crowns and masks; dishevelled bustiers heaped with wigs and mad fabric; a trapeze swinging from the ceiling. There was no order. It was undisputed beautiful chaos.

The best part? Every costume is hand-made and tailored by the tight-nit Prangsta team. “We try to purchase as little material as possible so we go to a lot of vintage markets and also get a lot of materials donated to us. We take apart old costumes and old fabrics and then restore them and make them into our own Prangsta designs.” This kind of eco-awareness has been a core principle of Prangsta ever since Melanie Wilson founded the company in 1998. “She studied fashion at Central Saint Martins and really hated how wasteful the fashion industry was portrayed to her.”

Theatrical and period costume dominates Prangsta’s extensive mish-mash gallery of stunning work. A Victorian suited wolf, a burlesque fox or perhaps a two of diamonds playing card? (The shop does have an astonishingly brilliant Alice in Wonderland collection). Simply enter their hidden world and you could transform into characters you barely knew of. Hell, you could make up your own! Or at least leave the imagination to Holly herself, who styles her clients’ costumes rather than creating the pieces in their 1500 square foot studio in Deptford.

I of course guided the conversation onto that 21st birthday party of one Daisy Lowe. Daisy, her mother Pearl and several members of the star-studded guestlist were dressed by Holly and her talented team. Daisy, in particular, wore floor-skimming jaw-dropping ‘Ice Queen’-esque attire. “It was great… They are rock n’ roll royalty. Daisy is a lovely girl and a pleasure to dress.”  ? ?And their impressive list of clients doesn’t end there. Prangsta have also dressed The Noisettes (Shingai, the lead singer, used to work for the company), the Moulettes, the White Stripes, the BBC2 comedy drama ‘Psychoville’ and, get this, have even dressed Florence & The Machine.

Holly insists, however, that dressing such high-flying stars aren’t considered amongst Prangsta’s greatest achievements. I know. ‘You what?’ was my reaction too. But she continued… “I think it’s more of an achievement that we’ve been going like this for 12 years. We’ve made everything ourselves and we’re a London-based local business. Everyone works really hard. We work long hours, sometimes 12 hour days, and keeping the business running I think is more of an achievement.”

And she’s right. The Prangsta team do seem to work incessantly hard. They don’t just simply lend beautiful costumes to individuals. They tour all different festivals throughout the summer. They organize community nights for local performers and artists. They scour markets and thrift stores for the beautiful trinkets and treasures you’ll see placed around their shop. They even run their own dressmaking classes which take place in their Deptford studio. “Classes are taught by Mel and two of her seamstresses,” she says. I then of course comment on the advantage to the class members by being taught by Melanie, being an ex-Saint Martin’s student and pioneer of this mad palace. Holly even mentioned to me how Melanie began squatting in the building that we were sitting in. “Mel started out completely alone, from nothing.”How’s that for a success story?

I also just HAD to ask about that haunting but quirky shop-front that had my mum so convinced we were about to come across prostitutes. Holly laughed when I told of her of this.  ?“We do what we can. We’re in New Cross, not in Soho. And I guess we’re quite an urban team. We’re quite subversive, eccentric characters. It is quite dilapidated but we’re a small business in a rundown area.” But no excuses were necessary. I really and truly loved the subversive exterior. And, well, the mysterious look of Prangsta is certainly parallel with the mysterious Melanie, who apparently prefers not to do interviews (damn, eh?).  ? ?Prangsta sure has got a good thing going, but they’re not stopping there. They have pretty big plans for future expansion. “One day we will have an online shop. People will be able to click on, say, a little hat and will be able to request one to be made for them. Within the next five years I’d say we’d like to be working on expanding our costume collection and maybe pump out a fashion collection aswell. We’d like to break through this wall to next door so that we can have an exhibition space and put a lot of costumes up on the walls like a bit of a gallery, have some music playing with a DJ, have some chai on the go. Above all, we want to provide a really quality service by restoring and recycling aswell as contributing to the community.”

After seeing the place for the second time, and speaking to Holly, it appears that not only Prangsta’s enchanting costumes, but also it’s intriguing story and extensive achievement is a true example of what those young, fun, London minds are made of.

