There’s a new girl in town and she’s making waves at the crossroads of electro-pop and punk. Her name is Krista Papista, and she’s a London-based Cypriot blending music and visuals to share her vision with the rest of us. The video for her latest single “Modern Girl” is a compelling European lens into the American-born Free the Nipple movement.
photo by Carl Osbourn
AfterEllen caught up with her this week to see if we could peek a bit more behind the curtain of what this incredibly interesting young artist has to share.
AfterEllen.com: How did you come to music?
Krista Papista: Growing up, I remember being ridiculously fascinated by music and cinema. I remember loads of summers listening to music lying on my bedroom floor and fantasizing about being a rockstar. By the time I was 13, I learned how to play guitar, started composing songs and then formed a punk band with two other girls. I remember when I was looking for people to join my band, I only wanted girls. Perhaps I unconsciously knew from an early age that girls were being discriminated against when it came down to fun things like music. When I was 18, I moved to London to study performance art and digital media. I learned how to use electronic software programs, I experimented with cameras, developed my editing skills and then my music started shaping in an experimental electronic/videographic way.
AE: In your own words how do you describe your sound?
KP: Sordid pop.
AE: Do you define yourself first as a musician or as an activist?
KP: I define myself as a music producer/ video director. The activism is embodied within my work.
illustration by Krista Papista
AE: How do you use different mediums to propel your message?
KP: As I said I direct my music videos and produce my music so any message I have is illustrated in a pretty straightforward way as I control all the aspects of the actual work. I like using Instagram, as I think you can connote a lot of messages through day to day photos. Twitter is good but it really bores me.
AE: How did you conceptualize the video for “Modern Girlhood”?
KP: I grew up in Cyprus and in the summer the temperature can reach up to 40 degrees C (104 F), so naturally I spent a lot time on the beach. I remember I never understood why women wore bikini tops and men didn’t. It really doesn’t feel good sweating with a sticky bikini top on in that crazy heat, women’s nipples need to breathe too. So this was always an issue that was in the back of my head, and when I wrote the lyrics of “Modern Girlhood” I wanted to present a brand new attitude on dealing with everyday life for women–though both men and women can relate to this song where the general idea is mastering your life and shamelessly designing your lifestyle to its full potential. Somehow this attitude has not often been practiced in my eyes by women as often as I would like it to have seen it. Through cinema and through history in general, women are usually portrayed as the passive character that takes care of everyone else instead of the dominant one that has all the fun.
This song is about reshaping a new culture where girls are not told to wear a dress at a wedding if they don’t want to, where women get the big jobs too, where this dodgy atmosphere of inequality and misrepresentation of womanhood is demolished. I co-directed the video with my close friend Claudia Mallart.
AE: How do you find that your sexuality informs your art?
KP: My sexuality shapes the aesthetic of my work. You can understand what turns me on through my lyrics and visuals if you pay attention.
AE: How do you find the landscape of the music scene in London right now?
KP: I think it’s pretty good, there’s a few cool music venues that regularly bring in good music especially in East London. Modern experimental/electronic music is very much appreciated here. People love it and go out just to hear music a lot, so London does make sense if music is your main concern. But for electronic music played in clubs, Berlin has always been my favorite.
photo by Jessica Gwyenth
KP: Annabouboula – “Μη Στεναχωριέσαι Μάνα.”
AE: What comes next?
KP: I am just finishing a new track now. I’ll be filming the music video sometime in August. Also a few shows coming up in the UK.