Music platform Boiler Room has teamed up with Maison Valentino to commission performances from two artists in an exciting video series that seeks to reunite fashion with music in a perfect amalgam of art forms. This iconic collaboration sees musicians Bia and Cifika each perform a song from their recently released albums while wearing items from the Maison Valentino Diary Collection. These exclusive performances seek to showcase what Valentino stands for, a timelessness of decided grace and impalpable style, meanwhile merging fashion and music through carefully chosen artists. 
South Korean electronic musician Cifika whose dreamy beats on her album Hana encapsulate a magical hybrid of South Korean and American culture and musical expression, will be performing her song Kill Me With Your Love. Cifika’s performance directed by up-and-coming Seoul based Doori, is to be set in a deserted city, an image which will resonate with every individual who tunes in, transforming the live stream into an intimate interaction between performer and audience. We catch up with the two artists to find out more about this exciting collaborative project.
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Cifika - Photo: Daehan Chae
Your album Hana dropped earlier this year, which features the song Kill Me With Your Love that you will be performing for the Boiler Room x Valentino live sessions. Tell us, what is the inspiration behind the album, and this song in particular?
I've received an enormous number of love and hate (which I also love to take in) in the last 4 years of my music career. I had to learn how to let things come and go regardless of my intention. I wanted to archive my vivid memories before they fade away in my body, both beautiful and ugly things. Hana is an album which portrays all of my thoughts and emotions. Kill Me With Your Love is purely based on my experience from a few years ago, about someone that I loved so much to death! It’s kind of like a poem with a melody talking about how much we travelled together in our own world as if we are some flying object or an ocean creature. One day, the love I have built towards him collapsed like a tower of Babel in the blink of an eye. Its remnants collapsed and the love has killed me at the end. Well, that’s at least the story behind how I first started composing the song.
So, you recently took on the longest United States tour ever for a Korean artist. Congratulations on such an immense achievement. Your sound differs immensely from the K-Pop that South Korean popular music predominately focuses on. What is the electronic music scene like in South Korea?
Although I’m based in Seoul, I spent my high school and college years in the United States so I was able to build my musical taste and style that’s kind of hybrid. When I started listening to electronic music, I purposely listened to many European electronic musicians for its aesthetics. And I mixed it into my own root of being Korean.
From my 4 year experience of being a musician, the electronic scene in South Korea has not flourished much yet. While there are many amazing electronic musicians in different genres especially house/techno and avant-garde music, I feel like there’s not enough stages or platforms to showcase their work. Cool electronic music communities do exist on a small scale, but I’d say it’s pretty limited compared to the amount of artists who are out there active in Seoul. In many cases for Seoul electronic music scene, it is shown through the form of audio-visual experience, which I love.
In this collaboration with Maison Valentino and Boiler Room you will be shot in an isolated city, an image we’ve all experienced in some form during this past year. What does this setting mean to you?
I think this concept of isolation is an image of ourselves. I feel that during this pandemic, where we are all distanced apart, we are in the realization of ourselves as an individual, singular human entity. We have been consistently labelling ourselves or have been labelled, by the group of a certain community, workplace, family, friend group, and society we’re part of. And now when everything is far apart, we feel that we are on our own.
The idea of being left alone in the middle of the buildings of Seoul was not bizarre, nor unfamiliar to me, since I’ve always felt I was alone. But things don’t happen without teamwork with my teammates, even for this particular shoot. I cannot go further without teamwork with others. This fact came as a straight realization to me, and I got to appreciate my surroundings even further.
You’ve spoken in the past about a visual component to your music, which is the starting point when you create a track, which is encapsulated through this collaboration that mixes fashion with music. Can you tell us a bit more about this transfer from the visual to the musical?
My first experience of creating art is by visual. I went to an art school in the states, and learned how to execute my ideas visually, and soon after I got out of school, I started learning how to produce music through YouTube and the internet. My first step to the music-making process is visually drawing a scene or a picture in my head. Sometimes I scribble on my notebook with pen, no colour, and based on that image/scene I start to transfer parts to my audio program.
If I imagine a pink and swamp on the background, I would try to make my synth pad sound really moist and deep using different effects, and swamp usually has morning dews on the leaves. So I would create another new track to describe pink dews on the leaves using bell-like sounds with tremolos, and if there’s a creature with a gigantic foot, I would try to find a kick sample that is damp and heavy and resonates. It might sound kind of silly but it’s fairly easy and fun to do it. It’s just my own way of the creative process, and I like to work this way.
What are you most looking forward to in the future?
A live show with real people around me, magical energy from the audience, true interaction with people I love, pulling all-nighters with my fellow musicians for new tracks, traveling to a new country for a gig, making memories with new musicians from different parts of the world, virtual reality interactive musical contents, evolved version of Cifika, a world without Covid, performing for Olympics with my new album, falling in love.
Cifka will be performing at - 22nd December, 12:00 UTC / 21:00 KST 
Rapper Bia, hailing from Boston, has had an illustrious career after first being signed on Pharrell William’s label in 2014. She has since released a number of singles and collaborative songs, through which she expresses an energetic, uncensored voice, highlighting a raw and authentic attitude. Bia's latest EP For Certain amplifies the empowerment of anyone who listens, and her Boiler Room debut will see her performing the song Skate directed by Los Angeles based Kevin Clark.
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Bia - Photo: Kevin Clark
Bia, the song Skate you’ll be performing for the Boiler Room X Maison Valentino live session is taken from your recent album For Certain, which is such an unapologetically energetic array of songs. What are you portraying through this release?
I really wanted the authenticity, high-level taste in production, and energy to pop out on this project. If I could put it one word it would be powerful. Overall, I wanted to empower whoever was listening.
What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance of Skate?
I hope the audience is ready to get up and not sit back down until they’re tired. At best, I would like the audience to feel my energy, be inspired enough to take a message away from my performance, or just have a good time, whatever they feel.
In a lot of your previous music, we’ve heard you directly reference your Puerto Rican heritage through Latino beats and lyricism. How important is acknowledging this part of your identity in creating your distinct sound?
I think I subconsciously include my culture in everything I do. I’m a student of many different cultures, so I often have different sounds and styles that influence my music.
The fusion of fashion and music that will be channelled through the Boiler Room X Maison Valentino video series can often be forgotten in the reception of musical releases, but these live streams are placing the relationship between these two art forms at the forefront. What does this project mean to you?
This fusion between fashion and music means so much to me because the fashion and the art come together and makes lifestyle. Both fashion and music are so heavily influenced by one another that you can’t have one without the other. Valentino is truly bringing together the best of both worlds.
What are you most looking forward to in the future?
I’m looking forward to continuing to empower women and men all over the world while making my mark in fashion and music.
Bia will be performing at - 23rd December, 18:00 UTC / 10:00 PST