Christina Vantzou is an artist current living in Brussels. Her works incorporate sounds, design, and videos. You can read about her career at her web site . No 2 is her new album, and I used to listen a lot her first work, No 1, so of course I was pretty happy when she accepted doing an interview:
Do you have constantly the same style of creative process or do you always experiment different perspectives when recording?
Christina: I like to experiment with different techniques. I’m always changing things.
I’ve read you have been in contact with art since a very young age. How do you see the development of art forms from that time till now?
Christina: I work in the same way with every art form as far as my approach and investment and how it feels at the time.
In which way Belgium influenced your music, the way you write, create…?
Christina: Belgium has a great audience for music. Every band that I’ve ever spoken to who has toured in Europe has noticed this. There’s a particular interest here in new classical music. Ancienne Belgique has a concert series dedicated to this. So the interest and support here means I can dream about and develop more and more ambitious projects.
The Dead Texan’s 2004 album is something I constantly listen again and again. Can you please describe us a little of that experience?
Christina : It was my first experience playing music on stage and I grew very obsessed with sound and midi libraries and live sound in general. We did a lot of touring --travelling in a small car around Europe, visiting many cities for the first time, meeting a lot of nice people….
How are the first reactions of the public and critics to No. 2? As an artist, do you think criticism is still relevant?
Christina : I like reading the words critics use to describe something I’ve been working on very intimately for 4 years. That’s the writer’s job and it’s sometimes not easy. Music is probably the most reviewed art form because there are so many people interested in music. Criticism is part of promotion in a way so I think it’s relevant. I prefer the reviews that tell something personal about the experience of getting to know an album..
How was “No. 2” recording sessions? Hard times, funny times, challenging times…?
Christina : I recorded for two long days in San Francisco, morning til late at night. I was there with my friend Julie Calbert from Brussels. It was Julie’s first time in San Francisco so we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge and some famous neighborhoods and parks in the city. We ate tacos. The recording time at tiny telephone felt great. The energy there is unique, it’s a cozy and beautiful space.
Being in your own composition, how do you explain it to the other musicians who’ll play it live?
I don’t explain much. I might talk about the tempo and what string voices should stand out or sit further in the back and if there’s a change of tempo in the track, I try to point that out.
What are the mainly changes from “No. 1” to your new record?
Christina : Nº2 has a bigger string section and a bigger wind section. There's oboe and bassoon on the second album…
Nº2 continues in the line of Nº1 but the chamber sound is more present.
Which artists do influence you to push up your creation boundaries?
Christina : Ann Veronica Janssens, Jordan Belson, Johann Johannsson, Lars Von Trier, Deer Hunter, James Turrell, Sarah WIlmer...
Minimalism is sure at your works. How did you “discover” it and thought “whoa, it’s really god”?
Christina : I discovered minimalism in art school. I was first attracted to minimal painters like Robert Ryman (who only painted in white), Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, and the Russian Constructivists.
Later I got very into minimalists who use space and light like Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Dan Graham, and Sol Lewitt.
Later still I got very into corporate logo design from the 70’s 80’s and 90’s which is minimalist art in its own way.
At least in Brazil, we have the “classical audience” not accepting the so called “modern classical” music, like the people who create at computer, etc. How is this situation at Belgium?
Christina : There is a big new classical music following in Belgium!
Do you know any Brazilian music?
Christina : I wish I did.
From a very distant place, Belgium’s seems a great place where support local music and artists. Can you please describe how the Belgium’s music scene is?
Christina : There’s a huge amount of support for music here and a large number of venues. I’ve been here 10 years and I’m still discovering new music spaces.
Is there any kind of a uniform theme that orients your creation process?
Christina : A love of science fiction and psychological thriller film soundtracks.
How you decided to expand the ensemble and in which way was that an important step to your new aesthetic achievements?
Christina : I was very attracted to the sound of the oboe and knew I wanted that voice on Nº2. I also got very into to the bassoon. I felt the string section needed more bass so I added a second cello and upright bass.
Why do you think that still is this “lack” of interest of massive public at ambient, classic, avant-garde music?
Christina : The music you like is pop music for you. For many, ambient, classical and avant-garde music is their pop music.
That’s it. Thank you! Hope to see your live presentation, somehow, someday. Really appreciate.