Prangsta can be found at 304, New Cross Road, London. ?Costumes are between £80-100 to rent for 5 days and are also sold at individual prices. ?Their next dressmaking classes begin on Wednesday 22nd September from 7 – 9.30pm and cost £200. There is a maximum class size of 10 (so get in there quick if you’re interested!).

Categories ,Aladdin, ,Alice in Wonderland, ,BBC2, ,Costume, ,daisy lowe, ,Dress, ,fashion, ,Florence & the Machine, ,Holly Jade, ,london, ,New Cross, ,Pearl Lowe, ,Prangsta, ,the Noisettes, ,Victoriana, ,Vivienne Westwood

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Amelia’s Magazine | Frock Me! Vintage Fair at the Brighton Corn Exchange

Illustration by Rosie Shephard

Coming in from a freezing cold Brighton day, here dosage I was welcomed with the warm glow of row upon row of vintage. A cornucopia of vintage clothing and accessories including 1950s lace wedding dresses, link 1960 shifts, information pills 1970s smocks and 1980s mohair. This was Frock Me Vintage Fashion Fair at the Brighton Corn Exchange. An enticing collection of clothes, bags, jewellery, shoes and even a whole stand dedicated to vintage buttons.

Frock Me Vintage Fashion Fairs, a vintage fashion institution no less, have been running since the mid 1990s. With awareness and demand for vintage apparel rising massively since the early 1990s, it’s clear to see Frock Me haven’t missed a trick. Walking in to the Corn Exchange was like stepping in to a props and costume department, no surprise really as Matthew Adams, who runs Frock Me, studied Costume and Theatre Design during the mid 1970s.

There’s something quite liberating about rummaging through row upon row of vintage clobber. The feeling that you’re buying a one-off,  something that’s built to last, something that’s stood the test of time, something with a history. Why would you want to buy anything new and mass produced ever again? Vintage is big business with everyone searching for one-of-a-kind fashion, and fairs like this attract an eclectic bunch adorned in various clothes throughout the ages, 1940s swing mixes seamlessly with 1960s kitsch, like a history lesson in style.

Illustration by Rosie Shephard

There was an overwhelming choice from over 70 exhibitors, but something caught my eye, all feathers and netting and appliqué, so like a magpie swoops on something shiny, I swooped in on a hat stall. To me these millinery marvels were the stars of the show. Lovely 1920s cloches, 1950s pillboxes and 1960s fur felt styles were begging to be tried on.

Frock Me Vintage Fashion Fairs have become a regular face on the vintage fashion circuit with fairs being held several times a year at Chelsea Town Hall and Brighton Corn Exchange.  Check out for more details.

Categories ,1920s, ,1940s, ,1950s, ,1960s, ,1970s, ,1980s, ,brighton, ,Chelsea Town Hall, ,Corn Exhange, ,Costume, ,Dress, ,fashion, ,Frock Me, ,Matthew Adams, ,vintage

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Amelia’s Magazine | Exhibition: Herb Ritts

A Herb Ritts photograph is instantly recognisable and admittedly my first thought on seeing his early work at the rather stuffy Hamiltons Gallery was, ‘It’s all a bit Athena isn’t it’. As obvious as it sounds there is something incredibly late 80s/early 90s about his work. Take ‘Fred with tires’, one of his most popular prints featuring a muscle bound mechanic looking intensely at well, some tires. Homo-erotic seemed to be the order of the day. In effect, his photography is so of it’s era that your immediate reaction is to be a bit sneering. The days of buff young oil covered men and girls in tennis skirts adorning our living room walls are well and truly over. The 80s have become just one big ironic joke.

However, it was time to stop being smug, the fact is I actually love Herb Ritts. This is the man that gave us a crotch grabbing Madonna on the cover of True Blue and the Mer-boy in the ‘Cherish’ video. Remember the genius that was ‘Keep it in the closet’ featuring Miss Naomi Campbell? Herb was perhaps the only man to make Michael Jackson look sexy in a video. The infamous ‘Cindy Crawford straddling KD Lang’ shot ….the list goes on. Rather than being some anachronistic relic of the late 20th century, Herb actually helped define the aesthetic of the time, making black and white indicative of all that was fashionable and cutting-edge. Perhaps it was incredibly commercial and a touch cheesy but it worked. So, as much out of nostalgia than admiration I actually started to enjoy the exhibition.

