Anastasia Minster: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: Dark chamber jazz-pop

File next to: iamthemorning, Esben and the Witch, Marissa Nadler, Chelsea Wolfe

Playing: Wavelength Monthly Music Series: “Solstizio,” Friday June 21 at 918 Bathurst. Get tickets here!

Anastasia Minster is a Moscow-born artist who has seeped deeply into the Toronto music scene over the past half-decade. She has made an impact on music lovers far and wide with her dark lyrics and rich melodies. Wavelength’s Jennifer Xu talked to her about her inspirations and motivations for creating her mesmerizing music.

I have always been interested in music, but I don’t recall the exact moment when I decided to pursue a musical career. I guess it just happened naturally. When something is our true calling we don’t choose it: it’s just there. It is a strong pull, a gravity of sorts, and you just have to follow that path. 

What has been the biggest challenge living and creating music in Toronto?

The biggest challenge was starting everything from scratch. I moved to Toronto from Moscow a few years ago and I didn’t know anyone here. North America is a completely different world, nothing like Russia or Europe, and it took me a while to adjust and build new connections. I did meet some wonderful people here after all and I’m really excited to be making music with them. 

When and how did you start becoming attracted to the darker things like the human psyche, shadow self and mortality?

I have been interested in psychology for a very long time. Not sure what sparked that interest but I have done a lot of reading. And thinking. I feel that it’s only natural to try to understand the human psyche. Our unconscious is truly fascinating and holds the answers to so many vital questions. However, if you’re interested in depth you will have to encounter darkness, there’s no way around it. 

What was your favourite book, TV show, etc to watch growing up? Do you think that had an influence on the kind of music that you create?
What are you most excited about for your upcoming album? (Could be about one specific track, the creative process, people you’re collaborating with, etc)

For me, the process of creating arrangements and recording the songs is really exciting. It is incredible to see the songs come to life and develop from piano and vocal demos to full instrumentation. This time I have taken a completely different approach and we work on the songs in the studio. A lot of ideas come while we are recording and I am still not sure which instruments I’ll have on each track. I just add things as we go. It feels wonderful and I think it will result in more interesting and unusual arrangements and instrumentation. This is so different from the previous album where I had been practicing with a band for a year before heading to the studio and we had all the parts and arrangements written.

If you were to choose one kind of landscape to live out the rest of your life, what would it be (the mountains, sea, forest, prairies, etc)?

I don’t think I can answer this question. We all change with time and so do our tastes and needs. I’d prefer to keep my freedom to move from one landscape to another.