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“Wohin Fliehst Du” by Sven The Slacker

"Wohin Fliehst Du" by Sven The Slacker “Wohin Fliehst Du” ist ein Lied von Sven The Slacker , einem deutschen Musiker und Sänger, der auch Teil des Post Punk Duos ROSI ist. Das Lied ist eine melancholische und introspektive Reflexion über die Flucht vor den Problemen des Lebens. Der Song eröffnet mit einer Zärtlichkeit, die sich durch das ganze Lied fortsetzt. Die Stimme von Sven The Slacker ist klar und eindringlich, er singt mit viel Gefühl und Ausdruck. Er stellt Fragen wie “Wohin fliehst du, wenn du nicht mehr kannst?” oder “Wohin fliehst du, wenn du dich verlierst?”. Er beschreibt die Einsamkeit und die Sehnsucht nach einem Ort, an dem man sich sicher und geborgen fühlt und er fragt sich, ob es einen solchen Ort überhaupt gibt, oder ob er nur eine Illusion ist. “Wohin Fliehst Du” hat einen ruhigen und minimalistischen Charakter, er verzichtet auf große Effekte oder dramatische Wendungen, konzentriert sich auf die Emotionen und die Botschaft, die er vermitteln will. Der

A symbol of nonconformity: "Ashgrey Butterfly" by Realma


... is an alter-ego of a polymodal artist and her music has been featured in Rolling Stone India, Calvert Journal and other media outlets. Using otherworldly sonorities, Realma wields the medium of songwriting as a transformative force. Like realms reflected in the crystals of a sorceress, Realma's songs manifest themes influenced by various musical genres.

Who is the human behind the artist Realma and who inspired you to make music?

Oooh, interesting! Rarely did my interviews include a personal question like this, so you can say I got quite comfortable hiding behind my artist persona/alter-ego, haha. 
The human behind Realma is Ariadna, a twenty something Chinese-Serbian polymodal artist with a vast array of interests, ranging from music, oil painting, acting, dancing and more. Music, in particular, seems to have always been in my veins, as my grandpa claims I'd always been extra sensitive to sound. I started playing violin, later adding piano and guitar, but despite studying music at a proficient level since early childhood, ranging from classical (harmony, counterpoint, composition) to popular (songwriting, music production), I actually found drama & film to better integrate some of my other artistic interests. 
So instead, I have a joint honours BA degree in these fields from the University of Kent, UK. Along these lines, I didn't really plan to pursue music-making until 2020, when a truly personally traumatic event involving police mishandling at the onset of Covid lockdown seems to have completely broken me and thrown me into darkness. So I guess rather than 'who', it was 'what' inspired me to make music? However unfortunate, this circumstance helped me re-discover the power of songs to help us heal and transform our, at times, mundane realities into experiences that can reach faraway, visionary realms. Hence, with a little pun on that, songwriting helped me reclaim my identity under the alias Realma, inspired by the likes of David Bowie & St. Vincent. 
I'm also very thankful for my cultural heritage of two ethnically divergent countries, which continually motivate my musical output. At core though, I am a huge nature & animal lover, always enjoying a hike with my two dogs. One is a devilishly smart Samoyed, Mephisto, and the other is a blind dog, Allegra, whom we recently rescued from a shaft. After discovering her, no emergency services wanted to save her (somewhat of a theme in my life), so my friends and I took the matter in our own hands. I guess you can say injustice like this really gets me and I believe compassion, as well as hope, is one's biggest virtue. And I aspire for this kind of message to permeate my music.

Your latest release "Ashgrey Butterfly" creates an amazing cinematic atmosphere with a slightly experimental touch, what was your inspiration?

Strangely enough, the very title of the song came to me in a dream: I recall there was this otherworldly sound, which I later tried to emulate in the original track with the flute-like synth panned left... And I was sitting in this theatre when a magician released a butterfly into the audience with a very strange colour. Upon asking the person next to me what colour it was, the person answered: "ashgrey". Sometime after this dream, I was doing a songwriting course at Pointblank School in London, when my group was tasked with writing a hook using some extended chords. 
So, I wrote this piano hook for Ashgrey Butterfly, seemingly in E major, but ending on a surprise Mixolydian D tone. Somehow this D that seemingly didn't fit in with E major, reminded me of that strange 'ashgrey' colour from the dream that didn't fit in with any real colours. Like my other songs - this was likely another curious case of my weird synesthesia. 
The cinematic atmosphere likely derives from it as well, since when composing/arranging/producing, I really treat the whole process as if I'm sonically painting musical landscapes, though there is probably some influence from my film studies as well. At any rate, although I also used some traditionalist approaches borrowed from musical theatre, I also chose some unlikely instruments and instrumental effects. For example, the string doit and col legno tratto I found in Albion I & V by Spitfire Audio, I felt to have really embodied the whimsical fairyland setting I had in my head for this song. 
The setting then further evolved into the narrative concept for the animated music video. As you see, it's a very multi-dimensional thing and the lyrics added that final layer - the themes of loneliness, social burnout and depression prevalent in adolescence and young adulthood, which I relate to a lot. Thus, that abstract butterfly from my dream became a symbol of nonconformity, a symbol for all misfits out there.

"Ashgrey Butterfly" will be released in four distinct versions, what's the story behind?

