“I feel that since we live in a volatile period where there is so little time to stop and reflect, there is a fundamental need for ambient music. It gives a moment for meditation, introspection, and connection to our inner self, which in turn synchronizes us with our planet’s natural motion. It provides a much-needed space that connects us to reality and bridges earth and the spiritual.” These are the words with which Chilean DJ and producer Kamila Govorçin described her strong attraction to ambient and experimental music, in spite of gaining a certain notoriety in the techno scene. Following listening to her output “Anima” (recently released by Clang), we had an interesting conversation with her.
Chain D.L.K.: Hola, Kamila! How are you?
Kamila Govorçin: I’m good, I can’t complain about my situation. Of course, I have dark days feeling anxious and worried, but then I immerse myself in music and in living day by day.
I’ve been dedicating my life to DJing for some years now, and with this quarantine, everything has been canceled, so that’s one of my biggest worries right now. The government here doesn’t support art like what you might see in Europe or other countries.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you in Cahuíl yet? Can you explain to our readers the reason for your choice?
Kamila Govorçin: My mother was born quite near to Cahuil, about 40kms south, so I spent most of my childhood holidays there. I guess that’s the reason I became close to nature and a rural kind of life. To Cahuil I came later, when I finished my studies, at around 22. I felt this place was warmer than where my mother came from and I felt attracted to the sea.
I began to work different jobs in Santiago, none of which made any sense to me. So from that age, I started planning the move away from the big city. I find a lot of entertainment and movement in big cities, but at the same time I’m very sensitive, introverted, and always looking for calming spaces. I find more happiness living here, waking up and hearing the birds sing, constantly having the sea as background noise, eating mostly food from this place, interacting with people that are used to a different pace in life, and living much more simply.
Chain D.L.K.: If you’re still there, are you going to go back to Santiago? If yes, what are the conditions you’re going to wait on before moving back and maybe shaking the scene again?
Kamila Govorçin: Right now yes, I’m in Cahuil, and have no plans. I had a very important life plan before the pandemic which I’ve had to postpone, and that has been very hard emotionally. So I prefer to live day by day and expect nothing.
I used to travel to Santiago to DJ every week, but I don’t think we’ll have parties for some time now.
I’ve been moving (250kms distance) every weekend for some years now and I honestly needed a break. I love DJing, but at the same time, I love staying home and making music. If I could maintain myself just as a music producer, I would DJ much less, just on certain occasions. Being forced to stay here has given me the possibility to dedicate quality time to music production. Being a DJ and a music producer at the same time is very hard if you have to prepare a different mix every week.
Chain D.L.K.: Cahuíl brought this awesome album I’m listening to while typing… Any introductory word about ‘Anima’?
Kamila Govorçin: In the beginning, I was going to name it ‘Conversations with the Soul’, but I found it too long & personal. What I usually create begins from a personal situation, which I then try to extrapolate. With the titles, same idea; outside of my world, what could people be feeling or thinking? What are we going through?
Anima and animus were terms used by Gustav Carl Jung; the archetypal images in our unconscious, Anima being the female image. After such a long history of patriarchy, I think the Anima in all of us has grown stronger in order to change things. During the period I made Anima, I felt I was talking with my inner female or witch voice.
Chain D.L.K.: I checked some of your sets including the one for Boiler Room. It seems you didn’t like only head-banging stuff, but also sonorities that could be a set for thought instead…is there a more or less hidden purpose when you make DJ sets besides simple entertainment?
Kamila Govorçin: Yes, I look for emotions through dancing so I try to seek sonorities that move me inside and as I’ve experimented, people also feel more. In Boiler Room, I felt I was expected to do a more techno set, so I changed a lot while DJing. I didn’t feel comfortable and was very distracted. During this quarantine, I’ve been working even more with sonorities as people are listening in a different way from their homes.
Chain D.L.K.: Any interesting experience related to this last aspect you want to share with our readers?
Kamila Govorçin: Many. I never talk about it, but there’s a lot of people that have given me thanks for making them get into some kind of trance. Other people on certain drugs have also shared interesting stories, from what they’ve seen, to experiencing deep emotions.
Chain D.L.K.: Even if it’s pretty beatless, the opening “Ermitañismo” is more than a calm mood setter… Considering the idea behind hermitism (that any man is good when born, but society corrupts him later on), what did you try to render with that track? How does it relate to your personal story and Chilean contemporary history?
