After a brief career as a civil engineer in Medellin, Colombia, and the discovery of music crafting Lucrecia Dalt ventured both into popular genres and experimental techniques. Her interesting sonic research, which runs parallel to her intellectual development, emotional analysis and performative arts is focused on different strategies that turn complexity into something accessible and somewhat sensual and has been remarkably honed so that after a number of important collaborations and underground releases, she finally developed a sort of summary of her path, “Commotus“, in 2012. The international collective Human Ear Music recently launched its fascinating follow-up, “Syzygy“. Let’s get to know Lucrecia and her latest work a little better…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi Lucrecia. How are you?
Lucrecia Dalt: I’m good, back in Berlin drinking a mate, it’s been a while I had my last mate de coca, have you tried it?
Chain D.L.K.: Yes, I did… very energetic fuel! Before speaking about your new album I’d like to introduce you in your own words… Many people think you are Spanish because you used to live in Barcelona, but you were born in Medellin. How do you remember your hometown? What did you miss more after you came to Europe?
Lucrecia Dalt: I was actually born in Pereira, that’s another myth that goes around the internet, since I lived in Medellín 8 years lot’s of people think I’m from there, then Spain, most likely people won’t end up thinking I’m German. I miss the fruits, my grandma’s empanadas, the bird sounds in the morning, my parents, the trees.
Chain D.L.K.: What about music in your lifetime? Could you draw a sort of personal storyline related to some particular instrument, song or whatever?
Lucrecia Dalt: My grandpa played drums and was a sensational maraca player, he was very tall, so being like 4 years old and looking at this handsome and colossal guy playing maracas with such charm and accuracy was very inspiring. Then all I remember is music, my mother used to hide speakers under cloth-covered tables so the sound source was never identified, she says I used to crouch down next to the speakers to try to understand and follow the rhythms with my feet, she played bambucos, pasillos, currulaos, guabinas, boleros and spanish baladas all the time.
Chain D.L.K.: You grew within the Colombian local scene… what about that somehow exotic scene?
Lucrecia Dalt: It’s strange because what we could call “exotic” musically was more present in my early years of life than when I started to make music around 2004. There was this bubble where you could forget a little bit you were in Colombia, with techno parties, electronic music production etc. I was close to a collective called Series Media, we were trying to skip on all the Vallenato played at the bars and create our own universe. When the “new” Cumbia craze emerged I was already in Spain.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s behind the choice to relocate to Europe?
Lucrecia Dalt: Love.
Chain D.L.K.: Your debut release was “Acerca”, if I remember well… how would you say your sonic research and your own sound changed since that release?
Lucrecia Dalt: It’s a zig zag, I feel somewhat closer to “Acerca” with “Syzygy” than with “Commotus”, in a strange way because at the time I was just making music, I wasn’t integrating any concept into it, right now it’s all like a catharsis and the music is the end result of a complex multi-layered sum of experiences.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re one of the best evidence that MySpace used to be useful, aren’t you?
Lucrecia Dalt: Oh yeah! actually Gudrun Gut contacted me through MySpace for the 4 women no cry compilation, and that’s how I end up meeting Julia Holter.
Chain D.L.K.: That cinematic clip announcing the release of “Syzygy” describes it as “a state of eternal oscillation that effervesces from the sand and levitates like a mirage”… someone might react by exclaiming a “woooow” with many “o” after such a description… how do you justify that?
Lucrecia Dalt: Jason Grier wrote that one, he’s so good at putting into words very abstract concepts, ideas, feelings. I feel it justifies well what the album is, the eternal oscillation referring to the obsession I had with arpeggios and time. When I was making the album I was drinking lot’s of cheap spanish wine most of the time, I had this abstract physical feeling that I was calling effervescence, I was having goosebumps all the time. The sand is what “Commotus” left, and the mirage is the last piece, so there you have it!
Chain D.L.K.: Why “Syzygy”?
