It has been nearly two years since Cobra Starship announced they were calling it quits, but the platinum-selling band’s keytarist Vicky-T is riding a new, companionless ship of her own. CelebMix caught up with the songstress to discuss her latest music and artistic ventures as she gears up for the release of her debut EP.
CelebMix: You were heavily influenced by music at a young age. When it comes to your actual vocal style, were there particular vocalists you emulated coming up or that you were attracted to?
Vicky-T: Growing up, I was obsessed with female vocalists like Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead, Lisa Marr from an indie band called Cub and Gwen Stefani. Later on, La Roux’s Elly Jackson blew my mind. All of them are totally different, but their vocal qualities were so unique and melodies unlike any others that I was smitten. All I did was obsessively sing their songs and try my best to copy their sound.
CM: How has the transition been from once being part of Cobra Starship to now focusing on your own solo career?
Vicky-T: Very tough to be honest. At first, I was tempted to give up on music and return to film because no one would give me the time or day for about a year. The band ending revealed to me the people that were my true friends and those who only liked me for the parties and the attention I received for being in a big pop band. It was really hard. When I was about to give up all hope of doing a solo project, I suddenly met producer/songwriter Clifford Goilo at a BMG party in LA. He was passionate and excited for my music and he promised me all the studio time I wanted. He was the first person who really wanted to commit and help me out. I flew to Amsterdam where he lives and we immediately started writing great songs. Thanks to him, my solo music career became a reality.
CM: Are you still in touch with your former bandmates?
Vicky-T: A bit. I try to get us all together in the same room, but it has been unsuccessful. Gabe and I are the only ones that talk regularly. It’s a shame, these guys were my family for 10 years.
CM: How has being a member of the group affected your artistry?
Vicky-T: Thanks to being a part of Cobra Starship, I have developed a stronger sense of self and learned more about music than I ever thought I could. In Cobras, we never kept our music limited to one genre, we played around with different ideas – our songs were influenced by and emulated all types of music. This has stayed with me and always will. It’s the best way to keep things interesting and new for me.
CM: Moving forward into your career, has there been a specific style or genre you wanted to identify with?
Vicky-T: As I answered above, I like to move around with the music I create. While I don’t stick to one specific style or genre – I do admittedly tend to love pop the most. Especially pop with a nod to the 80’s.
CM: What has been your biggest mission as a solo artist?
Vicky-T: Sounds typical perhaps, but I want what pretty much all artists do – to get my music out to as many people as possible. To make them dance and to be inspired by/relate to what I’m singing about.
CM: How was it working with former Panic! At The Disco member Jon Walker on “Push Comes to Shove?” How did the two of you end up collaborating?
Vicky-T: Absolutely the best. I love Jon so much, he’s one of my favorite people in the world. We never really hung out back in the day even on tours we were on together. He moved out to LA, reached out to me on Twitter and then we just exchanged info. From there, we started hanging out almost every weekend and really got along well. Creating this track was a lot of fun. We first made an extremely lo-fi demo version and thanks to working with Clifford Goilo- he helped us transform the track into a polished/catchy song!
CM: What was the inspiration behind your latest single “Turn It Low?”
Vicky-T: The inspiration for this song comes from the frustration involved with having a crush on or dating someone new. It all started in the studio with me telling a story of this guy I was dating who gave such mixed signals. He would be romantic, take me to dinner or the movies – and once gave me a cute figurine toy that meant the world to me. Next second, he turned off his affection and acted like we were just friends. This epidemic of a person being on and into you and the next second vanishing or pulling away is so annoying to deal with!
CM: You also directed your own music video. Can you tell us about your involvement and the importance of being in control when it comes to the creative process of a song’s visual?
Vicky-T: Before Cobra Starship, I never planned to work in music. I have been making my own short films/music videos/main title sequences for TV since I was 6 years old. I always wanted to direct and work in film and that’s what I was doing until I joined Cobras. Directing, shooting and editing content is my favorite thing in the world. To be involved in the visuals for my music is extremely important to me. For “Push Comes To Shove,” I had to run the whole set and oversee every detail/choreographed action. I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to work.
CM: How did the idea for the “Turn It Low” visual come about?
Vicky-T: Haha, well that music video is clearly rather ridiculous but was a lot of fun to make. I was supposed to make a real/properly planned music video, but everything kept falling apart. So, last minute I thought “hmm, I’ll just go buy a bunch of masks, hire a limo and figure something out.” I asked my friend Kevin Lu (@sweatengine on Instagram) if he’d be down to film it. He used his iPhone, I called over a bunch of friends, bought some masks, looked on Groupon for limo deals and that’s what came out of it! Thanks to living in West Hollywood, it was easy to find a nearby karaoke bar that would let us film in it. This video cost me only $200 to make!
CM: What can your listeners anticipate from your upcoming EP?
Vicky-T: Varying pop songs with a lot of synths involved! Most of them are love songs – many about overcoming heartache and finding strength, something I dealt with a lot over the past two years.
CM: Any word on a release date yet?
Vicky-T: No official date at the moment. Probably in the next month or two. I have just started a record label and am ironing out release plans currently.
CM: What are your biggest aspirations within the next year?
Vicky-T: To get more music out and people excited about it. I’d love to also find band members and start touring again with my own music. That’s the dream currently. My record label Muted Color is very important to me as well. Once that is fully operational, I can’t wait to start signing other artists!