A collection of his most well-known work, it covers all bases from his striking figurative work, all intense poses and clean lines, to his adventures in the world of celebrity portraiture. Tom Cruise (1994) and Nicole Kidman (1999) never looked better. His work with the A-list isn’t about creating the definitive image of his subject but stripping away the glitz and glamour and finding something new. In addition his more surrealist side is represented with works such as Mask (1989) and Djimon with Octopus (1989) as well as his near obsession with the body, specifically ‘skin’ (covered in oil, dusted in sand, dripping with sweat…), present throughout the exhibition. A great collection that rarely sees the light of day, wherever you are Mr Ritts, I apologise for ever doubting you.

Categories ,exhibition, ,Hamiltons Gallery, ,Herb Ritts, ,Print

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Amelia’s Magazine | An Interview with Jewellery Designer Rosita Bonita

Rosita Bonita portrait by<strong> Laura Gill</strong>” title=”Rosita Bonita portrait by Laura Gill” width=”480″ height=”571″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-69903″ /></a><br />
<strong><a target=Rowenna Harrison portrait by Laura Gill

Working under the name Rosita Bonita, Camberwell illustration graduate Rowenna Harrison makes beautiful jewellery that would be at home in any trinket lovers dressing-up box. Her pieces celebrate all things vintage glamour and have a whole host of other influences from the mythical to the historical. We’ve mentioned Rosita Bonita before as Amelia stumbled across her work at Wilderness Festival 2011 and her stuff is still just as inspiring.

Rosita Bonita

Her pieces are gaining a following and she has recently been shortlisted to win a stand at Treasure Jewellery Show by Professional Jeweller Magazine (you can vote for her here). She’s a busy girl and a few days ago had a stall at the Secret Emporium Pop Up Shop in Boxpark, Shoreditch where she launched her latest collection Siren ’13.

Rosita Bonita by Louise Smith
Rosita Bonita by Gareth A Hopkins Top illustration of Rosita Bonita jewellery by Louise Smith, bottom illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

More than just pretty pieces, her hand-crafted beauties are keep-sakes rather than regular old fashion knickknacks. I especially love the heart necklaces from her Sweet Black Heart collection, but all of her pieces are real treasures and her latest collection is sure to bring out your inner ’30s pin-up gal as well as rekindling your (my) childhood dreams of one day becoming Ariel the little mermaid. Siren is a collection of necklaces, earrings and more, which explore the sea-side feel from era’s past, as well as hinting at more magical influences. Looking at these treasures, I can’t help but think of the tongue twister we would recite on the playground: “she sells sea shells on the sea shore,” and be reminded of the feel of sand between my wiggling toes on British summer beach vacations.

I spoke to the lovely Ro Harrison, the face behind Rosita Bonita, about the launch of her new collection, her plans for the future and why she switched from illustration to jewellery design.

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection
Rosita Bonita Siren CollectionRosita Bonita Siren Collection Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

How did you decide on the name Rosita Bonita?
The first product I made to sell commercially was pasties (nipple tassels). This came about after making a pair for a friend to replace ones she’d lost at a fancy dress party, then making a few more as birthday presents. They quickly evolved into brooch versions, for those (like me) that don’t tend to have the occasion to wear the originals! I’ve always hated selling my work, so I wanted to create a brand name to create a degree of separation; to make it easier for me to go out and find shops to sell to. I starting experimenting with variations of my name and Rosita Bonita just kind of popped out. I had a vision of her being a ’50s Mexican burlesque dancer, it just felt right!

Rosita Bonita by Victoria Haynes

Illustration of Rosita Bonita jewellery by Victoria Haynes.

