The second installment of my captivating interview with Alejandra Ortiz and Luis Maurette of Lulacruza. Check out Exclusive Interview With Lulacruza - Part 1 if you missed the first installment.
Morena: How did you connect with Vincent Moon?
Luis: Vincent Moon first reached out to us back when Myspace was still a popular social network. He had heard our music through a friend and was interested in filming us. At that time we had no idea who he was, but thought that whenever he was able to get to Argentina, we would work with him on something. A few years later a friend showed us a video from La Blogoteque and we suddenly realized, it was filmed by the same person who had contacted us a few years before. We reached out to him and started a conversation. Another year or two went by until he finally made it to Argentina, but the exact dates he would be there, Alejandra was going to be in Colombia. So we met, I introduced him to a few local musicians he could work with and we shared ideas on music. At some point in our conversations I asked him if he was interested in going to Colombia, I talked to him about the rich musicality of the region. He was incredibly excited and our collaboration was born. In the year's time it took for him to make it there, our dream grew and grew, slowly becoming the ambitious Esperando el Tsunami.
Morena: Tell me about your new album Orcas.
Alejandra: Orcas is our most intimate body of work to date, a collection of songs about the risk and vulnerability of falling in love: falling in love with another, falling in love with the chaotic beauty of nature, and the ultimate need to fall in love with oneself. Lyrics are inspired by both sublime love and the calmest, darkest hour before sunrise, as well as ancient forces like the feeling of reuniting with what feels like a twin soul from a past life. This is also our most acoustic album.
Luis: On tracks such as "Comandante," Ortiz bends her vocals like a soft blowing Colombian wind. While Lulacruza uses electronics to add depth and to blur the lines between reality and fiction, South American indigenous instruments like the 4-string cuatro, 10-string charango and huge Argentinian bass drum called the bombo also gauge the dynamics on Orcas. We wanted to keep the intimacy of acoustic folk music and combine it with the physical experience of big deep bass lines that can only be achieved with electronic processing. It's an album whose experience really changes depending on what speakers you are listening through. Through small speakers, it can be heard as an intimate folk album, or in a system with sub-woofers, as a deep entrancing, rhythmic album.
Morena: Orcas is being released on The Polish Ambassador's boutique label Jumpsuit Records. How did this come about?
Alejandra: About 2 years ago, David Sugalski (The Polish Ambassador) approached me about doing a collaboration for a couple of his dance tracks. I believe he had seen us perform at Beloved Festival in Oregon (by the way, one of our all time favorite gatherings in the world). I didn't quite know him, but was into his music, yet found no time to record for the tracks while taking care of my newborn daughter. We stayed connected on Facebook. When we got ready to perform again after my pregnancy, we started thinking about possible people to share shows in the US with. TPA was about to do his epic Pushing Through the Pavement tour, which paired dance music shows with community permaculture action days throughout the country. We told him we had just finished a new album, and that we would be touring. David offered us to join his artist collective, by releasing Orcas as part of the Jumpsuit label. What started as a traditional independent record label, Jumpsuit Records has since shape shifted into an artist cooperative. All artists retain their own earnings. All artists have a vote in the evolution of the cooperative. The Jumpsuit crew collectively decides the evolution and direction of the collective. Adding new members, how we support one another, what mission, intentions and organizations to support, how to implement community enhancing action days into our touring, every decision goes through the collective. This is not a business run by one or a couple people. This is a cooperative! Every member has a vote! It is our feeling that we've entered an era where artist organization can and will be a catalyst for monumental social change.
Morena: How do you balance your careers with family, relationships, friendships and social lives?
Luis: It's hard! The frequency of our tours changes, and the balance is always shifting. There were seasons when we really felt like traveling, and we would be traveling for 8 months of the year. At other points, we would be more focused on teaching or doing inner work and would only tour for 4-6 months of the year. In those years, we got to build strong bonds and friendships with people in other countries who became family to us. At the same time, we also learned to enjoy the best things of each place and each season, grateful to be part of a global family. We've become like snails, carrying our home within us. In the past couple of years (since Ale's daughter was born) we have been rooting down, focusing a bit more on life at home, as well as taking our time to release precious older material, and we are doing 4 to 6 week tours. We are currently traveling with Ale's daughter, and in many ways she also sets the pace for our touring seasons.
Morena: You are both profoundly connected with every molecule that surrounds you and it is apparent in your poetic lyrics and sounds. What messages do you want to convey to your listeners and future listeners?
Luis: Be simple, lead a simple life. Listen, be silent and listen. Our current culture, even in the Transformational Festival culture, of constantly needing more, more intensity, more comfort, more experiences, more organic, is a bottomless pit. We need to learn to be satisfied, to hold on to that satisfaction longer, to stop consuming all the time. The mystery is all around, we need not go out and search for it, more so we need to pay attention and notice it's presence.
Experience "Lagunita," a preview from their upcoming album Orcas releasing on April 14, 2015.
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