NXKXTA EXPLORES STOLEN INNOCENCE AND POWER DYNAMICS ON VITAL ROCK RELEASE “EPHEBOPHILE”
Alt-rock multi-talent NXKXTA (aka Nikita) has released the fourth offering from her forthcoming debut visual album. ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ is an uneasy but vital release from the creative director, fashion figure, and now multi-creative music artist, who here examines what she feels is the societal normalization of grooming and the sexualization and fetishization of adolescents, paying particular attention to the long-term repercussions for survivors.
NXKXTA puts her best foot forward with captivating sonics and visuals straight from the authentic human experience, no matter how unsettling they may be – with a twist of the avant-garde. ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ is out now via Drowned In Sound (Bat For Lashes, Blood Red Shoes).
A trailblazer of dynamic, immersive artistry, always with a crucial message to share, NXKXTA delivers ‘EPHEBOPHILE’ with her signature smokey vocal, creeping bassline, and a sliding dark-rock ’n’ roll sensibility. Guitar riffs descend in a brutal minor key, with musical references to be made to the likes of Timber Timbre, The Kills, Nick Cave, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Cramps.
“I wrote this song during a time when I was intensely researching musicians, as it was the first time I was recording music of my own”, explains Nikita of ‘EPHEBOPHILE’. “I repeatedly would stumble across disturbing conversations about artists I admired and their conduct with teenagers. So I couldn’t help but look into the topic further and I was stunned to find out that ‘teen’ is the #1 searched-for word in pornography worldwide. It made me realize just how normalized grooming and being sexualized at a very young age was in my own adolescence and how it shaped me and the teenagers around me.”
“It is especially prevalent in the creative industries due to either a lack of laws and regulations or due to a multitude of loopholes that hinder the protection of children and adolescents. We are finally seeing this topic gaining traction in mainstream media with more individuals opening up about their experiences. However, it is still not safe for survivors to come forward and they currently pay a steep price on a personal level by doing so. I believe that as a society, we really have to work towards changing this.”
The cinematic music video, directed by Kassandra Powell and starring NXKXTA shows the artist walking through surroundings that would have felt exciting and fantastical to a teenager – an American diner, bright arcades, and the seaside. Instead, the video presents the bitter aftertaste of how that time of innocence in a teen’s life can be destroyed and cause a shift in perspective. The visual works in some cultural references with regard to Ephebophilia, including the burning of Vladimir Nabokov’s widely banned book, ‘Lolita’, a statement of burning the term itself to the ground.
“Shooting a video that focuses in on a difficult topic is never easy, so I wanted to be careful to not trigger survivors or add fire to the fuel by showing actual teeangers in my video”, says Nikita, who took charge of creative direction, concept, styling and makeup as a multifaceted visionary. “I chose instead to create a ‘deranged doll’ like character, somewhat nodding to famous fictional characters and villains like Michelle Pfeiffer’s ‘Catwoman’, ‘Harley Quinn’ in the DC Comics or Emma Stone’s ‘Cruella’. In fact it’s a common trope in fiction — a young female character who was wronged by men and became disillusioned, which in turn transformed her into the villain. This in some ways also happens when survivors speak up — society tends to turn against them and vilify them”.
LINK TO THE MUSIC VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBllLUv5JdU&feature=youtu.be
photography by Olivia Brissett.
designer: David’s Road