Anyone would be nervous interviewing a character like Szjerdene. She is a star on the rise, notable both for her solo work and for her numerous collaborations with artists such as Rhye’s Robin Hannibal and Eric Lau. It seems incredible that an artist with relatively few solo releases has garnered such international success but Szjerdene’s is well deserved.
Szjerdene’s Patchwork EP of 2013 was a beautifully composed net of sound, exploring a range of style and techniques. What more could we expect from the new music that she’s currently working on? After being inspired by the geometrical shapes and colours seen on the North Borders tour with Simon Green a.k.a Bonobo, she has started developing a new vocal style due to her new perception of sound that has been greatly influenced by the tour and the life on the road. Szjerdene describes her new style as more mature and having moved on from her released single and EP, pushing the boundaries of her vocal abilities, exploring new sonic frequencies and hitting higher and more challenging notes than ever before.
When chatting with Szjerdene, she was on the verge of finishing a solid two year tour with Bonobo. Venturing through three continents and over thirty countries, the tour took place in venues as grand as Sydney Opera House alongside events full of sweat and grime like Manchester based Warehouse Project. Over the marathon tour, Szjerdene has certainly witnessed a wide range of venues and crowds. When asking about her favourite venue, Szerdene is indecisive. But then again, how could you compare the formal response of an audience seated in plush velvet in Folies Bergere in Paris to something like the Warehouse Project in Manchester where ceilings are dripping with sweat? You simply can not, yet Szjerdene goes on about the unbelievable effect the venue has to the mentality of the audience and the response you get from them.
When asking about the balance she has come to reach between her solo career and the collaborative work, she opens up about the emotional and physical drainage a large project like North Borders has been. She has found a balance between her commitments yet it is not surprising to hear about how her responsibilities have affected her life. The past two years have been long and difficult for Szjerdene yet immensely rewarding. Having relatively few solo releases within the past few years has meant that most of her work has been collaborative which raises the question: when can we expect to hear new studio work from Szjerdene? She does not want to reveal too much yet implies that there is a possibility of an EP being released early in the upcoming year or maybe even an album later on. What is certain that Szjerdene’s sound has matured and developed. With a voice like hers and the allure of a future indie diva, it is hard to believe that her career will be anything but successful.By Alice Miller