Styling: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG
Today marks the last official day of NYFW, summoning an influx of sartorial PTSD (hopefully stabilized with extreme relaxation) for those that work the industry. Society can now return to a more balanced perspective and appreciation of the arts, revisiting other creative fields such as music, and the emerging artists, like Syv de Blare, who keep it stimulating. Like a musical Carmen Sandiego, the ethereal songstress splits time between Paris, Montreal, LA, and New York, cultivating a worldly sound that melds disparate genres to one another, resulting in a crisply fresh, slightly ominous soundscape punctuated by hip-hop percussion. The twenty-five-year-old’s single “Crash,” a track off her upcoming PASSAGE EP, explores the notion of the double, or perhaps reflections. Syv de Blare’s own reflection isn’t half bad—the dark and leggy demi-goddess has the type of face that causes a profusion of double takes, her leather-heavy, sleek-haired style equally captivating.
Premiering today on V is Blare’s video for “Crash,” directed by Kevin Calero and Blare herself, who also did the styling. Check out the clip and our interview with Blare below, as well as more info on the artist here.
MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG When did you begin creating your own music?
SYV DE BLARE I had a really creative upbringing. I’ve always danced, played an instrument, and made art. I went to high school in Montreal with Lunice and Jacques Greene, and I met Ango through them. All three are DJs and producers. A couple years later, while I was studying in Toronto, Ango and I decided to collaborate, and the project’s sound took shape in a really natural way.
MR Who are some of your musical inspirations and how did you choose them?
SDB My musical inspirations constantly evolve. My taste is definitely genre fluid and I’m not interested in confinement. What excites me are the intersections. Moments where you’re listening to someone like Miles Davis’ drummer, Tony Williams, and then you put a Burzum record on and this Norwegian black metal dude is using the same style of blast beat drumming. Sonic cross-pollination and merging stimulate me.
I’m also deeply influenced by proto-punk and post-punk sounds, like The Monks or Throbbing Gristle, Detroit techno like Model 500, Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, and Kevin Saunderson, and more hardcore styles. Growing up though, it was all classical jazz and blues in my house.
MR In the midst of NYFW, can you tell me about the correspondence between fashion and music as it pertains to you personally?
SDB I’ve always been passionate about fashion. More than ever, audiences are interested in personal style. Clothing can elevate the vignette you’re trying to create as an artist. With the video, we played with these different personas, through performance and styling. I do believe the strongest artists, creators, and musicians have many interests outside of their medium of choice and practice. That’s how you fuel brilliance and innovation. So much of this new wave of young fashion brands right now was created in conjunction within or from more underground music, art and party scenes. I think that shows. It’s a really exciting time in fashion for our generation. If the only information you ingest and digest has to do with the medium you exercise, then all you’re going to be doing is regurgitating ideas.
MR What is "Crash" about and how does it relate to the music video, if at all?
SDB With the single “Crash,” the song’s essence is rooted in the idea of the double. Duplication, shadowing, mirroring, resistance…Maybe in a way, I’m signaling the birth of the Syv de Blare character, not so much as an alter ego but as an uncanny replica of myself. The song is about the blissful moment of abandonment, of finding otherness inside oneself through sexual transcendence and anonymous possession. It’s about letting go during an identity striptease, like an endless loop of yourself removing a mask to only find another mask underneath. It’s about fucking your own shadow.
MR Who shot the video and where was it filmed?
SDB The video was directed by Kevin Calero. I built the creative treatment and Jessica Lee Gagné was behind the lens. We filmed in Paris, L.A. and Montreal. We had a close to non-existent budget and in the end, I’m so thankful to these friends who came together and got behind the project. I’d been working at SSENSE as a fashion photographer and most of my collaborators were working there at the time.
MR Were you a part of formulating the creative concept for this piece?
SDB Definitely. There’s nothing I’m part of that I don’t formulate conceptually and creatively. I’m very hands-on. Given that my background is based in art theory and photography (RISD), I build these extensive slideshows of references and images, and the storyboard came out of the same process.
The song “Crash” is an ode to the void and the vertiginous attraction one might experience when coming too close to it. For the video, we used popular references to movies by Cronenberg (Crash), David Lynch (Mulholland Dr.) and Leos Carax (Holy Motors). In all of these films, the car becomes a signifier of sexuality, renewal and destruction. “Crash” is about being the driver, the passenger and the bystander all heading to oblivion.
MR: What does being successful mean to you?
SDB Being successful is being proud of what you’ve made and having your audience celebrate that very thing. Obviously, I’m not interested in everyone understanding what I’m creating but I’m eager to put it out there. Being successful to me is also producing work with other talented creatives; it’s about sharing opportunities to work with artists who challenge and nourish one another. Being successful is being well surrounded.