What made you choose to take the jump from illustration to jewellery design?
For as long as I can remember I have been drawing and making. I love both and don’t see a huge difference between the two. Illustration and jewellery (for me) are both about decoration, engaging with materials and creating characters and fantastical worlds. After graduating I struggled to find enough work as an illustrator (I was never very good at trying to sell myself), so I spent years working in what were supposed to be temporary jobs, in a cafe and managing a vintage shop. All the time I was drawing and making and waiting to be ‘discovered’. In the end, I had the idea to take my drawings and put them onto a physical product that people would want to buy. I had done a lot of screen-printing at college, and I had made various accessories (jewellery, purses, fascinators) out of leather, so it seemed like the next logical step to combine to two. Leather is so tactile and a joy to work with and it seemed to be a great surface to print on, so I did some tests, liked what happened and out came my first collection (Orchard).

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

How do the two skills influence each other in your work?
All my pieces begin as drawings, and the pieces are often formed from a combination of separate 2D elements, so assembling them into the finished product is a bit like collage. Having had no training in jewellery, I suppose my whole approach is influenced by image-making; having said that, with each new collection, I am adding more metal elements and playing with different construction techniques. For my next collections I am working on a few more sculptural touches.

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

You worked as part of design duo Dirty Drawers with artist Laura Gill, how did this relationship come about?
My best friend from my Foundation course went on to do a degree at Central Saint Martins and I met Laura there. She’s such an inspirational character. She has tremendous energy, a really positive outlook, a carefree demeanour, and a brilliant imagination, which all come out in her work. Laura met a group of artists who were squatting a big house in Peckham and were turning it into a gallery to show their work. She’d been allocated a room in there to use as a studio and exhibition space, and she asked me if I wanted to show there too. It was all quite short notice and I didn’t have anything prepared, so she gave me some drawings she had been working on and asked me to add to them. We had a pile of books of documentary photography, full of inspiring characters and began drawing from them. The process worked like a game of exquisite corpse (which became the name of the series). We would draw sections and cover them up before swapping and continuing to draw. It was more to amuse ourselves than anything else, but we liked the results and kept working and exhibiting together for years to come.
[Jessica: You can see one of Laura’s illustrations in this article as she provided the beautiful portrait of Rowenna]

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection
Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

Do you feel Camberwell prepared you for entrepreneurship?
One highlight I remember from my course at Camberwell was a talk from Tatty Devine. They didn’t come from a jewellery background and didn’t have financial investment, and seemed like genuinely lovely people, so their success story was (and still is) a huge business inspiration. In my final year I did a number of work placements. The first was a short stint at an Illustration agency (CIA). They kindly took me under their wing and showed me a glimpse of the goings on. Then I was lucky enough to work for my 3 heroes of the time; Marmalade Magazine, Shona Heath (Art Director) and Julie Verhoeven [Jessica: I recently mentioned Julie in a Bath in Fashion 2013 Listing which you can read here] They were all hugely inspirational learning experiences and gave me the opportunity to use my craft skills, and feel valued for them. They also supplied me with bits of freelance work after I graduated. However I still didn’t feel I had the confidence to go out hunting for my own work in the real world. The course itself felt like a bit of a bubble. Because I got a 1st, I just stupidly assumed that people would come to my degree show and offer me work. When I graduated, the bubble popped.

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

What’s been the biggest challenge so far of setting up shop?
The biggest challenge in setting up shop is money. I started Rosita Bonita when I was still working four days a week managing a vintage shop. I didn’t have much cash (or time) to spare, so I have always made things according to the material costs I could run to and the skills I had to make things myself. It’s really frustrating as I have so many ideas of things I would love to make, but am very limited by costs. As things have been going better and better, these frustrations are highlighted more and more. Ideally I wouldn’t be producing everything myself. I would love to just be designing and making samples, then getting the bulk manufactured, and it would be great to have PR, but this is just not possible yet. The business is growing, but very slowly! The further it goes, the more you realise how much you need money. Designing, manufacturing, selling, promoting, building websites, taking photos, and doing accounts and admin all by yourself is not ideal. I’ve also just had one of my designs copied (by someone who does have money for manufacturing, sales & PR), but I can’t afford to take them to court.

