The point of all this preamble is that while Estonia is a lesser-known hotbed of musical brilliance than, say, Reykjavík or Stockholm, there’s plenty to discover there. Maria Minerva has been doing her bit to raise the country’s musical profile in 2011, and Estonian popstar Iiris is another who’s tipped for international success, and to this list of burgeoning Baltic talents we should most definitely be adding Mimicry. Formed of vocalist Kene Vernik (a former Estonian Pop Idol contestant, though that carries none of the same connotations as our UK equivalent) and beatmaster/vocalist Paul Lepasson, Mimicry deal in nicely stylised electro-rock perfect for throwing yourself around the dancefloor to. Currently in the midst of their first UK visit, the band play their second ever London show tomorrow night at Proud Camden (free entry before 9pm), so we caught up with Kene to find out more.
What would you tell your teenage self if you could go back in time?
I would advise her to be more confident and encourage her to make all her ideas happen. Another advice I would give is that to the contrary of common thinking: asking questions actually shows wisdom rather than stupidity.
Are you lucky or unlucky in love?
After several short-term relationships I’ve met the love of my life. To know that there´s always someone beside me brings me self-confidence and belief. All difficulties seem to be easy to handle.
What did you listen to when you were growing up? Who did you first see live?
My father is a singer-songwriter. When I was a little girl he had a pop-folk band, which influenced my taste in music. I listened to artists like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Depeche Mode, A-ha, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles of course. I had a really alternative taste in music among my age group and I followed it all via MTV in the early ’90s, and next to that we had an amazing collection of vinyl and cassettes.
In primary school I had my grunge period. Bands like Nirvana, The Cure, and Tool came up. Later, somewhere in high school I started listening to Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sneaker Pimps, and then it turned more to metal: Dredg, Mnemic, Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, Killswitch Engage.
When I joined Mimicry I started to listen more to electro and electro-pop: Justice, Peaches, CSS, The Ting Tings and Does It Offend You, Yeah?. I was in my early twenties then. I don’t remember my first live concert experience any more, but the first one from which I got the most was Placebo in Hungary.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
The best moment is when during a concert the audience in the hall starts to move closer and closer to the stage. I’m happy that Mimicry gets full houses, not only in our native country but abroad as well. It actually shows that all the people share something in common, and that our music affects people generally, irrespective of its origin.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
It has to be Charlotte Gainsbourg.
If you were to be remembered by just one of your songs, which would it be
From the repertoire of Mimicry it would be ‘Heat‘. This song relates to me the most: it’s natural and helps me, every time, to bring out emotions which have been hidden somewhere deep. It characterises me the most.
What are your biggest obstacles as a musician?
Writing and performing equally – the process of finding your right way to the both of those takes time. You gross the first level when you realise what is it that you want to create. Then starts level number two – the way you are on stage. The levels are never ending.
What’s your favourite song to cover and why?
Sneaker Pimps’ ’6 Underground’. I feel really good while singing it. The song had a big meaning for me when I still was a teenager. It fits with my way of being and it goes with my voice as well.
What music is exciting you in 2011?
Right now I’m listening to the music from the US and Canada. Psychedelic folk is what I enjoy right now, from Wooden Shjips to Timber Timbre. Neil Young’s last album, The Noise, influences me a lot. Nick Cave and The Stranglers as well. To sum it up: everything which takes things back to their roots but is at the same time mixed with something modern. The music I listen to right now is really simple, but difficult to create. Simplicity is the key – it helps people to relate to your music.
What are your views on feminism?
Oh, I used to fight really hard for the womenrights when I still was a little girl. To prove that women are stronger than men are was really important to me. I did it because of my backround, which demanded me to be strong and independent. Later I started to realise that even a women can’t do it by her own and someone next to you is inevitable for a bicomplete life. But it is the same with a man. Two bring balance to each other and it helps one to avoid loneliness, which can bring one to deterioration.
What makes you angry?
Lazy and feckless people. I’m exactly the opposite and I still haven’t learned to accept the other opposite. But at the same time I believe that at one moment I learn to accept that kind of people as well.
Describe your vision of the afterlife
There have been so many discussions about this subject. I prefer the Taoist way of thinking – I can be whatever in my next life. That’s why one can’t kill anything alive, because it can be your ancestor. You have to respect all the living souls around you. Esteem is the most important.
What gives music its worth?
Originality is the most important in music, but it’s harder to achieve with every day because there is so much new music being created.
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
I passed two zones in London by foot, although the locals kept on saying that it’s impossible.
Would you rather see a ghost or simply have a piece of toast and watch the evening news?
A ghost. I would like it to be Darwin or some other early scientist or philosopher because I would like to ask what else they knew but never wrote down.