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CZARINA - 'Ad Initivm' | The Interview

CZARINA® (styled as C Z A R I N A) is a lady by the name of Vero Faye Kitsuné an award winning multi-instrumentalist who's keen eye for aesthetics & story driven performances have taken her fans on some amazing journeys through soundscapes and new age mysticism.

Her multi-disciplinary approach to her craft has etched her into the hearts of many creating an amazing lore surrounding the character she created adding that touch of class and edge that keeps her fans wanting more.

CZARINA's unique soundscapes fuse the electronic with the organic to offer us a rich tapestry in genres from Cyberpunk to Industrial and Darkwave. She's has been influenced of course by many to include Kate Bush, Nine Inch Nails & TOOL and immerses herself in the visual masters and storytellers such as Hajime Sorayama, HR Giger, Katsuhiro Otomo, but never strays from carving her own truth in each of her unique creations.

It's fair to say that CZARINA is truly at home on the Neon Lit stage and is an established Creative Director and Fashion Designer, she has also tenured as a professional brand architect for several fashion labels and master licenses globally.

She co-runs the creative branding powerhouse for art, design, photography, film and music called THE KITSUNÉS with the artist DeadlyKawaii (Carlos Kitsuné). She is also an active wildlife, marine life and ocean advocate.

There's no stopping this Warrior Princess for today she drops another incredible Single called 'Ad Initivm' which is paired with another incredible video leading on from her altogether powerful presentations including a short film that debuted in 2019 called 'C Z A R I N A - "BLAZE: Dances of the Yokai [The Tale of the Assassin and the Samurai] which won the coveted New York Film Award for Best Music Video.

Forged took the opportunity to interview this formidable lady, read on!


Thank you very much for sharing your time with Forged in Neon today, you’ve had some significant changes in your life over a short space of time, how did 2020 go for you overall despite everything?

Thank you so much for having me here, Ashley! 2020 was a strange year for sure. It was one of the most challenging, yet also one of the best years for me personally. It forced me to go through the changes I needed. I somehow ended up in paradise. That was not really part of my plan, but I definitely have no right to complain. :)

It’s fair to say that you’re quite possibly the best at fusing your Art and Aesthetic with the music you create to give the fan and/or onlooker quite a visual and aural experience drawing on influences from Blondie to Nine Inch Nails, how hard is it to maintain that creativity given the bar that you’ve set so high?

You’re making me blush. Thank you - I can only hope to push the envelope and set a bar.

It’s hard for me to think in those terms when I’m in any creative process. I guess I am only aware of the bars I’ve set for myself or things I’ve already done. I think continuous growth has a lot to do with maintaining creativity. I’m a nerd and a hungry little sponge for a lot of random knowledge.

Everyday I just want to learn or nerd over some weird interesting topics I never looked into before. One day, I’ll nose dive deep further into Ancient Astronaut Theories. The next moment, it would be about new findings in metaphysics. (I guess my A.D.D. really shows right now.) But I’m always looking for things that would take me to strange places and teach me. I do absorb a lot of it, and then followed by a need to churn it into art with my own perspective. Fashion also taught me that.

Part of being a designer is researching and developing new concepts constantly. So my mind is always ticking and wired to look for things that are new or have not been further explored or developed.

Also, I am a weirdo and I’ve learned to embrace my weirdness - and that really helps! As long as it’s all done with style, right?

Those that follow your career will know that you’ve re-located to Galicia in Spain, such a change from New York, do you miss it? Why?

I miss my friends, my family and the pre-pandemic life in New York. I definitely miss the

audience and the shows. We have an excellent and super supportive New York City Synthfam.

Synthwave nights were always epic. If things were normal, I would have probably already played my 20th show at the Knitting Factory along with Bunny X, Turbo Goth, Faith In The Glitch and then partied our butts off at St. Vitus for Nightwav with the rest of the crew. But other than that, I am enjoying life in Galicia way too much to really miss New York. The Galicians introduced me to a truly beautiful, gentler and more sustainable way of life, which I really need at this moment in my life after doing the New York hustle since forever. The food alone! OMG, it’s insanely awesome! Also, we’re surrounded by the ocean and nature. I woke up one day and realized that under all that cybertech attire, I really am a nature-loving, granola hippie deep down inside.