Rosita Bonita Siren CollectionRosita Bonita Siren Collection

What are the main inspirations of your work?
My inspiration comes mainly from the past. I’m obsessed with vintage photography and graphic design, anything from the Victorian era through to the ‘50s. I look a lot at Hollywood studio shots from, particularly from the ‘30s. The sets and costumes are mind-blowing. I love watching movies from that time too. The characters are so glamorous and almost cartoon like. I am always amazed at how little we’ve artistically progressed since then. I’m not excited by realism and the mundane. I also love to look at the history of jewellery and the social meanings attached to it. I want people to put on my pieces and feel like they are becoming a fantastical character, or that the jewellery is bringing them luck or special powers.

Rosita Bonita Siren Collection

Your new collection Siren has a seaside theme, what made you choose this?
The Siren collection came out of my research into amulets. There was too much material in there for one collection (it’s actually now spawned 3 – Amulet, She’s my witch & Siren). Mermaids and seahorses, as well as certain types of shell, have been used as charms or amulets. I wanted to take these motifs, but treat them in a different way to the previous collection, which was quite dark and magical. They seemed to be perfect for a light summery collection. There is a still from a lost George Méliès film from c1905 which I had photocopied when I was at Camberwell and had always wanted to use somehow. It was a shot of six ‘mermaids’ posing in this great stage set in a star formation, with solid tails. I tend to visualise the photoshoot/video for the collection before I design the actual pieces (usually including which models/friends and which music to use), and knew I wanted something like this, but with a brighter, more ‘30s seaside resort feel to it. I drew my own version of this (which I’ve since printed on framed glass and t shirts), and that became the basis of the collection. I also looked at loads of other mermaid imagery, from ancient myths, fairytales, figureheads, movie stills, tattoo designs and carnival exhibits. I wanted to capture girlhood escapist fantasies of being a mermaid.

Rosita Bonita Siren CollectionRosita Bonita Siren Collection

Your jewellery has been featured in places like Nylon and Elle, how does it feel to see your work in mainstream mags?
It’s very rewarding to see my work in magazines, of any kind. I Google myself every few months and usually find some new mention in a blog or something. It keeps me going. More please!

What plans do you have for the future?
I’m not very good at planning ahead and managing my time. I have the next two collections designed in my head (just need to grab a moment to get them on paper and to develop the samples), but beyond that I’m never sure exactly what is to come. I will be working on finding some new stockists, so more people can discover me. I have three new international ones in the pipelines, which is all very exciting.

How would a reader go about purchasing one of your pieces?
I have a shop on my website . I don’t discontinue previous collections, as I don’t like the disposable nature of fashion, so most pieces are still available to order, if they are not in stock, and certain pieces can be made in custom colours. I’m also open to illustration, design, bespoke accessory/costume commissions and collaborations, so feel free to get in touch!

Rosita Bonita by Maya Beus
Illustration of piece from Rosita Bonita Siren collection by Maya Beus

All unreferenced illustrations and photography were provided by the lovely Rowenna Harrison.

Categories ,50s, ,amulets, ,Camberwell, ,Collaborations, ,Costume, ,custom, ,design, ,designer, ,Dirty Drawers, ,fairytales, ,fashion, ,framed glass, ,graduate, ,graduation, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Jessica Cook, ,jewellery, ,Julie Verhoeven, ,Laura Gill, ,leather, ,Louise Smith, ,magical, ,Mermaids, ,Myths, ,Rosita Bonita, ,Rowenna Harrison, ,seahorses, ,Shell, ,Shona Heath, ,Siren, ,special powers, ,T-shirts, ,Victoria Haynes, ,Victorian era, ,vintage, ,‘30s seaside resort

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with musician and artist Elizabeth Walling, aka Gazelle Twin

Gazelle Twin by Sarah Arnett
Gazelle Twin by Sarah Arnett.

I’ve been keeping a firm eye (and ear) on Gazelle Twin since I discovered her enigmatic first single at the tail end of last year. Changelings was accompanied by a mesmerising video that exemplifies Gazelle Twin‘s approach to music making: creating an overall sensory experience in which the listener/viewer is immersed. That video was followed by the equally transfixing I Am Shell I Am Bone and now her debut album The Entire City is on its way. Not surprisingly she is generating a lot of interest, approved this despite having performed only one live show so far as Gazelle Twin…. I decided to find out a bit more from the lady herself. Meet the genius that is Elizabeth Walling.


