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Photo credit: Natalia Drepina
Your Schizophrenia Getting to Know #21 - Published: 31st October 2016 - - Words & Questions: Jamie Downes -

There is an omnipresent foreboding at play in the poetic, hauntingly beautiful work of Your Schizophrenia. A part of our first Oneiric Escapism compilation, the music project of Lipetsk-based artist Natalia Drepina assumes the form of a skillfully crafted, isolated despondency: a post-tears inner-world where, having become lost in the throes of a seemingly irreversible sadness, the deep-rooted thoughts of loneliness and death have fed with such voracity that their gnarled, dense form blocks any passage towards salvation. Natalia took a break from her impressive array of creative projects to answer a few questions for ALGB, discussing the themes of her work, how her spectrum of emotions is not so narrow as people might be led to believe, and her affinity for the natural world.

Note: Unlike other ALGB interviews, which take place over Skype, this one was conducted mainly via Facebook chat and then completed via email... Just in case you were wondering why there are smiley faces present. :-)

I was born in November, and I think that I’m a true child of autumn: nourished by the sadness of dying nature.

Refamiliarise / Become Acquainted ?

The Interview

For how long have you been writing poetry, and what was it that first inspired you to start?

Natalia: I started writing poetry when I was a child; I’ve always been inspired by sad things. At first I wrote about the world that surrounds me, and then I began to write about the world inside of me. I really think that sadness can be a huge source of inspiration. It encourages you to explore and express yourself through creativity. These poems are always very personal and soulful.

What made you decide to combine your poetry with music?

Natalia: I thought that my poetry needed framing. Poetry is a thought, and music helps my thoughts to find the voice. Besides music, I often create a visual addition to my poems: photos, videos, drawings, etc. When inspiration finds me, I see the poem as a little movie in my mind and I want to transfer all of this to reality.

And what is the most important element in any poem that you write?

Natalia: The imagery and symbolism are important elements in my poems. Descriptions of nature always reflect my own feelings and moods.

Do you approach music in a similar way to your other artistic endeavours?

Natalia: All my works are united by common themes: I just do as I feel. I think that all of my creative work reflects my personality. Music and poetry and everything else — it’s just a different incarnation of my feelings.

What are those themes?

Natalia: Melancholy, loneliness, self-knowledge, aesthetics of sorrow, silence, nostalgia for the past.

What is your greatest motivation for creating art?

Natalia: Creativity is like the ability to breathe. And it helps me to understand myself. I want to make something beautiful, something that contains so many inner experiences. And it is a way to preserve any particular moment of my life: to remember it. Almost all of my music and poetry is the result of spontaneous inspiration. It falls on me like a tsunami, and I hear music or poems in my head. I need to record these sounds, move them into this reality. This is partly why my project is called Your Schizophrenia: it’s my inner voice.

Is it ever overwhelming — that inspiration comes to you in such a sudden, uncontrollable way?

Natalia: In the best sense of the term. I mean that inspiration is an amazing feeling: it’s like a catharsis, art therapy. But sometimes I feel depressed and disappointed at the moments of silence and creative crisis.

Do you have those moments of silence often? What do you do to reignite the flame of inspiration during those times?

Natalia: Yes, at this time I live an ordinary life. It is something of a respite, but this time doesn’t last long. If I don’t have poetic inspiration, I can make dolls, take pictures or knit something. And I’m very sensitive to beauty: I’m inspired by nature — especially trees — so long, solitary walks can really inspire me. :-) I’m very inspired by the autumn. At this time, the melancholy ascends the throne. I was born in November, and I think that I’m a true child of autumn: nourished by the sadness of dying nature.

Is your passion for art set off by the same things it was when you started out, or has its appeal to you changed?

Natalia: I think it is the same things at the heart of it all.

How do you feel that you’ve developed as a poet and musician in that time? What aspects of your craft do you feel have improved?

Natalia: I think that over time I have learned to better express my thoughts and feelings through poetry and music. Initially it was a bit clumsy, but poetry became, for me, a language of sincerity. I don’t consider myself a professional poet or musician. My creative work isn’t perfect… But nevertheless, this is not just random sounds and words: this is part of my life, part of my personality, my vision of the world. I would like to hope that I create something beautiful.

Within the themes of your work, is there a particular message that you hope to communicate to people?

Natalia: I don’t know… :-) I never planned to convey a message, although perhaps my work says that the gloomy emotions can be directed to the creation of something and that sadness could be beautiful: this is the path to self-expression, not to self-destruction.

To talk about communication in general… I also had a dialogue with my listeners. At first I didn’t think that someone could like my music or poems because they are sad and depressive. But, I had my listeners: people who feel inspired by my music. It is in tune with their moods. I even had a joint creative project with my listeners; this album was called Whispers of Ink Hearts. People sent me letters and I wrote music inspired by their poems, drawings and stories.

How has this kindred connection with other people affected you personally and creatively?

Natalia: I met with interesting, creative people — with some of them I continue to maintain correspondence. That is wonderful: to share ideas and create something new. I’m currently working on two new albums in collaboration with two of my friends. These will be two completely different albums. One of them is the interpretation of selected poems by my favourite poet, Federico Garcia Lorca. I compose music for them and read translations of his poems in Russian, and my friend Octavio Martinez reads the poems in Spanish.

Another project is a collaboration with Maria Petrova. It will include my music, her prose miniatures, and photographs for the compositions. In addition to these projects, I have a lot of actual ideas. I think that the coming winter will be dedicated to the implementation of these creative plans.

Are there any misconceptions that you feel people make about you based on your work?

Natalia: Yes, people often have a misconception about me because of my work. Many people think that I’m a misanthrope or a really weak and injured person, full of anger about the world and constantly crying in despair. That’s so strange. People tell me that I’m completely different: not as they thought. Yes, I am inspired by the sadness, but that doesn’t mean it is the only emotion that I feel.

What makes you smile?

Natalia: The most simple things make me smile. :-) Like beautiful letters from friends, talks with my closest people, and my cute and funny cats. :-)

Would it be fair to say that you prefer a less technological world? I ask because you’ve mentioned, for example, nature and letters, etc. And also your music is quite sparse.

Natalia: I think that technology is useful too, but it would be nice sometimes to hide from it. :-) I would like to find some harmony.

What do you feel that you gain from being artistically inclined?

Natalia: I think that the artistic inclinations make life not so boring as it is without creativity. Maybe creative people are not so adapted to ‘normal life’, because they live in a world of imagination and inspiration… But I’m grateful that I can express myself in this way: through music, poetry, photography or something else. This is definitely a wonderful experience.

Okay, so my final question. To what extent would you like your creative output to define you as a person?

Natalia: I think that the creativity always reflects the person. Any artwork is a continuation of the author: a piece of his soul. But I don’t think that looking at creative work can accurately understand the author’s personality. It is something so complex and multifaceted that creativity only lifts the veil.

Thank you for your time!

You can keep up with Natalia on Tumblr, follow her photography on Facebook, and stream/purchase her albums over on Bandcamp.

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Your Schizophrenia featured on...

... our first Oneiric Escapism compilation. Free download (and streaming) available from Bandcamp & Noisetrade.