Kamila Govorçin: That was the last track I made from the album and it related to a period of hermitism I was passing through, although it’s a state I constantly seek. With this, I mean a time of isolation, introspection, solitude, in order to find deeper answers that make you move on in life in the best way. The track was made in that state; that’s the reason for my voice and playing the flute in it.
In October of last year, we had a social outbreak due to many unfair political and social situations in Chile. It was a very strong period. Marching in the streets clamoring for justice, and seeing violence in response. It was like going 30-40 years back in history when we were in the dictatorship. At the same time, personally, I had to make some hard and painful decisions. All of that situation made me go inside to seek peace and answers.
In the world we used to live in, because now everything is different, most people were too busy to find space for hermitism; they were making decisions that were not aligned with the inner self and therefore corrupted. One of the positive things I find today is that we’re forced to some kind of hermitism, so when this is all over I hope to see some change in lifestyles.
Chain D.L.K.: The title-track ‘Anima’ is closer to some dark ritual ambient stuff than has come to my headphones recently… Did you sample or introduce some ritual sonority of your native region? Any word on the tools/instruments you used for this catchy moment of your album?
Kamila Govorçin: Yes, I imagined myself in a ritual with that track. I’ve always felt some attraction to percussions during rituals so I tried to imagine some kind of walking ritual as if you were in the forest and from nowhere came a bunch of people in a ritual who walked past and left. Like a reminiscence of the rituals that we used to do.
I used percussion samples and made the pattern as I felt or as I imagined the ritual just on a drum rack on Ableton. I also sampled some sounds from a vinyl of Andean Chilean music and some flutes from another vinyl.
Chain D.L.K.: The previous impression on the ritualistic aspect of the sound you spread with this work could be valid for other tracks… The following track “Viento” seems to focus on what sounds like a processed field recording of the wind. What did you try to render on this track?
Kamila Govorçin: It can sound weird, but maintaining the ritual idea, I tried to symbolize the wind as a way of communication and movement. As if the wind passed and took sounds and other things into different places. Also, my voice appears here like trying to communicate something through the wind.
Chain D.L.K.: Many tracks start with ultra-low frequencies, those sounds that someone labelled as ‘sub-basses’…what are they meant to translate?
Kamila Govorçin: I’ve been experimenting with what I feel with sub-basses. Sometimes you barely listen to them, especially if you’re using lower quality monitors or headphones, but still I experience the same feeling; as if something was being moved in my chest; I always feel the most in that that sector of the body. I find that very interesting and have thought of it as sound therapy.
Chain D.L.K.: Did you record ‘Introversion’, the longest track and maybe the less ritualistic moment of Anima, in one-take or did you ‘mold’ it many times before the current version?
Kamila Govorçin: The only one-take part is the sub-bass; the rest was carefully molded.
And yes, it is less ritualistic and therefore its name, Introversion; like the solitary inner world needed as an introvert.
Chain D.L.K.: The cover artwork looks like your faceless portrait. Did you draw it? What’s its meaning?
Kamila Govorçin: It’s an analog picture taken by Nicolás Val, a very talented photographer friend. His pictures made sense to the work I was doing, so I asked him and he chose a couple. Funny because I paid attention to that picture before asking him and it was one of his selected. I think it aligns with what I want to communicate in this album, the removal of the face (ego), going deeper into the Anima.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you reach Clang records?
Kamila Govorçin: I met Lars some years ago here in Chile. He has been very supportive with me since the begining and he invited me to work on something for Clang a couple of years ago. I didn’t feel ready until now. And still I’ve gone through a lot of insecurity as Clang’s releases are very serious and well done and I feel I lack experience and knowledge.
Chain D.L.K.: Any work in progress?
Kamila Govorçin: Many. As I explained before, I barely had quality time to create music before, so now alone, in Cahuil, and it seems we have some time left, creating music is the most I do. Anima was mostly made during the social outbreak because we had around a month of curfew. That gave me time to better develop the album, and then I kept working on it during the following months.
Now it seems I’ll be by myself for at least a couple of months, as 2 have already passed. I’ve been working on different things; from high-speed techno or electro to low-speed trip-hop or dub and a lot of experimental and ambient music. The only bad thing is that I have limited equipment as I sold some before quarantine, but that is also making me experiment more with the Tascam that I use a lot.
Check Kamila Govorçin’s Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/kami-govorcin