The Record Collective: Redzhanna Jazmin / An Interview

Taken from The Kings Record Collective blog. Interview conducted, transcribed, and details added by myself.

Self confessed Panic at the Disco! fan Redzhanna Jazmin talks us through her musical processes from childhood, her former school band and dazzlingly demonstrates her best party trick....

Interviewer: So Redzhanna, when was the first time you picked up a guitar?

Redzhanna: when I was the tender age of five years old. My mum was like "you don’t like piano, will you like guitar"? And I was like “guess what, yeah!”

Interviewer: Did you play other insutruments before?

R: I played piano, and then I picked up guitar, then I picked up drums, then I picked up the flute, then I dropped the flute 'cos the flute just didn’t work out, then I dropped the drums because I was like nope… my guitar skills haven’t gotten any better…

Interviewer: They have! But your song writing skills, where did you pick those up from? 

R: The first bit of Wet Paint started off over the summer of, I think two years ago. I was like "Ooh, that sounds nice!", and then I was like "how can I play around with this?". It came from like two different ideas and then I merged them together and I was like "ah! Result! A song!". Then I added the interlude bit between the chorus and the verses [...] the song got rearranged a lot in the process.

Interviewer: So you were in a band once....

R: Right, so we were called The Fountain Kings, I know right? Fantastic name! This is when I really liked Pierce the… well, I still do like Pierce the Veil and Vampire Weekend. 

Interviewer: That’s a bit of difference between Pierce the Veil and Vampire Weekend!

R: Right, okay, so my favourite band is Panic at the Disco [laughs]. So, Pierce the Veil - lead singer is called Vic Fuentes, which means fountain in English. And then Ezra Koenig -  Koenig means King… and then we were like "Fountain Kings! Oh my God we’re geniuses!"  It’s a terrible band name, I don’t know why we ever picked it! 

Interviewer: What kind of thing did you play when you were in this band? 

R: So that is where my song writing took off. The first few drafts of songs were alright, then we played them. Around year eleven is when I was like, “Oh! This might be quite an okay song!” if I tried a bit harder at it and then I did!

Interviewer: So, you started playing but what started to convince you to start writing songs? - I know not many people would do it, well not many people are brave enough 'cos it’s very personal. 

R: When we were doing the band we did Battle of the Bands and stuff - that’s why we formed the band - basically we had to write an original song every year so that’s why I started writing.

Interviewer: What were your influences when you started writing?

R: My music taste is very varied, I pretty much listen to anything. I’m gonna say this again: Panic at the Disco!, 'cos I really fancy Brendan Urie (ten year crush). I also love Bombay Bicycle Club, I love Flyte, I love Lucy Rose, Neutral Milk Hotel, they’ve got really solid albums. I like when music tells a story.

Interviewer: Right, and yours seems to do that...

R: None of them are autobiographical ... I tell a story when I write but it’s never my own story.

Interviewer: When you say you don’t write your songs based on yourself, what do you get it from?

R: Sometimes some people will say something funny and I’ll write it down and then I’m like "this could be a song". Sometimes I just sing on the tube and I think "oh my god I’m a genius! Just thought of the greatest lyric ever!"

Interviewer: It’s like an epiphany moment, it’s a light bulb moment where you're like I can write a song about this! 

R: Writing for me is tough, I guess, but it’s because I’m never satisfied with the way things go.

Interviewer: You’re a true artist, no artist is ever satisfied!

R: Yeah, Wet Paint took me a long time to finish. Also Flight Song started off as two minutes; then I left it for eight months then I was like "ahhh, I’ve thought of something else!"

Interviewer: So if you had to decide between spending an evening with Panic at the Disco! or being paid to play all of your live music for the next fifteen years, what would you pick? Because we understand your obsession... you can do whatever you want to them for a whole night....

R: I can’t stop talking about Panic at the Disco! because I just saw them!... I’d do the live music because I’m thinking about if I have more money, how many more Panic at the Disco concerts can I go to? 

Interviewer: If you had to tell me to listen to – not Panic at the Disco! – but one new artist, what would I listen to?

R: New artist… Flyte’s not really new… but Flyte. It's indie - they’ve got a lot of cool guitar riffs and stuff, and their harmonies are so good.

Interviewer: Finally, what's your best party trick?  

R: I can do dog barking….[she demonstrates her extraordinary talent] People hate when I do that! I had loads of neighbours with dogs, and so they kept barking and I kept barking back at them! And my brother barks a lot and I was like how do you do that?

Check out Redzhanna's top ten songs of the moment on Spotify below:

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