• Martin Rybak

STAYING AT HOME WITH...

WE ASKED 14 ULTRA CREATIVE PEOPLE (FROM MUSIC TO FASHION) HOW THEY ARE FEELING AT THE MOMENT, HOW THEY ARE FACING ISOLATION, WHAT LONELINESS MEANS TO THEM AND WHAT INFLUENCE COVID-19 HAS ON THEIR WORKFLOW.


STAY AT HOME AND STAY SAFE #QUARANTINEWITHIRK

ps: there is a quiz halfway through the article

article by: @martinmanuelry illustration by: @sandroryry


OTTOLINGER


Ottolinger is the Berlin-based design duo Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient who are presenting their collections since several seasons at the Paris Fashion Week. Their ultra-creative garments were described as "an irresistible combination of grace, strength and independence" and were worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian.

(Photo by Mathilde Agius)


Where and how are you spending the current lockdown? 


We are in Berlin right now. Our whole team is working remotely and switched to biking. Life here changed a lot - as we are both living in neighborhoods with a lot of bars, cafes, and restaurants. It’s springtime now when we all would start to sit outside in restaurants and bars - we would start spending more time outside than at home. But since it’s all closed now, our cooking skills improved a lot and we can’t wait to cook for all our friends soon!


Are you feeling inspired at the moment? In which things (such as books, movies or activities) do you find inspiration at the moment? 


The fact that we are staying most of the time at home, gives us room to read and research more. It feels like the time slowed down and that we can dive deeper into our thoughts and creativity. The limited access to consuming gives us more room to create and we are not getting disturbed in our thinking and doing. It’s books and interviews which inspire us a lot - we are very curious in general and reading all kinds of things. It’s at the moment ‚Strangers in their own land‘ from Arlie Russel Hochschild about the Trump paradox, Susanne Kippenberger writing about her artist brother in ‚Kippenberger, The Artist and His Families‘ and we just ordered ‚Vagabonds‘ by Hao Jingfang and translated by one of our all-time favorite Ken Liu.


Is isolation in general something that is a source of inspiration for you as designers in a sense that you need to be alone to find inspiration and new ideas?


In general, we both don't have the time to socialize due to our workflow.  We also need to be alone to be inspired and get fresh energy - but we also like to be with people, both in a good balance. Insolation is different as we don’t have the option, this makes it a bit hard. But we keep active and focus on our creativity.


What are some of the challenges you are facing as designers at the moment due to the lockdown? 


Personally we are facing the challenges not to be able to see our partners which are in a different part of Europe right now. Professional as a designer the biggest challenge is that the lockdown is not good for the fashion business.

Society wise we are facing huge challenges as limited access to healthcare, not working social security, even bigger crisis in overcrowded refugee camps, and many more.

If we zoom out it all gets very perspective and our challenges as designers in Europe are getting very manageable.


If you were forced to create a garment with a slogan on it right now, what would the slogan be? 


Tentin Quarantino


more: www.ottolinger.com


ALMA


The Finnish singer and songwriter ALMA released her smash hits Karma and Chasing Highs back in 2016. Since then she became a pop sensation collaborating with artists such as Charli XCX, Kim Petras and Miley Cyrus. ALMA's debut album "Have You Seen Her?" is out 15th of May.


HANNAH DIAMOND


The English singer, songwriter, photographer and visual artist Hannah Diamond creates music and visual art according to her own exaggerated bubble gum vision of what a pop star should sound and look like nowadays. By using topics such as idolization and identity and turning them into songs, Hannah became a kind of internet sensation - an alternative underground version of Britney Spears. Hannah Diamond's new remix EP is out now.

Are you affected by the current lockdown? How does it affect your everyday life and what changed since we are forced to stay at our homes? 

On a personal level, I miss all my friends a lot I haven't had a hug for over a month :'( and I miss my family and my dog who is with my mum and am worried about them a lot. Having crazy dreams and nightmares and my OCD about cleaning is really off the charts but I'm going with it for now since its a useful problem to have atm. I feel like I'm living way more of my life online at the moment to stay connected with people and not feel so lonely. Work stuff is weird, both jobs I do - being a photographer and a music artist have been put on hold. Working for my self for the past 5/6 years has prepared me pretty well for isolation. I usually work from home most Monday to Fridays on my own or with an assistant, so I've had practice at creating my own timetable and routines to stay busy and motivated. I'm finishing up a shoot I already shot, and I'm doing what I can to keep working on music and doing a lot of research and things I don't normally have time to get really deep into when I'm busy juggling doing both things. I guess I'm putting in work to speculatively potentially have an income again when this is over? Being self-employed makes it a bit stressful I don't get paid for being off sick / or not being able to work because I pay my self, so I have a lot to work out - but I know I am incredibly fortunate that what I do means I am able to stay at home and be safe and semi carry on with what I had started before the lockdown.

What changed for you as an artist? What are the biggest challenges for artists like you at the moment? And did you find any new ways of connecting with your listeners and fans such as via live streaming "gigs" from your home on social media?


I'm connecting with a lot of people I've not had the chance to work with before. I feel like before this especially working on music stuff felt like you had to be in the same room/country even to be able to do a session with someone. The conversations would go "hit me up next time ur in...."  But I guess everyone being all in the same situation and spending a lot more time online has made the world feel smaller. I've been doing online sessions with people in LA and I feel more connected rn with my friends who live all over the world than I usually do. I played Club Quarantine a couple of weeks ago - that was really fun, used a weird mixture of photography equipment and limited music equipment I have at my place to set up a little green screen rig and I played all my favorite hardcore tracks. I played pink and blue at the end that was my fave moment was so cute being able to see everyone dancing in their rooms to it. I'm chatting to lots of my fans on Dm atm too on Instagram, and having some super interesting conversations and sharing stuff to listen to and watch that feels really good and inspiring.


