Polish born Artisan Sebastian Bartz has taken the performance art and music scene by storm in recent months with his multi-moniker shifting presence on the club circuit and as an audio-visual artist.
His dark, uncompromising music is as sonically stark as it is emotionally compelling, exploring the internal and external conflicts surrounding sexuality, androgyny, identity and getting on in todays social scene.
Although his real name has, until recently, been relatively under wraps - Bartz is no stranger to acclaim, having released a handful of studio-based side projects in recent years. Most famously, under the Venice Calyso moniker, he has won the appreciation of sweaty ravers and blogs including Resident Advisor, XLR8R, Earmilk and Liminal Sounds - and all for a strain of vibrant, filthy club sounds, released on trailblazing indie 'Senseless Records'.
As much a muse as a creator himself, Bartz's presence and striking outsider style recently saw him starring in the video for post-punk figurehead Mark Stewart's “Stereotype” featuring Factory Floor and Keith Levene, which was premiered by Fact magazine. Deeply embedded in London's cutting edge creative scene, Bartz can also be found DJing regularly, under his own name and various aliases.
Bartz has a heavy involvement in the fashion world - from modelling and sound design for catwalk shows by designers Ada Zanditon and Sade English, to his plans to establish his own label – it's no surprise that the influences on Bartz' music do not necessarily come from other musicians, but from numerous inspirational sources both visual and sonic, stylistic and idealistic.
“I consider myself synaesthetic. When I hear the sound I can see the images. When I look at visual content I can hear the sounds”, says Bartz. He cites infamous occultist Alessandro Cagliostro as a major influence: “I'm influenced by the life of people who can create a reality to suit them, to fit around them.”
Turning his full attention to his new project under the Sebastian Bartz banner, the gifted producer has once again stepped into the limelight with a wealth of new material and donning a wreath of different roles - now a singer, performer, multi-instrumentalist, and frontman of a five-strong band.
Explaining his new musical direction and the dichotomy between his self titled moniker and his club handle, he says,
“What I do as Sebastian Bartz is completely disconnected from what I've done as Venice Calypso. Like most of my generation, raised on the internet, I have a bit of schizophrenia in a music sense. As Venice Calypso I simply record music which I like to hear when I'm in the club; when I work as Sebastian Bartz I'm expressing my feelings, emotions and moods.”
His new video under Sebastian Bartz, for the “Stiletto” single, premiered in February, with the song being released as a free download through Bandcamp. Rough asked him to sum up his observations on Stiletto, Bartz commented,
“I'm inspired by my personal experience of the fluidity of gender and the illusions we create to enforce an idea of masculine and feminine. I always feel genderless. The double meaning of the word Stiletto, expresses this concept for me, as a knife it is
designed as a weapon to penetrate deeply, as a heel on a woman's shoe it is the ultimate symbol of sex.”
With a host of gigs already booked in London, Berlin and Paris, and a US tour in the works, 2013 promises much for Sebastian Bartz. Stream 'Stiletto' above.
Photographer : Sonja Kranz
Stylist : Irene Manicone
Make up artist : Harriet Hadfield
Stylist : assistant Fabio Merche