So basically, I really love re-interpreting my music through arranging for different performance circumstances. Because my original/cinematic song versions are quite complex and would entail a whole orchestra to be performed as such, I try to keep them realistic for smaller ensembles due to budget limitations I have as an indie artist. Ashgrey Butterfly, in particular, has a very wide sonic palette. 
Being that rich, I had quite a few ways to approach the arrangement. On one hand, there is a more classical/musical theatre facet that I transposed into notation for oboe and string quartet, resulting in the fairyland version of the track. We performed it at the Botanical Garden 'Jevremovac' in Belgrade and this environment captured that teen-witch-y mood, especially as I kept the experimental side of the song through contemporary/extended string techniques like doit, col legno battuto/tratto and similar. 
On the other hand, the song has a very playful side, which I thought would be suitable for singers, so I wrote out an acapella sheet music for six vocals. Finally, there was a choice to focus on the electric guitar and nostalgic synth elements, so I wanted to make them stand out in a simplified band version. It was on the first rehearsal that we realised the sound is somewhat close to those indie tracks from teen flicks like 'Dreams' by The Cranberries. 
With all these performance-specific variants, I decided to film them all stylistically differently, creating contrasting content that will hopefully be more interesting to the audience.

...and what's your personal favorite version?

Oh, I'm really not able to choose! As I mentioned, I really prefer them all for different reasons - the original for its cinematic euphoria, the contemporary classical for its ethereal appeal, the acapella for its lighthearted ardour and finally, the band version for its youthful nostalgia. In that sense, I really leave that question for the audience to decide!

From the idea of a song to the release, what's in your opinion the most exciting part?

For me, it's always the songwriting/production part. It's because during this process, I really get that freedom to experience what I'm writing on my own and spend one-on-one time with the artistic material. It's just my song and I. It's at this time when I let the melodies/lyrics take me on an often-unexpected sensory journey, almost outside the current realities. 
It's as if the songs themselves are leading me to dream up other realms that will later transform into the first story ideas for the animated music videos. What some might consider as a lonely period is actually what allows me to express some of my most intimate sentiments towards the world, but in ways even foreign to me, because I let the track itself conjure up the path - nothing is truly pre-determined. In these moments, when I let the artwork guide me, I grow as a person together with the song and to me it's almost spiritual, equivalent to real-life magic. 
Once the song is published though, it's still exciting in the sense that I finally get to share it with a global audience thanks to the internet, which I'm truly grateful for. However, on the other hand, it's somewhat of a goodbye too. The song is out there, I release it into the world and like a bird spreading its wings, it's got its own voyage now. Ready to be interpreted by others, its back turned to me.

You are from Serbia, how would you describe the Indie scene there?

To be very honest, it's a bit depressive here in Serbia, since not only is the Indie scene very small, there is also very little encouragement for any type of original work. So yeah, the little of it that exists is pretty much saturated with cover songs. 
Meanwhile, mainstream music is flashing the same faces that have been on the scene since basically the 80s/90s, maybe even before that. There is very little space for young independent artists that are eager to showcase their inventive, freshly-crafted creative outputs, so I've seen many talented people either quitting or barely scraping to get gigs/performances. However, there are some initiatives that are working hard to change this gloomy outlook, so I really have to commend organisations like Femix, which is dedicated to the cause of promotion and affirmation of female creatives in the country, with Femikseta - yearly compilation of original music by Serbian female music artists, and their annual Femix Fest. 
They are also involved in the annual Rock camp for girls aged 11 to 14, where I had an honour to share my knowledge as a mentor for music production and hopefully encourage the young attendees to start making their own songs. I am truly thankful to Femix for their inspirational efforts to change things and I hope others will take note to be more driven, so we can build a more open and genuinely thriving Indie music scene, with opportunities for all musicians in the country.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I'd be open to collaborate with anyone who has a spark and is passionate about making music/creating art! Anyone who is inspired and wants to sit down to devise/craft something together - dancers, actors, filmmakers, comic artists, fellow musicians, anyone... In fact, the main goal of my project - Realmaverse, is to deepen the audiovisual realms and character arcs I have created and make them transmedia. 
I think there is a true potential for that and my animated music videos created by the wonderful award-winning artist Mihajlo Dragas, are great prologues to these longer formats (comics/graphic novels, table top/video games) that I'm currently working on building. Also, a dream collaboration with artists like St. Vincent, Mitski, Wolf Alice and others is probably asking for too much right now, but hopefully one day - who knows? 
As Norman Vincent Peale's quote goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”

What can we expect from you in the near future?

Other than expanding and deepening my audiovisual universe into a franchise that I've mentioned above, I'm currently working on two future tracks. The first is Down the Railway Spine, which will be a kind of dark, epic dystopian adventure with emotive, underground motifs. It's based around the themes of trauma/panic attacks in the irregular time signature of 7/8, often used in upbeat Balkan music, but here, it will be re-framed as a heart-racing ride into shadowy corners of one's psyche. 
Contrasting that will be my fifth track, Lil' Note on Rushing, which will be a brilliant ode to breathing and learning how to slow down in an ever-accelerating context of the contemporary world. We're also launching some merch around March next year, where my collaborators and I are hoping to further unleash our creativity and artistry to create interesting lyric books and album packaging, not unlike some inventive and experimental designs by DPR and BTS. So, keep an eye on our website and social media for all this, I'm truly excited and can't wait! Logo

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