Animalia is the solo project of Australian-born-Toronto-based musician Jill Krasnicki and while she was in for POP! Montreal she took some time to sit down and talk with me about growing up in a small town, playing bass, going solo, and how her live performances have changed since she has made the shift from acoustic to electronic music. The Killjoy Collective released Animalia’s first full length album, Mouth Full of Teeth, earlier this year. She played at Club Lambi on Friday September 19th for POP Montreal.
Jill seemed slightly embarrassed to tell me that her interest in playing bass started when she was fifteen and saw a Green Day video, saying, “It just has this little bass lick at the front and I was like ‘whoa what’s that crazy instrument?’ and then I started playing and didn’t stop.” Neither of us could remember exactly which song it would have been but up until then, Jill always thought she would be a visual artist. After finishing high-school, Jill toured with a band for several years playing bass until settling in Toronto a few years ago.
Before recording her most recent album, before even starting Animalia, she said, “I basically traveled around playing bass for a really long time and then when I got to Toronto the band that I was in fell apart and I was in a really horrible stage where I really wanted to do something solo but I only played the bass. So to begin, I actually started doing solo bass stuff live doing the chords up high on the neck. But, it got really boring so I picked up acoustic guitar and then I played acoustic guitar for two or three years. In that time I was always drawn to electronic music. I mean, it’s kind of always what I have been listening to so it was just like I was mixing around with stuff for quite a while leading up to sort of last year, when I really started focusing on it and learning how to do everything electronically.” If you have heard her latest album or seen her live, you wouldn’t have guessed that she is doing something new. Her vocal skills are comparable to Bjork, singing in different ranges and experimenting with her voice and the arrangements of her songs are complex with sometimes dark lyrics. Jill writes all of her music alone but credits the full sound of her album to her sound engineer and friend, Remy Perrin.
This was a point of interest for me because Jill had said that a lot of people have asked her who writes her music or who makes her beats. Her answer to this, of course is blunt: “me,” she says, “it’s from my brain, it’s me.” About this she also said, “I think there’s a history of female vocalists with a male producer” and that when people see her performance she gets the sense that people think because the music is pre-recorded, she didn’t write it. But, her sound is indeed individual whether considering older songs like “Swimming” from A Wave To Wash the World Away (2013) or “Stifling” from her latest release.
Of the transition from acoustic to electronic song-writing she said, “It’s like whatever is in my head I can actually do it now. Where as before it was constantly frustrating because I would have these really complex sounds in my mind but it was impossible to do.” While Jill said she felt relieved to finally have a medium that allowed her to write the songs she wanted, figuring out her performance was not as easy. “I read a review of one of my live performances and it was…(laughs). It looks like performance art. I’ve been told it’s very intense because, you know, that was the other really huge change from going from acoustic into electronic stuff…I had to learn how to become Animalia on stage.”
Jill has already written another album so stay tuned for more from Animalia.
About Tessa Liem
Tessa eats, sleeps, reads and writes in Montreal.