The following interview is with the artist and musician Zara Kand, daughter of Christian Death's lead singer Valor Kand. Here Zara speaks about her influences, her art and playing with Gitane Demone.
Can you tell us about your early life - were you influenced by your father Valor to become interested in music and art?
Z > I have been very fortunate to have grown up with creative people, completely submerged in their passions. It taught me early on to obey such inner callings, as opposed to conforming to a concrete role molded by outer society. Because of this encouragement and freedom to express myself I was able to discover my passions so quickly; by 4 years old you couldn't get me away from my pens and crayons, doodling on whatever surface I could find. And I suppose hearing music constantly and its production embedded in me a natural affinity for it too, which I wouldnt discover until my later years.
Who are some of your influences in art, music and writing?
Z > That's hard to say, because I feel like everything we come into contact with serves as an influence, not just people but places and experiences too... All to go into the mixing pot that feeds our ever-changing perspective. So yes, all the characters I'd met that struck me as interesting - artists and eccentrics perhaps, also funky underground films, that one sinister brick wall pervaded by desperate vines (later to reoccur in my paintings), someone falling on their knee and the horror at seeing the red strands travel down, losing my virginity, etc...
Could you tell us about working with Gitane Demone?
Z > Gitane is very unique, very individualized... therefore working with her has ofcourse been inspiring, and further instilling that one should listen to 'their own voice'. We have had alot of fun together.
what are you doing when not painting or playing drums?
Z > I engage in all sorts of activities. When not working on painting or drumming for 'Crystelles', I am usually working on my solo music project 'Shark Egg Blues', or writing, sculpting, drawing - you name it. And when I'm not working on anything... I like to sit very still and stare at the sky, or I like to round up friends for drinks and dinner parties, dance like a primitive creature, or go for walks through the park... I also love to cook.
Do you find that it is difficult for women to express themselves through art?
Z > I really don't focus on that subject in general... Luckily I exist in a generation in which genderized inequality seems to have passed. We should all claim the thresholds of our expression based on Will alone, not by what bodies we were thrown into. Certainly man and woman experience life somewhat differently, but that's no longer an excuse for pity or superior recognition. It's your mind, and it's what you do with it.
Is gothic culture and music as popular now as it was in the 80's?
Z > Surely when it became known in the 80's it was a daring & exciting blast, and spread gradually with the few original bands to have created the scene... as time has gone on it's of course become more acceptable & accessable, and has morphed into all sorts of different styles within itself. It was cool to see, at the WGT festival in Germany for instance, the thousands of people (fanatically dressed as if they had been preparing their outfits the whole year for the event!). So yes I think it is, it's just changed a bit.
Will you be touring with Gitane Demone?
Z > Gitane Demone and Crystelles just did a European tour in the fall of last year - Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Vienna, Switzerland... It was wonderful. I'm not sure when the next one will be...
Are you planning a Zara Kand album, perhaps with guest appearances by various artists?
Z > I have my own music project called Shark Egg Blues, and will be releasing a new album before summer, titled 'Logic Vs. Magic'. This album happens to be all me - vocals, guitar, keyboard, strange percussions... I originally wanted to have other artists on there, like my Crystelles' bandmates; maybe have Gitane do some guitar or Jean-Paul Garnier do some harmonica, but somehow the album created itself and I realized it was finished!
Does Los Angeles inspire you in your art and music?
Z > I love working and living in Los Angeles. It just may have happened inevitably, but over the last years being here I have really found myself in my art. I like the city and the people are generally motivated here. The music scene is huge; it's easy to make lots of contacts, set up shows etc. And the fact that there are so many interesting characters here has given me much visual (although tormenting) inspiration. But there are alot of other places I really love too, sometime I wouldnt mind being near more nature, or in a European city where the food is the best!
Who are some of your favorite bands nowadays?
Z > I am into so many different bands and styles of music, its hard wrapping my head around it... but I will name a few favorites, whom I've mostly been listening to for years... Morphine, Rudimentary Peni, Tom Waits, John Lee Hooker, Coil, Elliot Smith, Bessie Smith, Tuxedo Moon, Dan Melcior, Captain Beefheart, David Bowie, Joy Division, and Christian Death.
What is your opinion of the current gothic scene?
Z > I think it's interesting... but I preferred it when it was more about the music and less about the 'dressing up for the dance party scene'... there are definitely much less bands than existed before and I think that's a shame.