JOVANA landed on Earth during the Corona lockdown and surprised us earlier this year with her debut album ‘Jovana’. She presents herself very colourful, but her songs are also marked by deep melancholy. If you look closely, you can see a big connection to the Dark Wave duo SELOFAN. Will JOVANA tell us her secret?
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: JOVANA, you landed on planet Earth during the Corona lockdown. Where are you from? And how did you come to us?
Jovana: I come from a planet that stopped in the 80s. There was only this one decade there and it repeats itself in eternity. So, I wanted to experience something new and landed on Earth in the middle of the pandemic. That was really something new.
RoD: How do you like it here with us inhabitants of Earth? Would you like to stay?
Jovana: Many things are still incomprehensible to me on your planet. I will stay until it makes sense. If that takes too long, I’ll leave again.
RoD: Earlier this year you released your debut album ‘Jovana’. How did the idea for it come about and where did it originate?
Jovana: The record came out in our home studio on a day when we wanted to record something for SELOFAN. We never thought of starting a side project, it just happened by itself. We worked on a new track for SELOFAN, but although it touched us a lot, stylistically it didn’t fit SELOFAN. It was in the middle of the pandemic, so it was the first time we had much time at home. JOVANA saved us from both our own and the global depression.
RoD: What were people’s reactions to the record?
Jovana: I thought ‘Jovana’ would stay in the local circle, but surprisingly, the record was largely sold abroad. Personally, I am very happy with the feedback. The record is almost sold out, I put a few on the side in case there is ever a live show.
RoD: Which musicians in the universe have inspired you so far and why?
Jovana: Musicians who have been both show men and show women. Drag queens are also a big inspiration for me. If I had to name any, it would be MARC ALMOND, SIOUXSIE, DIVINE, DIAMANTA GALAS, ROZZ WILLIAMS, VIRGIN PRUNES, TUXEDOMOON, RESIDENTS, and many more, plus the cabaret artists of the 20s.
RoD: We have already talked about SELOFAN: You have a strong connection to them and their universe. How would you describe your music in comparison to SELOFAN?
Jovana: SELOFAN and JOVANA are two sides of the same coin. JOVANA is like the younger sister of SELOFAN, she is also not as optimistic as you might think at first listen. She masks her dark side with her garish appearance. The music itself is more playful, maybe even danceable and at the same time I discovered another side of myself through her and invented a new persona. The general feeling of JOVANA is “dancing with tears in my eyes”.
RoD: The songs on your album are all in Greek. Why did you decide not to sing in English, for example?
Jovana: I didn’t choose the language consciously. It all started with this very first song, which is also the first one on side A of the record, and that’s how it turned out. In retrospect, I think I felt the need to express myself in my mother tongue, and to be honest I really enjoyed it.
RoD: You show yourself very colourful, but the songs on the album are also very melancholic. How would you describe the mood of the record?
Jovana: ‘Jovana’ is the lightning before the storm and the rainbow afterwards. She is fresh and new, but you are sure that you have met her somewhere before. She seems like a warm embrace, just at the moment when you need it.
RoD: Will we be able to see you live on stage?
Jovana: I haven’t thought about it yet, everything is still open. I would like to, but only in Athens for the time being. Would that be a reason to travel to us?
RoD: It would definitely be a reason to travel to Athens! And do you already have plans for a second album?
Jovana: As far as music is concerned, I don’t like to plan. I let it come to me. The main problem is time. Unless we lock ourselves up at home again for some reason. Nothing can be ruled out.
RoD: Thank you very much for the interview!
All Pictures by Marilia Fotopoulou