- Words Notion Staff
Knife Girl dives into her brand-new 'OONA EP', from the meaning behind songs to the creation process and more.
At just 21 years old, Knife Girl, aka Lili Aslo, already wields great creative power.
Her new ‘OONA EP’ is a 10-track examination of the self and love. However, to reduce the myriad of emotions and concepts broached on the EP to just two words doesn’t do justice to Aslo’s ability to capture that which we often feel but can’t communicate ourselves.
As well as her ‘OONA EP’, Aslo released her debut EP, ‘Metro’, in June this year, a testimony to the sheer amount of creativity pouring out of her. In 2020, Aslo dropped the 13-track album, ‘Like Someone In Love’, in 2018 her ‘Little Death EP’ and ‘bye’ EP in 2017. With each release, Aslo is constantly evolving, experimenting, and traversing genre.
Notion spoke with Aslo to dive deeper into the ‘OONA EP’.
You’ve just released your ‘OONA EP’, which sees the re-emergence of your previous alter-ego, Oona, who is described as the ‘ultimate virtual popstar’. Can you dive into the ideation behind this alter-ego?
I started my ‘OONA’ project around the time I realised I was Trans. While I was dealing with the fallout from coming out IRL, producing music was a sort of escape. I could process my vocals to the point where they became genderless, which was very euphoric at the time. My first song in this new style, “iDie”, was released under the name Oona, a gender-bent version of my dead name that I came up with as a joke. I began building a character around that name, something to do with a sentient AI created by the NSA, but the whole story aspect was dropped further into the project.
Why did you feel now was the right time to release an EP as Oona?
I don’t really feel like now was an especially good time for a release, I feel more like “Oh, thank god, it’s finally out”. I mean no disrespect to the talented people I’m lucky enough to work with, but somehow I feel like the way my album rollouts are planned months in advance really slows down my creative process. The thing that keeps music interesting to me is the freedom to pursue whatever I want. Now I’m doing this electronic stuff, but my next album is gonna be disco rock music. I’m playing gigs with CDJ’s right now, but for my next album I’m rehearsing with a 9-piece band. By the time something I’ve made is released, I’m already sort of over it. It’s like, “That was cool, what’s next?”.
Do you have a favourite track off the EP? If so, why?
It’s really hard to pick just one favourite. I guess I really like the second track, “Only You”. I finished that one pretty early on, and it kinda defined the vibe of the rest of the EP. I think it really captures the theme of something pure being tainted, which I wanted to explore. There’s the juxtaposition of these pained moans in the background against pretty, angelic synths. It was also a pleasure to work with Lucy Lohan on this track. They wrote some really great lyrics.
You said that the EP starts off as “something pure that gets more and more tainted towards the end”. As well as the concept of bad intentions being passed off as love on “7up”, what other experiences and emotions contributed to this theme?
I was thinking a lot about how love is just really selfish by nature. Most of the time when you fall in love with someone, you really don’t know anything about them. The more time you spend with that person, you’ll inevitably at some point think to yourself, “Wow, this person’s being a real asshole”. And that’s cause they are an asshole. And so are you. Everyone’s an asshole deep down. The person in this song knows they suck, and they’re still selfishly asking to be loved by the person they’re singing to. So, it’s not just bad intentions being passed off as love, but also dumb, selfish intentions.
Which part of the EP creation process did you find easiest?
The easiest part of creating this EP was definitely making the music. There are times when I get really bad creativity block, but even then I wouldn’t say making music is hard. Most of the time I have a lot of fun making music! I love art and stuff.
And which part was the hardest?
The hardest part must have been choosing what to include in this EP and what not to. I pump out lots of music and I really want people to hear it, but it’s also important to me how everything fits together. I’d like to think I made the right choices.
How do you hope people will receive the EP? Do you intend to create any emotions or responses in your listeners?
It feels good when I’ve tried to evoke a certain feeling and a listener catches that, but with this EP I just hope that people will feel something, anything at all.
What advice do you have for new artists starting out?
- Make real friends. Don’t just talk to people cause you want something from them, you wouldn’t like it if someone talked to you that way either. Unless you pay them money, money can be exchanged for goods and services.
- Don’t get too caught up on music Twitter / Instagram / whatever, cause it’s like, high school level shallow.
- There may come a time when you think someone is too cool for you to talk to or befriend… They’re really not, and you should just try talking to them.
- Don’t put anyone on a pedestal, cause people suck.
- The music industry is super predatory and people will try to take advantage of you. Read your contracts. Ask your mom or dad to read your contracts.
- It’s okay to rip off people’s art and music and stuff. No really. Everyone does it. But don’t plagiarise, make it your own thing.