Much has happened for Anna Calvi since we last met her: Her album Hunter was nominated for the highly renowned Mercury Prize and she’s recently penned the soundtrack for BBC’s Peaky Blinders. The annual Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin gave us the chance, to meet Calvi again briefly. Before her much-acclaimed show at the festival later that night she tells us about her love for Bowie, her favorite cereal and writing on tour.

Polaroid of Anna Calvi at Pop-Kultur Festival

You’re on a festival tour at the moment, how is your show compared to the one from your regular tour?
I guess when you do festivals, you have to be larger than life, I guess the loud moments are probably louder.

How do you spend your time while being on the road?
I basically sleep in between the different things I have to do. It feels a bit like being a cat, any moment that you can get to sleep you take it. Tonight we have to leave at 4.30 to leave for Portugal. Do you just stay up or try to get two hours of sleep? That can sometimes feel worse, it’s my daily dilemma.

Do you find time to write music while you’re on tour?
On this festival tour, I was writing the soundtrack for Peaky Blinders and I never did that whilst being on a festival tour. I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s exhausting.

How was it writing the soundtrack compared to a regular album?
It’s very different because it’s not about me which I really like. I try to get into the mind of the main characters and pretend that you are them. I find that really fun, the actual work was really amazing. I guess the colliding things of touring and writing were pretty intense.

You’ve recently been to Helsinki for an open-air concert. Why was that a special show?
I did a show with my band and also and an orchestral show doing David Bowie’s album Blackstar.

What does Bowie mean to you?
His songwriting is just incredible, where he can be both avant-garde and write amazing pop songs, it’s very rare that someone can be great at both things.

Speaking of backstage experience, what would be on your dream rider?
A swimming pool would be nice and I like cereal a lot. My favorite one is Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.

How do you like the backstage here at Pop-Kultur festival?
This one I’m sharing with Mykki Blanco. It’s cool, they are great. I only talked to them a little bit, I’m a bit shy.

Do you have time while being at a festival to check out other bands?
Sometimes. I watched Soap & Skin play the other night in Finland and she’s amazing. That was really great to see.

Anna Calvi live at the stage of Pop-Kultur 2019 . Photo by Christoph Mangler