By Grant C. Dull & Daniel Dickens
Hi Juana, I thought this would be a good time to ask you about your experiences abroad. I’d like you to tell me about any differences there may be between playing here and playing over there. As we are a web page created by foreigners who live in Buenos Aires, the roles are now reversed.
What’s it like to play abroad? What are fans like over there? Are there lots of Argentines in your audience? Do you have a favorite city or place where you like to play when you’re abroad? Is there any festival you’d like to partake in?
In general, the people who go to my shows are Americans. But in the last few months, I´ve seen a bit more Argentines, Mexicans, and Latin Americans in general. I’d say that 20% of all people who go see my shows speak Spanish.
I like playing in theaters. I like them more than festivals, because festivals tend to get a little crazy.
Speaking of foreign countries, who has been an influence on you and who is an international favorite of yours? What kind of music is there on your ipod/on your stereo nowadays?
I’ve been influenced by the music that I listened to when I was a kid, the music my parents listened to, the music I overheard by chance. The music that I like does not necessarily have an influence on me. I like Regina Spektor a lot.
What part of Argentina’s traditional music scene do you belong to?
Until a while ago, there was no place for me. But now that I’ve walked down a long road, one that Argentines knew nothing about, I’m slowly finding a place of my own. A place that didn’t exist in the past. I haven’t replaced anybody. I got here and I found a spot of my own, a spot that’s gradually expanding.
How do you create your music, what’s the process like? The way you play your music, with all those midis and devices, is very interesting. What do you think about combining technology and music? I read in a magazine that you’re not much of a technophile. Is that true?
While creating my music, as I spotted new needs, I found the way to make things work. First, I used a looper, then I added another keyboard, then some special effects, then more pedals, and that’s how technology eventually helped meet my needs. I think everybody should look for resources of their own. We’re all different and we all have different needs.
The relationship there is between music and technology is, I believe, the same there used to be between music and musical instruments. Technology must be a servant of music. The absence of technology does not impair creativity at all. You can create heavenly music with no technology at all, and terrible music with the market’s latest devices.
‘I like records to grab me, put me on a train, and take me for a ride’ you said in an interview with Clarín newspaper. I grew into your music during a trip to the south of Argentina last year. I had ‘Segundo’ (Second) on my ipod and it took me for a trip while I was traveling on the bus and watching some wonderful landscapes. ‘Tres Cosas’ (Three Things) is a trip too. Tell me about ‘Tres Cosas’ as compared to ‘Segundo’ and ‘Rara’ (Weird). Tell me a little about the evolution of your music and your live shows.
Playing live was an experience that contributed a lot to the way I play and interpret music. I started recording music at home, when I’d never played live yet. There’s a clear freshness about ‘Segundo’ in that respect. Nearly the whole record is an accumulation of first takes. It’s a search in the world of interpretation. I think you can feel that spirit while listening to ‘Segundo’; in a subliminal way, perhaps, but it’s clearly there.
‘Tres Cosas’ is a bit more complex as far as technique is concerned. It sounds better and it’s more homogeneous when it comes to production. It’s probably easier to listen to than ‘Segundo’.
Can you tell me a little about what’s next? Are you making a record right now?
It’s very hard for me to make records with so many tours interrupting the process. I’m planning to fully concentrate on my next record once I have wrapped up this year’s last tour in October. I have lots of recorded stuff, but I still don’t know if I’ll be using any of that -which happens to be a lot- when I finally get down to work.
One last thing: what’s your relationship with Buenos Aires like? Many Argentines who live abroad always end up coming back home. Will that be your case too? Tell me how you get along with the city.
I love Buenos Aires and Argentina in general. It’s home, where I recognize everything, where I can give my opinion because I understand what people are talking about, where I’m familiar with everybody’s way of thinking. It’s like a family. A big one, yet one you know everything about. When you live abroad, you live outside the country’s code and the people’s code. You understand what’s going on, but only to a certain extent. There are certain details that simply escape you. When you’re abroad, you just can’t get it all.
I like being at home.
Learn more about Juana Molina: www.juanamolina.com