SHE’S NO HOT MESS
A Spotlite on VICTORIA ASHER
By Lori Zimmer
I’m on the set for Cobra Starship’s new video for their just released single, “You Make Me Feel,” which is bound to be this summer’s dance jam. Admittedly, I’m feeling a little out of place. The band’s only girl, Victoria Asher–known to her fans as Vicky T–invited me to come along to be an extra in a photobooth scene. So I’ve spent the afternoon at the Bunker bar in Meatpacking, posing in a fake photobooth and dancing around in a club scene with extras ten years younger than me, while spilling Redbull all over myself. It’s been a good day.
I met Victoria by way of her amazing mother, Wendy, who is an avid art collector, if not maven, with an eye ahead of everyone else. She was an early supporter of Banksy, and appeared in Exit Through the Gift Shop. Victoria’s father, Peter, has deep roots in music, starting from the British Invasion hit song “A World Without Love,” written by his then-roommate Paul McCartney, which he performed with his band Peter and Gordon. He was instrumental in helping to develop the careers of the Beatles (his sister Jane was once engaged to Paul McCartney) as well as James Taylor. He has since had a long career of producing music, performing and managing artists.
Being from an incredible, and incredibly artsy, background, but with great parentage, Victoria is extremely grounded, focused, and just plain lovely. Like her mother, she has that sort of classic timeless beauty, with a 60s undertone that I’m not sure that she is aware of. She put her film career on hold to become part of the constant-touring world of being in a successful band, but bridges the gap by directing videos for Cobra Starship, as well as other projects. The band has recently taken time off of a nearly four-year touring schedule to record a new album, and call one place home–at least for the time being.
Lori Zimmer: Having such a musical dad, did you feel like it was your fate or obligation to become a musician?
Victoria Asher: My father definitely played a huge role in my love for music, I loved watching old videos of him in the sixties, spending time in the studio with him and going to concerts with him and my mother. It was very inspiring. Music was always playing in the house, whether it was on TV or blasting in the house or car. I never felt like I was obligated to pursue music at all though. I grew up always fantasizing about being a film director or musician. Film I ended up concentrating on more. I studied film at NYU and made films all the time from when I was 6 years old until present day. I used to make music on the side for fun and I think it’s fantastic that it is now a huge part of my life. I get to tour the world with my best friends and I get to film what we do while I’m at it!
LZ: Do your young fans realize how incredibly influential to music your dad is/was?
VA: There are definitely some fans that do. Most of those fans actually learn about what my father has done through their parents who are fans of my dad! That’s always cool to hear from fans. I’ve had a lot of parents come up to me and say, “I’m such a huge fan of your father!” Or kids say “my parents love your dad!”
LZ: You started out studying film at NYU, and then went on to work with Michel Gondry and Terry Gilliam–sounds pretty amazing–what made you take the jump to music from film?
VA: Yes, working with Michel Gondry, Terry Gilliam and Robert Downey Jr. was an extraordinary privilege and a rare treat. I learned so much just from being there and watching and listening. At the same time, of course, it was often hard work! I did my share of internships, of long unpaid hours and distinctly unglamorous work on the set–but it was well worth it.
Playing music just kind of fell into my lap in an amazing way. I was still at NYU when I got a phone call asking me to try out for Cobra Starship. I didn’t quite know what direction I was headed with film. I had a crappy retail job at the time, was still taking film classes and had done my fair share of brutal, unpaid film jobs and didn’t quite know what I wanted. When I got the phone call asking to join a band and go on tour, I leapt at the opportunity! It’s been so fun being in this band! I feel so lucky that Gabe found me on myspace! Ha!
LZ: I know you have directed some of your band’s videos, do you plan to do others or film?
VA: I would love to do more music videos for the band or for anyone else. It’s always fun to film and edit them! I did our “Guilty Pleasure” Home Made Music Video and then later I did a video for “Kiss My Sass” with my good friend Matt Ornstein and both those projects were so fun to make! I am currently working on small film projects while we have some time off from tour and loving every second. I’ve also been taking some classes at UCLA and love it.
LZ: Your mom has the most incredible art collection ever. Do you have your own collection? If yes–who are some of your favorite artists?
VA: Thanks to my mother’s incredible eye I do have a great art collection developing. She is always introducing me to new artists, she is extremely talented at spotting great art! A few of my favorite artists are Antony Micallef, Banksy, Herakut, and Kris Kuksi.
LZ: How do you deal with touring with dudes all the time? Or just touring in general?
VA: You get used to it, it can be pretty difficult being around the same people, eating, sleeping, living and working with them 24/7, but we really do all get along well and manage to always have a good time. Touring can definitely wear on you though, that’s for sure! We toured for about 4 years straight pretty much. We finally have a long break from touring to work on our fourth record and I feel like I’ve lost touch with the cities I live in. New buildings were up, new places to go were in, friends were pursuing new things! It was strange to come home and have it feel like a place you aren’t familiar with anymore. It’s so nice to not be living out of a suitcase for a little while, I must admit!
LZ: If you hadn’t joined Cobra Starship, do you think you’d be doing film or possibly solo music career?
VA: Difficult question. I think I would’ve continued to work my ass off in the film business and hopefully landed a job as an assistant to a director (that was my dream position at that time). I definitely would’ve made my own record as that was another thing I was working on before Cobra Starship became my top priority.
LZ: What is next for you?
VA: I’ve been working on making some clothes, have been working on some films and working on new music. I hope to come out with these projects publicly very soon. The Cobra Starship album is close to being completed and I’m sure we’ll be on the road again once it is released! Our new single “You Make Me Feel” was just released May 10th and is available to buy online. It’s really exciting to release something new finally!
Victoria Asher is a musician, filmmaker and director. She currently plays keytar in the band Cobra Starship, and splits her time between Hollywood, CA and Brooklyn, NY.
Victoria Asher by Lori Zimmer
Photography © & Courtesy of Jimmy Fontaine
Makeup by Ryan McKnight
Grey Rubber Dress Designed By & Courtesy of Vin and Omi
“Lips Handbag” Designed By & Courtesy of Lulu Guinness
Design by Marie Havens
Victoria Asher, New York City , May 2011, Photography © & Courtesy of Jimmy Fontaine