Interview with trajedesaliva: Seeing the barely seeable, hearing the barely hearable.
Futuristika gives an ear to what trajedesaliva tells, about dark Galicia, parentship and weird analog sounds.
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[Futuristika!, Barış Yarsel] What or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music sound that drew you to it?
[Mon]: There’s always been music around me at home. I’ve got these memories of me as a child going through vinyls, singing or trying to make songs with whatever instrument was at hand.
I also come from a musical family. My father and relatives stretching back generations were musicians, though I’m carving my own path, which differs greatly from theirs.
Regarding my influences, well, I’ve always been into different styles. Rather than the specific style an artist may belong to, for me, the most important thing is the emotion that they’re able to convey. My all-time favorite, almost life-changing records are “Desertshore” and “The End”, by Nico.
My father used to say “I am so afraid, I cannot find correct words to describe my fear for my children,” while he was trying to explain his over- protectiveness. Many years later, I have found myself seeing nightmares full of terror, gore and horror after a joyful day spent my kids. How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition after being parent?
[unavena] I rarely get asked about this, and I love this question, because it’s one of the key concepts of Ultratumba.
I think the experience of motherhood comes rich with horrors. First, because it instantly puts you in the place of your own parents. By becoming a mother, a father, you are forced to relive your own childhood. You occupy that cosmic space again.This has been a source of huge anxiety for me. I also came to the realization that ‘matricide’ is ultimately necessary for my child to live a happy and independent life, so I have to be there for him unconditionally, but also learn how not to be with him when the time comes, and I’ve found that idea to be quite brutal as well!
Also, the child-rearing experience, well, it’s been bestial and mulish, filled with a million tiny, worries, where I’ve found myself to be in a state of permanent hyper-vigilance: seeing the barely seeable, hearing the barely hearable.
Then there’s the daily chore, the washing, the cooking, the feeling that your brain is now only a sort of ‘calculator for simple quantities’ of flour and sugar. I’ve always fantasized about what the experience of bearing a child is like for a woman, and this fantasy has very clearly found its way into our lyrics, up until Ultratumba, which already openly revolves around the reality of becoming a parent.
I have to say, though, that the exercise of dissecting these feelings poetically and recording these fears and laments on the records has also been a way to curb all the frustration that came with the experience, and it’s definitely helped me regain balance. I’m now in a pretty peaceful place and know this will forever be our most special and emotive record!
Tell us about your insist on analog, please. To understand your approach better, what are its most important qualities and how does it influence the musical results, including your own performance?
[Mon] Analog is a type of sound that just grew on me over time. In the beginning, either due to a lack of money or just because it felt uncomfortable and burdensome, It was not something I had in mind to work with. Until your first analog synth enters your life, and you start noticing the difference. Its warmth, the strength and quality of the sound, and especially the room it gives me to express myself. Also, the nuances and small imperfections it produces, along with the risk and certain limitations you need to overcome creatively. It’s an immense power that can take my music to places I wouldn’t have reached with a 100% digital equipment.
Still, I don’t think one should give up entirely on the use of other types of technology. In fact, many synths and pedals that are being produced now are actually hybrid synths that combine digital and analog qualities, which is something I find very interesting. I think that the future of synths should be both digital and analog.
Can you tell us about your favorited piece of hardware regarding your setup?
[Mon] I try that each new piece I get is special and can add a different dimension to the rest of the gear I already have, that’s why I find it difficult to choose one over another. If I had to, I’d pick the ‘Nyx’ and ‘Abyss’, both by Dreadbox. I can’t find the words to describe their personality and the unsettling places both can bring you to.
Regarding pedals, my current favorite is the ‘Meris Polymoon’, which is just perfect for my way of playing.
What do you start with? How difficult is that first line of text, the first note?
[unavena] As regards the text, it always seems to come out naturally. We like to discuss at length the concept of our albums, until we achieve this mental state that will allow us to see a way to express those ideas and bring them to life, both musically and poetically.
What makes lyrics ready enough to speak/sing? What are your own ambitions and challenges in this regard?
[unavena] The fundamental thing for me regarding the text is that it needs to have a specific musicality. I need to feel it can be spoken out and carry not a meaning but a feeling (of fear, despair, anguish, loneliness…). I don’t really care about rhyme, structure or repetition as a technique. The way our lyrics are created, and very possibly also spoken, have more to do with a, let’s say, ‘melancholy speech’, in which language is an unnatural, alien medium. That’s why it’s very often laden with ellisons, repetitions, surreal associations, mispronounced words…
Your work is very personal and emotional––how does your past and your geography (Galicia) reveal itself in your art?
[unavena] Galicia is without a doubt the backdrop for Ultratumba. Although it may not be the exterior, visible Galicia around me, but rather the experience of this country and how it’s affected in turn my ‘interior landscape’. Mine is a rural Galicia, dark, all marked by superstitions, religion, oppression and violence within the family. These are all elements that have crept into my writing and in the imagery I envisioned for Ultratumba.
Who else’s works are you into around your neighborhood?
[unavena] feels very close to us: Fonte do Araño by Emilio Cao. We also love Maud the Moth, with whom we’ve just started working on a collaborative album inspired by Spanish-born, Mexican painter Remedios Varo. ✪