ELODIE GERVAISE HOLDS THE KEYS TO A CREATIVE UTOPIA
THE ARTIST CHATS WITH CH-V ABOUT WHISKEY, THE PRACTICE OF BEING YOURSELF AND THROWING AWAY THE CONCEPT OF “LONELY AT THE TOP.”
International lover Elodie Gervaise has forged keys to a creative utopia. The French-Australian artist, now based in Berlin, has blazed skytrails in the realm of musical creation, and more recently redesigned the city with a co-opted event series called Femme Fatale, with plans to take it everywhere.
VOID HQ caught her before a gallery-opening performance in New York, to speak with her about old fashioneds, creating your own idea of home and throwing away the concept of “lonely at the top.”
VOID: What’s the last thing that made you cry?
Oof. A situation with a lover that recently became heavy on the heart, but, you know, it’s all inspiration and it’s all gonna go into a song. I guess I’ve gotta use it, you know, if it makes me feel really alive. *laughs* That’s for sure. I felt really alive.
VOID: I love that. What’s your favorite curse word?
Ooh, putain in French. Yeah. Putain, which means like, fuck, basically. I think it’s really strong. And the way that the French say it is just, it’s really powerful. *laughs*
VOID: It sounds sexy. Are you going to heaven, or hell? And why?
Oh wow. I reckon I’d start out in hell, you know, just like sus it out, check the scene, get to know everyone… and then pop up to heaven after that. I feel like it’d be a mixed bag of both. Not that I feel like I’ve sinned to a great degree because I’m just living a human experience, but I’d love to check it out. You know, I feel like hell would be a vibe. *laughs*
VOID: If you could have any other name than Elodie, what would it be?
Anaïnja. That’s the new artist name that I’m actually transmuting into now. Inspired by Anais Nin, originally, it actually was my Chess dot com handle during COVID times. And then I realized the power of that name. It’s going to be my new music project and I’m really trying to step into this new identity of really sensual, soulful, heartfelt stuff. You know, take it up from the head-space and really bring it down into an honest, emotional place, through this new character. So I’m really excited to do that.
VOID: I’m excited for you. Okay it’s last call at the bar. What are you ordering?
Old fashioned, every time. *laughs*
VOID: It’s a strong drink.
Yeah, it is. It’ll take you home, hopefully with someone sexy. *laughs*
VOID: How has coming to New York influenced your idea of home?
I think it’s been a really interesting feeling being in New York this time around because I visited four years ago and that was very much just dropping in and out, visiting as a tourist. This time, coming here with a purpose – to perform – has been so fulfilling. To take your art with you wherever you go and to be able to share that with people is just so exhilarating. You can show yourself much faster, I think.
You show people what you are, what you’re doing, your expression of self, and then you connect after that point. So it’s been really satisfying. And having recently moved from Paris to Berlin, I’ve really been seeing the change up of myself within the different cities. But also then acknowledging that home is where your art is and where you are and it can be anywhere at any point in time. That’s the most exciting thing about it. And it’s a huge privilege to be able to do that and to share it across multiple cities and I’m just so stoked to be able to do that.
VOID: How do you feel yourself kind of changing of late? What season are you in?
Going from Paris to Berlin has been a huge transition. It’s required acceptance of myself much more because I feel way more grounded and at home within myself. And that’s been mirrored by the people surrounding me. Not to say that my crew in Paris isn’t also amazing, but the city of Berlin is really giving me what I need right now and it’s allowing me the platforms and the spaces to properly say what I want to say and to live the experiences that I want in my life.
I think this season is feeling really abundant. Especially because I just had my 30th birthday and experienced all of the love that comes with that. The word can be a little bit lame and a bit cliche sometimes, but I just feel opening and abundance in every realm. Friends, love, work, family, all of the above. I just want abundance of all kinds and I’m really trying to emulate that, especially with this new character that I’m gonna try and step into now. Yeah, it’s an opening. I feel a sense of opening, for sure.
VOID: How beautiful. What’s something that has remained unchanged throughout the season change?
I think connection. Connection to people and acknowledging that when I moved to Paris four years ago, that’s when I really came to understand the power of connection. And that was what my first EP was about. That’s the only time you feel held and safe is when you have connection with others and therefore connection to yourself. That, for me, is unwavering and it is what will guide me forever. That’s what friendship, love, lovers, family give you. And that’s what I want to always put energy into. And I think the community that is growing in Berlin around me and that we’re also actively growing with this event series that I’m doing with my dear friend Em Orshan called Femme Fatale. We’re seeing the community build around us and now my goals have shifted.
VOID: How have they shifted?
In the past I had this idea of going to a certain place with my music or performance or voice, and now I see that as involving many more people around me. And that feels so much better. It feels so much more exciting and so much more possible and something that I want to do more, actually. I don’t want to get somewhere by myself. That sounds horrible. Like what’s the point? “Lonely at the top.” No way do I want anything to do with that. I want to be with my crew, my family, my community, and I want us all to rise together.
VOID: What’s one hope that you have for humanity that you haven’t given up on yet?
I think the realization that we can save one another and save ourselves through community, through love, through empathy, through understanding, through constant communication. I just don’t think that will ever die.
VOID: That’s given me shivers.
I love it. Honestly, when you asked the question it gave me shivers, too. So I was like, ooft that’s a big one, you know? But beautiful. I just love it. It’s so nice to focus on these things and to talk about these things because that’s what gets me up in the morning too, you know? I just love. And that’s what I wanna put into my music. I want it to be all about that.
VOID: What do you think were the obstacles between knowing your truth, and expressing it through speaking or song?
I think it was really just practice. I think actually architecture school taught me how to express myself. I had to get up in front of a class every week and promote a design or an idea or a concept. And that taught me a lot, doing that for years and years, and having to sit in meetings with much older demographics of clients and builders as a 22 slash 23 year-old.
I think that taught me how to speak up and then, whilst getting comfortable in it, made me realise that my opinions were valued. And finding the right people that really validated my thoughts allowed me to validate others’ thoughts and then you find that you’re just bouncing off on another. And your idea and your truth is becoming stronger and feels like it is necessary.
It just always comes back to that. Just people, connections, love. Going: Yes, I feel you! And being like: Me too, I totally pick up what you’re putting down!
Making sure that you put yourself in those rooms with people like that is the number one. It’s the only way to have your truth validated. But also recognise that it was always there from the start and all of the answers you need are within you and your truth is king too.
VOID: So where can we find your music?
You can find my music everywhere, anywhere on the internet. I’m now recording a whole new project, which I’m super excited about.
Last year I released “Syzygy” as my first EP, and that has been just so gorgeous and I’ve just absolutely been taken aback by the response from that. And it’s still going every day. It’s almost at a million streams now and I’m just losing my mind that so many people have listened to it. And it was also done with an amazing producer, Maria Korkeila from Finland, too.
So yeah, if you’re into the first [EP], the next one’s gonna be a whole other genre, and I’m really excited to share it.