Catching Up With Anastasia Baast

Earlier this month Anastasia Baast released her debut single with an impressive video called Evaporate. The track, produced by Front Line Assembly’s  Rhys Fulber, is not only a pop anthem, but also brings light into a very important social problem, eating disorders.

We had a chance to talk to Anastasia about this new single, her career and future plans. “Evaporate” is your debut single as Anastasia Baast. Is this your first single ever or have you released anything previously under another alias or band?  

This is my first official solo release, but I have released many singles before through collaborations with other DJs. The most recent one was “Had To Leave”. It was produced by Rhys Fulber + Kris O’Neil and was released under Black Hole recordings.

Tell us about the story behind “Evaporate”
I wrote this song 8 years ago, when my battle with an eating disorder was at its peak. Writing music was the best escape for me. It took me very long to release it because I wasn’t ready to go public with what I was going through. Now that I have overcome my illness, I’m ready to share my story, raise awareness about this issue, and hopefully help those who have yet to recover.

You’ve been studying music since an early age. Did you grow up in a musical family? What triggered your passion for music?
As cliché as it may sound, when people ask me why I chose to do music, I always say “I didn’t choose music; music chose me”. None of my family members are musicians, but as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a great yearning for music. I am a very spiritual person and I believe that this is something I was born with. It was never really a choice for me.

What’s the most fun you’ve had while writing your music?
The most fun for me is when the song is written, the production is done, and I finally go to the studio to record vocals. I love writing, but singing is definitely my favorite part of the process. Especially harmonies! I LOVE singing and building harmonies.

How was working with producer Rhys Fulber of Front Line Assembly ?
Working with Rhys was a great relief. I’ve been looking for the right producer for this song for years. I’ve had two other versions of “Evaporate” done by other people, but they just didn’t fit the mood I was going for. As soon as I got to the studio with Rhys, magic started to happen. I finally knew my song was in good hands. The third version was definitely a charm and I’m planning on doing more music with Rhys in the future.

What do you want to transmit to people with your songs?
I dedicated this song to those who have struggled with mental illness, particularly eating disorders. I made this my first official single because I was able to release the emotional charge behind this illness and finally speak about it. I’m glad I’m releasing it after reaching a full recovery. I want people who are going through a similar disposition to know that there are some, like me, who understand how it feels, and who know how hard and frustrating a mental illness can be. I want them to know that they are not alone, that there are people who understand their pain, and that there IS a way out. It took me 10 years to unchain myself from it. As long as this has taken, it bestowed me with so much perspective and taught me so much…I have never felt better. All you have to do is to keep going and never give up on yourself! Also, since I released my video, some people messaged me and shared their stories about their eating disorder. It warms my heart to witness that my intention was real, that there are some who are struggling and need understanding and love. By admitting my struggles through my music, I want to make people feel safe and unashamed to speak about theirs.

How important do you think is to create awareness about eating disorders? Any organizations you would recommend that could help people dealing with this issue?
I think it’s crucial to raise awareness and educate people about ED. I believe that it is a very misunderstood and unacknowledged illness. Even though EDs have the highest mortality rate out of all mental illnesses, many people still think it is a “made up” problem. It is very hard to understand what it really is, unless you face a similar issue. Food is something we have to deal with everyday. I was told so many times, “You are hungry, you eat; you are full, you stop. It’s as simple as that, right?” But through my disorder, I realized that our brains are very complex adaptive systems that can turn something as simple as food into a colossal challenge. I am very lucky to have extremely supportive family and friends, who believed me. They didn’t always understand what exactly I was talking about, understandably. I can’t stress this enough, it’s not something one can necessarily grasp unless they have dealt with it. And sometimes an ear is all a person needs! 

Throughout these years, I have met a lot of people with ED who sadly did not have a strong support system. This battle is unbelievably hard to fight alone, unfortunately. I want to take the opportunity and ask everyone who has ever had a friend, relative or colleague who has ever mentioned this type of problem, to be more understanding, considerate, and to open their ears to things they wouldn’t necessarily understand or believe in. Kindness and attentiveness can make the difference between life and death. One irresponsible or mindless phrase can set off distorted thoughts and behaviors, but in the same manner, one kind and caring comment can guide someone to recovery.

Are you currently working on new songs or planning on releasing new material soon?
Yes. I have a couple of songs on the way and I cannot wait to share them with my fans.

How is your live set? Do you perform as a solo singer-songwriter, DJ or with a backing band?
I usually perform with a DJ and a couple of live instruments, like keys and guitar. I do mostly electronic music, but I like to make sure that my live performance is authentic. There’s nothing more authentic than live music. I also enjoy giving an acoustic set once in a while.

Is there anything YOU’d like to add to our audience?
First of all, I want to thank everyone for taking the time to watch my video, listen to my song, my story, and what I have to say. And secondly, I want to remind everyone that love and kindness is the answer to absolutely everything. Be kind to yourself and people around you. Even at the darkest places and times, there is always light. It may not be noticeable right away, but if you keep going and don’t give up, you will find it!