interview with EPP

interview
It would be tempting to describe my love of the Eurovision Song Contest as a “guilty pleasure” but I can’t, because I don’t feel guilty about it. Unfortunately in recent years my love has been tested, it has become a little stale, most entries are essential watered down versions of the current pop trends. Luckily for me there is now an alternative, EurNoVision! The brainchild of Paul Mangan of the wonderful Clockwork Orchestra, it is an incredible collection of outstanding outsider specialities from all over Europe. I usually struggle a little with compilations but the quality of both the 2015 and 2016 editions is outstanding, check out our review of this years entries here – (LINKY).

Of all of this years entries one really caught my ears and treated them to a little wonky pop masterpiece in the form of their track “Hologram”.

The parents of this pop shaped baby are Serbia’s “EPP”. To my delight they have an entire album of these little advertising jingle based tracks available and it has been on repeat ever since. Short and too the point it is a wonderfully charming collection, worthy of a home in any discerning music fans collection. Belgrade based EPP are Katie Woznicki and Vladimir Nikolic and they were kind enough to grant me some time to chat with them

gg
Graham
Hi EPP! Please introduce yourselves

k
Katie

My name is Katie. I am from Cleveland, Ohio, well, a forest near Cleveland, anyway. I moved to Belgrade in 2007 and I have been living there ever since.

I am an illustrator and I make music

v1
Vladimir

Wow, that was so precise 🙂

gg
Graham
🙂

k
Katie

Well, Vlada thought I was from the city and he was quite surprised when he saw where I grew up.

v1
Vladimir

Ok, I’m Vladimir or Vldmr Vldmr. I’m from a small industrial town near Belgrade.

That would be enough 🙂

gg
Graham

Hello to you both, where did the name EPP come from?

v1
Vladimir
Well, EPP was a short name for commercial blocks on TV. It meant Economic-Propaganda-Program. But later I discovered that EPP has a lots of meaning. So, let’s say that name represent all of EPP’s from wikipedia on yugoslav TV

gg
Graham

Does the name of the band and it’s meaning explain how you came to exist in any way?

v1Vladimir
Katie, your turn 🙂

k
Katie

Yes, I think so. We started out playing in blocks at cultural events, just like commercials, to liven things up. We would come out and play for 10 minutes or so in between talks or other concerts. Eventually we started doing our own concerts, but they are usually very short.

gg
Graham

I like short concerts, I usually get a bit bored if anything goes over 20 minutes anyway

k
Katie
I agree. We say what we have to say and get off the stage. But often we will come back again and again and again and say it over and over.

v1
Vladimir
We repeat ourselves a lot.

Sometimes 🙂

k
Katie

Once somebody even unplugged Vlada’s microphone because we were repeating our songs too much.

gg
Graham

You have a brilliant album out called It’s Strictly Commercial, available for the bargain price of free, a collection of commercial jingles, would you say there were any artists that had an influence on you musically?

1

the cover artwork for the free downloadable debut album ITS STRICTLY COMMERCIAL by EPP! (click the above link in Graham’s question to get it!)

k
Katie

My biggest inspiration was They Might Be Giants. On their album Apollo 18, they have these short songs called “fingertips.” I had that in my mind when I was making the music. Even though they are short, each song is its own universe.

I think Vlada was most inspired by the Residents.

v1
Vladimir

Well, a lots of people are comparing us with The Residents, which is not a bad thing at all, but we had some differents influences like Sun Ra or Raymond Scott even we weren’t aware of his music when we started.


gg
Graham

Myself and Vladimir already discussed how it is important the music appeals to kids as well, did you have this in mind when writing it?

v1
Vladimir
Well, Katie you can say something about that.

I usually do lyrics.

k
Katie

I always work in a pop format, I want to make art that anybody can feel comfortable having an opinion about. And I did work with kids for a long time, so that certainly factors into it.

gg
Graham

Now, in researching you for this interview, I stalked my way though your past pictures and I notice an evolution in your clothing, how would you describe your current style?

v1
Vladimir

Well, we just put on whatever we had in the closet and that was it

k
Katie

think we started with black sport coats / dinner jackets. But then we performed at a festival of trash films called InTrash, and that is when we started dressing like tourists.

We always wear sunglasses now.

