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Carry Your Heart

Catherine A.D. talks about the brooding darkness in her Valentine's Day EP and her collaboration with illustrator Nikki Pinder.

Singer Catherine A. D. and illustrator Nikki Pinder tell us about collaborating on the artwork for Catherine's EP, 'Carry your heart,'  due for release on Valentine's Day.

Dazed Digital: A lot of your work has quite a dark, melancholy feel to it; where does that influence come from?
Catherine A. D.: All the black in my wardrobe... combined with my life-long passion for Nick Cave and Tom Waits, everything David Lynch has ever done,the poets Hart Crane and David Foster Wallace (who I think has an exquisite black humour). But not all of my influences come from a dark place. I want to shine a light in the darkness.

Nikki Pinder: When I create artwork I take inspiration from everything which surrounds me – the things I see, people I meet, places I go, but I also reflect and tell stories about my own personal experiences of life. So I don’t have one specific influence when creating, expressing myself through my work is like making a new recipe, which has a beginning, middle and an end. Every recipe has different ingredients depending on the subject and what mood or story I’m trying to express. I will agree that a lot of my artwork does on first appearance have dark and melancholy visual suggestions. However, when you look deep into my work you find that it also contains a lot of humour and many positive messages of building inner strength and the hope for future happiness. I want to make people find an element of hope from being able to relate to the visual stories I tell.

DD: How did you end up working together?
CAD: I think our eyes met across a crowded myspace ; ) I think we both instantly felt like we had all these ideas for things we wanted to work on together and shared a passion for the surreal and the ornate.

NP: I discovered Catherine’s music on Myspace a few years ago and instantly fell in love with her lyrics, sound, and everything about the way she tells stories through songs. We’re very similar in the way we see the world and how we enjoy delivering messages to people visually, so we’ve just always connected really well.

DD: What other collaborations have you been part of or are planning in the future?
CAD: So far as musical collaborations go; I sang on The Veils' new single last week (an amazing band on Rough Trade) and I'm currently working with Bernard Butler on recording some tracks for my album which has been a very fruitful collaboration. I am also currently working with an amazing young film-maker called Malcolm Pate on something for the make-up brand Illamasqua which is going to be more of a sound collage than a soundtrack.

NP: I feel very lucky in that so far in my career I’ve already managed to work with many very talented and inspiring creative people ranging from musicians and poets, to textile designers and photographers. One of my proudest achievements to date was when I created a book cover and jacket for the debut novel of a talented author called Megan Taylor. The book is called ‘How We Were Lost’ and it was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve worked on as I’m completely in love with books and the story suited my style perfectly. I’ve also collaborated with many musicians to create various EP, vinyl and album artwork, and I have many exciting project collaborations already lined up for this year.

DD: Nikki you are an illustrator, writer and recently dabbled in music video making too? Is there anything else you'd like to try your hand at?
NP: Creating the ‘Butterfly Lullaby’ music video for the band Swing Out Sister was one of the most exciting times of my life as I was given the opportunity to work with several amazingly talented people, and I learnt so much from the whole project. As we created a stop motion video, I was able to try my hand at art direction, as well as film prop making and many other things such as story writing and editing. I created the video with Rebecca Miller who is one of my favourite photographers as she always thinks outside the box and her work is breathtakingly beautiful. I enjoyed the project so much and I really want to continue making music videos.

I’ve also recently started writing a lot of poems and short stories, and I’m in talks with a Californian photographer about creating a series of illustrated short stories with photographs combined. I’ve been inventing mechanical story telling top hats and bowlers for the past year. I want to start doing workshops at colleges, schools and Universities to give out fresh ideas as I love helping encourage people.

One of my biggest passions and dreams is to work with people who have had misfortunate experiences in their past such as bullying, homelessness, and people who suffer from eating disorders, self-harm and personal inner battles as I want to find a way to connect with them and show them how they can release their feelings in a positive creative way through art, to hopefully help them in some way to feel better inside.

DD: Catherine, when can we next catch you performing?
CAD: I'm performing with some members of the LPO (London Philharmonic Orchestra) at the Royal Festival Hall on February 27th where I'll be playing a short set of songs that I've arranged especially for the orchestra. I'm trying to bring stage diving to the Southbank...

The EP will be released at an Anti-Valentine's Day massacre on Saturday 14th February.