Kat Vlasova aka Holographic Girlfriend
Interview by Olivia Clark
Kat Vlasova, AKA Holographic Girlfriend, is a sophomore at Gallatin studying multimedia art and digital technology. Kat has spent the last year discovering her musical side, taking inspiration from Riot Grrrl bands and her neurological condition, synesthesia. Holographic Girlfriend is working on her first EP and exploring who she is as a female musician. Over iced coffee on an unseasonably warm September morning, we had the chance to sit down with Kat to talk about her passion for rock music, how technology has influenced her art and aesthetic, and her goals as an emerging female artist.
Embodied: Hi, Kat! How long have you been making music?
Holographic Girlfriend: I’ve been writing since I was twelve and playing guitar since I was eleven, but the first time I played one of my first songs was my senior year of high school at a feminist music showcase. My issue had been that I couldn’t find a band―because I really love rock music―that I could perform with. But last Spring, I decided that I just wanted to try it on my own. And I started using Logic [software] and I ended up becoming interested in using electronic samples. I spent the entire summer working on the instrumentals for the EP and writing a lot of the songs.
How did you get involved with making electronic music?
I like electronic music, but my foundation is in classic and British rock. Over the summer, it was really the technology that influenced me to use certain sounds and I started learning more about electronic music. I love to play guitar so hopefully I’ll be able to merge both. I’m still learning as I go.
What inspired your name “Holographic Girlfriend”?
It started out as an art Instagram that I created last spring semester. I was thinking, ‘What would a character that’s faceless be called?’ The whole account was inspired by this Adobe app that converts photographs into sketches for Illustrator. Again, this was shaped by tech, which is crazy. So it used to be just an experimental art piece project, but as I thought about the name more, I realized this was something I could use for music. It’s a play on how technology is infiltrating our lives and me coming to terms with being a woman.
I really like it. It has a great sound to it. So aside from your name, how would you describe your aesthetic? Where did that vision come from?
Lyrically, it’s all very emo. I struggled with depression in high school and music was the only way that I could cope with all the mental health issues I was having. So a lot of my writing is about internal conflicts with yourself. I tend to focus on that, or more pressing political and sociocultural issues rather than love and relationships. I try to write what I know. I guess the aesthetic pulls from what I’m inspired by: the post-garage new wave revival. Whatever was happening in the New York rock scene in the mid-2000s. The Strokes, The Kills―those bands have a huge influence on me. And the fabulous glam rock. I’m very attracted to power. Most of the people I look up to tend to be male musicians, simply because that’s just how the industry goes. But I’m obsessed with showmanship and captivating characters, so I’m trying to bring them into my own music. Holographic Girlfriend is like rock, but if you did it in an Apple Store.
You say you’re inspired by today’s pressing issues. How has the current political climate has affected your approach and thoughts on music?
I found myself really overwhelmed with everything that’s been happening and it got to the point where it just became emotionally exhausting. So I tried to make the decision in my work of how far I was willing to go in terms of politics. I came to the conclusion that sticking to what I know is best and a lot of what comes out in my songwriting is my stance as a woman in current society. One song that I’m working on is about the gap between the rich and the poor in America.
Women’s equality has always been an important issue for Embodied, so what’s it like being what’s it like being a one woman show? You write, produce and record on your own.
I used to be afraid of doing it. I was always labelled as the art kid because people could see that I make visual art. So I always felt insecure about my skills as a musician, but I was here over the summer and realized there’s literally no reason I shouldn’t be making music. And I realized it’s better to have complete control artistically instead of relying on others. And if I fail myself, that’s different than if I was working with a big group of people.
You’re such a new artist. Do you have goals set for how you want to grow as an artist? If so, what are they?
I have about 5 or 6 instrumentals that are almost completed and I’m currently working on vocals and mixing it in. I’m hoping to have another song within the next month and I’m planning to shoot a music video for the song I just dropped. (Her first single is called “Evil” and available on Soundcloud.) My ideal plan is to release the EP in December and film more video content. Because I am a visual artist and I want there to be specific feel to each song. And I want to find a band, especially a drummer, so I can perform live. I’ve done a lot of theater so I’m into craziness on stage. But it’s kind of hard to stay at my computer and crawl around on stage at the same time. So I’m hoping I can figure it all out. I’ll just scam my way through life.
Our theme for this issue is “In Flux”. What does flux mean to you as an artist in today’s music scene?
I feel like we’re at a very strange moment right now in history because technology is advancing so rapidly and social media is allowing us to share thoughts so fast. And when it comes to music, nowadays I find it hard to find a band that I’ll listen to because it’s more about streaming and singles, instead of the whole album. Politically, there seems to be worse and worse stuff happening every day that I’ve almost become numb to what’s going on. But I think art is the way that I try to make sense of everything. With the craziness of everything that’s going on, I’m just trying to bring myself down to earth so I can focus on what’s truly beautiful in this world.
Stream Holographic Girlfriends single "Evil" below.
Originally published 10/18/17