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In conversation with Creams

“When it comes to creativity there is so much going on just by itself, automatically. For me it’s a sacred, very spiritual process”

Luca Phantskhava

Through her thrilling tracks and levitating voice, Creams is artistically battling the governmental attempts to disrupt the escapism of Tbilisi’s techno nightclubs. The Georgian polymath knows exactly how to tap into her gut feelings, using her intuition as a lucid guide through life’s many myths. And it’s exactly the small – and major – mysteries where she seems to draw inspiration from, as we unravel in her cryptic lyrics and melancholic melodies on her newest EP Sleep On Me. As a self-made musician – she writes, sings and produces everything by herself – and multilinguist, it doesn’t surprise us when she said that despite all the 4 languages she masters, the musical language is her favorite. We had a talk with the upcoming artist to discover more about the person behind the great Pandora’s Box that is her music.

Hi Creams, how have you been?

I don’t think my lifestyle was different from anyone else’s this year. Classic quarantine vibes. But still, it was a fascinating time in terms of observing myself. It seems like one year is a lot of time to understand yourself… I have failed a test but still, I got wiser. I have been impacted in major ways and it is very real. Even today I feel like I’m living in an alternate reality. For me it was a challenge because I’m quite a social being, I love to have fun. I know everyone loves partying, but for me, it’s also something where my inspiration comes from.

Listening to your most recent EP ‘SLEEP ON ME’, there are many complexities and dimensions to be discovered. You touch on post-Soviet landscapes, pagan-inspired trickery and old Georgian myths and symbols. Could you tell us more about the theme of this EP?

 “Sleep On Me” is about so many things. It’s like looking down at my subconscious mind. You never know what to anticipate. It definitely is dark because I assume diving deep into your inner intuitive hidden self is not that fun. We all have fears, traumatic experiences, frightening memories … everything plays a big role when we try to express ourselves through art. There are four songs on the “Sleep On Me” EP that are thematically, rather than sonically, connected. It’s like a novel with four chapters, and every chapter has its own colour, timbre, something different to say.

You have a flexible, intelligent way of using your vocals and lyrics. Have you always been experimenting with writing and singing?

 I have adopted two main techniques of working with my lyrics and vocals. The first one is a ‘mumbling’ technique (I just call it that, I don’t think it is an actual practice) because everything really is based on mumbling. I just try to record everything in Ableton quickly (it takes up to 10 minutes). And after I begin building my song on this poorly recorded sketch, I start working on the session. I might catch some words and phrases that might determine the whole idea of the song.

The other one is a gradual method. When I’m chilling with my guitar (or any other instrument), I gradually build the whole concept from the scratch. I take one chord and the lyric follows, step by step I’m following my flow. Neither of these techniques work better. Everything totally depends on my mood.

All of your tracks are magnetic! Was it a long journey for you to fully reach and embody this captivating ‘Creams’ energy?

Thank you very much. It was not a long journey, but I think that Creams energy is still growing and I don’t think it will ever stop.

Your track Run has such a dark fantasy, ethereal underground feel to it. How did you come up with this concept?

I dedicated Run to my friends. So I think this is one very strong idea that determined the whole concept and structure of the song. I don’t express myself directly, so listening to my songs is definitely not an open book. That’s what I love about poetry and the power of interpretation. Everyone hears what they need. I dedicated it to my friends, but for someone else, it might even be a love song.

Georgia, your motherland, has been affected by many geopolitical issues, how was growing up there like for you?

I grew up in Batumi. Politically and socially it’s kind of the same bullshit there as in Tbilisi (for me personally), but culturally and overall it’s a completely different dimension. Firstly, it’s a seaside town so the whole landscape and  – most importantly – the vibe of the city is absolutely contrasting.  It seems like it’s more multicultural, probably because of its quite different history and also the fact that it’s comparably smaller than Tbilisi. I grew up in the old town and there was a Christian cathedral and a mosque functioning next to each other. When you grow up in a similar environment you kind of interpret everything in a different, unique way. The world for me has always been one big unitedly functioning organism. And it’s all thanks to Batumi.

Do you feel like you have a special connection to your hometown? Did this have an influence on your own sound?

Definitely. Even today when I struggle with finishing my songs I imagine riding my mom’s car around Batumi. It helps. Especially if these scenes are accompanied by sunsets.

Asides from your rocketing music career, you are also a fashion icon on the rise! When talking style, what and/or who inspires you?

I think when it comes to fashion, everything inspires me. Colours, patterns, nature, books, some illustration, people … for me, inspiration is a moment, one second.  You never know when and how it hits.  That’s why it’s really important to be alert and curious.

Producing your EP from scratch to finish – doing all the songwriting, singing and recording yourself – are there any parts of the process that speak to you the most? 

The most fascinating process is definitely songwriting. It’s so magical. Every time I start working on a new project I doubt myself:  Can I really do it? , am I just lucky when it comes to ideas?, is it intuitive or do I really make it? I know it sounds strange but I think when it comes to creativity there is so much going on just by itself, automatically. For me it’s a sacred, very spiritual process and the best I can do is to master my production skills to share this stream of consciousness.

You have a bright future ahead! Is there anything exciting you have coming up or dreaming about doing?

I really want to get more energy and just do what’s in my head right now. Everything has changed due to COVID and it feels like I need to motivate not only myself but also everyone around me (especially in Georgia, because we are still on lockdown ). Otherwise, I’m working on my next EP and I can’t wait to share it with the world.

Check out Creams new EP Sleep On Me here!

Words by Brechtje Polman