Ivy Rossiter was best known for her work under the moniker Luckless when she left New Zealand 3 years ago, having carved a niche with her dark alt-folk, frequent rock leanings, and a literary sensibility. She had done many tours of the nation, both solo and with friends like Nadia Reid, Pales, The Eastern, Reb Fountain, Great North, Bond Street Bridge, The Veils, and many more. Since heading to Europe and basing herself in Berlin, she's taken her musical prowess in multiple different directions, and found a whole new slew of possibilities for a career in music. 

  • When and how did you come to decide to make the move to Berlin?

I came to Europe to tour in 2015 with an open ended ticket. I wasn’t intending to stay, but I didn't have any set plans to go home either. After the first 6 weeks of the tour I booked from NZ, I booked another month, and then another, and then got some small festival slots, and then all of a sudden I’d been in Europe for 6 months. While I’d enjoyed other cities in Europe, no other place kept my interest, and kept me guessing, quite as much as Berlin did. The city just seemed like a crazy puzzle that kept changing shape. I was a bit put off by the current popularity of  “moving to Berlin”, but I decided that wasn’t a good enough reason not to try staying. It took be a good two years here before realising that I wasn’t going to be leaving any time soon.

  • Tell us briefly about the music industry in Berlin and a few key ways in which it differs to New Zealand, and/or the rest of the world?

I think Berlin is a place where people incubate their projects. The “industry” here is atomised and strange, and unless you’re making techno, there’s no discernible community or clear structure to latch your career progression onto. However, I think that makes for a more interesting and artistic place to live, and for a more diversified and risky approach to creators’ artistic practices. People have their fingers in so many pies here that careers don’t to move along the same rails that we’d expect a musician back in NZ to; some people might find that discouraging or strange, but I find it exciting and fulfilling. My own path has changed dramatically since I got here.

  • What have been 3 important things you’ve learned in regard to your music during your time there so far?

1. Shed skins that need shedding. Touring with Luckless, in the way that I did, as a fully independent artist, self-booking and managing everything, was fulfilling and life changing, but it also wasn’t sustainable. When I realised that I’d burned out a lot of my love for that project, it was painful to step back from my identity tangled up in that artist. However, Berlin is filled with people coming from past lives, musical, personal, geographical or ideological, and people here truly know about reinvention and fresh starts.

2. Be open to influence.  I moved here with a resistance to the music that Berlin is most famous for, thinking that I would somehow be proving something if I kept myself apart from it, that I would somehow be better off remaining attached to the musical world that I brought here with me.  It was only after I allowed myself to grow into appreciating what was around me that I was able to see the opportunities within that for myself.

3. Nothing is permanent.  It is so much more rewarding to try something on and see if it fits, and discard it when something else more interesting, flattering or exciting comes along, than to remain wedded to ideas, concepts, or projects past there best-before date. This city is transient - people, projects, moods, seasons, float in and out with a suddenness that can be shocking at times.

  • Do you think there’s room for more Kiwi artists to pursue a music career in Berlin? And do you need to speak German?

What does a career mean to you? Berlin is the place for some things and people, but definitely not for others. You can tour from here and find collaborators and make great work here, for sure. As a musician who plays instruments, though, the city won’t give you clear signposts to your artistic progression, and the gatekeepers - if there are any - are a lot harder to find here. Once you’ve left NZ though, if you don’t have the industry mechanics there sorted out (booker, promoter, label, etc), NZ will just lose interest unless you’re heading back on the regular. For me, moving to Berlin has completely changed the way I approach creative work, my art, my self expression, and I wouldn’t have it any other way; but that’s come at a definite price. For some people, that price is too high, and I’ve seen people come and go, even just in my short time here.

And no, you don’t need to speak German, to start with. You’ll regret it, though, if you don’t make the effort to learn sooner rather than later.

  • What have been a couple of highlights of your time spent in Berlin so far?

I’ve started a collective for female*, trans and non-binary electronic music producers. We meet bi-weekly at a community space in Kreuzberg and make music together. We’ve got plans for events and bigger and brighter things next year, but at present, all the music that gets made at our events can be found on our website; http://eclatcrew.wordpress.com.

I’ve also met a group of musicians here Berlin that are constantly inspiring me and pushing me to explore and learn and push myself. We’ve gone out of town a couple of times together, and we also make a point of locking ourselves away from the chaos on the Berlin streets at New Years to make music together as well. Ducks! -  https://soundcloud.com/ducksmakemusic, Ori Moto - https://soundcloud.com/orimoto, and Vacant Lake - https://soundcloud.com/vacantlake, are three of the acts who’ve been the biggest actors in my musical life here so far.

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