Almanac of Contemporary Aesthetics
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INNERSANCTUM

Interview by Conor McTernan

POISON ANNA likes to be referred to simply as Anna. This British- Czech musician, dancer, and singular young soul makes shadowy downtempo pop that draws on themes of spirituality, abuse of power, and social constructs. Following collaborations with Mobbs, ASAP Rocky, and Dean Blunt, she exploded onto the internet this year with EXCELSiA, a solo project issued by beloved London online broadcaster NTS Radio.

A South London gal at heart, she feels at peace when navigating the sprawling boroughs of its inner sanctum, though her roots extend to Prague, where at the time of this interview, she just returned from a gig.

CONOR MCTERNANYour entry point into music comes from a lifelong love of hip hop, contemporary, and improvisational dance—who introduced you to these art forms?
POISON ANNAI discovered a lot of music through my auntie’s records and whatever she was listening to at the time. It opened me to a really interesting array of genres and artists.
CMIn short succession, you began working with Mobbs, then ASAP Rocky and Dean Blunt, that’s quite a journey. What comes next?
PAI’d like to continue shocking my audience with new sounds and messages, and see where that takes me.

CMYou’ve mentioned that Blunt is like a mentor for you. What is the recording process like when you two get together and can we expect more collaborative material in the future?
PADean and I just are. Perhaps there will be new sounds somewhere, sometime. Who knows?

CMYou must have had a lot of inquiries from these projects. What have you learned about the music industry so far?
PAYou just have to have your focus set. That’s key. There’s a lot of opinions, options, and ideas, but your direct connection to your music is what’s important. Fuck everything else.
CMNTS Radio put out your record EXCELSiA earlier this year. What was it like putting out music with a community-based radio station as opposed to a more traditional record—and where would you like to release in the future?
PAIt was interesting for me. I like to be a part of new ideas and foundations so in that way it was cool. I’d already done my tape before making and decisions with NTS, so it was more about the creative possibilities. I knew what I wanted to achieve and just made it happen to be honest. In regards to future homes, I’m currently independent and allowing the wind to take me where I’m destined to go.
EXCELSIA
CMYour homestead of South London features heavily in your music videos. Foryou,whatsetsthecultureofSouth London out from the rest of the city—or anywhere worldwide?
PASouth is real. No hidden agendas. Don’t get me wrong, the speed of gentrification is sickening at times, but generally, I can exist in pockets of the South and feel at home with so many others and cultures.
CMHave you been to many places?
PABeen to many places seen many things indeed.
CMYour father is from Prague, tell us about your relationship with that city?
PAI just got back from a show out there and honestly, it healed me in so many ways. I didn’t realize I needed it. I’ve spent many years going there but because of the world’s current situation, it’s been hard to get out there recently. So this time around was so honorable. I got to see my grandma, be with my family, and take Mobbs to a place he once called home. Prague is a heavy part of my identity. I’m very aligned with that mystical place. It’s so special.
CMAs a young person, what’s your biggest concern about society today?
PAI think the speed at which all is generating. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the global impacts of our world. Understanding all the truths that are being injected into our minds. I believe that we all have the power within to source the resolutions of every single negative contribution, but we humans have become complacent, lazy, and numb to really committing to change. There’s a real world out there that needs us, beyond all this technology.
CMEXCELSiA deals with the abuse of power, consumerism, and social pressures amongst other things. Now that the fast pace of the world has resumed somewhat—aside from the obvious, do you think anything has changed?
PASpiritually I feel a shift. I have understood many deeper truths of this world and have met many people who are locked into connection with the shift. We have the power to change anything. So of course things have changed. But have they changed for the better? That’s the question.
CMSpirituality and emotional intensity feed largely into your work—how will you channel this into your upcoming live shows?
PAMy shows are an extension of the music so how I feel at that moment is what will lead my performance. Every show is to be different from the last.
CMWe know you’re sitting on material! What comes next after EXCELSiA?
PAEXCELSiA is just the introduction. Now you can expect the story to begin.

Image courtesy of the artist and NTS. Photo credit: Bram Cham.

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