FOR A MOMENT, VOID MEETS KARIN ANN
VOID HQ SAT DOWN TO TALK WITH THE SLOVAKIAN ARTIST ABOUT THE EVAPORATION OF INNOCENCE AND THE QUINTESSENTIAL VALUE OF SILLINESS.
Karin Ann is somewhere between coping and thriving, and this year the Slovakian artist gears up to slow down, coming into her early twenties after spending teenagehood in the music industry.
After a busy few years touring with the likes of YUNGBLUD, Imagine Dragons and Mother Mother, her latest single, “For a Moment”, signposts a pause in momentum to savor the more human moments and to just feel real.
VOID HQ’s Sophie sat down to talk about the evaporation of innocence, the responsibility attached to self-care and the quintessential value of silliness to interrupt the quest to find the meaning of life.
VOID: What’s your attention span like?
Very short. I have ADHD.
VOID: So TikTok, yes or no?
This is really bad, but when it’s a longer TikTok video, I cannot watch it.
VOID: It’s honest, it’s real, and it’s probably what most people say. What would you say is your biggest vice?
I don’t know, probably art.
VOID: What season would you say you’re in this year?
Chaos. Pure chaos. The dog that’s like sitting with a mug and everything around him is on fire. That’s what I am right now.
VOID: I’ve been spending the day kind of delving into your track list, acquainting myself with your music, and something that strikes me is how much of your music feels like it belongs at the beginning of a 90s film.
You’re not the first to say that to me.
VOID: Do you have someone in mind when you write music?
That’s an interesting question. In a lot of ways, I usually write music to know how I feel and to be able to process situations and feelings that I wasn’t able to understand before writing a song. When I first started writing music I was just keeping it to myself, but then when we started releasing it I started actually wanting to release it. I was hoping that people who didn’t know how to put life into words, would find it helpful and would find themselves able to cope with certain things through my music and my words. So, I think I always write it for myself, but also for others who just are not able to articulate what they feel.
VOID: Who inspired you to consider if you could make other people’s life experiences relatable through music?
I actually used to do visual art a lot more. I was in school for graphic design, and I was drawing my whole life and that was kind of my main focus since I was like five. I was like yeah I’m gonna sing and act, but nobody supported that. So I found myself coping with things through drawing and even in school like when we would have classes, I would be drawing to be able to hear what I was being taught. But I had an injury that made me stop because I couldn’t hold a pen anymore. So I had that part of my expression cut off and when that happens, you just naturally look for something else.
And that’s when I started writing music. At first it was to cope with the fact that I couldn’t draw anymore, and eventually, it evolved into what I’m doing now.
Music always played a huge part in my life since I was a kid because I also used to do figure skating, ballet and dance, which all involved music.
VOID: Do you feel like there are similarities between the way that you experienced music as a dancer and the way that you experience music as a singer or a performer? Are there any similarities in the feelings or the way that it lives in the body across the two art forms?
I think that it is a very different experience for me when I listen to other people’s music versus when I listen to mine. As people, and especially as artists, we are very self-critical. When I listen to my own thing or go back and read my old lyrics, I’m like, I could have done this so much better, I could have said this in a different way.
So I often don’t even listen to my own music unless I’m performing it. With other people’s music sometimes I wish I could talk like them or I wish I could have their brain. The music I love, I find nothing wrong with. Meanwhile with mine, I do.
So I think that’s the biggest difference. When I was a figure skater and doing dancing I just listened to the music and moved to it and went where it took me.
VOID: When do you draw the line on editing yourself?
I don’t yet, it’s really bad. But I think we’re making progress here. Usually with sessions you go in, you write a song, you record a demo and it goes to mastering after that. My new approach to what I’m doing with music is: write it, do a demo, sit on it.
I have a song that’s coming out in a couple months that we just shot a music video for over the past few days. That’s the first song in my life that I’m putting out and I actually like listening to. I play it when I’m bored, which I don’t do with my music. I’m really proud of it. So I think I’m just taking a new approach and trying to see what works for me, because I’m still very new to this whole thing.
VOID: I was listening to your album, side effects of being human, today. Has there been anything of late that you didn’t feel prepared to experience?
My life is just so weird because I’ve been in the music industry since I was 15. Which is almost six years at this point. I was a child. At that age you should have a childhood, but you can’t. Instead you have to go to these rooms full of 50-year-old men and tell them why you, as a little girl, should be listened to and should be taken seriously. A lot of people (outside of the industry) come into their 20s and they’re experiencing things for the first time.
In my case, I’ve already experienced a lot of things, and now I kind of am in the stage of looking back on what I missed out on. Obviously, there’s still a lot of new things that life has to offer, but I’ve missed out on some cliche teenage things. Things that I will never get back, and I think I kind of have to just start accepting that.
