THE LATEST OFFERING FROM THE FORTHCOMING DEBUT VISUAL ALBUM, SET FOR RELEASE
Alt-rock multi-talent NXKXTA releases the fourth offering from her forthcoming debut visual album. ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ is an uneasy, but vital release from the creative director, fashion figure – and now, multi-creative music artist – who here examines what she feels is the societal normalisation of grooming and the sexualisation and fetishisation of adolescents, paying particular attention to the long-term repercussions for survivors.
NXKXTA puts her best foot forward with captivating sonics and visuals straight from the authentic human experience – no matter how unsettling they may be – with a twist of the avant garde. ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ is out now via Drowned In Sound (Bat For Lashes, Blood Red Shoes).
A trailblazer of dynamic, immersive artistry, always with a crucial message to share, NXKXTA delivers ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ with her signature smokey vocal, creeping bassline and a sliding dark-rock ’n’ roll sensibility. Guitar riffs descend in brutal minor key, with musical references to be made to the likes of Timber Timbre, The Kills, Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Cramps.
“I wrote this song during a time when I was intensely researching musicians as it was the first time I was recording music of my own”, explains Nikita of ‘EPHEBOPHILE’. “I repeatedly would stumble across disturbing conversations about artists I admired and their conduct with teenagers. So I couldn’t help but look into the topic further and I was stunned to find out that ‘teen’ is the #1 searched-for word in pornography worldwide. It made me realise just how normalised grooming and being sexualised at a very young age was in my own adolescence and how it shaped me and the teenagers around me.”
“It is especially prevalent in the creative industries due to either a lack of laws and regulations or due to a multitude of loop holes that hinder the protection of children and adolescents. We are finally seeing this topic gaining traction in mainstream media with more individuals opening up about their experiences. However, it is still not safe for survivors to come forward and they currently pay a steep price on a personal level by doing so. I believe that as a society, we really have to work towards changing this.”
The cinematic music video, directed by Kassandra Powell and starring NXKXTA shows the artist walk through surroundings that would have felt exciting and fantastical to a teenager – an American diner, bright arcades and the seaside. Instead, the video presents the bitter aftertaste of how that time of innocence in a teen’s life can be destroyed and cause a shift in perspective. The visual works in some cultural references with regard to Ephebophilia, including the burning of Vladimir Nabokov’s widely banned book, ‘Lolita’, a statement of burning the term itself to the ground.
“Shooting a video that focuses in on a difficult topic is never easy, so I wanted to be careful to not trigger survivors or add fire to the fuel by showing actual teeangers in my video”,says Nikita, who took charge of creative direction, concept, styling and makeup as a multifaceted visionary. “I chose instead to create a ‘deranged doll’ like character, somewhat nodding to famous fictional characters and villains like Michelle Pfeiffer’s ‘Catwoman’, ‘Harley Quinn’ in the DC Comics or Emma Stone’s ‘Cruella’. In fact it’s a common trope in fiction — a young female character who was wronged by men and became disillusioned, which in turn transformed her into the villain. This in some ways also happens when survivors speak up — society tends to turn against them and vilify them”.
The new track follows August’s sultry single ‘THE LIKES OF YOU’, and the artist’s double debut: bloodied ballad ‘VERBAL VENOM’ and art-rock anti-narcissist anthem ‘DRACULA’, which saw NXKXTA first emerge into the world of music somewhere between the shadow of a gothic cathedraland the smoky silhouette of Leonard Cohen.
Having grown up in Germany to Russian parents, Nikita moved to the UK at the tender age of 15, originally in hopes of pursuing a career in design. It was in those formative years that she fell in love with the alternative music scene in the UK but resisted the urge to get behind the mic and forged a path as a creative director.
In lockdown she finally embarked on a music journey by joining forces with producers Will Vaughan (Universal Music) and Steven Graham Ansell (Blood Red Shoes) to create a visual album that explores intense topics; such as Narcissism (‘DRACULA’), Consent, Eating Disorders, Verbal Abuse (‘VERBAL VENOM’), Escapism, Ephebophilia, Attachment Styles and Break Ups (‘THE LIKES OF YOU’). The record is slated for release March 2024.
In every trying occasion in her life it waslyrics that were Nikita’s refuge and safe space to process and grow. “It’s like English is my third language, but also my secret world to discuss and experience life and music away from my family.” So it comes as no surprise that the focus of her debut album was to offer others support, companionship and connection through her work.
Every song is visually expressed through a music video, each a passionate collaboration between her and fellow international talent with projects shot in Bali, Paris, London and Berlin. Her sound is very cinematically laced, like a David Lynchian fever dream, reminiscent of her influences such as Timber Timbre, The Cramps, Leonard Cohen and The Kills.
NXKXTA uses her creativity and platform to have important conversations. She is passionate in discussing LGBTQIA+ rights, trans inclusive feminism and women’s rights, mental health and addiction, experiencing a ‘culture clash’, anti-war and sexuality in fashion. Many of these topics are evident in her lyrics and music videos.
With her flair for the dramatic, we can very much expect live performances that are both captivating and seductive as she invites her audience to immerse itself into her fierce and mysterious world. Keep an eye on this One To Watch: NXKXTA.
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