We're excited to share Bella Litsa as this week's Artist To Watch. Bella Litsa is the solo project of NYC-based artist Isabella Komodromos. Bella Litsa creates a unique sound by pairing her strong, yet warm vocals with heavy and dramatic instrumentals. The result of the combination is a hauntingly beautiful soundscape that fully captivates your attention. The Brooklyn artist is definitely someone that should be on your radar. We had to opportunity to talk to Bella about her musical journey, her upcoming EP, and about how Ray Romano is a better actor that Jake Gyllenhaal will ever be. Check it out!
Also, keep an eye out for her debut EP Crossing Countries Drenched In Blood this Friday. (3/26)
1. What have you been listening to lately?
PJ Harvey, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Novos Baianos, Eartheater, and Lolina.
2. Is Alec Baldwin okay? Why does he keep making Boss Baby movies??
I’d hope so, I like him in 30 Rock. Not sure about those movies.
3. What 3 movie characters would you start a band with?
Divine (Pink Flamingos), Edward Lionheart (Theater of Blood), and Winslow (Phantom of the Paradise).
4. What was the first concert you ever attended?
5. Do you think David Lynch would be into your music?
I don’t know, though I’d like to ask him myself one day.
6. Who do you think is a better actor? Dumb Jake Gyllenhaal (the guy from The Day After Tomorrow) or the very cool Ray Romano (from the critically acclaimed show Everybody Loves Raymond.
7. Do you think that Baby Corp. (The corporation from boss baby) will get bailed out if it goes bankrupt during the pandemic?
I don’t think anything of it, to be honest.
8. If your music was used in a film, what kind of film do you think it would be?
A lot of people say horror, and I’d like that, but more specifically I think Giallo horror, or body horror, or a Western!
9. Any local bands you think we should check out?
Pisha! Brennan Wedl (who is releasing a single on 3/26)! Alertski! The Overhead Bins! I love my friends <3
10. THIS INTERVIEW IS SPONSORED BY RAID SHADOW LEGENDS. Download now. (Not really, but I couldn’t think of a 10th question) How do I get sponsored?
To start things off, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Isabella Komodromos. I’m from Hopkinton, Massachusetts. I started having an interest I remember at an aunt’s house, she had a grand piano, and I remember looking at the keys and wondering how it was possible that people can make music from it. I was probably 5 or 6, and I started piano lessons shortly after that. I continued with piano, picking up viola for a couple years, then quitting 2 weeks before the concert to join the choir. After that I was head over heels for choir throughout high school. Though I’ve been singing for fun for as long as I remember, I was pretty shit until about Junior year maybe… thank you voice lessons!
When did you first become interested in music, and what was the process of going from that to actually writing and recording your own songs?
I don’t remember not being interested in music, and growing up classically trained has been both a blessing and a curse. I learned the “language” of music at a young age, which I think is advantageous, but it took me a while to break out of that and find my own style/sound. And to be honest, that search never stops. I’m still trying to find “it”. A lot of my peers, who I find to be incredible performers and musicians, don’t know how to read music, and I think that’s really cool. Music is not all about rules, or boundaries, it’s a language that doesn’t need an alphabet to communicate through. Does that make sense? It’s a feeling, and innate trust in oneself. A lot of things in life will try to rid you of that self trust, but it’s gratifying to find it. I started writing my own songs, or at least ones I really felt connected with, in the Winter of 2019. I think a lot of life circumstances I found myself in forced me to trust that voice in my head. I was having crazy dreams around this time too.
What did you grow up listening to?
Gwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape” was the first CD I remember getting. I love Britney Spears too, you know, like the classic pop girls. Gaga forever! My parents loved the 80s, so a lot of Depeche Mode. And apparently I really liked baby Mozart.
Was there anything in particular that motivated you or inspired you to create music?
The choir conductors I had throughout high school, specifically Isaac Brody, Dr. Anton Armstrong, and Rollo Dillworth. My own voice teachers, Julie Hausmann and Mark DiCampo. They pushed me a lot.
