Kate NV

Interview by Derek Robertson
Photography Sasha Mademuaselle in Moscow, Russia

Kate Shilonosova is hard to pin down. With both her glittery, hypnotic synth pop as Kate NV as the visceral, avant-garde post-punk noise merchants Glintshake, her music exists outside genre boundaries. Borrowing from a dizzying array of musical styles, she’s constantly seeking out new ways to blend sounds and sate her restlessness; drawing, writing in Russian and English or recording on old trains, repurposing the clack of the wheels as a beat. Creative freedom and national identity are important pillars in her work, yet the playful cool of her music belies the constricting circumstances facing artists in her home country.

Is it easy to know where Glintshake ends and Kate NV begins?

It’s difficult to switch between two (or three) different projects. I think NV is going to conquer all my brain soon, so it’s going to be obvious for everyone that there’s no proper borderline where something ends or begins – it’s just Kate NV plays guitar and sings in Glintshake.

When you don’t have direct access to information for such a long period of time, you find ways to get what you need

You’re from Kazan. I often find that the most creatively curious people aren’t from big cities; they’re from smaller places, their curiosity born from a sense of isolation.

Sometimes I think about that too. I imagine some lonely bug dug deep into the Siberian abyss making some spectacular groovy grooves. But I also know lots of people born and raised in Moscow who are creatively curious, probably sometimes even too much.

I’m very adventurous, but I don’t think that’s because I’m from Kazan; people from Russia are generally like this. When you don’t have direct access to information for such long period of time, you find ways to get what you need, overcoming all the obstacles. It’s our mentality.

You’ve said before that “heritage in Russia is treated very carelessly”. Is a musician’s role to preserve that?

It varies – sometimes you have to demolish to free up some space. Anyway, Russia feels so corrupted nowadays that practically every move you make feels like it has been taken on by some other people’s game.

Artistic censorship is on the rise everywhere, but particularly in Russia. Do you feel free to write whatever you want?

There is one good thing about censorship – it gives you something to press against. As Moscow artist Shilo puts it, if you don’t know what to do with your freedom, then you don’t need it.

Given the variety of styles of your output as an artist so far, what can we expect from the new album?

My upcoming album для FOR is going to be an ambient one, influenced by artists like Yoshimura and Midori Takada. Lots of tracks were born from improvisations that I’ve been playing and recording at concerts. I always wanted to make an album like this but never thought it would happen this soon. I often compare making music with scientific research – everything changes all the time, so you’re trying to explore yourself and how you perceive and feel music at certain periods of your life. These tracks just came to me in a natural way.

ДЛЯ FOR dropped via RVNG Intl. on 22 June.