VOID: What’s something you wish you’d gotten to experience?
I’ve never experienced teenage love, where you make time for each other over everything else. The whole young and crazy thing whatever – I’ve never had that. I’ve never been on a road trip. I’m not a big partier in general, I’m a very big introvert. But I’ve never been to any of those ‘we can just do whatever because we’re young’ type of parties.
VOID: What has been the biggest difference between 19 and 20? And what are you hoping for at 21?
Everything has honestly been so blended together. Sometimes I will be talking about something I thought happened last year and then people correct me and say no, that happened three years ago. My biggest difference is that I’m trying to prioritize my health – mental and physical. This summer, I had to take a break from everything for a month because I couldn’t walk or do anything. I sat back and I was like, I don’t want to have a heart attack by the time I’m 30, so I’ve been learning to say no to things.
I’m from Slovakia, and we don’t have a big creative scene at all. So if I want to meet producers, have sessions and shoot music videos I have to travel for that. So I’m looking to figure out how to live on my own but also how to navigate life in one place as well.
I’m staying with two friends in LA at the moment experiencing the roommate thing for the first time. It’s kind of funny and it’s been really good to have this time to live here; even though I have a busy schedule, it’s been great to be with friends and hang around a little bit.
VOID: I remember my first share-house experience. All the little things were so fun and expansive until I moved into the second share house of my housing career and I was like, Okay, the kitchen cannot be this messy. And very quickly I was struck by the realization that I was exactly my parents.
Yeah, it gets like that. We were coming home late from set on Tuesday night and Wednesday’s trash day and we were like, what are we gonna do? Are we gonna deal with the bins, or are we gonna put it on the back burner? And it’s those fun little experiences that kind of grounds you back to reality. In the creative industry, you almost feel like you’re not a real person sometimes. The mundane little things are what ground you and make you human.
VOID: What you just said about not really feeling entirely human, is something that I noticed in your latest single ‘for a moment’. As you get older, I think it does become difficult finding these little pockets of time where you’re actually in your body and feel connected to your life. What are some of the feelings or moments that you feel most alive in?
It’s actually kind of funny that you brought up this song because I just recorded a song for a new project I’m doing. And that song is fully about adjusting to the creative industry, like losing friends, living in a suitcase going from hotel to hotel. I even have a line in it that’s like “I’m becoming more and more 2D.” We did a few takes making sure we got everything technically right. And then we did a few takes where we were just like fuck it, let’s experiment. And I did like three takes of just crying and trying to sing. Which was so interesting because I didn’t think that it affected me this much when I wrote it.
I think it’s always good to have people who can ground you. That’s what I’m learning how to do now – to just find moments to be stupid and feel like a human being. I have a couple of friends that go to a lot of my shows. It’s really cool that they’re able to make the time for me. We’re always just doing the stupidest things in the Green Room.
In the house here in LA, we were flipping our water bottles in the kitchen and were just like, what are we even doing? Or we have a fire pit in the backyard so we just went and sat around it and talked. I was like, I needed this. It’s just so cool to have a moment to just be human. Even a Target run that we did the other day. We were dragging everything in heavy bags up a hill. And at the time I was like, “Guys, I’m dying. This is not for me, this sucks.” But then you think back on it and the memory of it is just so fun, and it makes you feel so human. It’s the stupid things, the smallest things that ground you.
At home, I have dogs for all of that.
VOID: You’ve performed alongside some pretty incredible people – YUNGBLUD, Imagine Dragons, and My Chemical Romance to name a few. You’re in these spaces with people who are really at the top of their game. Have those experiences given you new wisdom about what the reality of being in the industry is?
Definitely. Especially when it comes to personal life. Even if I haven’t played a show with them, I’ve met so many people whose personal life is falling apart. At the expense of their personal life, they get to do what they get to do. I don’t want that. I want to have life outside of my career.
I don’t want to wake up at like 50 and be like, I don’t know who my friends are. Or I don’t have a relationship. Or I don’t have many friends. I’m just this person for everybody else.
Some people that I’ve met have made me realise it’s true that you shouldn’t meet your heroes. A lot of this industry really is so fake and it’s hard trying to figure out who the real people are. I’m just trying to find the best balance for myself, even if it means that it might take me longer to get to a certain place in my career.
I would rather have the process take longer than to not have any friends or any real grounding space. I know what that does to people. We all know the stigma about drugs and alcohol in creative spaces when people lose their grounding space. I don’t want to be that.
I’m learning now to say when I need time to spend with my friends. I need time to go out. I need time to move and then to just be in one place. I need time to take a second. Because if I don’t have a personal life, what do I write about? If I’m just with my suitcase in a hotel room, what am I going to write about? Of course it takes a toll on me but also I have to consider that a lot of people’s jobs depend on me, so if I don’t have anything to write about, there’s nothing to put out.
