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YvetteWinkler1Interview with

Yvette Winkler from Vaselyne

Yvette Winkler is a really versatile artist - a musician at VASELYNE, a photographer, the author of numerous artworks, a real creator of beauty. We talk to her about inspirations and being personal about one’s art.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: You are an extremely creative person - aside from being a very talented photographer at Yvette Winkler Photography you are also a member of the band VASELYNE. What gives you drive and inspiration to create art at these many levels?
Yvette: First of all thank you for your kind words Karolina. I think creating is kind of a necessity to me, like breathing .And the need to express myself is very strong. I never had the urge to conform, even when I was young. I would wear a pair of bright red disco pants to school as young as 10. I watched ‘Grease’ and wanted to be Olivia Newton-John. Started ballet at the age of 5, and danced in a company from age 14. Singing was just something I did at home while washing the dishes with my sister, or in my room singing along to MORRISSEY and MARC ALMOND. I wanted to be an opera singer. When I was around 14 I entered a singing competition and won. I sang in clubs for a couple of years, with a backing tape. But I wanted to make my own music and write lyrics (I already wrote poetry), so I formed my first band. Photography I discovered when I was in art school. I studied Textiles and Design, and photography was a course you could take. It came natural I suppose and soon after I started experimenting taking photos. In fact I graduated with jewellery made from textiles, with portraits of the women wearing them printed on the material. I always have a project forming in my head. Combining them is a bit of a struggle sometimes. But it’s not a sacrifice, it’s what I do.

RoD: Could you please tell me a bit more about your two projects? Do they intermingle in any way or are these two separate ways of your artistic expression?
Yvette: Well the main one is VASELYNE. It’s me and producer/ composer Frank Weyzig who used to be the original guitarist for CLAN OF XYMOX and is also the man behind ‘Born For Bliss’. We met through Pieter Nooten, whom I worked with on his album ‘Here is Why’. It was the Myspace era, we got in contact and thought let’s try and record something together, see what happens. So we recorded ‘Not To Be Mine’, our first track. It was an immediate musical click, we like a lot of the same music and the rest is history. Music with a glow. We get labelled Darkwave/ Ambient, even though we don’t really hear that ourselves. Our influences are artists like A PERFECT CIRCLE, PORCUPINE TREE, DAVID BOWIE, PETER HAMMIL, and JAPAN. My portraits are always in the form of a concept. I work in series and after finishing a series I try to have an exhibition to show my work. Right now I am doing a series inspired by the DAVID SYLVIAN song ‘Taking The Veil’. It’s almost done, so nearly ready to show the world. Of course my aesthetics go wherever I go. So that is visible in VASELYNE’s artwork as well. For our debut album a self-portrait graced the cover of the CD.

RoD: Where do you take your inspiration from? Are there any artists that you particularly admire?
Yvette: Inspiration can come from everything and everywhere. A movie or a book. Something you see in a film or on TV, overhearing people talk on the train. Just watching everyday life. Personally what inspires my writing most is daily life. The trials and tribulations we all go through. Love or lack of love, loss or new bonds. Everything that makes us human. Lyricists like PETER HAMMILL, DAVID SYLVIAN, NICK CAVE and LEONARD COHEN are the ones I most admire. As named before, musically that would be JAMES MAYNARD KEENAN (TOOL, APC), DAVID SYLVIAN, PETER HAMILL, MARC ALMOND, MORRISSEY, SCOTT WALKER, TRENT REZNOR, to name a few. When it comes to photography I’m very inspired by photographers like Edward Steichen, Cecil Beaton and Erwin Olaf. I’m also very taken by the work of another Dutch photographer Nona Limmen whom I discovered on Instagram.

RoD: Looking at your photos I have an impression you combine the classic, elegant aura with a harsher, wilder tint that give your photos a very distinct, diverse, intriguing effect. How would you describe your own sense of aesthetics, what is the effect you want to achieve with your models?
Yvette: I love movies and photos from the 40’s and 50’s. Woman like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Katherine Hepburn always looked so beautiful in their photos. Simple images that focus on the subject. When I started I only took B&W shots with one single light source, much in that tradition. Analogue of course and very grainy. But then I bought a digital camera and started doing more colour portraits. And it shifted slightly to another form of vintage combined with a more ethereal feel. Part of that is my muted colour pallet I think. I like things to look soft and have something emotional over them. Also, I’m trying to capture someone’s character and tell you something about that person.

RoD: Speaking of models - are there any particular persons or artists you like working with in particular?
Yvette: Most of my models are friends. I like to work with people I know and trust me. And I’m lucky to be surrounded by beautiful, strong women.

RoD: Now, about VASELYNE - it seems to me to be much as musical as visual project. I especially loved the imagery related to the video of ‘Earthbound’ which, aside from extremely beautiful music, features the chain of images that form ephemeral, almost poetic vision. What’s the concept behind the band?
Yvette: There isn’t really a concept as such. Only two people trying to make music with substance. Frank is the man that writes the music and plays every instrument, except from our guest musicians. I write all the lyrics, vocals and harmonies. We do add to each other’s work. So I have my opinion on what happens musically and Frank always pushes me to come up with different harmonies. Frank sends me basic demos to which I add lyrics. We record my vocals in his studio in Amsterdam, and after that Franks goes to work on the arrangement. We discuss a lot back and forth before we agree on a track being finished. This is not a quick process, but we go for quality not quantity. We tend not to shy away from the darker side of things. Probably mostly lyrically. Which perhaps adds to the nostalgia. I write about myself mostly, my view of the world. Things that happen to make you sad, angry, lose all hope or have faith. Visually moody and dark. Maybe a little hint of the 80’s, but in a modern way.

RoD: The leading motive in VASELYNE that I sense is a sort of nostalgia that expresses itself in a form of fantastic musical passages but above all the vocalic quality. Is this the effect you want to achieve? How would you yourself describe the music you make?
Yvette: Personal. I think that’s the main motive. And everything we listen to or admire in other bands comes together in VASELYNE. Without copying anyone, just being us. Frank’s gently acoustic guitar or piano, against electronic and rock influences. I use my range to try and add harmonies that go against the grain a bit. So there’s the dark and moody again, and on top of it the more angelic, for lack of a better word, harmonies.

RoD: In spring 2018 you stated that after a break in the band’s functioning you’d return to active status - what can be expected from the band in the nearest future?
Yvette: We’re working on our next album to be expected this fall/ winter. It’s going to be a darker and heavier VASELYNE. We have some amazing friends on this one, so look out for that. We are also planning to tour this one, and play some shows throughout Europe. So anyone that wants to hear us live, you know where to find us (smile) I’m doing more guest vocals, so busy as ever

RoD: Do you think you could live without art? How important is art in your life in general?
Yvette: No, but I’m lucky to be in the position to do what I love. It’s my way of expressing me freely and without boundaries. My message to the world. And I hope to touch people, and give them comfort with my words, vocals or images.

RoD: If you were to give a motto that’s leading you - what would it be?
Yvette: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - The Little Prince

RoD: Thank you very much for your time Yvette and wish you all the best.

Pictures by Yvette Winker

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