Lucrecia Dalt: At first I wanted the album to be composed by pieces that in the stereo mix differ substantially in the Left and Right channel, if a track was separated into two mono tracks you could have two new different pieces, so one piece is at the same time two, this idea didn’t end up working well but mostly because I realised at some point I didn’t want to limit myself in the composition process (as I did with “Commotus”) but all this drove me to the concept of “Syzygia” from the pataphisicians, and from there I jumped to the infra-thin, and from there to Levity and from there to effervescence and from there to mirages.
Chain D.L.K.: What about that cover artwork?
Lucrecia Dalt: It’s soft porn, you see what the left hand is doing to the right hand? It’s also two things that work well together for a “limited” period of time, and the aesthetic feel to it comes from the movie Une femme mariée.
Chain D.L.K.: There are a plenty of quotes from cinema and literature… since I’m Italian, I cannot but immediately notice an explicit reference to Monica Vitti and honestly that was the very first track I listened to… could you tell something about the way you perceive Vitti and what you tried to achieve with your track? Do you remember that commissioned work by Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) about Antonioni?
Lucrecia Dalt: One of the maxim’s of my project is that it is a solitary exploration, but I realized at some point that I needed a certain amount of external inputs working as my “band mates” or else I would end up talking about my boring subjective topics only. When I’m recording I leave movies playing, and lots of books opened for random reads and observations, I need this invasion to feel creative. While I was making the album I was in somewhat of a state of delirium myself, so I sympathized with the character of Monica Vitti in “Deserto Rosso”. The lyrics of Vitti are sung by Giuliana, she’s trying to convey a message within the disquieting arpeggios, high frequency tones, and delirious choral.
Chain D.L.K.: I guess “Volaverunt” refers to the notorious character of the Duchess of Alba (Cayetana)… if so, what do you like about that woman?
Lucrecia Dalt: Ha! Not at all, I just like the meaning of this word, it’s a word that indicates that something is missing, lost or disappeared completely.
Chain D.L.K.: On “Levedad”, you referred to Italo Calvino’s “American Lessons” and his assertions about lightness/levity… how did you try to integrate that lesson in that track?
Lucrecia Dalt: At the time I was making the album I was feeling like a bubble that levitates in a certain space, I was trusting the forces around me to either move me to another space or place or let me stay where I was. I was feeling un-rooted, so I started to search for who could put this idea into words well.
Chain D.L.K.: So many intercultural references have been poured in your music… but is there any book or movie which has a particular importance for your artistic growth or which fittingly landed on you?
Lucrecia Dalt: Nothing in particular really. Everything I do is always a complex sum of references, I really cannot particularize.
Chain D.L.K.: Any piece of advice to best appreciate “Syzygy”?
Lucrecia Dalt: Well I guess you could appreciate “Syzygy” better if you listened to it from beginning to end, with a hi-fi that has a good bass frequency response, or good headphones. I made “Syzygy” on two Yamaha’s hs80m speakers, if you have those you have the frequency response I was having at home.
Chain D.L.K.: While listening to some tracks, it seems that you experience a sort of replication of your identity, as if both you and a sort of mirrored image or a ghost were performing together… do you feel the same or not?
Lucrecia Dalt: Of course!
Chain D.L.K.: In your viewpoint, is the role of music in everyday life going to change in the forthcoming future?
Lucrecia Dalt: I cannot see it otherwise. I really wonder if there will be a day when I want to hear no music at all.
Chain D.L.K.: Any forthcoming tour or project?
Lucrecia Dalt: Yes, with Julia Holter in Europe, it starts October 24th in Berlin. I’m also preparing a 7″ for Suicide Squeeze and a 12″ for Care Of Editions. And I’m really happy because I just got a residence in Berlin to work on a series of compositions that I will reference to German experimental films.
visit Lucrecia Dalt on the web at: www.lucreciadalt.com