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Photoy by Lea Sophia Mair
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Photo by Lea Sophia Mair
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Photo by Oskar Ott

Anthea: Expressing Inner Landscapes Through Music

April 18, 2020
Text by Wera Hippesroither
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Photoy by Lea Sophia Mair

Anthea Schranz, a visual artist from Vienna, has expanded her work into the field of music, resulting in a spherical, ethereal and slightly addictive sound that you cannot escape.

Schranz’ highly personal music production combines elements that seem to be contradictory. She uses music as an immediate and intimate form of communication through sounds that entice to fantastic inner landscapes. The self-taught guitarist and singer now presented her first single »Crime« under her first name Anthea.

So far you were primarily active in fine arts, however, last year you taught yourself how to play the guitar. What brought you to music? 

I have always been keen on music. At age 20, I started to intensively research music in general in order to broaden my conceptual knowledge about the process of producing art objects. But that conceptual level wasn’t enough for me, it’s just not expressive enough for what I want to convey. I decided to choose the auditive medium as my expressive tool and started to learn how to make music.

I’ve always perceived your paintings and sculptures as fantastic and poetic, almost like invitations to other worlds. Is that something that continues in your musical work?

I feel like the music I produce is an auditory expression of what I always tried to show in my visual artworks. I convey the same matters through a different mode of communication. Music operates directly, it allows me to communicate more immediately with the recipients. Further, regarding my artistic language, dualities or images from nature have been important in visual art production but are more suitably transported by music. What matters to me is immediacy. I incorporate abstract and concrete images and lead journeys to intimate worlds. It’s like atmospheres or landscapes of emotion and sense.

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Photo by Lea Sophia Mair

Your first-ever publication was a demo split together with musician Invisible Touch last summer.

That project was compiled and published in very short time and therefore remained sketchily. It was the first time I felt brave enough to show something I had worked on and couldn’t wait to share my vision. Since then, I learned to take my time, resist pressure and work precisely. Nowadays, I work more selective on musical projects. I give space to one song at a time so they can grow and flourish. Especially through working together with other artists, I gained technical knowledge regarding computer programs and guitar playing. But what’s most important to me is that I gained self-confidence and »found« my voice. I sing more freely and powerfully nowadays, which is thanks to my vocal teacher and friend Sakura.

How would you describe your first single »Crime« to somebody who has never heard it?

I pursue my concept of dualities from fine arts. »Crime« works with opposites and combines things that seem to be conflicting. The song features an ethereal, soft part and a severe, dynamic one that mirrors my personal taste in music. I listen to a wide range of genres, from Metal to Folk: these different influences are expressed in my music. I try to find a compromise to represent my sensitive, as well as my powerful side.

At the moment, you are working on the music video for »Crime« and having already shot parts of it. Is your artistic concept continued in the video?

Exactly, it’s the visualization of the previously mentioned dynamics. I work together with Oskar Ott (director) and an interdisciplinary team of young artists. We support and learn from each other; everybody brings in different skills and knowledge. My idea is expressed through contrasts of bright and dark, light displays and energetic cutting. I also work on a choreography for the video together with dancer Sophia Hörmann.

You have been writing poems for ages: is that something you use when writing songs? How do you develop a new song? Starting from narrative or musical idea?

When writing, there’s a melody or picture popping up in my head. In the past, those inner images culminated in paintings or sculptures, but the musical translation seems to fit me the best. Of course, the visual aspect hasn’t disappeared. It’s still part of my musical projects, conveyed as album covers, music videos and designs. Regarding composing, the text is my starting point. I begin with an idea or topic I want to handle and transfer this concept to vocals. Afterwards I compose the guitar melody and so things are coming together.

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Photo by Oskar Ott

Regarding content, your lyrics function quite pictorial and circle around topics like farewell, loneliness and love. Is personal experience incorporated?

I’d say yes but of course those are very accessible topics – everybody can relate to them. To me, songwriting is an activity to process private matters because it handles daily experiences and encounters. When I finish a song, I’ve always learned something new about me. It’s similar to keeping a diary but my songs aren’t exclusively about my own views. They are about fundamental human experiences that are easier to treat through music than by fine arts.

Together with DJ Warzone you run the record label Ventress Records, as a guitarist, you are active within other projects like Skeleton Ivy. What are the advantages of collaborative work? Is that something that has an impact on your practice?

Working together is enriching and enables me to learn something new. I learn something else from every project, ranging from differing approaches to producing to individual musical styles. I feel very lucky being able to work in different genres and thus pursue my various interests. Collaborations are very important to me and I want to carry on with these in order to support fellow artists and sustain interdisciplinary approaches. In the future, I’d like to work together with artists, for example when arranging album covers. Like that, I can combine my multiple artistic approaches.

And with whom – dead or alive – is your dream collaboration?

I don’t have a particular dream collaboration. Working with the people I am currently working with is a dream come true.

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PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture.