My grrrl Anna Attar a.k.a. Monsterheart makes beautiful, fun, crazy cool graveyard pop! We first chatted back in 2012 (Monsterheart: “An instrument is like a pet, it comforts you”), since then she’s released her debut LP, W, and been busy touring Europe in its support. Excitingly, the Berlin-based musician, is also working on new music. Monsterheart’s music tugs at my heartstrings and makes me shake my ass—a perfect combination.
BIANCA: Since we last spoke you’ve released a new album, W. I’ve followed your progress with it the whole way over the past two years and I know that you didn’t want to rush things writing and recording for it and you let it happen really organically—not forcing it out. Tell us about the process of making W.
MONSTERHEART: It took a while for me to get all the songs I wanted together. Some of them are already 6 years old and went through 4 or 5 versions (Without Eyes, Basement, At Night and Wired were among the first songs I wrote for Monsterheart) ‘til they got where they are now. But, I wanted the whole thing to feel like a closed, homogenic-cycle, sound-wise and story-wise as well. The intro “Woon”, the interlude “Weep” and the outro “Waves” were written in the perspective of the moon so they are – in my opinion – what’s holding all the songs together.
B: What was the biggest challenge you faced making it?
M: The biggest challenge was to find someone, who’d produce it properly…and since I failed finding that someone I had to do it myself; that’s why the album is called “W” as in “double you”. I had to become my own musical partner and skill up.
B: What does this album mean to you? It’s your full length debut! How exciting.
M: It means a lot. I don’t even know, how to properly express my feelings about it, since it took me a while and I had to face many obstacles to get it done—me being the biggest obstacle of them all and questioning the value of my songwriting the whole time. I’m really proud of myself and also of the songs. I feel like they are my babies, but also quite independent of me. I helped them to make their first steps out in the world and now they have to fly alone.
B: How do you feel you’ve grown as a song writer and artist since your last release?
M: I’ve learned so much. I also became a producer, which is something I never thought I could be, since I’m no musician and I don’t really play any instrument well. I’m so thankful for all the technical stuff you can get nowadays, it’s really consumer friendly and to be honest, does most of the work for you… THANK YOU COMPEWTORS <3!
B: What kind of things inspired W?
M: The moon, the ocean, deep space, graves, the dark, the light, the universe, love, death, pain, fear, beauty, ancient, deeply rooted stuff and the need to be connected to everything.
B: How much time do you spend working on your lyrics? How important are they to you?
M: usually, they come in one sitting and it doesn’t happen a lot, that I rewrite or change something. I think the workflow and the situation I am in, while I’m writing is important. Of course sometimes I add certain lines or a chorus or bridge, but mostly they just flow out of me and that’s how I like it. They are very important to me. I want them to be simple and pure. I don’t want them to be modern or ironic. And, there should always be room left for the imagination of the listener.
B: Do you have a favourite song on the new record?
M: Yes. Weep, it’s the last song I recorded for W. It happened in 3 hours on a very hot summer evening last year. It was right before a storm hit us and you could feel the tension in the air, the electricity, the heat, everything was building up and about to unload. I love this moment and I hear it very clearly in this song. I recorded the crickets, who were so loud, I didn’t even need to get close to the window to record them. You could just hear them everywhere. It’s very calm but it has a very unique drive to it. I think it’s perfect! Just like these moments are.
B: The album artwork is very cool. Who did it? How did you come up with that concept?
M: I did it. It’s my first album. I didn’t want to give anything out of hands. A very good friend of mine, who also often does my press pictures, helped me brainstorm and was there for me throughout the whole process. He helped me to pick out the right fonts and colours, set the mood. So thankful for that!
B: I love, love, love the clip for your song, Bunnies! What was it like on set making it? Did you make the costumes yourself? Who was the team behind bringing it to life?
M: The team was mostly me. I had a friend do the coloured bunny masks and I made the big bunny head. There was no real costume making involved, I picked the clothes for the bunnies in the bed and my own (I’m the big bunny!). My friend Sophie, who plays the girl, offered her bedroom and we did it there. The Bed-bunnies are the girls from FIJUKA, a great band on my label and a friend of theirs…and the other set was in my studio at the academy, where I study and the bunnies there were colleagues and friends who happened to be there that night and who all happened to be wearing black that day! Whoever could, would stand behind the camera and film and help. it was a great experience to see people get together and help, even when there was no real plan or budget involved… and then I cut it (THANK YOU COMPUTERS again!) and made it a bit prettier…I guess, I hope!
B: What’s your favourite album so far that you’ve heard that has been released this year? Why do you love it so?
M: I’m not really up to date… I listen to old music most of the time. So, I don’t know any new albums…oh, wait! Connan Mockasin – Caramel…but that was released last year, I guess. I love it ‘cause it’s awesome! Go and buy it! And a friend of mine, Clemens Denk, gave me his album, which I also love! Yay!
B: What’s next for Monsterheart?
M: More videos, more costumes, more songs, more shows, more friends, more bunnies, more love!
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