Interviews

Follow Artist MishCatt Down her Colorful, Trippy Rabbit Hole

Life’s a trip, isn’t it? At least, singer-songwriter and artist extraordinaire MishCatt thinks so.

Drawing from her experiences “galavanting” through Europe (her words, not ours), diving deep within herself, and taking some substances of questionable legality, MishCatt has created a world all her own. Luckily, this world is open for the world to see, and she’s inviting us in.

With the beautiful, and of course, trippy music video for her song “Blue Blood,” MishCatt is preparing us for her newest EP, The Real Pavo, and of course, the world of MishCatt in general. So let go of inhibitions and c’mon in. She’s been waiting for you.

Hello! Let’s talk about your newest music video, “Blue Blood.” Not to be too obvious, but it is definitely trippy. What was the inspiration behind that? Bad dreams? Good drugs? Both?

The inspiration for this video came from the theme of the entire EP, a sort of love story between me and my intuition, how to connect back to myself, back to my soulful roots. “Blue Blood” has this dreamy quality to it, which almost makes you wonder if this encounter ever happened at all, or was it just a lovely dream? So when it came to the video, we really wanted to capture that dreamy essence, and I would say the director Albin Eidhagen did a great job in doing so.

Aside from “Blue Blood,” you have another single and video out called “Midnight Sun.” Let’s talk a little bit about that song — what it’s about and why did you write it?

Like I mentioned before, the EP is about exploring the complex relationship between me and my intuition. “Midnight Sun” looks at a more hopeful high of being close to someone, but still being far away from that natural essence. It has an almost sad positivity to it, that you’re close to this person but still not as close as you want to be.

Your sophomore EP, The Real Pavo, is set to drop early this year, and was produced by Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow). After listening to some of your songs, I can definitely hear that influence. What was it like working with him?

Well, you go to his house and studio in the Swedish countryside. You play with his chickens and cats, you play with some wild instruments. Drink coffee all day, wine all night, and then boom, you got yourself an EP. Just kidding — sort of. No, it’s really fun, there’s such a relaxed atmosphere that’s contrasted with a focused work ethic. It’s an environment that creates a really good creative flow. And Pontus is amazing at finding the core of a great idea, fleshing it out, adding some wild colors and textures to it and giving great ideas to create a really unique sound.

In general, what differences do you notice between your first EP, Highlighter and The Real Pavo? Have you seen growth, or more willingness to take risks? Or even just improvement of your sound?

With Highlighter, there was no driving narrative behind the EP, it was more so an experimentation of songs and finding a style of sound. But since then, I feel like the music has taken on a bit more complexity and intention, in both the sound and songwriting. I wanted to craft The Real Pavo with a bigger message, even if it was just for me, something that had a cohesive narrative behind it. There’s blue monkeys, velvety dreamscapes, cardboard cars — it’s a lot of madness but believe it or not, it somehow makes sense to me. I’m excited to see how people react to this new world because it is similar in some aspects to Highlighter, while still being very uniquely its own. It’s not necessarily an improvement, or a bigger risk, but just the next step in an always-changing world of sound that I’m falling in and out of love with.

And, I guess this is sort of “obvious” but, MishCatt isn’t your legal name. Why did you decide to perform as “MishCatt” instead of your “real” name? (And I read that this is a whole concept — so please, feel free to explain it all!)

MishCatt was something that came to me while I was galavanting around Europe. This was another — sort of an experiment I wanted to try out. So, I didn’t have enough money and wanted to see if you could exchange art (photography and music) for food and places to stay. Gladly it worked, and I ended up traveling for three months in Europe. I was also able to play in the streets and meet other artists. I had this monkey mask that I was traveling with, and I would wear it while improvising with DJs.

I started to let other people wear the mask while playing in the street, and it was fascinating because you could see their true colors coming out — they were living without a filter. I think Oscar Wilde said that if you give people a mask, they will tell you the truth, and it’s absolutely true. So I decided to combine my given name, “Mish,” with the name I gave myself, “Catt.”  And it’s wild because we all live and identify with a name we didn’t pick ourselves, but how much more confident and intuitive would people be if they lived life with a name that was purely them?

