Jill Krasnicki of dark electro act Animalia was kind enough to let me interview her about her album Mouth Full of Teeth.
You’re originally from Tasmania, what was your experience growing up in Hobart?
I loved growing up in Hobart. Being surrounded by trees and ocean had a positive impact on my brain. The small city and the closeness of everything made life easy and I had adventures as a child that just aren’t possible for people growing up in big cities.
But I always knew I wouldn’t stay in Hobart.
There was a restlessness that I can recall kicking in when I became a teenager and then, when my music life began, I knew Hobart would be too small for me to do what I wanted to do.
I started playing in a band as a bassist with my then-boyfriend and we both had a desire to leave Hobart, so at the start of 2006 (I was 21), we moved to Melbourne to have a crack at the “big city”.
We lived there for two years until we decided to move to Ireland. He really wanted to go and I was pretty much up for anything, so I went too.
The relationship fell a part in Galway, Ireland, in 2008, but I continued to play in the band. At the end of that year, we moved to Toronto – not for any particular reason, just mostly because we weren’t ready to go back to Australia – I played with the band for a couple more months but everything had turned sour and eventually things came to an end.
When I stopped playing in the band, I had to come to terms with also losing everything I had worked on for the past 4-5 years. As the guitarist and singer, my ex kept everything, as the bass player, I got nothing and had to start all over again. Ultimately it was good, but at the time it really sucked.
When did you decide to become a musician? What instruments do you play?
Animalia by Jenny Bundock
All through my life, leading up the being 15, I thought I would be a visual artist. Everything was pointing in that direction. I loved music, though, and used to watch episodes of Rage my Dad would tape. One day I was watching a Green Day special and there was one little bass lick at the start of a song and I thought “Hmm, maybe I’ll learn how to play bass!” And down, down, down the rabbit hole I went!
I learned the bass in school and joined bands. I sometimes did backing vocals but I wasn’t very confident. I remained primarily a bassist until I got to Toronto. Then I was forced to start branching out.
I had always wanted to be a singer, so I started writing songs where I played chords on the bass – high on the neck, so it was really melodic – and sang along. But the style was restricting, so I grudgingly went to acoustic guitar.
I performed like that for a while and experimented with electronic music on the side. From toying with electronic music, I learnt basic chords on the piano.When I get drunk I also think I can play drums but that’s just the booze talking.
Which came first – your pseudonym Animalia or your veganism?
Veganism. I went vegetarian in 2003. For the following years I moved into veganism but didn’t go “hard-core” vegan till the start of 2009. (Toronto brought about a lot of good changes!)
Tell us about your latest album- Mouth Full of Teeth- and how it sits with your other music- you were playing acoustic music- what made you go ‘darker’?
“Animalia” definitely comes from my vegan-y morals and the way I see the world. To me, the word should always serve as a reminder: we are all animals. There is no separation. We don’t want to be hurt, other animals don’t want to be hurt. As Victoria’s Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary slogan says “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?”
Mouth Full of Teeth was being set up to be a mix of acoustic and electronic, but leading up to the recording session, I dropped the acoustic stuff and re-wrote most of the album in a couple of weeks. I never saw myself as a guitarist; I just kept going because I was unsure of how to perform the electronic stuff. I just had to bite the bullet, so I did! And now I couldn’t be happier with the decision.
You’ve been compared to Bjork – what a compliment! Who influences your music?
The electronic music, the darkness it expresses, is the music I’ve always wanted to make. It took me a few years to finally get there, but it was worth the wait.
Yeah, there’s definitely a Bjork influence in my music. It’s nice when people make the connection because she’s such a rad artist, but it also makes me strive to work harder at finding my own style more. I discovered Bjork when I was 15 – I bought “Vespertine” and it totally changed the way I saw music. Then when I was living in Ireland, I discovered Kate Bush’s album, Hounds of Love, and again I was like, “woah! This is what music can be?!”
These days though, I try to stay away from listening to too much music, otherwise my writing gets warped too easily by what I’ve exposed myself to.
Any future plans in the works? You’re coming to Australia in 2015- any Tasmanian dates?
Yeah, I definitely want to get to Australia for some shows and there will definitely be Tassie dates included when I do. It’s hard to know exactly what 2015 will bring. I’m writing a new album now and have some label interest for it, so who knows. Hopefully bigger tours, more festivals, that sort of thing!
To hear Animalia’s music visit her website here.
Photos used are from Animalia’s facebook page and shot by Jenny Bundock.