Kate NV | "Marafon 15"

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Inspired by the ‘90s Russian television program марафон artist Kate Shilonosova — better known by her nom de plume Kate NV — returns with her newest music video for “Marafon 15,” directed by Gina Onegina, off her latest album Room for the Moon.

With such a wide range of album inspirations (including children's shows, ‘70s and ‘80s Japanese and Russian film and pop music, and fairytales), Kate NV’s video is pleasantly sparse, as the singer lets her own performance convey her myriad of influences. Alone on a pitch-black set, Kate is lit by a spotlight as she glides around in a fantastical costume and cape, which she enlivens with her graceful choreography, performative facial expressions and echoey vocals.

“Marafon 15” follows Kate NV’s video for “Sayonara” — another track straight from Room for the Moon — which cements the artist’s affinity for basic sets and choreographic flair.

Read a Q&A with Kate NV about her artistic influences, knack for languages and “Sayonara” video below, and watch her new video for “Marafon 15”.

You have quite a lot of influences for this album. How did you manage to blend them all together into a cohesive work in spite of the many diverging inspirations?

I think this process comes naturally and no one really thinks about the way they are going to mix all their influences together. Usually you just absorb everything like a sponge and then somehow you rework it.  In the end, any creativity is a mix of accumulated impressions and experience. In my case, I don’t think about mixing it all together, it does it by itself and I’m just an instrument helping out in this process.

Room for the Moon also revolves around cultural moments that you didn’t experience firsthand. What about them did you find so intriguing?

Actually, I was born in ‘88, a wonderful year! Michael, for example, went on his first solo tour, “Akira” and “My Neighbor Totoro”  and “Daydream Nation” came out! In general, I can say that I got on the last train, the very end of this beautiful decade. So I guess the whole atmosphere influenced me a lot. I was raised on the pop culture coming from ‘80s and early ‘90s.

My mom very carefully (and with great love) selected everything that flew into my ears and eyes. So I watched good films of the ‘70s and ‘80s, where everything was beautiful and strange and had amazing music! All these tv shows and movies always gave me a feeling of celebration and something magical that you actually can relate to. Back then everything looked so crazy and goofy—all this fake decorations, no CGI (or early attempts looked very amateur), most of the stuff was made by hand, that’s why even magical things looked very relatable, I really loved it. Characters costumes looked insane but at the same time you could easily recognise that they were made of familiar material like paper or sponge.

 Everything was naive, foolish, but incredibly deep. That’s why I like fairy tales — there is always deep thought behind superficial foolishness. So my album is a fairy tale too. Each song is like a character who, to one degree or another, is presented in me and shapes me as a person. 

‘70s and ‘80s Russian and Japanese pop music and film and a 20th century fairy tale. Which specific songs, films and fairytales caught your eye?

 There are so many! I really like the film “An Ordinary Miracle”. The Russian composer Gladkov, the author of the music for this film, is one of my favorites. I love the cartoon “Blue Puppy” very much, “Mary Poppins Goodbye”, “The Adventures of Buratino”, “Dot Dot Comma”, “The Adventures of Electronic” - these are some of the Russian children's films that have influenced me the most.

I also love (I'm just a terrible fan) “The Wiz” movie, I know the music from it almost by heart! “The Neverending Story” was probably the first movie I watched on our home VHS player. I literally watched it around 30 times when I was 4 or 5 years old.

It’s really hard to name all the Japanese artists that I like: Miharu Koshi, Yasuaki Shimizu, Akiko Yano, Taeko Ohnuki, Chakra, Haruomi Hosono, Haniwa Chan, Expo, Chiemi Manabe - are some! 

The video for “Sayonara” places a lot of emphasis on the hands. Why were hands so critical to telling the visual story of the song?

I often see myself as a silent character, a mime with a whitened face and white gloves. I guess this is generally enough to convey a thought. There’s no need in words. Hands are a very beautiful part of the body. They are incredibly flexible, hand movements can tell a lot and it’s always fascinated me. I just love watching people doing something by hand—drawing, sculpting, cooking, playing instruments.

You are trilingual! When choosing to sing in multiple languages on a single track, do you find that certain languages are able to more accurately express the message you’re trying to convey?

I studied French at school, but now I remember almost nothing. My English level is also somewhere on my school level (bless my school it was a great one). In general, I only know Russian. And I pretend that I know English. Usually, I just feel what language suits the song best. There are, however, exceptions when you know that the song can be performed in different languages and still will sound awesome. I think that such songs are the best.