There’s something about Viktoria Modesta that takes your breath away, this is a girl that simply oozes style, and it’s all of her own making…
Since emerging onto the music scene she has created quite a stir with her unwavering focus. Her music has a modernity attached to it, its roots lying in electronica provacativly blended with a myriad of catchy hooks and sparky twists. Originating in Latvia, Viktoria has made London her home… and she’s here to stay. i-D’s Music Editor, Princess Julia headed i-N Conversation with Miss Modesta.
I’m quite fascinated about your background, how out of the Torture Garden scene you developed your own personal style and your own music. I think going to Torture Garden and being in an enviroment where you can find out what you’re into is great for developing your identity. I think it’s a place where you’re influencd by things but you’re not really directed or pigeon-holed into following a movement. I came to London when I was a teenager and I was just totally hungry to experience different fashions, different styles of music and different cultural movements and I think that I’ve gone through all of it and I’ve sort of taken the bits from all of the influences and fused them together.
I always think that places like the Torture Garden are enviroments where you’re given permission to explore whatever you what, there are no boundaries. Did the music of TG inflence your own endevours in some way? I think it was more the freedom and lack of boundaries and attitude that really inspired me. I think that the music and fashion there express a no rules policy where it’s down to an individual to combine diffent things. I think TG is unique because no matter how much has changed over the years I still feel like I fit in some way.
I was going to ask you about your home country’s traditonal music… It’s interesting because when I was growing up in Latvia the music was either very dramatic, big Russian stars singing quite old fashioned diva stuff about love, or newer artists singing very much what Lady Gaga is doing at the moment, very synthy, trancey catchy stuff and I think subtly it influenced me a little bit.
Can we talk about the way you present yourself… I decided that being different and not fitting into peoples boxes has a lot of value and strong points in my creative life. I think fashion is a natural thing for me really, just another extension of expression. It’s the only opportunity for someone to show people their character and identity.
How do you collaborate image-wise? I was looking at your pictures from the National Portrait gallery and was fascinated by the way you have dealt with the loss of your leg, do you see yourself as a role model? No, not really, when it’s you and when it’s happening to you it’s just part of your normal life, you don’t feel like your doing anything incredible. I think that whole situation with the NPG was quite moving, when it happened I was getting 200 mesages a day from people going “Oh, you’ve just changed my life.” It’s a strange territory to be in. I’d rather not officially claim myself to be a role model for these kind of things, ultimately I’m a selfish artist and do what suits me in my life. I think the main strength in my creative life has been a filtering process of the projects I take on. I’ve had to turn down some amazing offers because it was against what I believed in. To me it’s important to stick to my vision and work with people on the way that agree with it.
Images like those present the two real sides of Viktoria Modesta. You must have had a great inner strength and resolve when dealing with that situation. I won’t deny that there is fragility that ocassionally comes through but I think everything that’s happened to me that has been negative has made me almost bullet-proof and has always had this natural spin-off. Negative circumstances fuel the desire to better myself and my life.
Viktoria Modesta’s debut single ‘Only You’ is out May 2012, scoop yourself a ticket for her London single launch here.
Text: Princess Julia