The highly-textured music and vivid visual presentations of versatile singer and multi-media artist Ysan Roche illuminate the never-ending possibilities of the soul to transform and emerge from the ashes into enlightenment and self celebration. The vibrant melodies and the intricately-crafted images she expresses through film, photography and fashion embody her belief that music is freedom and is alive as a unique character in its own exhilarating, heroic story, overflowing with romance, tragedy and triumph. The breadth of sonic colors she reveals through each song expose the diversity of her profound musical and artistic influences: brave multi-instrumental pioneers like Björk; challenging, dynamic and dark icons such as Marilyn Manson; sultry songwriters and philosophers such as David Bowie and The Velvet Underground and spirited, clever, energetic pop mavens like Gwen Stefani. Through every performance, Ysan honors the journey of the human spirit’s rise from the depths of darkness into the light. We got to know Ysan a bit better in the interview below exclusively here on Entertwine.
Entertwine: Who is Ysan Roche? Could you give us some insight into your musical background? Can you tell us more about the seven personalities you’ve brought together to lead this new era of music, fashion, and film?
Ysan Roche: Ysan Roche (born as Ingrid Lorrenzio) took her first piano lessons at the age of 7, later studied Classical Music in Germany with an opera teacher while working as a model to pay her education. In 2000 she began her 4-year-dramatic arts education in Berlin/Germany. The Ernst-Busch Academy in Berlin where Ysan extended her acting education, has forecast her a very promising career and early recognized her musical talent.
However, being repelled by the superficiality of the fashion and film industry and the way women were perceived in today’s media, she decided to create her alter ego YSAN ROCHE 2008 on Myspace.
Inspired by her main icons, Bjoerk, David Bowie, Madonna, Veruschka v. Lehndorff and most of all Marilyn Manson, whose artistic influences accompanied her most of her life,
she began to combine couture fashion and music with a very theatrical character that finally gave her the freedom to express and merge those seven souls/characters, she had experienced during her life.
The seven personas describe life stages like different music scenes, lifestyles and life stages she went through, for example the little girl (the inner child) during her dramatic arts education…the dark side (the Gothic and SM scene), the lady or diva (her cabaret and burlesque dance times in Paris and Vienna– french chanson music f.ex Edith Piaf ), the alien (her transcendental experiences with LSD, psychedelic drugs and spiritual influences–the house and Techno scene of Frankfurt and London), the anarchist (her punk experiences and times as a society outcast and rebel and Punk Music), the Intellectual woman (inspired by philosophers and thinkers, poetry and theater/literature), finally madness (inspired by her own fear of madness and her constant battles with the feeling of being crazy/schizophrenic).
ET: Who are your biggest musical influences? Why do these particular artists or producers inspire you to create original music?
Ysan Roche: Marilyn Manson, Bowie and Bjoerk inspired Ysan mainly because of their willingness to cross lines and their lack of limiltations. “I loved and was scared of Bjoerk, when I saw her the first time. But I didn’t know if I liked her, she was so different to anything I had ever seen or listened to. She was fearless to express herself. Something I had to learn and fight for and which wasn’t given to me for free.”
Manson rescued her during her dark times because she felt he had a similar soul.
Similarly fearless to Bjoerk, Manson wasn’t afraid to speak up against the American Government and was promoting the Satanic idea of being your own God, which in fact has nothing to do with Satanism at all.
Ysan benefitted from his life views and felt that metaphors”the long hard road out of hell” or Mechanical Animals” equalled her early life stories when she was mostly confused how to merge and express her different personalities.
ET: What can you tell us about the music you’ve already recorded and released (your debut album “Brain Artificial Limb”, your latest single ‘Bass Gun’, and the previous release ‘Ladyboy’)?
Ysan Roche: The artistic produced album “Brain Artificial Limb” was inspired by the Poet Picabia and his controversial approach to describe love and madness in a beautiful way featuring a book named “I am a beautiful monster.” Ysan used this line and made a song out of it. Songlines like “I am a beautiful monster” and “my pain is my brain” describe the challenge of being perceived as a merely pretty woman who finally becomes a monster in the eyes of others due to her complexity and analytic, provocative and controversial mind. It includes difficult love experiences and the battle to “unhide” yourself —the mask Ysan was wearing in performances and on pictures during that time and to express all of your repelling, difficult character traits.
When Bass Gun came out 2012, the metamorphosis had already taken place and it was her first more commercial song produced with Yoad Nevo in London (Pet Shop Boys, Girls Aloud) appealing mainly to women to fight for themselves and equality. At the same time it was an appeal to fight for your creative right and speak up especially for artist’s copyright that aren’t protected or appreciated enough in today’s society, mainly because men rule the game and don’t accept women as equal. Some powerful men at big labels take ideas from talented and strong minded women and give them to puppets because they can control those ones and make money with them.