7th Nov 2018 | Knitting Factory, Brooklyn NYC - Pic Credit: Joy of Violent Movement

Some may not know that you’re also the lady behind the much-celebrated shoe label Ivy Kirzhner brand NYC which has garnered quite the status and has celebrity followers such as Beyonce, Christina Ricci and Shakira to name a few. That’s incredible, I do understand however that prior to the pandemic you were to re-launch your brand. How far into the process are you with that at the moment? Is it likely you’ll start trading again this year all things considered?

We definitely had plans set for entering a new price point and market range. We wanted to

step up and challenge ourselves to bring more sustainability fused with technology in fashion.

Concepts and ideas for collections, fashion presentations and e-commerce were laid on the table which are all easy to get back to and rehash. Right now, we’re just watching how the global market is doing. We don’t want to add to any noise as most people need help getting back on their feet first and get re-centered and revitalized. I always say, fashion can always wait and is at its best when the world is happy and healthy. A lot of the concepts and ideas will change depending on what the world looks like post-pandemic. With the way things are, it seems things will most likely make the move late next year at the earliest. For now, I’m just taking a deep breath, enjoying life as I never had before and making magic happen in my music and visual production.

Well, we cannot chat and not mention the absolute triumph that was the award winning ‘BLAZE: Dances of the Yokai [the Tale of the Assassin and the Samurai] a New York Film Award Winner no less. How fun was that to do from conception to realisation?

BLAZE: Dances of the Yokai was one of the best creative experiences I’ve ever had so far! I

love “chanbara” Samurai flicks, especially the ones by Akira Kurosawa (Yojimbo, Seven Samurai). My husband, the artist DeadlyKawaii, is a 3rd Dan budo, Japanese mixed martial artist and a long-time disciple. Martial arts is at the core of our life together, along with music and art. He has been training me in swords for quite some time, and he has been the inspiration and muse for this music film project. Since I don’t foresee any real battles happening anytime soon, I figured, why not start a fictional one and make it look like a live-action anime?

We just threw all of the concepts and ideas we love - badass cyberpunk samurais and warriors inspired by Mortal Kombat and Tekken characters. Yet we also wanted to give it some heart and magic, so we threw in a bit of folklore and Yokai legends reminiscent of Ghibli films that we both grew up on. Each of the fighters represent a guardian Yokai or “spirit.” And what is a Samurai-themed music film without Kabuki? I’ve been personally dying to participate in Kabuki, but the art is only reserved for men. I felt this is the right

opportunity to do some Kabuki flair my way, complete with a keytar.

With all these concepts, DeadlyKawaii and I didn’t care if combining all these ideas were going to be a hot mess. But as we drafted the treatment, the elements and the story all had fallen naturally into place, and we managed to include a message. Then we started developing concepts for the costumes, sets and production. We wrote the treatment back in 2018, but because it was so ambitious and production-heavy, I ended up shelving it to save it for the right moment. Like with all C Z A R I N A films, I have a very miniscule budget, but we try our best to make the most of it and go beyond in terms of execution. Then early 2019, this really cool film crew from Barcelona discovered my Instagram and reached out to see if I would be interested in working on projects with them as they’ll be in New York for the summer to shoot several shorts and videos.

I sent Paul Carr, the director of Deliris Films Spain, the treatment for Blaze, wondering if he’d be up for the challenge. To my surprise, he was really excited to bring it to life. With limited time in our hands, I reached out to all my talented family and pals to see who’s got time to flex some muscles, work on some fight choreography and acting chops. I was really grateful that many from East Coast Synthfam answered - Bunny X, Faith in the Glitch, S.P.H.E.R.E.S., Turbo Goth, Wes Spaulding and Nes Phan all appeared as Yokai warriors. My cousin Ponti David, who used to be my drummer in my metal band 20 years ago, also helped with production and filled in as the Taiko player. One of my oldest friends, Chris O’Leary who’s known for doing a fabulous parody of Ming the Merc