By: Shayla Lee
Intertwining rock, electro-pop, and folk, ARSNK is a Los Angeles-based, London-bred musician who has taken the hardships she has gone through in her life and used them as fuel to her fire. Influenced by some of the greats including Radiohead and The Cranberries, ARSNK’s music would fit comfortably on both a classic rock playlist or an indie playlist with musicians like Banks or Tei Shi.
ARSNK, who goes by Thea Juliette in her day-to-day life, was kind enough to answer some questions for us about her life and music. She has truly built her career from the ground up and her honesty and openness are so inspiring!
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
ARSNK: I’m originally from London, but moved to the states 6 years ago.. I wasn’t one of these kids who grew up wanting to be a singer.. I’ve always written poetry and just loved connecting words to make art. However about 10 years ago singing became this therapy for me. I started to write songs because I was trying to make sense of situations happening in my life, but bit by bit, it just seamlessly took over everything else. I taught myself guitar and just fell in love all over again with tones and rhythms..
Your journey as a musician hasn’t been easy; you moved to LA alone and you have built your career from the ground up yourself. Can you tell us a bit more about your journey? What inspired you to keep pushing through all of the hardships you experienced?
I guess to me, music is the force that carries you through everything. It’s what I lean on when things get tough. My music developed this sound as a result of all of those experiences I went through, so I’m grateful for them.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I’m a super visual person. I actually see these films playing out in my head that then become songs, and it’s deeply inspired by intense landscapes, like the Scottish highlands (where I spent a lot of time as a kid), mixed with mythology and metaphor. I’m interested in this fragile violence I feel we all experience at one time or other. It’s what makes us human.
You cite The Cranberries and Radiohead as two of your major musical influences. What is it about these artists that inspire you? How do you integrate certain elements of their music into your sound?
These bands totally moulded by teenage years and I hope I can aim for my music to be as raw, fragile and real. I just feel when you hear them sing there isn’t any filter and that’s what I hope for from any artist.
Do you have a favorite lyric you have written?
“I believe in all your visions, all your voices, all your reasons,
Took them to a battle cry, now I got nothing but my life.”
It’s really about running into the battlefield and being unapologetic in every way, and also just striping everything away.
I love your album ‘Blistered Suns!’ From the heavy hitting ‘Who you are’ to the softer, more ethereal sounding ‘Deny,’ I really enjoy the variety of sounds you present in this album. Can you tell us a bit about the creation process of this album?
This process started when I was living in Montreal for a year kind of barricaded in from the snow (it’s 8 months of snow). There was a piano and guitars in the apartment and the piano overlooked this abandoned church. Everyday the snow would refill itself by the morning with this new beautiful blanket of white, and it was mesmerizing. Everything started in that room, inspired by this feeling like you are hanging on by a thread.
One of my favorite songs is ‘Real Human,’ the way it progresses is epic!! Can you tell us more about this track and the inspiration behind it?
I’m kind of obsessed with these sets of visuals from one person standing on the edge of a frozen lake inspired to walk across it, to being on the top of a cliff about to jump into the water. It’s like this exhilarating split second moment in time where you feel full of adrenaline: both terrified but alive. I feel we live in a numbed world and it feels hard for anything to feel real. Real Human is about chasing that split second moment where you feel human.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing challenges in their own lives?
I was taught early on by my dad that no one is going to do anything for you, you have to be your own machine. That helps.
I would be lying to say it has or is easy though. I for sure have experienced being talked over or ignored at music events and guys not being interested in talking to me about music because I’m a woman or even questioning if I write my music (I do). I acknowledge it’s there but I guess I refused to give up, and in fact it only fuels me to keep going. I have an amazing female manager who really understands my music and that’s a gift. I have a great support network around me who keep me sane and inspired.
I think support is everything. I trust the opinions of my my friends and value their input, I know they want the best. It is so important to surround yourself with good people.
I acknowledge it’s there but I guess I refused to give up, and in fact it only fuels me to keep going.
Do you face any challenges being an independent musician?
It means you have to be street smart and savvy. You have to think outside the box constantly. At the other end of the spectrum I get to write the music I want without any filter, which is super empowering. There isn’t any agenda with the music other than just the creation of it.
What songs are you currently listening to?
What can we expect from you this year?
My EP ‘Godchild’ is coming out soon and then I would love to tour and play festivals.
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
I’m just so thrilled I get to make music every day, and happy with every new listen as that’s what it’s all about.
I want to thank Thea for taking the time to answer these questions! Make sure to follow her on her website and Instagram so you can hear ‘Godchild’ as soon as it drops! Aside from being a musician, Thea is also an extremely talented photographer. You can find her work here. Check out a sneak peek of her new song ‘Godchild’ and listen to her other music below!