It’s a very weird place to be in to navigate and try to balance, and it’s really hard but I’m learning. I think it’s good to learn certain things early on rather than later.
VOID: Have you had that pinch me moment yet like where you realize that you’re actually getting to make a living out of performing music?
I think I’ve had many of them. From having your first song out in the world, to having your first EP, to playing your first free show, and then to playing your first headline show.
I have a very specific one in mind right now. Basically, it was January 2019, when I was like 16. I went to YUNGBLUD’s concert in Prague, and it was a small venue, about 300 capacity. I remember from that show a girl who I didn’t talk to but I remember her face because she and I were the only ones singing the opening act’s songs.
Last December, I actually played my first headline show in that same club. But then this summer just gone, I was opening for YOUNGBLUD and the same exact girl was in the front row in front of me whilst I was performing. And I was like, “I remember you.” And she was like, “No, I remember you.”
And it was just like a very, very surreal thing. I was crying and it was very, very weird. A real ‘what is happening?’ moment. She was really sweet.
VOID: That even makes me want to cry. So is music the end goal? What are your hopes for the future of your art?
I always wanted to sing and act. It’s not like one is a means to the end of the other, I want to do both of them. I never want to stop doing music because I started doing it in the first place to find a community that felt the same as me, so I don’t feel so secluded and alone. I never want to stop doing that, and I don’t think I ever will because I think as artists it’s not like you really get to choose when to write a song or when to not write a song, or how you’re gonna cope with certain things. So my hope is that I’m gonna be able to do this as a long-term thing. I’m just hoping that I get to bring in acting as well and that I can be a bit more careful about how much I put on my plate. To not do this at the expense of my physical and mental health.
VOID: Is there anything else people should keep their eyes out for?
I’m changing up my music style a little bit. I’m kind of bridging the old style with the new and I know I think I’m kind of reverting back to who I was when I was a kid. The older I get, the more of a child I feel. The more you grow up, the more you go back to who you were supposed to be and who you were as a kid. And you realize that society puts all of these things on you and you change because of it. And then when you grow up, you’re like, oh wait now I’m going back to who I was supposed to be. My music is going back there as well. I really like the direction that I’m going in and I hope people will like it too, because I’m super excited about it. I haven’t been this excited about new music that I’m doing in a very long time.
VOID: Some rapid fire questions to close this out. There’s no right answer. What is something that love has taught you?
This is actually going to sound really sad. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. I was in love with someone but it’s not like they were in love with me, you know? So, I think I learned things about love from my friends. My friends have taught me that you don’t ask for too much. If somebody wants to, they will make the time for you and they will put the effort in and make sure you know that you’re not too much to deal with.
VOID: I love that. Friend-mance is everything. How would you know that you were on the right track in terms of your healing process?
I don’t think people who struggle with certain things will ever be completely free of challenges. It’s not a linear thing. It’s a little roller coaster of ups and downs.
You learn to pick up eventually on when things are getting bad and because you know how to pick up on those signs, you will be able to handle it better and maybe even prevent some of it. I think that’s even a sign of its own when you notice your own patterns and you know what you need to do for yourself to deal with it – to regulate and to not fall back into your worst shape.
VOID: What would you say are your biggest self-care rituals at the moment?
My skincare is definitely one of them. I have like 20 minutes every morning and every night just for myself.
VOID: What are your last three adds to your Spotify Liked section?
Something depressing, probably. “Ceilings” by Lizzie McAlpine. “Ode to a Conversation Stuck in Your Throat” by the Del Water Gap. “Nostalgia” by Suki Waterhouse.
VOID: What questions do you wish you were asked more?
I have interviews that are really good and I have interviews that are the same thing over and over again. Like people always ask me, “So how did you get into music?” “How is Slovakia?” etc. I like deep questions that I can’t rehearse answers for.
By the way, did you know the song “Waiting Room” by Phoebe Bridgers, it got taken off Spotify?
VOID: Wait, why did it get taken off?
I have no idea. I hope they put it back because I’m like, what am I supposed to do now? Go to therapy?
VOID: I just realised I’ve never heard that song before. So I will fix that.
Yeah, you should because it’s beautiful and sad. A lot of the new stuff that I’m working on is lyrically influenced by her. I’ve really tried to channel my inner Phoebe Bridgers.
VOID: Are we manifesting, you touring with her at some stage?
I would probably scream and cry, but yeah, maybe.
VOID: We need to put it out there, plant the seed. There is a pact now that everyone should be aware of.
Yeah, I’m gonna write it down. Burn it, bury it.
VOID: lf that happens from this day, I’m going to come back to you and I’m gonna go I fucking told you so. It’ll be like that moment that you had with that girl at the YOUNGBLUD show all over again, but it will be me and this interview.