10 Questions with… Theodora

With our interview series »10 Questions With…,« we would like to introduce you to a number of bands and artists from this year’s Pop-Kultur programme who definitely deserve a place in your playlists and hearts. After SADO OPERA, MADANII & LLUCID, Mueran Humanos, Eat Lipstick, Super Besse, and 24/7 Diva Heaven, it’s now the turn of Theodora.

  1. Your main instrument is the bass guitar. How and why did you start playing it?

I started playing the bass guitar when I was thirteen. I already listened to a lot of rock music, and my brother had just started to learn the guitar. In a way I tried to be as cool as him but in a slightly different way, that’s how I bought a bass and started to play it!

  1. What role does the bass play in your songwriting process? 

It depends. I have two ways to start the composition of a song: either I find a chord progression and the beginning of a melody with a synth; or I start with a sequence of rhythm and bass, and then add the chords. But either way, the bass is a key element as I’m always very focused on what it brings to the song.

  1. Your music has recently been very dancefloor-oriented. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I have always listened to a lot of techno, italo disco, house music, and I pay close attention to how the music gets bouncy, danceable. That’s how I started to make songs such as »Bastante« or »Get Obsessional.« My inspiration comes from various times and styles – I love 70s and 80s stuff such as ESG, Giorgio Moroder, 90s material such as Green Velvet, Raze, and darker things such as Röyksopp, TR/ST.

  1. Your project for Pop-Kultur is situated in a very special environment. What can you tell us about the place where it was shot?

We shot the video in a club called Le Petit Palace. In the 80s, the club Le Palace used to be a very famous place for night owls. It became quite mythical with the years! Then it closed, and Le Petit Palace now is located just beneath the old club. Marco Dos Santos, who directed the video, is a resident DJ at Le Petit Palace, he thought it would be the perfect spot to shoot »I Tried,« as there is a kind of an old-fashioned atmosphere that fits with the song.

  1. What’s »I Tried« about?

»I Tried« is a love song, and also a break-up song. Like an incantation, it speaks about the attempts and failures of a relationship. Full of nostalgia, tainted with regrets, the song has also an energy that moves forward, and expresses changes in action.

  1. »I Tried« will be featured on your forthcoming album. What can you already tell us about the  record? 

The record, called »Too Much For One Heart,« is my debut LP. It’s like a chronic of my life between the age of twenty and thirty. The lyrics are very introspective, but I wanted it to sound very lively and rhythmic. So I tried to create a feeling of danceable melancholy throughout the album. It will be released in the Spring of 2021!

  1. Your latest single »Bastante« is a Summer song written and sung in Italian. What was the idea behind the track?

With »Bastante,« I wanted to revisit italo disco in my own way, combining house rhythms, arpeggiators and layers created with a Prophet synth. I am fond of Italian music and the Italian language, which I studied, so I asked Melisande Labrande, one of my best friends with whom I went to Italy several times, to write lyrics for me. I imagined a kitschy dance party in Italy in the heart of the summer, an atmosphere that evokes images similar to the movie »Call Me by Your Name« by Luca Guadagnino.

  1. Italian culture, most notably the crime novels and movies known as gialli, have also been a topic in your collaboration with Mila Dietrich on the song »Lien de sang.« What’s the story behind the track?

Last summer, Mila Dietrich sent me an instrumental and asked me if I wanted to sing on it. I told her it had quite a dramatic tension that reminded me of some giallo movie scores, which I enjoy. I imagined a story that could be the narrative of one of these movies, an erotic thriller, mixing love, blood, and shivers! She liked it and that’s how we collaborated.

  1. You generally sing mostly in English though. Why’s that? 

I must admit I enjoy writing in English, I don’t know why or how, but it comes naturally for me even though I’m not totally bilingual. I love the power of evocation of the English language, its polysemy.

  1. What do you wish for the future of this world?

That’s a current obsessive question for me. I think it’s a time in which we all wonder what we can do; what we could change in our lives, as a lot of certainties crumbled and keep crumbling. I think it’s an interesting time to imagine new ways of life, to try and get rid of the old world, the old habits, all of the contingent things people thought were necessary. I would wish for a more global consciousness of all this, and I would wish for art to keep growing, taking more and more space, as it’s a way to keep hoping, to keep dreaming.

