We feeling LA next to RAVEN ARTSON , — bold vocals, soft tunes, n visually narrative videos: Raven Artson got it all.
The Dutch-bred n LA-based artist loves borrowing ideas from all different genres n just messing it together — in his own words. We met the self-taught singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, n composer in LA, the city he says used to be just a “feeling” for him.
In his latest project “Crowded in My Heart”, this one-man band explores the multiple sides of his character. And here are even more sides — hit that play button n check the playlist he shares w/ us.
Now u’r in the mood for Raven, take a look at our Q&A w/ him.
U say ur songs are like a ‘tear dripping autotune’. Tell us what u do when u need to cheer up a little.
Most times Iʼm feeling down itʼs due to lack of self-care. Iʼll forget to eat and chill properly. In doing that I lose touch with reality. Over the years Iʼve learned that this delusional state is easy to overcome if I recognise it properly. Iʼll call a friend, go out for food, take a walk and feel myself again. Once thatʼs out of the way Iʼll open myself up to music I like. Because I just removed an emotional block the music hits and Iʼm like: “Damn, I love life”.
Yea, art is such a powerful thing, right? So, beyond music what kinds of art touch u?
Really anything touches me under the right circumstances. However, as Iʼm pretty obsessive, what I focus on differs heavily from time to time. In my late teens I read a lot. Books like Hesseʼs ‘Steppewolfʼ and Dostoyevskyʼs ‘Crime and Punishmentʼ made a huge impression on me. Then came a two-year film fascination. Iʼd watch at least one film per day by directors like Bergmann, Herzog and Kieślowski. After that it was music 24/7 really.
What about styling? How is it important for ur whole performance?
Styling is important in the performance of life. I donʼt dress for a specific occasion, as the objective of my styling is always the same: to please myself. Whether Iʼm all alone or in front of a crowd, Iʼm still the same person. This means that I try to remove the distinction between on-stage and off-stage
We know u played in ur first band when u were only nine years old. Are u living your dream right now?
Yes. Iʼm living my childhood dream of making a living doing music and moving to Los Angeles. Nonetheless, dreams are limitless, and right now Iʼm excited to get my music out there and grow in my capacity as an artist and producer.
So LA was like ur dreamland. Why LA n not New York?
Since primary school Iʼve fantasized about the grit and grace of LA. It was a feeling that I couldnʼt pin down and wasnʼt based on any actual research. Flash forward — I stumble upon a music studio and a place to live in LA. Things lined up and I went for it.
& what happened when u got here? We mean, does LA step in ur lewk in a way?
It feels like LA asks you to create your own reality. That challenge excites me to experiment more. One day I’ll wear a 70s-inspired flared pants designed by my friend Hardeman while sporting Adidas Temper Run’s and top it off with a vintage sleeveless vest. The next day I’ll dress in a full suit. In that way, I feel like I’m some sort of chameleon both visually and sonically. Production-wise I love borrowing from different genres and messing it together, just like I do with my clothes. I absorb everything around me. It comes naturally. Every day allows for a different cartoon, a new character. I love that.
We REALLY like those pants of urs. Are u a big leather fan?
Thanks ! I’m currently wearing a pair of red leather Levi’s from the 70s, while carrying an Italian-made leather rucksack designed by Dutch brand Teym. The materials are worthwhile and their design timeless — at least that’s how it seems right now.
BIG question: what’s ur fave song among the ones you made?
Thatʼs an impossible question. Iʼll tell you this — every song that Iʼll release is a fave of mine. Theyʼre all bops that I wrote multiple years ago and still love to this day. When I work I donʼt worry about the quality, I just work. Every now and then I write something that I like in the moment, one year from the moment, two years from the moment. Thatʼs a fave.
Can u share a few words about ur creative process?
First of all Iʼm open to all input — both from myself and my creative partners. I ask anyone I work with what they think of my songs, the videos Iʼm working on or my new press photoʼs. All these different opinions and ideas melt into a truth thatʼs constantly in motion and therefore interesting to me. Secondly I want to have fun in what Iʼm doing. I find it impossible to grasp the meaning of something in the moment, and trying to do so leads to frustration. Itʼs about the actual process. And thatʼs exciting no matter what. Finally Iʼm trying not to waste energy on details while sketching. There should be a natural flow that keeps you goin. When Iʼm stuck Iʼll start something new — create an open field to widen my mind. Iʼd rather revisit ideas with healthy energy than overthink something until it dies.
What kind of messages do u want to give to ppl through ur work?
Right now itʼs all really personal. I write a lot about my own struggles: unrequited love, internal conflict, unwanted desire et cetera. Iʼm trying to pen down my own experiences and thoughts in a way that other people can understand.