The new single Ladyboy goes against the discrimination of transgenders. Because Ysan Roche always felt she had both, female and male personality and at the beginning of Brain Artificial Limb, she described herself as a male soul in a women’s body (which leaded to people mistaking her for a transgender).
She has always been looking for a partner who was able to express both –femininity and masculinity. She recently had a relationship with a Shemale/Ladyboy as some people call them.Lucio or Lu told her about the challenges with society’s stereotypes. The lack of acceptance leaded to drug addiction and mental asylum for Ysan’s friend–Ysan decided to make an easygoing fun pop song for her friend aiming to open people’s eyes to more acceptance and an open-minded approach.
Ysan says they still love each other “but the drama and challenge of expressing your true self for Lucio was worse than mine, it seems I always attract people with a similar story. As they say, your partner mirror your soul. It is indeed ironic that these personas are usually extremely beautiful and express their feminine parts in a much more aggressive way. Women who do the same are named whores or ridiculed in other ways.
It should tell us something about our perception of women’s sexuality today and that we are so far from equality. Madonna was freeing women in the 80ies, but today we need women who are more than just sexual objects expressing pornographic ideas. We need intellectual ladies, who love their feminine side, are strong minded, aggressive, rebellious leaders but are not predictable and this typical asexual, depressed black and white figures without typical female attributes–singing even more depressing music, as you often see them in France. People call oppressed women classy because they don’t stand out. The idea of classiness in a woman has to change. We need to take our power back in several ways. Also inside the music industry.”
ET: What went into the making of the music video for ‘Lost In Land’? What about the short films centered around your songs ‘Bass Gun’ and ‘Devil’s Paradise’?
Ysan Roche: The music video “lost in land” was produced 2007 and describes a woman who is hiding away from the world or is merely “not seen” for what she is. Ysan’s characters often run around like lost souls…in a world where they don’t truly belong. The woman with the mask seems scary, somehow strong, repelling but fascinating but in some ways a lonely character who makes us wonder but unable to approach her. She lives in a forest surrounded by a huge spiderweb, living in her own world and madness until someone discovers her and takes the mask off. Suddenly the face of a little girl with sad eyes appears who finally walks away. At the same time we see Ysan with peeling skin pushing her fingers against spiderwebs that seem to hold her back — the peeling skin is describing the metamorphosis again.
Devil’s paradise finally shows the longing of someone to belong and learn to walk. The mermaid who works in an office experiences challenges in everyday life and isn’t able to take part in activities because of her mermaid tail. She is in love with a co-worker who tries to approach her but she isn’t able to see it.
She finally finds a doctor who promises to give her legs through surgery and first she seems amazed about it.But finally she isn’t able to adjust to her new self and feels strange.She wants to reverse it, but he doctor says she might not be able to survive a second surgery. Finally she runs out of the hospital and cancels the reversal. When the metamorphosis to Ysan Roche had taken place, she often wanted to go back to her other self because it seemed too overwhelming.
It is a long process to accept a higher form of YOU and to adjust to your higher self. When we have created something great or raise our consciousness, at times we fall back into our mediocre self because the GODLIKE idea of us (being your own god) can be frightening and feels alien. It is so much responsibility to take a godlike form. That is what it should tell people. Don’t be afraid of becoming the greatest version of yourself. It isn’t fun or always as glamorous as it seems, it is hard work but we should still go for it.
BASS GUN takes a look into the soul of a murderer who perceives herself as a victim. Even though she kills her lovers incited by overwhelming jealousy, she describes the state of mind as so unbearable that she would have had to kill herself instead, if she couldn’t erase them (out of this world). It’s the tragedy of the perpetrator or wrongdoer. He is often living a worse dilemma than people are observing. The life of this specific woman is a like a shadow chasing her while looking for love and always ending up in drama. Her suffering leads her shadow to overtake her mind. When she finally gets caught and interrogated, she isn’t able to understand why she is accused of murder.
She feels like the victim.
“We can’t see our wrongdoings while we are in a victim position. Moreover we always perceive ourselves as good human beings and if we are able to look into each other’s soul more carefully, we might realize that many times others have hurt us, resulted out of their own suffering and much greater inner unresolved issues. I appeal to an understanding of the core of human beings in general.”
ET: What do the remaining months hold in store for Ysan Roche? Do you have any upcoming performances booked or plans to record a full-length album in the near future?
Ysan Roche: Ysan Roche has upcoming performances in New York and LA next year and is planning a tour in Northern America, dates will be on the website and online. The next album VAGABONDIVA (produced with Yoad Nevo–Pet Shop Boys, Girls Aloud) will be launched in December this year.