Sara Renar: A musician is the wonder of the world, surviving uncertainty

Sara Renar is one of the most remarkable figures of “Zagreb’s new wave” of authors. The woman with an atmospheric guitar, samplers and her electrifying, cat-like voice, has won over the hearts of Croatia and the region. The pandemic especially affected the music – concerts, festivals, promotions, and Sara is no exception.

Photo: Tajana Dedić Starović

You are part of the wave of “new female singer-songwriters”, a woman with a guitar and samplers. You became one of Zagreb’s trademarks in the musical sense. How do you find the inspiration?

Thank you for these kind words. I try to live my life to the fullest, explore and play. A.B. Šimić wrote that poets are the wonder of the world, and I would like to add – musicians as well.

How can one reconcile the architectural mind and the chaotic artistic impulse? How much has architecture shaped you in the creation of “projected” music?

Technical education has certainly affected the way I approach the creation of a song. Approach to creativity is very individual. In my case, it’s a combination of something intuitive and very elusive and some more tangible structure and context. The concept plays a key role, I try to enable its reading to be consistent on a wider scale and in detail. But the initial impulse is outside reason, it comes from the subconscious. This is the aforementioned wonder.

You joked that you “could have been an architect but you didn’t want to” when the pandemic broke out. How difficult is it to be a musician without gigs at this difficult time?

The concerts, just like infatuation, are one of the most beautiful “drugs”. Transfer of energy through live performance is a feeling of enormous love, there is no technology that can replace this. Also, gigs are a primary source of income for me and many of my colleagues: you can’t make a living from selling albums, and copyrights for alternative music bring more serious revenue only to the biggest hits. If 0 is the easiest and 10 being the hardest, I would say that we stand at a solid eight in this pandemic. Just like a big portion of people on Earth, sadly.

Has the terrible year behind us, with earthquakes and quarantines, influenced you to get an “attack of creativity” or introspection? How and has this situation changed at all?

When the whole thing started, I didn’t write a single song – I think that we live a historical precedent and that it is quite legitimate, even desirable, to stop for a while and just listen to the situation. As this crisis situation has now turned into a crisis year, and I’m afraid it will turn into crisis years, I am trying to find a way to live and work every day with complete uncertainty. Since the situation on the independent cultural scene was anything but certain even when things were “normal”, I was equipped with good tools for survival.

What are your plans for when all this madness ends?
The album is coming out on March 8
th, 2021, how and under what conditions will we promote it, I really don’t know. Considering the pandemic and the earthquakes, for the sake of my own mental health I have decided it’s best not to make any long-term plans, or at least not to get too attached to them. I was never a very tactile person, but as soon as we get vaccinated, I plan to give my family and friends a big hug. Especially my mum!