Why try to come up with new descriptions when Andra Ljos’s album titles are eager to communicate the feeling her music evokes? Based in Vilnius, the Russian-Armenian artist Aleksandra Evseeva creates sonic stories that feel indecipherable, uncanny, otherworldly and megalithic, yet also exude a sense of familiarity and intimacy. No matter what kind of oasis you end up in, you’ll want to hang around and let the place inspire you to do some worldbuilding of your own.

What’s your background and how did you begin making music?
Music has always been in my life. From the age of 7 I was going to ballet and the circus and singing in the choir, the last one I joined for 11 years. Then I met two friends who were already playing together, they bought me a bass guitar, so we started 2muchachos, a group that lasted for about 10 years. And after that it was a collaboration with Miskotom. So as you can see, it was never intended as a solo project, but it happened when my friend Dmitry invited me to record my first album and as well an invitation for a demo broadcasted on Radijo Musikii, influenced me a lot.

Can you explain the process of transforming (regional) tales into music? How do you determine what they should sound like?

I usually start the process by dividing the stories into chapters and naming each one. Then, depending on the chosen time and country, I tried to find sounds similar to that era, mixing them with mood and imagining the picture as it might have been, adding organ whenever possible, my favorite archival sounds and field recordings

Your childhood exposure to “intriguing, bewitching, fascinating movies and cartoons” and to records your parents played greatly influenced your inclination towards “inventing mystical stories.” Which records/movies/cartoons influenced you the most? Would you like to share any childhood memories that inspired your story making?
My parents always love to listen to vinyl, we had a special place in the living room where they kept them. Sometimes when I was alone I managed to climb into this secluded sacred place to observe the covers or just danced a lot. After that, a vinyl player with fairy tales records appeared in the children's room. The musical The Bremen Town Musicians was mostly in rotation. All the voices and melodies were so soulful that I clearly imagined the scenes and characters. My favorite cartoons were the mysterious Hedgehog in the Fog and The Mystery of the Third Planet, both having great soundtracks.

How did your event/party series We Are Not DJs come about?
I have never been a DJ, I find it not an easy job, as you need to very clearly understand the mood of the audience. One day my friend Ugne invited me to play together. I already knew how to play, but I was nervous. She showed me how to play in a relaxed way, that making mistakes and pauses between tracks is not scary. Then we realized that our friends are somehow connected with music, and in general, everyone has a collection that they play for themselves and for friends at home and why not share it with others. This is how the idea came to invite friends who have never touched devices, to share their selections.

During your set at Studium P in Vilnius in 2022 most listeners seemed to be lying down or sitting on the floor. In your opinion, what is the best way to listen to your music? Does it vary from album to album?

The event at the Studium P was spontaneous, some friends and artists stayed there after the Braille Satellite festival and we decided not to disturb their harmonious rest, which was very suitable for my music.I prefer that listeners have the opportunity to relax. Of course, the best thing is to be in nature in a pleasant atmosphere mixed with natural sounds.

Find Andra on Bandcamp, Soundcloud & Instagram

Andra Ljos plays KRAAK Festival 2024, March 2 at Het Bos in Antwerp. Get your tickets here!