Free, freaky and feminine

Step into the bedazzled world of Gnučči and listen to her brand new Shiftee remix.

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Gnučči, also known as Ana Rab, is taking the world by storm with neon-coloured 64-bit pop. Recently collaborating with singer/producer Tami T for Ultimate Syndrome, she created a track and video bedazzled with ’90s rhinestones and game sounds. She can rap to almost anything, about everything, always driven by her self-made power girl attitude. Independence is Gnučči’s key feature; she’s in charge of her own label, management, production and creative direction. Glamcult got you the whys and hows, catching up with the artist for a thorough Q&A. “I like to think of myself as the flower AND the pollinator.” 

What do we see in your new video?

The video is a visual representation of how it feels to have ultimate syndrome. Ultimate Syndrome is that dress on the mountain, it’s wow and wonderful. I love it and that’s how my inside feels, but it’s also suffocating. I couldn’t lift my arms in that dress, and when I did it left bruises. Petrit Ukehajdaraj, the photographer, had to carry me up the mountain on his back along with his camera; I kept getting stuck in rose bushes (very Disney drama).

The video was made in Kosovo, in collaboration with the artist Astrit Ismaili. The shoot was very spontaneous and open. The amazing women you see in the video are DJs that I booked for the event where I was performing. Local beauty salons did our make-up and hair, we hung out, had coffee and gossiped with local women and chose our looks from a wedding catalogue. During the two days we shot the video I slept for two-and-a-half hours, and in-between shoots performed at a festival. The exhaustion that comes with being a self-made Balkan babe baking the cake, eating the cake and doing the dishes is shown physically, emotionally and spiritually. My favourite collaborator and dance partner—producer Nire—is so beautiful and represents the sisterhood I’ve been so lucky to have around and support me.

You describe yourself as “original gullig/gully” and “Professional DIY DON” on Twitter and Instagram.  Could you elaborate? 

Those are my guidelines for how I try to do this music biz—like a militant sweetheart with control and power. I’ve been managing and releasing my stuff myself since I started in 2012 because I want to learn as much as possible and create ways to pursue a career in music on my own terms. I’ll learn the general rules so I know how to avoid, break and/or use them if need be. I try to be hardcore cute about it though, I mean well but can get well mean. I rather not, ‘cause it’s a bad vibe and I got shit to do, but greed and thirst make people act like idiots. I try avoid that and be on my free, freaky, and feminine with likeminded people.

I licensed my two first EPs—Oh My Goodness! (2012) and PSYCHOHAPPY (2014)—to a major label and that was smart at the time, it was a necessary learning experience. But creatively and for good vibes, it wasn’t for me at all. So I broke up with them and am recording my album, You Good I’m Good Let’s Be Great, completely DIY. I’m really happy with how I work. I like the thought of people who support me knowing that I’m responsible for what’s in my name. If they say my name, if they like my work and spread the word, they are personally connected to me and what I do. They should definitely feel like an important part of any success I have and know that I’m thankful and want to celebrate with them at my shows. I got 99 complaints about the music industry but being an independent artist who gets to perform worldwide and vibe around with my integrity intact is not one of them.

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How do you go about creating your (lovely) visuals? 

Thank you! MTV was church growing up and Hype Williams was Visual God so I’m first and foremost a huge fan of the format. What motivates me the most impresses my 12-year-old self who got her confidence levels up thanks to music videos. I’d feel very successful if one little girl sees one of my videos and feels the way I felt when I saw Kelis’s Young Fresh N’ New.

I write and record my own songs so I consider myself the main and obvious moodboard. I, the moodboard, then approach talented friends who do film and they take what I got and develop it into something bigger and better. Aesthetics and politics are equally important, it sounds deeper than it is but for us it’s obvious that one should think about what and how you portray shit. We love a glossy music video but I’d be bored and gone if I didn’t have my own ideas and repeated some idea that has already been repeated, so we always try to contrast the gloss with something personal and new to the eye. We do huge things considering my small means. I produce, creative direct and finance all my videos independently and that’s a huge gamble that causes sleep deprivation considering I’m not a commercial artist. We don’t do it for the views, we do it for the vision. I am lucky to have a tight network of friends and fellow professional DIY people who want to push and challenge the hardcore gloss with me. We work hard, don’t compromise much and have fun. I guess that is how I hope my videos come off—hardcore fun without compromise.

What are your thoughts on girl gangs and female empowerment in the music industry? 

Sounds lovely.

From Belgrade to Sweden to London, can we see or hear influences of your geographic heritage in your music? 

My music is the best example I have of the positive identity crisis that comes with being an immigrant kid who grew up obsessed with pop culture and TV, but allergic to nationalities. It wasn’t as positive growing up, because you know you constantly get the “not enough this nationality, not enough that nationality” and it’s so boring. I was born in a country that doesn’t exist anymore so my geographical heritage is meh. I identify as a Yugoslav, but the country doesn’t exist anymore so I feel free to identify with whatever I need. I need that for my sanity. When I was a kid my idols were the Spice Girls, Wu-Tang Clan, Robyn, Dr Alban, Missy Elliott and Gigi D’Agostino. I really identified with Ol’ Dirty Bastard Dawn from the movie Welcome to the Dollhouse and TV show like Blossom, and I guess my ability to genuinely identify with many and much is the main influence to my music, not the nationalities.

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What does sexual energy mean to you?

For me it means unapologetic self-love and feeding that love. It’s the energy that empowers my desire and demand to treat my body, mind and soul with pleasures that are right for me. Owning that energy and creating it by and for myself has been life changing because it’s so powerful once you define it yourself. I try knowing myself, my needs and wants and most of the time I know the difference between those, and can channel the sexual energy into my creativity. It’s important to point out that it’s been most empowering for me spiritually and emotionally, not physically. Sex is great, I love it, but what makes me feel sexy is knowing what I want, need, and demanding it without being a bully. I like to think of myself as the flower AND the pollinator, the ultimate self-empowerment.

It’s hard though! Especially for women who get bombarded with bullshit sexualized media and a world that always has some stupid ass opinion about how we look, act, fuck, talk, reproduce and eat a banana on the street. It’s definitely a mindfuck. They definitely don’t want women to like themselves too much. Girl gets paid, laid and smiles—it will piss people off and that’s how you know your self-love is a threat and power.

What’s the craziest thing Gnučči has ever done? 

This Gnučči thing.

www.gnucci.biz

Words by Michelle Hèlena Janssen

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