HOMEWORK #1: REGINA DEMINA - CRASH Magazine
MUSIC

Photo by Alice Girard

HOMEWORK #1: REGINA DEMINA

By Alice Butterlin

Most of the world has been in lockdown for over a month now due to the COVID-19 crisis. A moment frozen in time, when people are faced with solitude, grief or anxiety and see their daily lives shift for the better or the worse. In this time of extreme uncertainty, we can also take the time to reflect, create and enjoy the passing of these strange elastic days. We thought it would be interesting to ask musicians around the globe how their creative process has changed during the quarantine and if it has been an inspiring or rather daunting experience… with a quick snapshot of themselves in lockdown. First up, we’d like you to meet French musician and performer Regina Demina, whose infectious synth pop tracks are blended with a witty internet lolita aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that convey modern-day romance and morbid beauty. Floating through genres and styles with ease, her music cannot be classified and reaches sound climax when associated with her otherworldly videos, mixing futuristic visions with the grit of reality.

How has your daily life changed since lockdown began?

My daily life has changed in that I’m a shut-in now: I haven’t gone out anywhere and just stay at my home in Aubervilliers. I’m the type of person who loves to get out and go to concerts. I like to hang with my friends and make things. Right now I’m just sitting in my room. I spend my time doing yoga and rehearsing in my little space, writing, dancing, looking for new music… My daily life hasn’t really changed, it just all happens in a cramped space now! Sometimes I go out the courtyard for a breath of fresh air… Exciting stuff, haha!

Have you changed the way you create?

I’m working more independently. I love collaborations because that’s how I connect with people. I would be a bit isolated without art, but that melts away whenever I’m in the heat of a group project. But now I’m doing more things on my own: learning how to use new software, editing videos, meditating and listening to a lot of podcasts and show tunes.

Have you realized anything during this time?

Yes, strangely enough I’ve been very prolific as a way to take my mind off of things. I tend to work slowly but to the point of exhaustion, so I never even realize that the whole day has gone by! I’ve made videos (confined to my home) and I’ve also made music for Chloé (their project is called ChloéVoices) while recording myself in their clothes. The videos are like excerpts from an imaginary film about a Virgin Suicides type of cloistered heroine, who spends her days in a bored and lustful daze, dreaming about the outside world and the person she misses. It’s a piece based on movement and sound. It took up a lot of time, too: the first two weeks of lockdown working full time. I also made a very short two-minute film (for the underground English show Hate The Haus), which is called FROM CORONA WITH LOVE. And then I did a cover of “Tandem” for Les Inrockuptibles. As a dancer and singer, I need time to practice. So it’s nice to have all this time!

Are you worried?

I am a very emotional person, but my emotions are triggered by my fellow human beings. I use them to make up stories and songs… Since I haven’t seen anyone lately, I’m feeling very calm. It’s kind of strange. Maybe it’s all the yoga? Maybe I’ll even end up levitating! That would be fun!

Do you feel more inspired or paralyzed by the lockdown?

Living under lockdown is less scary to me than coming out of lockdown. I hope people will be kind and supportive. I’m never bored, since my inner world is always pretty lively. What paralyzes me is that I miss my loved ones and that my surroundings are too urban. I would love to be in nature with animals and plants, even if I can’t see people!

Have you started or returned to any activities that you do not normally have time to do?

I finally started to organize my stuff and sort through my music. I’m usually a messy person, but now my room is perfectly made up!

What lessons do you think you will learn from this shutdown?

It has helped me refocus on my physiological needs! It has especially shown me that I need to sleep a lot and meditate like a Buddhist monk. I like mellowing out as I’ve been doing. I also think I really need to take a trip into the country for a while since I’m obsessing over flowers. I’ve been working a lot on dystopian themes and morbid romanticism. Now I’m in the mood for something lighter, brighter and more optimistic. Even though I’m kind of sad underneath, I want to brighten up my mood with more hope and fun and choreography, because dancing is always incredibly vibrant. That’s really what’s keeping me going right now. Dance and music lift my spirits and protect me from everything going on. That’s a fact!

What do you think life after lockdown will be like?

I take things one day at a time. It’s better for me to stay in the moment and not speculate too much. No one seems to know too much anyway. I don’t think things will be the same. I think we’ll have to be flexible and stick together so we can adapt to our changing world, instead of clinging to our old ways which are already obsolete. It just makes me want to live more.

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