by Mark Anthony Brennan

Animalia, or Jill Krasnicki as her mother calls her, is originally from Hobart, Tasmania. After playing bass for Australian bands for several years she finally ended up in Toronto where she decided to go solo. ‘Mouth Full of Teeth‘ is her wonderful debut. I got the chance to catch up with Jill to discuss her new album and to ask about her transition from an acoustic artist to an electronic one:

MAB: How did Animalia come about?
JK: I started playing bass at a young age, so I ended up doing that full-time. I was in a band from Melbourne and we toured quite a bit. The UK, Ireland. When we got to Toronto it all just fell apart. So I started to work on my own.

You now consider yourself an electro artist, but you started off acoustic.
I would work on chords with the bass alone. It’s cool, but it’s limiting, so then I moved on to acoustic guitar. It was OK, but it was never really what I wanted, you know? Bass is cool [laughs] but guitar is not. And my favourite music has always been electro. Weird stuff. So, halfway through last year I switched to electronic.

How do you go about creating electronic music?
Well, a song starts in my head first. It’s there for a while – the bass-line, the beat, the melody. Then I work out the chords on piano, working on progression. Then I go to the computer. It really all happens on the computer. I will create an entire song using MIDI. I can actually write it in, note for note. All the hard work is actually done at home. Then I add backing tracks, to mess it up. And I add some keyboards “live”.

That’s it, you do it all yourself?
Well, there are some final touches that are required. It’s necessary today, you have to have those “radio-quality” dynamics. So I have a friend do it. He does those final tweaks.

Is there a theme running through ‘Mouth Full of Teeth’?
I think so, yes. It’s dark, it’s not happy. It came at time when I was frustrated with trying to get my music out there, to get heard. So, that frustration came through in some of the songs. It’s funny, because this is the first time that there’s actually been some interest in my music. It’s ironic.

Do you create your music with your intended audience in mind?
I tried to give up music several times. You know, I’d think, “Hmm, maybe it’s time to be a grown-up.” But I can’t. However, I did realize that I have to do the music that I like. That way there’s a least one person out there that likes it. So, I don’t think about anyone, just myself. It’s liberating. I know friends who might do a song a certain way because then it has more chance of being picked up on TV. I’m more pessimistic, or I guess realistic. I like things dark, weird.

You may have meant it [the album] to be dark, but I don’t think it actually comes across that way.
The content was dark, but the music, well, that changes things. There are certainly some beautiful parts to it, so it can be uplifting. It was just an honest album – I never stopped to think about how it would come out.

What next?
I’m currently writing for the next album. I should be finishing up late this year or early next year. And I’d like to tour more. Canada, New York, maybe Australia.

I hope you make it out to BC – they’ll love you out here. Any last words?
Just that [laughs] I wish people would stop asking me who writes my music. Really, so many times after a show I’ll get, “Do you write your own music?” or, “Who does your beats?” I suppose there is a tradition where the woman does the singing and it’s a man that does the music and the production. So I’m like, “Argh!” Yes, I write my own music. All of it!