Theodora (Photo: Clément Vayssières)

Theodora (Photo: Clément Vayssières)

With our interview series »10 Questions With…,« we would like to introduce you to a number of bands and artists from this year’s Pop-Kultur programme who definitely deserve a place in your playlists and hearts. After SADO OPERA, MADANII & LLUCID, Mueran Humanos, Eat Lipstick, Super Besse, and 24/7 Diva Heaven, it’s now the turn of Theodora.

  1. Your main instrument is the bass guitar. How and why did you start playing it?

I started playing the bass guitar when I was thirteen. I already listened to a lot of rock music, and my brother had just started to learn the guitar. In a way I tried to be as cool as him but in a slightly different way, that’s how I bought a bass and started to play it!

  1. What role does the bass play in your songwriting process? 

It depends. I have two ways to start the composition of a song: either I find a chord progression and the beginning of a melody with a synth; or I start with a sequence of rhythm and bass, and then add the chords. But either way, the bass is a key element as I’m always very focused on what it brings to the song.

  1. Your music has recently been very dancefloor-oriented. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I have always listened to a lot of techno, italo disco, house music, and I pay close attention to how the music gets bouncy, danceable. That’s how I started to make songs such as »Bastante« or »Get Obsessional.« My inspiration comes from various times and styles – I love 70s and 80s stuff such as ESG, Giorgio Moroder, 90s material such as Green Velvet, Raze, and darker things such as Röyksopp, TR/ST.

  1. Your project for Pop-Kultur is situated in a very special environment. What can you tell us about the place where it was shot?

We shot the video in a club called Le Petit Palace. In the 80s, the club Le Palace used to be a very famous place for night owls. It became quite mythical with the years! Then it closed, and Le Petit Palace now is located just beneath the old club. Marco Dos Santos, who directed the video, is a resident DJ at Le Petit Palace, he thought it would be the perfect spot to shoot »I Tried,« as there is a kind of an old-fashioned atmosphere that fits with the song.

  1. What’s »I Tried« about?

»I Tried« is a love song, and also a break-up song. Like an incantation, it speaks about the attempts and failures of a relationship. Full of nostalgia, tainted with regrets, the song has also an energy that moves forward, and expresses changes in action.

  1. »I Tried« will be featured on your forthcoming album. What can you already tell us about the  record? 

The record, called »Too Much For One Heart,« is my debut LP. It’s like a chronic of my life between the age of twenty and thirty. The lyrics are very introspective, but I wanted it to sound very lively and rhythmic. So I tried to create a feeling of danceable melancholy throughout the album. It will be released in the Spring of 2021!

  1. Your latest single »Bastante« is a Summer song written and sung in Italian. What was the idea behind the track?

With »Bastante,« I wanted to revisit italo disco in my own way, combining house rhythms, arpeggiators and layers created with a Prophet synth. I am fond of Italian music and the Italian language, which I studied, so I asked Melisande Labrande, one of my best friends with whom I went to Italy several times, to write lyrics for me. I imagined a kitschy dance party in Italy in the heart of the summer, an atmosphere that evokes images similar to the movie »Call Me by Your Name« by Luca Guadagnino.

  1. Italian culture, most notably the crime novels and movies known as gialli, have also been a topic in your collaboration with Mila Dietrich on the song »Lien de sang.« What’s the story behind the track?

Last summer, Mila Dietrich sent me an instrumental and asked me if I wanted to sing on it. I told her it had quite a dramatic tension that reminded me of some giallo movie scores, which I enjoy. I imagined a story that could be the narrative of one of these movies, an erotic thriller, mixing love, blood, and shivers! She liked it and that’s how we collaborated.

  1. You generally sing mostly in English though. Why’s that? 

I must admit I enjoy writing in English, I don’t know why or how, but it comes naturally for me even though I’m not totally bilingual. I love the power of evocation of the English language, its polysemy.

  1. What do you wish for the future of this world?

That’s a current obsessive question for me. I think it’s a time in which we all wonder what we can do; what we could change in our lives, as a lot of certainties crumbled and keep crumbling. I think it’s an interesting time to imagine new ways of life, to try and get rid of the old world, the old habits, all of the contingent things people thought were necessary. I would wish for a more global consciousness of all this, and I would wish for art to keep growing, taking more and more space, as it’s a way to keep hoping, to keep dreaming.