Your first EP, “Crossing Countries Drenched In Blood” is coming out very soon! How do you feel about that?
I’m very excited! It feels like a big sigh. And a hug.
Where does the name for the EP come from?
It’s a quote from the Godard film Une Femme Est Une Femme. As soon as I heard it I knew it needed to be my EP title.
What was the process of creating the EP like from writing the songs to recording ?
It took some time, definitely. I needed to get the arrangements squared away in my own head, before I tried putting them down in a studio. We started recording in May/June of 2020, and finished overdubs in December. To be honest I don’t really know how it happened, but it did. Trying to explain a songwriting process is pulling teeth
Are the tracks on “Crossing Countries Drenched In Blood” songs that you wrote specifically for the EP, or were they songs that you had been working on previously?
I never wrote any of the songs with the idea that they’d be on this EP specifically. In the summer of 2019, after “The Waiting Song” and “Skeleton Walk” had been written, I knew I wanted to put them on the same EP. “And Soon, Venus Will Caress You Too” was also going to be on this. I wrote “To Keep You, Deep Night” in the fall of 2019. In the spring of 2020, I knew I needed to make an EP with my two friends, True Swayne and Ryan Saavedra. They had both been there for me since the beginning of the creative process and I was moving out of Boston by the end of the summer, so it was go time! I decided to put the three songs on the EP that are on there, fairly easily. But, the lyrics in Venus have a continuity with the lyrics in TKYDN, and chronologically I always knew I had to put out Venus first, which is why I released it as a single before the EP.
What does it mean to you to finally be able to share this with the world?
It means everything and nothing to me. It’s really cool to have a platform and ease to share music with the world, and I’m grateful that so many people have shown their love and support for me. But regardless of this, I would still make the songs even if they never saw the light of day.
Is there a track that you’re most excited for everyone to hear?
Skeleton Walk, I’m really proud of my vocal performance on this. It sits in the part of my voice I find fairly boring, but Ryan really pushed me to a good spot while we were recording the vocals. He’s a great producer, he knows exactly what to say to get me in a place where I can really perform the part. It was the only vocal track we did in the booth, and thank God! It felt like my little cave in there. I really let it out for the last chorus, and what you hear on the outro is all one take (the last take I took). I felt fucking crazy after that.
I think that my personal favorite song is The Waiting Song. Can you give us some background on the song?
Again, I think anything you get from the song is true. I’ll tell you this though- the meaning of this song, in particular, has changed a couple times since I’ve written it. It’s such a weird and beautiful feeling, I’ll listen to it and it sounds like a new song, like I wrote it back in 2019 for the Bella in 2021. Oh, and writing the string arrangement was really fun. I want to do more of that in the future definitely!
Do you have a specific approach when writing, or does it differ from song to song?
Every song is different. TKYDN started with the guitar riff, and an idea of lyrics. The Waiting Song was completely written out as a poem before I set it to music. Skeleton Walk was a bit of both, I started with that bass and violin part and a bunch of one off lyrics in my notes app.
Is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
David Lynch definitely. Fiona Apple too, and all my friends.
I read that you’re also passionate about film. Do you plan ever exploring that creative outlet as well?
Yes! I’ve been into screenwriting/directing for a while. I write scripts here and there, and like to direct music videos for my own bands’ music videos, or that of my friends. I’m working on some video/short film ideas to encompass this EP, in fact.
Who do you consider your musical and non musical influences?
Musically, Lana Del Rey was one of the first biggest influences. Mitski, David Byrne, Fiona Apple, Roy Orbison… non musically? My parents. Tarkovsky and Bergman too. They have a true gift with words. My Pappous, he plays mandoline and conducted orchestras around western Europe and Cyprus. He was also a music teacher.
Ideally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Doing the same thing I do now, maybe minus the service job. And more live music.
Is there anything that you want our readers to know?
Ask me anything!
To wrap things up, what can we expect from Bella Litsa in the near future?
Please have no expectations of me, though if you expect anything, expect everything.