Hi Ashnikko, how have you been?
I’ve kind of lost my voice, I sound like an old man. I was doing a metal live session version of my song “Cry” yesterday in a crypt near King’s Cross.
Obsessed. Congratulations on your new song “Daisy” – can you just talk me through the inspiration behind it? What was the songwriting process like?
I mean the song is just a bad bitch song. It’s like pure confidence boost – that’s what I was trying to get across. Usually when I write all my songs I have this character that I have in mind, so this one is like this Daisy character, she’s like a vigilante and she kills rapists and she leaves behind daisies as a calling card. So in the chorus, it’s like “daisies on your night stand,” so if you wake up and see daisies then something quite sweet becomes quite terrifying. Then the rest of it isn’t super deep, it’s just like “fuck a princess and king, bow down and kiss on my ring”. Very dominatrix boss bitch lyrics, that was the vibe I was going for.
And how did you come up with the idea of doing a fully TikTok-crafted music video? You’ve had amazing success on Tiktok before…
It’s in collaboration with Beats and TikTok – a little threesome there. I feel like people don’t give TikTok enough credit for how influential it is in music right now, and I think it’s really important. For me, including my fans in the whole process and campaign is really important because ultimately there would be no campaign without them. They’re all so fucking smart, intelligent and funny, I’m always cracking up at all the memes and stuff that people make.
So the music video is this colourful fever dream, split into the colourways of the new Beats Powerbeats Pro headphones – how did you and videographer Charlotte Rutherford go about concepting it and creating it?
Charlotte came to me with all of these wild ass ideas. I don’t know how she came up with them! So there’s four colourways: the blue scene is me bent in really odd positions, balancing precariously on a stack of ice cubes with my neck extending out of my body and swirling around in the air, which is cool. She was like “what if your neck extended from your body and did a 360”, and I’m like yeah, for sure, let’s do that. Then red is me riding a giant chilli, and then I’m in my own mouth on my own tongue. So the whole thing is like a wig dream, just like four amazing wigs. The pink one is this amazing hair with this very tech-y headpiece, like an eye monocle and I’m on a screen, tied to it, riding around in latex. And in the yellow one, I’m in a flower, in a daisy, and I am a sexy bee, and at one point I’m in a stripper heel. Charlotte’s so good, she’s a real visionary.
Your work has always been proudly feminist and sex positive – have you always been this way?
Oh no, I think a lot of my early stuff is absolute fucking garbage. I was a teenager and I was just stupid. Somebody the other day was like have you ever made a bad song? I was like, listen to me kid, you just haven’t heard the bad stuff. This is the thing, you have to make so much shit art to make good art, so I think it’s really unfair when people’s demos get leaked and people are like, oh that’s really shit. When I was a teenager, I was a bit of a “pick-me” girl, had a lot of internalised misogyny just from being raised in the conservative South, and I think when I discovered feminism on Tumblr or something, and my whole life just fucking changed. I was like, wait you mean I don’t have to live my life trying to please men and make myself smaller and downplay my own achievements? What the fuck, great.
And your hit track “Stupid” which went viral on TikTok, and you even had Miley Cyrus doing the challenge – has that been one of your biggest pinch-me moments so far?
It went gold yesterday in America!