The singer talks her new single "Trouble," and paving her own path
In EDM music, VASSY is one of the most established vocalists in the genre.
"I had a point there where so many DJ's were reaching out to me and asking me to do collabs with them," VASSY said. "I had some cool collabs with DJs like Showtek, Afrojack, KSHMR, and so on." In reality, thats a modest way to describe the singer's impact. Her 2014 tracks "Bad" and "Secrets" both went on to chart globally, the latter of which hit #1 in over 30 countries, while the former clocked in over a billion streams and was certified double platinum in multiple countries. As an artist, VASSY has topped the Billboard Dance charts 7 times. She has 17 platinum certifications and 8 #1 Billboard singles. "[They] were asking me to do collabs with them to create another "Bad" or another "Secrets," she said. "I was really craving to have some me time and create records that were more melodic and had more of traditional pop craftsmanship to it."
VASSY - Concrete Heart (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
VASSY's solo career thus far has been incredibly fruitful. The singer recently hit her 8th solo #1 hit with "Concrete Heart," a charismatic mix of Vassy's smooth vocals and Disco Fries authoritative Electro House sensibilities. VASSY's latest single, "Trouble," which premieres today exclusively on Popdust, is equally as immaculate. The single's production, much like that of "Concrete Heart," was handled by Disco Fries' Danny Boselovic, and has all the makings of another chart-topper.
Tell me about your upbringing. How has that shaped your artistry?
I grew up in a Greek household in a little town up north in Australia. I knew from a young age I wanted to do music despite being kicked out of school choir and told I didn't have what it takes. I also did not have the blessing of my father's presence because we lost him, unfortunately.
How did you navigate that?
I promised him I would finish my degree in Architecture, and only then would I pursue music after I got his blessings, that was before he passed away. I started my career in Australia, got signed to Universal Music and had a great career as a pop-indie artist but I really wanted to spread my wings so I came to America and started all over again, even though at first no one gave a sh*t about me. My background shaped my artistry in the sense that my father worked hard and his hard work ethic has shaped who I am today and how I approach life.
How have you handled fame?
I'm not caught up in the lifestyle of our business, I live a private, humble, normal life. I just love creating and making records. It's my way of expressing positive energy, to inspire people to feel good and feel motivated in life. I have mentored in detention centers at remote communities and schools to empower kids to believe in themselves despite bullies and rejections, as I too have experienced all this. I want my fans and people to see how rejections can lead to redirections and how you can be anyone from anywhere and can still make it. You don't have to be rich and famous, or perfect, and fit in a box, you just have to be authentically you, work hard, believe in yourself and you will prevail.
You're a highly accomplished and highly decorated artist. Was there a moment where you felt it all change for you?
Less than a year after "BAD" went platinum in several countries, I performed "Secrets" with Tiësto at Ultra in front of 150,000 people. [The song] had only been out for 48 hours and already hit #1 on Beatport. I think in that moment I realized that I had created 2 of the biggest dance music anthems with the biggest DJ legends in the world...in that moment, I thought wow they know all my songs inside out, these thousands of people. Not bad for an Aussie girl like me!
Tiësto & KSHMR ft. Vassy - Secrets (Live @ Ultra Music Festival Miami 2016) www.youtube.com
Tell me about the creative process behind "Trouble." It seems more pop oriented than "Concrete Heart."
I wanted to self-indulge and create records that fulfill me. At first, I was scared that the fans may not embrace it, and perhaps think it was too pop leaning to dance to? But after being embraced and supported so well on the radio and from the fans, it lead me to create "Trouble." This is a song I had written a while back with a buddy of mine and I have been looking for the right home for it for a while now. I wanted a pop-leaning dance record where the ledge drives the song through the lyrics, while you still have the dance grooves and progression. I wanted a more vocal chop melodic riff so that its more of a post-chorus drop, I like classic song writing style so from A to Z, the verse to the pre-chorus to the chorus to the bridge and so on. I like the journey it takes the listener on. I like a lot of texture that pop records have, dance records are infectious but tend to be more two-dimensional in the production. So on this record, I wanted to get people up and dancing while delivering a cool attitude and story line through the narrative of this song.
Headlining Las Vegas pride is a huge deal. How are you gonna prepare? Are you excited?
Yes, I'm always excited to perform especially for Prides, they are full of love and positive vibes! It's always so celebratory, coming together as one united through dance and music, to celebrate good vibes.
What can we expect from Vassy later this year?
More trouble! *laughs*. I got cool remixes coming and the music video, and I'm the kind of artist that likes to focus on one record at a time. I really nurture it, give it all my love before moving onto the next...I guess I'm an artist and so that's my creation in a way – like a plant.
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Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.