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Our interview with Elizabeth Nistico/Revenge Wife

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“Fuck the world, I’m turning into myself, that’s like my revenge wife!”

WE ARE OBSESSED WITH REVENGE WIFE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO

Elizabeth Nistico is not your average popstar. She might tell someone she makes weird pop for the sake of small talk, but what she is making is much more than that…try beautifully vulnerable, conceptual, alternative pop (we’ll get even more into genre later)

The former lead singer of HOLYCHILD is now going by Revenge Wife. Her first solo project has proven to be everything we need right now, which is why we were so excited to have had a chance to talk to her about the new album, creativity, feelings and emotions, and of course her amazing style.

Leah/ NKM: Congratulations for putting out your debut EP, Background Songs for Your Boring Life, Part I! How does it feel to release that on your own and start a solo career? Does it feel natural for you or is this a big step as an artist?  

 Revenge Wife: By this point, it feels great! I feel like people really like it and I really love the music, so I’m super excited! It feels really empowering to be able to do that on your own. I feel like doing anything on your own is really empowering, so when you can be like ‘wow I did that, sick!’ It’s so inspiring and I am really happy with that.

So who is ‘Revenge Wife’? Is it a character in a sense or fully you?
I feel like it is both. The concept of Revenge Wife to me is that’s like my thing, fuck the world, I’m turning into myself, that’s like my revenge wife. The best revenge is being successful and doing well for yourself, that’s the vibe for me of it. I’m so honest in my lyrics, I’m so honest in everything I do. The story of the videos has been really fun, even though there is so much honesty there, even visually what I’m into, and how I want to represent myself in different ways, but then there’s also this character. –I mean there is a separation from myself of course. I chose not to use my own name  and she’s going through her own journey but it is akin to mine.

I think it is helpful to watch another person do that, like to place myself in that other place and then watch myself go through that because it reflects itself back to me and I can grow in different ways. I feel like the girl in the videos is really dealing with a lot of trauma and bad relationships and she is trying to make her way through it and feeling trapped in different ways and feeling trapped by her mind, so I really can relate to that.

Was there any specific inspiration for this project?
I used to be really inspired by other things and other people and what they were doing. There is nothing wrong with that, that’s how we all start. But, now I feel like my inspiration is what is the concept. For instance, for music videos, I used to be inspired visually. I visually want it to look like this and now I want it to say these messages. And because I want it to say those messages, the visual side of it now follows the message.
But of course, I am inspired by so many people. I am inspired by a lot of fashion photography. Like Guy Bourdin and Juergen Teller… I know he is problematic but Terry Richardson’s work, David LaChapelle…with those hard flash stuff and the colors and I think fashion photography is my main inspiration. Helmut Newton. Film is so inspiring too.

(From L-R starting on top, Image by: Guy Bourdin, Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton, David LaChapelle, Juergen Teller)

(From L-R starting on top, Image by: Guy Bourdin, Juergen Teller, Helmut Newton, David LaChapelle, Juergen Teller)

Do you have a background in photography or do you just take inspo from it?
No, but I do have a background in painting and that compositional world. I was always working with colors as a child and painting. Before I did music, I was showing all my paintings in galleries and doing that thing. And I remember thinking I am never going to do film I am never going to do photography! And I don’t know why I felt that way. And now I’m obsessed.

Okay we are already getting into it a bit already, so let’s talk more about the music videos! They definitely have a DIY aspect to them, have you just been doing them where you are now at your house?
The first three were made during quarantine, so there was no choice but to do them on the iPhone. We were driving through Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Colorado. For ‘Earthquake’, a lot of it was shot at the Elk Reserve in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. ‘Manifest’ was filmed in Maine.

They are DIY. I am a director, so I direct music videos for other people. I’ve made 40 music videos by this point and I edit so I feel really comfortable making videos and I can do a lot just with an iPhone.

 ‘Dream I Had’ is more elevated, I made that with a crew. I think the next one and here on out they will be more like that. But I’m about to go to Greece so maybe I’ll shoot something in Greece, who knows!

So you are talking about making more videos… I assume to be on track with the storyline you’ve created throughout the others? [Note: Each video out so far can be found on Youtube!]
I am working on the next music video… I will probably do the same thing for part II– I will have a few music videos for that and a couple songs that don’t have videos. I think I am going to release the first single for part II in November and shoot the video in a month. That song is sick. If you like ‘Lucifer’s GF’, it has the same vibe, but it has this hiphop thing that’s really cool.