According to wikipedia the Loplop was a birdlike creature created by artist Max Ernst. Why and how have you been inspired by this creature?
Loplop was a starting point in the ongoing development for the ideas behind my costumes which I use for live performance and in my imagery. I have always admired the painting The Robing Of The Bride by Ernst. It has a sexual-animal-human oddness that drew me in. I saw the real thing fairly recently in Guggenheim’s house in Venice. It was much smaller than I realised, but still magnificently weird. It really beckons you over from the other side of the room.

Gazelle Twin by Amy Brazier
Gazelle Twin by Amy Brazier.
Were you trained in music, or is it something that has been building over the years? What other jobs have you done in the meantime if so?
I studied briefly at college and then University but I still consider myself to be self-taught. As a kid I would learn everything by ear, including pieces for piano, flute etc. I still do it that way now. Learning to read and write music obviously helped me develop a lot further, but I rarely return to the theory books and manuscript paper these days, except if I’m arranging something for classical musicians. I’m expecting to do a lot of that for the next album.

I Am Shell I Am Bone

What are your main lyrical themes and inspirations?
Hard to know where to start. I’ve been inspired by the paranormal, under water life, science fiction films, dreams I had as a child, space exploration etc. All these influences and experiences are deeply personal, so it all remains very cryptic to others, I think.
How long have you been living in Brighton? What drew you there and what keeps you there?
I came here primarily to study music and never left. It’s a hard place to leave, and I love it here but after 10 years I think I might start to seek new horizons. It’s important to see new places I think.

Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux
Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux.
What is going on in the Men Like Gods video? Where was it shot and who are the dancers? I presume the scenes of burning pyres being dragged through streets are from the Lewes bonfire night, but are some of them choreographed specifically by yourself?
The Men Like Gods video contains footage from a very ancient Pagan festival in remote Sardinia. Some of the footage is my own from earlier this year, some was sourced through Sardinia‘s vast digital library and contains footage from roughly 30 years ago. The festival relates to the changing of the seasons and the life-giving land and cattle. Each village has it’s own particular ritual and unique costumes, so it is very diverse and strange. I went to experience one village’s ritual in March where I filmed the Mamuthones (the men who dance in black masks, bells and sheepskins). There is not much explanation as to why this ritual has such a bizarre aesthetic, but it is a very deep rooted tradition, at least two thousand years old. They take it very seriously there, it’s certainly not the tourist attraction that Lewes’ Bonfire night has become, but then I am sure it started out with much the same circumstances.

Gazelle Twin by gaarte
Gazelle Twin by Gaarte.
Do you collaborate with fashion designers to create your stage costumes, and if so who? How does that process work?
I design and usually make all the costumes. The process is very basic; I do a fair bit of research or just get an idea in my head and then I go to flea markets, charity shops and usually Poundland to source materials to work with. I’m unsigned so I don’t have an advance or anything to play with or to commission people, so I have to be imaginative and very frugal. Where I lack sewing skills or equipment I call upon my very talented friend, Gita Mistry. She recently helped me realise a brand new costume, a very striking blue, abstract Gazelle headdress, veil and robe which I might wear at my album launch in September.

You’ve been compared to the likes of Bjork but I think you also strongly channel more modern experimental electro musicians such as The Knife – who are more about hiding their personal egos behind creativity than extravagantly promoting themselves. Is it safe to say that you have been influenced by this kind of music? What have been your inspirations?
Classical, early music and film soundtracks are the bedrock of all my influences. When I was studying and composing in my late teens and early twenties I only ever really listened to that, maybe with a bit of Portishead and Jazz thrown in from time to time. Pop music is all relatively new to me, but true artists like The Knife, Fever Ray, Planningtorock and Bjork have all intrigued me musically as well as with their boldness of visual images and play on identity. I really admire artists who resist exposing themselves too much or try to divert people’s attention towards the music. I don’t think it’s enough to sport a weird costume or smear face paint on –  the music has to be really strong first and foremost, but the costume should also be relevant to the identity in order to avoid being a slightly vacuous stunt.

