Interview Fifteen Questions.

“15 Questions is the world’s first music magazine about music itself. By talking to some of the leading artists of our time about their perspectives, processes and approaches, we aim at building an extensive archive documenting one of music’s most turbulent and exciting eras”.

When did you start writing/producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Radio. Radio was there since I was a child; I remember times when I was just a kid and I just sat and listened to the radio, in full attention. So the first thing I did when I finished my formal education was to go ask for an internship with one of the DJs I grew up listening to. There, I truly started to learn the craftsmanship, and then I studied radio production. Nonetheless I soon realized that what people usually understand as “radio” was not what I truly liked about such media. And that was the possibility of conjuring worlds, telling stories through the sounds. So I started to play with the radio craft and with the sounds to develop my own concept.

For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? 

Someone once told me that a person is constructed by infinite threads, like a huge tapestry filled with details. I think there were touchstones in my life that definitively shaped the way I work.

When I finished studying radio I decided with some friends, to go out and travel through Argentina with an itinerant radio; so we visited Catamarca, a province in the Argentinean northwest where indigenous culture remains alive and strong. There we found these women that cultivate a kind of singing called vidala. Vidala is accompanied by a percussion instrument called “caja” or by guitars; it has musical forms of a very peculiar and antique nature. This kind of chanting and the overlapping of voices they practice had a strong influence on me. Oddly enough, and on the other hand, the study of the Italian and the Russian Futurist Movements had a strong influence on me; Marinetti and his “Letter from the Trenches” was a marvellous discovery. I think the reason why I feel so influenced by both is because they proved to me that anything could be told by means of the sound without the use of any word.

Later I found the work of amazing women like Delia Derbyshire and her radiophonic and electronic constructions, or Meredith Monk and Joan La Barbara with their voice techniques; or males like Peter Brook and his ideas about the mise en scène, the paths to tell stories and how that relates with the body. All of them take part in that tapestry I am today.

Also, the Nahuatl culture from Mexico, the place where I live, and the soundscapes that surround me are of great influence in my work.

What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time? 

My work “25 Segundos de Vida” (25 Seconds of Life, 2009) was my first grand challenge. The combination of voice and text was a milestone for the way I compose with sounds. That piece raised the main personal questions about language, idiom, sound of the voice and narrative. Another very challenging work was “Verdades Minúsculas” (Tiny Truths, 2011), because it was my first strictly musical work.

My last work “In The Darkness Of The World” was a huge challenge specially because of how it was constructed. It was meant to adapt to three different media (live performance, radio and Internet) without losing its narrative and its sonic structure. Each media had its own particularities: the live performance was a surround construct; the radio version was a stereo composition; and finally, the internet version became an audiovisual piece in collaboration with the video artist Daniel Iván, whom produced beautiful visuals for it.

Keeping the sound narrative without losing control and perspective of the requirements of each media and of the work as a whole was truly demanding. The listener can experience a single narrative from several forms of listening and that is a new milestone in the development of my work.

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