Plus I always wanted to dress like a flight attendant, so I try to put in an element of that too.

gg
Graham
Heh, sweet, I notice you have visuals at some of your concerts, as well as some rather cool dance moves, how important is the visual element?

v1
Vladimir

Well, you must kick the audience on every level. You must wake their senses.

k
Katie

shock and awe!

v1
Vladimir

You can sing, you can scream, you can look funny, whatever. Attention is the goal

gg
Graham
I agree!

k
Katie

Sometimes people are really shocked, especially when we perform at a kind of boring event. The concert is so short that they don’t know what is happening until it is over.

gg
Graham

I use this method, bizarrely I am also an act that writes songs for imaginary commercials

v1
Vladimir
Once they wanted us to sing them some hits.

k
Katie

Yes, Graham, I watched your videos, together we are in a very special genera! I wonder if there is anybody else.

gg
Graham

Haha

I think it is quite a small genre

k
Katie
Keep up the good work!

gg
Graham

I discovered you through the wonderful EurNoVision compilation how did you come to be involved?

k
Katie

I think that EurNoVision found us

v1
Vladimir

Yes, Paul Mangan wrote me an email. First, I thought that is a spam.

And he discoverd us thanks to Kodagain.

gg
Graham

Of course, Serbia has a very good record in Eurovision

Would you consider representing?

k
Katie

haha you mean because of Marija Serifovic?

I would consider it, why not.

gg
Graham

Well, yes, and the third place also

v1
Vladimir

Maybe, if we do the arrangement 🙂

k
Katie

Montenegro has also sent some very interesting artists

gg
Graham

Right, aside from EPP, please tell me about your other artistic endeavours

v1
Vladimir
Katie is also doing comix beside her own musical projects.

k
Katie

My main musical project is Amanita Dodola. I write kind of mysterious, sometimes very sad songs, and I sing and play an electric piano or a synthesizer.

And of course I draw, I draw a lot. To the point where it annoys my friends.

v1
Vladimir

Katie, you should sing some cheerful songs!

k
Katie
I’ll leave that to you, Vlada!

gg
Graham

Hehe, so please tell me a little about Serbia

Sorry, that is very vague

What is the arts scene like in Belgrade?

k
Katie

There is a strong underground scene that was born in the 1990s when Yugoslavia started to fall apart. I’ve heard it called Radical Amateurism. There are a lot of people drawing, painting, and making experimental music, but they tend to live deep underground.

But there are a lot of people who are very devoted to what they do, that is what I love about it.

v1
Vladimir

But its just some small groups of people doing something. Nothing big all in all

k
Katie

Well, I’d say it’s pretty special.

But it is small. It’s a small country.

v1
Vladimir

I guess everywhere is simmilar situation

k
Katie

It’s a place where a lot of things collide- east meets west, trash meets high art.

v1
Vladimir

Yeah, and its all diverted, twisted and distorted.

gg
Graham

Right, by now everyone will be big fans of yours, where can they find out more about you or keep up with all things EPP?

v1
Vladimir

They can check out Katie’s website – www.katwoz.com

There’s everything that we do.

k
Katie
And we are on facebook too

gg
Graham

Excellent, thank you so much for your time, is there anything you would like to add/sell/randomly shout?

v1
Vladimir

And its quite linked with YouTube, Facebook etc.

k
Katie

https://www.facebook.com/EPPTOJESAMOREKLAMA/?fref=ts

EPP?

EPP! – TO JE SAMO REKLAMA! / EPP! – IT’S STRICTLY COMMERCIAL! http://www.katwoz.com/epp/

EPP TO JE SAMO REKLAMA which translates to EPP it’s strictly commercial

v1
Vladimir

Thank you, Europe!

gg
Graham

Hehe, beautifully put, anything you would like to add Katie?

k
Katie
It was a pleasure talking to you! Usually I wish people a happy international womens’ day, so happy 8th of March!

gg
Graham

Thank you and goodnight!

k
Katie
goodnight!

v1
Vladimir

Thank you! Take care 🙂

n

Goodnight ❤

interview by Graham Boosey,
illustrations by Kai Nobuko
thanks for the wonderful interviewees Katie & Vladimir from EPP!

.

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This entry was posted in childrens music, pop, synthpop, Uncategorized, video and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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