I hear you like to talk about self-exploration, so let’s talk about it! Obviously most artists use their music as a form of self-exploration or at least as a release, but I think they do it in a bit of a shallow sense. After listening to your music and watching your videos, I get the feeling that you’re trying to meet God, or something. Tell me a little bit more about your process, and how you’ve managed to get so, well, deep within yourself.

Thank you! Well, life is a self-exploratory journey and we all have our own ways to do it. I see music as a drug you take through your ears, which manipulates and influences your emotions, and it’s definitely part of the process of self-exploration. The most important message from music, in my opinion, is that we are not alone. Sometimes we feel more comfortable by knowing that other people are feeling the same as us, and that helps with not being afraid of what we are going through in our inner world. Exploring sounds and songwriting is exploring emotions and different ways you perceive the world with your imagination. You learn about compassion, about blocks you got inside, about just feeling free and not having any intention behind, but to create and having no filters. You learn about dealing with feelings that are hard to distill, and all of this is healing in the end.

I grew up in a very creative atmosphere, and so exploring feelings and anxieties has always sort of been paired with music, dancing, visual art, etc. I think it’s something I’ve carried with me for a while, and so I hope I can inspire others to not be afraid of self-exploring every part of you — you have to do it in order to give a truly authentic message in the world.

Speaking of deep vs. shallow — as a pretty woman who sings synthpop, it’d probably be pretty easy for you to just sing the typical pop songstress fare. Why do you think you’ve chosen to take the “weirder” path, and why do you think you’re willing to do the “harder” work?

I’ve never really thought of any one path as harder or easier — it’s all hard, and it’s all work in some way. But I guess the most important thing to me on this path is to connect with myself in the most authentic way I can, and deliver messages that will somehow change the world — inspire people to not be afraid of that limitless creativity they carry and believe in themselves. I want to prove to myself that anything I imagine and envision can be actualized. Life’s way too short to make music or anything you’re not in love with. So if it’s weird, or harder, I just want to make sure that at the end of the day, I’m happy with what’s been made.

You were born with synesthesia, which is super cool to me. Obviously it affects the way you experience the world. How does it affect the way you create art, and specifically, how did it affect the creation of your latest EP?

Synesthesia is one of those things that’s so hard to describe because it’s quite impossible for most people to understand how I use it in my songwriting. But when listening to different instruments, melodies or chords I feel and see certain colors and textures. And when I feel like a song needs a little more of this color, or less of that, my initial thought is “this song could use some yellow and reds,” but that’s not a very good note to anyone else. So it is my first intuitive reaction because it’s just how I think, but then I need to sort of internalize what that means and adapt that note into something comprehensible. With this EP, I feel like the four songs embody the perfect range of colors and textures.

I don’t get the feeling that you care too much about accolades, but you are the MOST streamed artist from Costa Rica of ALL TIME. That has to be pretty exciting. How are you feeling about that?

Well, of course, I feel very grateful that my music has resonated with people in my home country, and part of the world, but my biggest fear is getting comfortable and complacent, so I try not to think about that and just keep moving forward and creating music. Because everything changes, and if you depend completely on those numbers, and they go down, your emotions and ego will get affected and it’s very easy to get depressed when your happiness depends on external situations out of your control.

You also just performed at the Avicii Tribute Concert for Mental Health Awareness at Friends Arena in Aviciis’s hometown of Stockholm. What an incredible opportunity! How did it come about and can you tell us what your experience was like?

There is a producer I’m working with, Carl Falke, who worked on “Fades Away” with Tim. He was preparing for the tribute concert, and I had the opportunity to sing the song live, which was such an incredible and profound experience. To be a part of such a beautiful event with such talented artists and raise money for the Tim Bergling Foundation was such an honor. All of Tim’s fans, friends and family under one roof — it had such a magical energy, and it was a night I’ll forever be grateful for.

And finally, my favorite question to ask all artists — why should the world care about MishCatt?

Oh boy. Why should anyone care about anything? I think people should care about MishCatt, or rather my music and my weird world, because it’s a place to feel free. I hope for people to listen to the music, or watch the videos, and feel a sense of freedom, that anything is possible, there are only the rules we give ourselves, so it’s up to us if we want to live without any. Paint yourself purple. Write that poem, go on an adventure, live in the moment and feel the purity of living in whatever the hell way you want to live. Don’t take yourself so seriously and just smile.

Featured Image: Ellie Pritts

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