In your song " invisible" you sing about being alone: "I’m scared of what I’ll see so I’ll stay home tonight". Does being alone feel reassuring sometimes? What are the positive and negative aspects of isolation and loneliness for you and for your work as an artist? 


I feel like I'm good at being on my own. I don't always like it but I need to be on my own sometimes to think and process stuff. I feel the freest to make stuff and put all my ideas down when I'm on my own because I have space to try things and make mistakes without feeling judged.

If you were forced to spend the lockdown with 3 people from the music industry, who would it be and why?


SOPHIE, Guy Sigsworth and AG cook. Sophie, because I love her so so much. Being around her is super calming and wholesome feels like being with family. A G cos I know we would watch some crazy films and probs laugh a lot and Guy because I've been working with him lots lately and I learn so much every time we work together, he's super interesting and he just knows so much he has a really similar approach to making music as me and AG! I think we would all have some super intense inspiring conversations and it would be potentially nuts but we would make some insanely good music. 


If you were forced to listen to the same 5 songs during the lockdown, which ones would it be? 


DJ Sammy - Heaven, Janet Jackson - Every time, Britney - Unusual You, Robyn - Call your Girl Friend, Troye Sivan - Plum 


Did you work on any new projects during the lockdown? 

I'm working on a few different things at the moment, that I'm really excited about. But I don't want to say what because it instantly puts a tonne of pressure on things. I'm enjoying the pause in the rat race at the moment. It's helping me to feel inspired and creative. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Just that I hope everyone's doing ok and that I'm super thankful to everyone who is still working doing essential jobs and especially those working in healthcare who are risking their lives to look after everyone.  


LITTLE BOOTS


Victoria Hesketh aka Little Boots is the English singer, songwriter, and DJ who won the BBC Sound of 2009 and released her critically acclaimed debut album "Hands" the same year. Since then she released two more albums and several EP's, became a DJ, and created her own record label.


Little Boots is hosting a live stream gig and chat every Thursday at 4pm from her home studio, and a pop music quiz later the same night at 8pm. Find her on Facebook or Instagram for details.

Where and how are you spending the current lockdown? How does it make you feel and what does it change in your everyday life?


I am spending lockdown isolating in the North West of England with my family. It is pretty strange, in some ways it feels like Boxing Day forever… as the only other time we all live and cook and hang out together like this is Christmas, so it's confusing like a never-ending Christmas but without the presents and more anxiety. We are lucky to have much more space here than my current place in London, I’ve set up a makeshift studio where I can live stream from, I do weekly gigs and also host a weekly Pop Music Quiz with my friend which has been getting quite a following! I think its important to have ways to connect with people and keep structure and have fun and feel a sense of community more than ever in these times.


In your song « Mistake » you sing about how "loneliness is healing". What are the positive aspects of loneliness and temporary isolation for you as an artist?


When I wrote that I was referring to feeling lonely after a breakup, whenever I felt that way I would say to myself when you feel lonely you are missing yourself. So it's a time to focus on yourself and self-care, take time thinking about what is important and gives you meaning in life and put the energy you usually spend on others and distractions back into yourself. It can be an amazing period of self-reflection and growth if you reframe it as a positive thing.

Your song "New in Town" also deals with being new somewhere and having no one. At what point in your career did you felt the most lonely and how did you face this negative feeling?


I wrote that song one of the first times I went to LA on my own to write songs and I spent a lot of time driving around alone and hanging out in my hotel room. I just wanted someone to take me under their wing and show me around and unlock the secrets of the city. But the bottom line is its really just down to you to go out and make that happen, find your people and places. Nowhere or no one is gonna do that for you it's really just up to you, everything is what you make of it.


What are some things that inspire you at the moment while being forced to stay at home? Are there any books, music, or activities that inspire you the most during this lockdown?


It's been interesting having to slow down and really take time. I’ve been working producing my own songs more than ever before as I can’t get in the room with other people, so its kind of the kick I needed. I’ve been playing a lot of piano, learning new Chopin and Beethoven pieces. I love to see what other people are doing online, getting creative with live streams, or ways to socialize or share what they are creating. I think once people start to accept this is a long haul it pushes them to be more creative which as a society could be incredibly exciting if you think about it. Hopefully lots of new art and inventions and all sorts!


A lot of artists are streaming live from their living rooms now due to being forced to stay at home. If you could choose 3 music artists to go live with on social media, who would it be?


Yaeji, Celine Dion, Jarvis Cocker.


If you could only listen to 3 songs during the quarantine, which ones would it be?


Abba The Day Before You Came. Leo Sayer You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. Kate Bush The Man With The Child In His Eyes.


Are you working on any new projects at the moment such as a new song or even an album?


I’m working on a new record, my fourth full-length album, which I’m about to launch as a project on Patreon. So people will have a chance to be a part of the whole process from behind the scenes right from the beginning, from early song ideas, demos and lyrics through to visual ideas, mixing, the whole journey. Over the last few years, I’ve been working more and more directly with my fans and its a hugely rewarding way of doing things, so this feels like this is the next natural step and it could be a