Gazelle Twin by Claire Kearns
Gazelle Twin by Claire Kearns.
How will The Entire City be available in an interactive web only version? Can you explain a bit more about how this works?
 The album will be available as a digital download in the conventional sense and there will be limited vinyl and CD editions coming out later this year. For the digital release in July there is a special web-based counterpart, which will be available on the website very soon. I wanted to create an interactive, tactile way for people to experience the album in digital form, so I got in touch with Champagne Valentine and they came up with a wonderful application for me. The interactive version of The Entire City will be free to access and contains all album tracks which each have their own interactive visuals. It also features remixed video clips from all my music videos, as well as other, as yet unreleased footage. I’m hoping to make something interactive for every album/project in future, it’s a really satisfying process and I hope makes up for some of the loss of pleasure in buying a physical record.

Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux
Gazelle Twin by Lea Rimoux.
Why are live performances so rare? Will your fans be able to see more of you now that your album is due to launch? If so where will they be able to find you?
Live shows have been rare because I wanted to take my time with developing the project and make sure it all worked and felt right before I launched the whole thing and took it on tour. I also had to save the money in order to do it properly, so it’s taken a few years to get here. I want to keep shows rare and special; they involve a lot of visuals, choreography and extra musical elements and each one is unique. I much prefer to do a few really special shows than too many run-of-the-mill versions. It makes it more worthwhile as a performer too (and I have experienced many a dodgy gig in the past without this ethos, let me tell you!). I’m really excited to get back to performing this year. My album launch will be on 1st September at Electrowerkz (aka Islington MetalWorks) in Angel, in London. I have curated the event myself and I am making sure it is going to be really unique experience for all involved. I can’t give too much away at the moment, but all will be revealed on my website eventually.

Gazelle Twin by Nicola Ellen
Gazelle Twin by Nicola Ellen.

What do you do to relax? Where might we find you by night time in Brighton?
I tend to spend the majority of my time in the studio at home, I rarely venture out much these days! I play a few video games and watch films to relax – This year I have really sacrificed my social life in order to make this record and really get the project off the ground single-handedly.

Gazelle Twin by Gaarte
Gazelle Twin by Gaarte.

New single Men Like Gods will be released on Monday 11th July alongside the digital release of The Entire City. Here’s a trailer for the amazing video.

Men Like Gods

The opening album track The Entire City can be streamed here

Gazelle Twin will play as part of the Soundwaves Festival on July 14th-17th in Brighton as part of The Infinite Possibilities of Voice at Brighton Town Hall between 5.45pm – 10.30pm on Saturday 16th July. Gazelle Twin will be performing Colossus in the Atrium, a new improvisatory piece exploring the dialogue between human and machine. Voice and electronics will be coupled with darkly theatric sensibilities to create an atmospheric, electrifying and wholly unique experience, in collaboration with artist and musician Ed Briggs. I advise you secure tickets fast! This will not be a performance to miss.

Categories ,Album Launch, ,Amy Brazier, ,Atrium, ,bjork, ,brighton, ,Brighton Town Hall, ,Champagne Valentine, ,Changelings, ,Claire Kearns, ,Colossus, ,Costume, ,Ed Briggs, ,electrowerkz, ,Elizabeth Walling, ,Fever Ray, ,Gaarte, ,Gazelle Twin, ,Gita Mistry, ,Guggenheim, ,I am Shell I am Bone, ,Islington MetalWorks, ,jazz, ,Lea Rimoux, ,Lewes, ,Loplop, ,Mamuthones, ,Max Ernst, ,Men Like Gods, ,Nicola Ellen, ,Pagan, ,Planningtorock, ,Portishead, ,review, ,Sarah Arnett, ,Sardinia, ,single, ,Soundwaves Festival, ,The Entire City, ,The Infinite Possibilities of Voice, ,The Knife, ,The Robing Of The Bride, ,video

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