In the bio of the ‘Earthquake’ music video, you said that you are “making art to try to understand yourself”. Let’s talk about your creative process… is there a sense of healing for you, almost like your work is a public diary of your creativity?
There are so many unintended gifts that come from creating. I am able to create a foil for myself, where I can see myself a bit more objectively. I write a lot of music. This week I’ve written like 5 songs. All the time I am writing music and writing in my journal, so when you’re doing that you can see what you are feeling. You can read your words and be like, ‘I guess I do feel that way’. And so it is helpful to have some objectivity because I feel like otherwise sometimes, I’m like spiraling in my brain and it’s just like thought-emotion-thought-emotion and I’m like what are my thoughts, what do I feel? And I feel confused.

So I definitely feel like there is clarity that comes from creation because at the very least you can codify your emotions if you are being honest and by codifying it you can look at what you’re feeling and address it. What if you feel this really bad way and you are able to write a song about that or write it in your journal and by looking at that you can be like, ‘oh I understand why I feel that way’. And you can get through it. I feel like jealousy is a really good emotion because none of us want to feel jealousy. You are feeling jealous, you put it in a song then you’re like, uh I don’t want to feel that way! Why do I feel that way? What can I do about that? You can address it and any emotion that is so intense it yields creation of art should probably be looked at and understood. When I’m feeling elated I don’t feel the need to create art. So I feel like in all other circumstances I feel like I should analyze what I am going through.

It’s like therapy.
Yeah it is really therapeutic! But that’s not to say it feels good. I recently read in this book called Letting Go, that expressing isn’t working through an emotion. We have all these ways that we don’t work through our emotions, we avoid, we project, and we express. Just because you say something out loud, you think like ‘oh I worked through it I said it’ or ‘oh I  worked through it I wrote a song,’ that’s not working through it. It’s like step one of recognizing and then you still have to go through it. I don’t know, I’m just trying to figure it out.

 Your instagram bio says ‘future horror mermaid pop’… Is that how you are describing this album right now and what you’re doing right now with this project? Pop itself is fun because it can be so many things and all those words make so much sense, even though at the same time it is like what would future horror mermaid pop be?
I just kind wrote that cause I was like that’s kinda the vibe. It’s like that thing, if you had to use five words to describe it and that’s what it is. If I’m just talking to some random person I meet at, like a coffee and they’re like oh you do music what do you make, I’ll say I make weird pop music. I feel like it is weird-bedroom-alternative… at least this evolution of it. I am working on the next album already because Background Songs for Your Boring Life is done. So for the next version of it, I kind of want more of Tame Impala vibes, so it is going to be an evolution. But for what I’m doing right now, yeah it kind of feels like Robyn-New Order-Nintendo-Abba.

I want to talk about your style- on stage playing shows and also in your music videos! I love the ‘Manifest’ video with the Birthday Girl Shop collab.
She is rad, you should totally look into her stuff. She styled the whole video and did the whole wardrobe, so that was a collaboration. I love fashion, I have always loved fashion. It is so inspiring and such a tangible way to express yourself everyday … It’s like what do I want to wear, what do I want to be? I am always evolving.

 

On stage I’m really excited for what Revenge Wife is going to be wearing on stage and what the band is going to wear. I had this idea that the band was gonna wear black tights and red leotards, but now for the next show…I don’t like locking myself in because I change so much, so if I play in October [rescheduled] who knows what I’m gonna want. The dress code for the [cancelled] show was disco grunge– open ended enough for anyone. I don’t want to alienate people. I don’t like art that alienates people or that makes people feel like they don’t get it. I don’t want to do that. I feel that way about fashion, in general I like to invite.

Right now I’m in this sleek, clean 70s/90s thing, that’s kinda what I’m inspired by, but I don’t know-I just love clothes and I love colors. I love being able to be different characters everyday. There are a bunch of designers I really love lately. I really like this designer giu giu, I’m wearing her in all those noir shots in ‘Dream I Had’. She lent the clothes for that. It’s been fun to collab, I always find designers who are up and coming. Birthday Girl Shop is so cool. My roommate is this really amazing designer too, her name is Tess B.

 I just love clothes. My grandmother was a seamstress and my other grandma just had amazing style and I inherited all of her clothes. I used to feel so weird when I was in New Hampshire, like wanting to dress cool and feeling like everyone else was just wearing Abercrombie and then I had to wear Abercrombie. But the thing was my family didn’t have any money, so I had to go to Goodwill and get everything and make my outfits look good. Next to all these kids who had a lot of money, I was always feeling I had to get creative, which definitely helped.


SOME OF  REVENGE WIFE’S FAVORITES RN!

TV SERIES: My roommates and I are watching Girls and I’m really liking it!

BOOKS

I’m reading this book on angel energy called Healing Yourself with Light. I’m reading a lot of spiritual books like that lately. I’m also reading this fantasy book called The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin. I love books, my favorite author is probably Kurt Vonnegut. He is like numero uno for me. The Sirens of Titans is my fav book right now.

 Find more of Revenge Wife’s music and life:

Instagram

Youtube

Spotify

 –Leah Flannery

 


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