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10 Quick Ones with ANNAMARIA PINNA of VAJRA – May 2017

According to a recent press release: “New York based Progressive Rock/Gypsy Metal Band VAJRA has released the Official Music Video for “The Mirror,” the first single off of their upcoming Irkalla EP; the first of a planned trilogy of EPs with visual components attached to each song, all the elements will tie together as a movie (the artwork for the single is a puzzle piece of the full Irkalla EP art. ). Developed with multimedia artist Idit Nissenbaum, “The Mirror” originally premiered on Loudwire.” We get frontwoman Annamaria Pinna from the band to answer our 10 Quick Ones about the upcoming release and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our new single “The Mirror” started out as a conversation with my ex boyfriend.  I basically wrote what I felt I didn’t say or what wasn’t heard or understood after we broke up and the communication was lost. I had come upstate to get some space to process what had just happened and to be in nature.  I find that it is best to channel my emotions into my art, so I started writing.  I brainstormed like 10 pages of what was on my mind and then I left it.  Later, I revisited what I had written and morphed it into lyrics. The song is about living a lie.  It’s about confronting our demons so we can be comfortable with who we are and so we can live as honestly as possible in our own skins.  In order to do that, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror.  We have to sit in an uncomfortable space and shine a light on those dark, ugly spaces that we don’t want to look at.  Once we see them, we can take steps to heal them.  Like knots, we can find the best way to unravel them and let them go. A lot of this process involves a separation from the social norms or social assumptions we are taught. Meditation, art, being in nature, travel, and new experiences all help to facilitate that separation.  After separation, we can observe.  We observe a deeper sense of self and we learn to see what experiences keep us the most truthful to that deeper sense of self. In thinking and writing about my ex (and telling him to look in the mirror), I learned that I was also learning to look at myself in the mirror.  So when I say, “I know you hate to look at me cause I’m your mirror, and you don’t like what you see,” he became my mirror.  The song then morphed into an infinity mirror where I was his mirror and he became my mirror, and the mirror mirrors the mirror, ad infinitum. That’s what so awesome about the writing process.  As artists, the more we can dissolve and get out of our own way, something greater than what we consciously conceive of has the chance to manifest in the material space.  We basically become conduits for the great knowledge to enter the material realm.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I started dancing when I was 3, so that probably was my first long term exposure to music.  I’ve always been a curious person by nature, so at school when we first had the opportunity to play an instrument, I naturally wanted to do it.  I started with violin because the school program would only allow 6 and 7 year olds to start with string instruments.  I really wanted to play the flute so when I turned 8, I left the violin and started the flute.  I can still remember taking it home, opening the case, assembling it, and attempting to blow into it.  I played all through school and then later picked up the guitar and taught myself some keys.  I always loved to sing. My brother used to make fun of me as a child because I would sing what I was saying.  I still kinda do that here and there, especially in sound check.  Madonna and Michael Jackson were my first inspirations.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

In general, life, imagination, and the space in between are my main musical influences.  It’s difficult to limit to 5.  These individuals are my main influences: Poe, Crowley, Lynch, Whitman, Osho, Buddha, Tarkovsky, Jesus, Huxley, Felini, Castededa, Janes Addiction, von Trier, Plath, Duran Duran, Leary, Dali, Hopper, Kahlo, Grey, Picasso, Alice In Chains, Anger, Jung, Antonioni, Peter Gabriel, Tool, Dead Can Dance, Lacuna Coil, NIN, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Isis, Kate Bush, A Perfect Circle, Watts, Metallica, Jarboe, Pink Floyd, Karnivool, Wardruna, Katatonia, Opeth, King Crimson, PJ Harvey, Fever Ray, The Cure, Zakir Hussain, Lustmord.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

That is a very difficult question because there are so many greats to learn from.  It would depend on the nature of the song.  Maybe Hans Zimmer or Danny Carey.

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Gypsy Metal, Psych Art Rock; Our music is a tapestry of hauntingly dark and hypnotic, melodic, progressive, foreboding and mysterious lullabies.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

This path is the best way for me to dissolve outside of the ego space and into the space that lies in between my thoughts.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Dave would get the cocktails and crack some jokes.  Shu might be meditating or tapping his sticks to the rhythms in his head.  Adam might be playing an assortment of instruments, reading or philosophizing in between feasting.  And I might be doodling on the keys, vocalizing or writing while nursing a glass of vino rosso, and pondering the color green while intermittently cooking some pasta.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

My favorite job was doing trail maintenance at one of my favorite places on this earth: Minnewaska State Park.  The park is a magic portal to the Netherworld.

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

No.  everything we’ve done has prepared us for where we are now.  My only wish is that we had the freedom and support to continuously create and perform.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Pink Floyd-Live in Pompeii.  Pure magic.  They were so tapped in when they did that.

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10 Quick Ones with ANNAMARIA PINNA of VAJRA - May 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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