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  • Kenny Sandberg

Interview: Anastave Releases Double A-Side Single Better/Fake Smile

We sat down with the incredibly talented Anastave who ends 2022 on a high. She speaks about her new double A-side release from a songwriting and production perspective, as well as some tips to her younger self.

How did you come to release these two tracks together?

I’ve been releasing a number of singles in 2022 and wanted to do something a little different for my final release of the year. I thought these songs pair together really well. One is about the yearning to be someone you’re not — to try to change when you’re not ready (“Better”) — and one is about the regret you can feel when you’ve lost your opportunity to change, like you’re destined to be the person you don’t want to be anymore (“Fake Smile”).

How did Better compare to Fake Smile when you wrote them?

“Better” was written years ago — at least the first four lines and some other sections — but I couldn’t quite finish it. I put it aside until this year, at which point it reappeared and kept circling around in my head. I knew I had to finish it so I sat down and made it happen. When I recorded it, with the benefit of experience and hindsight, I could feel the old me — as

if I was writing from the perspective of the person I was back then. “Fake Smile”, on the other hand, was written and finished almost immediately. I felt inspired and sat down to write and the whole thing just came out of me. The progression, lyrics, and melody just fell out of my

head into my session. Those two methods — the push and pull of something emerging over years and something happening immediately — make these two songs very special to me. I hope people can hear the urgency and patience in each.

You’ve been releasing music steadily for a while now, how do you

keep things interesting creatively?

I keep myself inspired by staying curious. I write down my dreams, I take care to listen when people speak about theirs, I observe the things around me. I like giving a voice to something or someone that ordinarily would not have one.

You’re based in Berlin, how do you find the music scene over there?

There are many different music scenes in Berlin, and I’m inspired by a lot of them. I have the pleasure of curating a showcase (Anastave’s Showcase) at Das Gift Berlin where I select artists representing different but related styles — avant/electronic/pop, dance/industrial, ambient/wave, electroacoustic/ experimental — to play a monthly event. It’s great to be able to support other artists, and it’s introduced me to a lot of artists I might not otherwise have met.

You’re a songwriter-producer, how do you balance both of these things - or are they simultaneous?

It really depends on the project. Generally, when writing songs with vocals, I start with the song and finish with the production. I often come up with a vocal melody and a chord progression, record it in Pro Tools and start with the production. Sometimes I’ll find a sound I really like and turn it into a song. Of course, writing pieces of music that don’t involve vocals is very different. For example, when composing music for the film KillRoy Was Here (directed by Kevin Smith), I was writing and producing at the same time. The sound effects I’m working with inspire the music and vice versa. In a case such as this, it’s really about creating a mood and feeling, in which case the songwriting and the production rely on each other much more emphatically. I love working on different kinds of projects – ultimately I’m trying to serve the song or piece of music the best way I can. If I follow that principle it doesn’t really matter what order I start in.

For any new musicians out there, what is your studio/writing space like?

I painted my studio a deep forest green during the pandemic – I finally made the space my own and that’s been really important! But if you’re looking for some gear information, here’s a list of some of my gear that I use daily:

• DAW: Pro Tools

• Vocal microphone: Shure SM7B

• Interface: Komplete Audio 6 MK2 (Native Instruments)

• MIDI keyboard: Komplete Kontrol S88 (Native Instruments)

• Studio monitors: KRKs

• Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-M50x

What would you tell your younger self if you were to start releasing music again?

Keep doing it. I used to put so much pressure on each individual thing – so much so that it was near impossible to let go. I held on too tightly. The more you do something, the easier it is. So I would say keep releasing music — share it with the world, and move on. Once it’s out, it’s not yours anymore, so you’ve gotta focus on what’s next. And what a gift — to be able to share something that helped get you through, in the hopes that it will help someone else. That’s the goal — that it helps me and that it helps someone else. It’s not just about you. So share it, you never know what it might do for somebody else.

What are your touring plans over the next while?

To Be Decided!

Where can people find you?

Virtually — Instagram, Spotify, YouTube, and all the usual places. In the flesh — monthly at Das Gift Berlin where I’m curating a showcase of local talent (Anastave’s Showcase).


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