Produced by a Girl Artist Interview - ‘
La Petite Mort
1 Your name Anastasia signifies resurrection, a theme that resonates through your personal and musical journey. How does this theme of rebirth manifest in your latest album?
I always say that by naming me Anastasia, my parents destined me for very interesting and wild life experiences that wouldn’t always be easy. I think resurrection is the word I feel the closest to. I have been through so many things that felt like they were going to break me and always found ways to transform and rebirth them into something new and spectacular. I think the ability to resurrect seemingly broken things is one of my super powers. My album title, La Petite Mort, translates to “the little death,” “the brief loss of consciousness,” and “orgasm.” This album explores my personal deaths and rebirths that I went through on this phase of my healing journey. It is all about finding yourself and pulling yourself out of the muck of trauma to become Good again.
2 “Crash Landing” seems to be a pivotal moment in your career, sparked by a real-life harrowing experience. Can you share how this event transformed your approach to songwriting and musical expression?
I wrote Crash Landing three months before I was in a plane crash. In 2013, Southwest Airlines flight 345 crash landed at Laguardia in New York City. This near brush with death changed my life forever in so many ways. I absolutely believe with my art that I called this experience into my life. Going through something so catastrophic made me go deeper into myself and it forced me to have to know myself and dig into depths that I never knew existed. When we wrote Crash Landing, we didn’t really know why we were writing it. It was truly just writing in a flow state of whatever was downloading for us. I think when you tap in and let things flow, you get insights and messages and even maybe premonitions. Creativity is one of life’s greatest mysteries. After this happened to me, that’s how I began to always approach songwriting and musical expression. Completely unplanned, unfiltered, unforced flow state. It’s really the headspace I live in 90% of the time. It requires so much trust in yourself and in the universe and it has never disappointed me. I think children live in this space and as we grow and become adults, it’s beaten out of us by school and society and parents and peers. Our mission as artists is to find our inner child and connect to it and display it so our listeners can connect to and heal their own. Even scary things like plane crashes can give us beautiful experiences if we lean into them and show up in our expression.
3 Over the 13-year span of creating this album, you encountered numerous obstacles, including a regime change at the label. How did gaining full ownership over your work influence the final outcome of the album?
Yes! It has been a rollercoaster of a journey! I can’t say that gaining full ownership over my work really influenced or changed the final outcome of my album too much. I always had sole creative control even at the major label so I always made the exact art that I wanted. It was kind of a unicorn of a record deal! I think if it influenced anything, it just allowed me to not have to go through any channels of approval to do the things I wanted so I could move quicker and more selfishly in my process.
4 You’ve embraced a DIY ethos, becoming adept in everything from music videos to fashion design. How has this hands-on approach shaped your interaction with your audience, especially with The Purple Cult?
Being hands-on with every aspect of my career has just made everything extra personal including the interaction with my audience. When people message me or email me or talk in my group, I am the one that is answering them and I build real relationships and friendships with the members of The Purple Cult. I don’t like the word “fan” because I think it sounds so impersonal and one sided. I don’t ever want my relationship with my audience to be one sided. Sometimes being DIY and wanting to do everything myself makes it difficult for me to be consistent on my socials and with interaction, but I am working on that!
5. Given your journey of transforming personal challenges into creative expression, what advice would you offer to emerging artists facing their own set of adversities in the music industry?
I think the music industry is 90% adversity and 10% ease. And the ease always comes after the adversity. I believe that to survive in this industry and to enjoy your life, you have to become comfortable and thrive in adversity. You have to be able to relax in uncertainty and ride the wave. My best advice is to new artists is that you will receive more rejection and adversity than you ever thought possible and more moments of doubt than you think are fair and that you have to build up your thick skin, ground in your own confidence and belief in yourself, let your dreams and desires drive your decisions, and never give the wheel to fear. This industry is not meant for everyone and I think the struggle of it weeds out the people who are not destined to be great artists and that is okay. Being an artist must be your whole entire life. There is nothing I wouldn’t sacrifice for it. It requires a certain amount of delusion and comfortability in the chaos. It will break you apart over and over again in the most terrifying and beautiful ways and you just have to hold on and remember all of the reasons why you do it in the first place. You always know what is best for you and your art in every situation. The faster you learn that and listen to yourself, the easier the ride will become.
