Gita Buhari Constructs an Otherworldly Experience on ‘Blood Lily’

Approaching her newly released EP ‘Blood Lily‘ with a sense of newfound freedom, exploratory artist Gita Buhari, and musical partner Arjuna pour their innermost feelings into every track, creating an authentic body of work which naturally resonates with each listen. Met with Gita’s silky vocals, elevated by euphoric synths and then grounded with calming melodies, the soundscape of ‘Blood Lily’ is as much of an out of body experience as the lyrics themselves.

Significantly more electronic leaning than previous EP ‘Queen of Nothing‘ , Gita Buhari combine elements of trip-hop, shoegaze, and soul to achieve a unique sound that feels at home at an underground rave as much as a walk though the woods. As strange as that sounds, Gita Buhari often like to match together unlikely elements with a purpose, such as the song titles ‘Blood Lily’ and ‘Black Water’, lyric themes of love and pain, or sonic pairings of soul and alt rock. Much like a sudden cool breeze on a sweltering afternoon, these opposites end up complimenting each other and making the experience all that more pleasurable, counter balancing one extreme with another.

Celebrating the release of ‘Blood Lily’ out today, read on as we speak to Gita and Arjuna about their process of making the EP during the pandemic, and watch the video premiere of ‘Black Water’ below.

Which track came first and was the catalyst for the EP? 

In our writing and producing process we had a few drafts lying around and we tried different things. There were also some songs that didn’t fit this EP. ‘Blood Lily’ and the ‘Intro’ were the tracks that were already there for a while and we were sure we wanted to use them for the EP. But when Arjuna made the first instrumental versions of ‘Painting in Blue’ we knew what kind of direction we wanted to go with this EP and from that moment on we tried to work from that sound. 

How does this feel different to your last release? 

This EP feels like a next step. With the last EP there were many things we were trying for the first time. I felt a lot more insecure about everything during the last EP and had lots of anxiety which made that process a lot harder. This time we were more sure of things and felt more freedom to experiment. We also feel a lot more comfortable with each other because Arjuna and I have been working together for years now which influenced the workflow positively. Style wise this EP is more electronic than the last one. 

Has your writing perspective changed since the first EP was written during the pandemic? 

Our first EP was not written during the pandemic but before it, but we released it during the pandemic. We made this EP during the pandemic. During the beginning  of the pandemic I kind of felt uninspired to write because it felt like nothing was really happening. But I also really enjoyed the peace of mind in many ways. After some time we got into a nice work/creative flow and then the stories in my mind came again. 

What does the title track mean to you? 

The title track ‘Blood Lily’ is about a love relationship where I wonder if the love between two people is enough to make it work. Where the two don’t always bring out the best in each other but making decisions about staying or leaving is hard. Love and fear and insecurity are connected to me and I wrote about it in this track. 

What felt right about calling the EP Blood Lily? 

Within our music we always look to combine opposites. Genres and themes within our music and lyrics. Our band started out as a combination of people with very different musical backgrounds that we kind of brought together in Gita Buhari. We always like to play with opposites or weird connections. For the title of our EP we looked for something that would fit that. 

What should people expect when they hear Blood Lily for the first time? 

Triphop and shoegaze inspired dreamy electronic vibes with honest lyrics.

Is there any overarching theme to the EP? 

What we have learned from life so far. 

I’ve heard that you created an AV show in collaboration with visual artist Anke Sondi (Sandberg Instituut) and creative director Jan Hürxkens (Studio Overlab) and that it premiered at the Motel Mozaique Festival in Rotterdam on the 23rd April. Tell me about that production and what it represents. How does it relate to the EP? 

We love working with artists from other disciplines. I think it’s so interesting to see what others can make from the music we create and what they hear and see in the things we make. Jan used to just help me with styling but when we were making this new EP we asked him to help us more with the concept and art direction of the EP. We always have a clear vision ourselves of what we are doing and what we want to say with the songs, but are not very focused on how to translate this to the public. This time we tried to create a show and experience where the public still can interpret themselves what’s going on but where we take them a little bit more into the stories in the tracks. We wanted to create a world around the music and enhance it by images. Sondi made visuals to each track and for the entire show to add these layers in her own style but still within the themes of the EP. The collaboration is going well and it is really cool to see it all come together. 

Which song on the EP would you say currently resonates with you the most?  

‘Painting in blue’

How did your latest single Black Water come into fruition? Tell me about the writing and production process. 

Normally, with most songs I write lyrics or I have a melody and then I try a few things and then over some time I keep changing things until I think ‘this is it’. With this song I stayed with the first versions of what I wrote and barely changed it. I recorded one demo of the vocals and immediately thought ‘this is what it should sound like. The words and melody came easy to me because I was so inspired by Arjuna’s instrumentals. I feel like we made this song pretty quick. 

What do you hope people understand about you as an artist when they hear this new EP?

That being an artist is about expressing yourself and that it is not about being perfect. It’s something I have to keep telling myself. But I hope people can see that what we do is a part of us and that they might identify with something’s we say or do on the EP. It would be amazing to connect in that way. 

What one lyric that you’ve written would you say sums up the EP or you as an artist right now?

‘I used to blame others’

The first sentences: ‘Somehow baby, it’s all a part of me. The cries for help, the silly things, the ambiguity. The days of laughter, days in my feels, the insecurity we all try to conceal’. These sentences are a reminder that I am many things, I’m fluid in many ways. Humans are very layered beings and yet we try to make everyone believe that we are always fine and happy. I try to accept all the things life give me and this is really hard, but I try everyday. 

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Interview Questions: Janita Purcell
Introduction: Genea Bailey