NAS 10 Questions with Prophet of End Times
This time, we get to know Prophet of End Times, AKA Kristelle. A singer/songwriter from Newport News, Virginia. She grew up listening to a wide variety of music and moved to California in 2015 where she began the project, "Prophet of End Times". She has a background in philosophy and poetry. Influences include Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, U2, and David Bowie.
The track "Worms" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists.
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1. Tell us a little about where you are from and what you are currently doing.
I'm originally from Virginia but currently live in Los Angeles. Currently, I'm finishing up a fourth full-length album, Melomania. I make TikTok videos about philosophy, faith, virtue, and comparative mythology as well as mini music vids. I also daylight as a retail automaton.
2. What inspired you to start playing and making music?
This is a huge question to answer. I've always wanted to make music. I had the type of family that encouraged learning how to play music but discouraged seeking it as a career. I took piano and guitar lessons as a kid, music history and theory as a teenager, and have been obsessed with music my whole life. I also wrote poetry constantly. My parents each had a unique and diverse taste in music and it was ingrained in me. My father was friends with Mike Arlo, a classic rock radio host back home. Having access to his expansive knowledge of music history, particularly in classic rock, was invaluable in terms of finding inspiration.
While my life has a great musical background, it has also been filled with trauma, struggle, and hardship. Abuse, sexual assault, drug use (particularly hallucinogens), depression and anxiety, epileptic episodes, a suicide attempt, and a few bouts of homelessness. After high school, I came out as trans and was disowned by my family, and spent three years in homelessness. During this time I would go to a bookstore every day just to read. Psychology, sociology, mythology, religion, philosophy, anthropology.... a lot of "ologies". It was a huge intellectual and spiritual awakening for me. I just never knew what I'd end up using it for. (This connects to my project I promise.) By a stroke of luck, I was offered a fresh start in Los Angeles and seized it. It's come with its own challenges but I endeavor on. Everything seemed to be in place, but it seemed the dream of making music would remain that...only a dream. Then things got weird.
Six months before the pandemic I was in my boss's office worrying about how I'd pay bills. I asked him "What am I going to do when something dumb happens?". He asked what I meant by that. I explained anything that's gonna prevent me from working and gave a couple of extreme examples. He tried to say I worried too much and that if anything ever happened we'd figure it out then. But something in me felt like my worries and anxieties were well warranted. I started being plagued by nightmares(really messed up ones), sleep paralysis, and anxiety attacks.
Then something dumb happened... the pandemic hit. Two months in, I had a cancer scare. This catalyzed a zeitgeist in me. It really put things in perspective. I thought of how things had gone over the previous 20 years. For me, for the world. I was confronted by my own mortality. I thought about what I was going to leave behind whenever my time did come. I recalled everything I had learned during my spiritual awakening. I watched as the world seemed to fall apart. I started talking to people. Telling them my nightmares. To anyone who would listen. I knew more was coming. More natural disasters, more civil unrest, more political upheaval, more homelessness, and resource shortages. I could feel it all in my bones: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.
One night an epiphany formed like a lightning strike in my brain. I went to my desk, opened my journal, and wrote feverishly.
I am a Prophet of End Times,
A poet in a savage land
an oracle of space and time
with epistles writ in frenzied hand
a teacher, praying for understanding
knowing none shall ever come.
For the task is too demanding...
and loosed the devils on the run...
That is the foundation of my project. Since then I released 3 albums in 2022. P.O.E.T. is a debut album meant to explore the boundaries of the theme of the project. Asylum is an album that dives headfirst into my trauma and hardship that ultimately was me putting myself through therapy. Elysium further develops the theme and experiments heavily with how genres are defined. I also have a few unreleased covers(except for on SoundCloud.) Most comment on how my music needs backup vocals. I get it. Though I will say that my music is rooted in my nightmares, dreams, anxieties, trauma, and internal thoughts. Loneliness is a theme in my music, and I like how that is reflected by my lack of backup vocals. Additionally, I've been trying to develop a "look" or "character" for the project, and one of the possibilities is simply how I am dressed when I make the music... In my pajamas. Starry black duster-like bathrobe, pants to match, and a t-shirt.
Music is my medium, but ultimately I have a message. I'm trying to teach people something. I'm trying to bring them together. Cuz that foreboding feeling that something horrible is coming... hasn't gone away. It's only getting stronger. And we need to be ready.
𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?
David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Danzig, The Doors, Tool, U2, Devendra Banhart, Gorillaz, Supertramp
4. What are your goals in the music industry?
Firstly, to destroy it. The words music and industry are an oxymoron. They don't belong together. Music is creative, chaotic, giving, free-spirited and emotional. The industry is cold-hearted, oppressive, poisonously advantageous, structured, and organized. I love the #StopPayola mantra. I may take it to the extreme by adding a Marxist kind of flare to it. "SEIZE THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION!" that kind of thing. I think the "music community" is the more appropriate identifier for what we need to be.
Secondly, I like to explore genres. I think the industry has poisoned the well of creativity by trying to stuff art and artists into the boxes of genre. Sure maybe a generalization could be appropriate as far as what an artist does most commonly. But I think the mother of invention is experimentation. Unconventional cross-breeding of genres could be a great unexplored frontier that leads to all sorts of innovations for future artists.
5. Tell us about your creative process when you make new music.
Typically, I try to put some sounds together and find at least a minute of something I like. Then I try to find a melody or harmony I think will fit nicely with it. I write lyrics to the melody/harmony which can sometimes take a few days. Once I'm happy I record vocals and try and mix them in as best I can. Still learning the mix and mastering process.
6. What is your all-time favorite song?
How did I know this impossible question was coming?! Oh yeah, I'm a prophet! If I must choose, The Logical Song by Supertramp seems to be about me. Even my dad says so.
7. What is the best advice you have either given or received in terms of music?
Time is an illusion, it can't pass you by. Therefore there is no such thing as a long song. Time flies when you're having fun right? Don't take it too seriously. Play. Experiment. Discover. Enjoy. Probably cliche. But cliches are cliches because they work.
8. Proudest accomplishment?
Making it as far as I have had in life. Never thought I'd get this far to be honest. I've been through so much to simply being alive is a sheer testament to my willpower. Maybe my defiance. I haven't sorted out which is truly responsible yet.
9. Just for fun! What's been your most embarrassing moment so far?
Having someone who I asked out in 8th grade, who initially said yes, declare in front of the whole class that it was "just a joke". Then all eyes fell on me. Cringe I know. Poor eighth-grade me. So oblivious.
𝟭0. Tell us about your lowest and highest points in music so far.
The lowest point is the constant navigation of the monstrous machine that tries to keep us down. Luckily, I think I've found a band of companions that help each other. Which makes me hopeful for the future of music...and the world.
Highest point? Three albums in one-year, hands down. That's not unheard of but a pretty small group of folks have done it.
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