Another good piece of advice I have is to keep a google doc of all of the positive feedback you have received. From comments to emails to texts. Any time anyone tells me how my music has impacted them positively, I put it in my google doc and I read it often. As artists, we don’t always receive a steady stream of feedback. We are having to chase it all the time on socials. Keeping my doc of positivity helps me to always stay above the bullshit and be connected to my “why.”
When did you start studying/writing music and do you have an instrument of choice?
I began classical piano lessons when I was 5, studying opera when I turned 9, and then picked up guitar a few years later. I started really writing songs around age 15 when I moved to Nashville. I think my instrument of choice really depends on the song or thing I am trying to express. I am so inspired by sounds of all kinds. I am definitely the most proficient at piano but I am currently loving learning more guitar now that I got my purple sparkle Cream guitar!
Who are you inspired by?
I am inspired by so many things! I am very inspired by traditional art forms like the opera, the symphony, and the ballet. The drama and grand theatrics of the costumes and music. I am inspired by books and films and nature and sound. I don’t listen to a lot of music but I am definitely inspired by the big sounds of the 80s.
Please explain your creative process.
When I am creating I like to be in a flow state as much as possible. I don’t limit my creativity to realism or knowing how I am going to pull off an idea. Creating anything whether it’s music or visuals begins for me with dreaming and visualization. Making exactly what I want in my head and then making the plan to execute it. I think that’s why my end product winds up being so grand. I never start from a place of rational thinking or scarcity mindset.
What’s an average day like for you with music?
There is no such thing as an average day in music! I am usually balancing multiple creative projects. I am always creating music or visuals for myself or other artists. I have to keep up with social media and administrative stuff as well as emails and meetings. If we have shows coming up we rehearse and work on our live show. It’s honestly so different every day! I try and keep at least one creative thing in each day and at least one writing day per week. I start my morning with meditation and a matcha to get me focused and I love to end my day with reading!
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music or deeper meaning you want your fans
I hide lots of things in my music and my visuals that are meant to be discovered the more you spend time with the project! I am not going to take away the fun of it by telling you what they are but they are definitely there! I think working 13 years on this project, I had a lot of time to think about easter eggs! A deeper meaning of the overall project that I would like my listeners to take away is that any darkness you are experiencing can be channeled into something beautiful. This album came from some of the darkest moments of my life and this art made every second of that worth it.
Do you collaborate with others in the studio? What is that process like?
Yes! I think collaboration is what leads to some of the best work! I always like to surround myself with collaborators who are strong where I am weak. I don’t collaborate well with everyone though. I think it’s all about finding people who speak the same energetic and creative languages as you. I love co-writing and co-producing and building amazing teams for visuals. Being able to put together talented people and unlikely pairings is one of my specialties.
I know your fans would love to hear how they can interact with you. Is there a way you
prefer to connect with them?
I am probably most active on Instagram but I am about to start working on my TikTok more so both of those are great places to find me! (@anastasiaelliot). Youtube is a great place to find me as well so you can keep up with all of the music videos that are releasing for La Petite Mort. My private Facebook group, The Purple Cult, is my community of creative people who love to support each other and they get early access to things! You can also sign up for my email newsletter at www.anastasiaelliot.com
What is your favorite part about this line of work?
The freedom to be myself and live in a state of creativity all the time. I have the dream life of chasing my desires and visions. Most of the time I feel like a big kid playing with my friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love getting to connect with amazing people on the daily and transform the mundane into the extraordinary.
What’s your favorite performance been and why?
It’s usually the last one I did! I think the most recent performances are my favorites because now that the album is out and people can listen to the songs before the shows, it is so cool for me to be able to look out in the crowd and see people singing along with me when that wasn’t really possible before!
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My dad has always told me “believe in yourself and others will too” and it is the mantra I carry with me into everything.
Do you have any big projects or shows, tours coming up after your album releases?
We are currently finishing up the last music videos in the visual album series and recording new music! There is lots of behind the scenes work happening in addition to spreading the word of the album. I also just directed four music videos for an amazing band called The Collection that are about to release!
What are you working on next?
We are finishing up recording a lot of new music that I am beyond excited about! We are also starting to write our next album. This next year will be jam packed with new music and visuals!
What does the term Produced By a Girl mean to you?
I am a music video producer, audio producer, and producer of all kinds of creative things. As a female, I think it’s awesome to be highlighting women in music. I think it’s important to show that there are so many amazing positions in front of and behind the camera for women to fill. “Produced by a Girl” is a term that should be celebrated for its diversity and creativity, not limited by gender.