Lucrecia Dalt: In Conversation

Avant-garde sorceress, Lucrecia Dalt returns with her abstract and evocative album “No Era Sólida”

Lucrecia Dalt’s hometown in Colombia played a crucial role in the development of her career. Growing up in such a vastly musical environment, encouraged in part by her parents and their love for music, this helped the experimental artist in the formation of her own musical output today.

Now based in Berlin, Lucrecia has altered all formulas to carve out a place in the avant-garde and electronic music field. Her metallic compositions dare us to rethink the possibilities of materiality and transgression through the employment of a daring musical language. 

With the release of ‘Anticlines’, Dalt’s past release, she joined the renowned Brooklyn-based independent label RVNG. While ‘Anticlines’ framed the processes of changing state matter, the Colombian artist changes her musical discourse in forthcoming album, ’No era sólida’. This new body of work follows the transition of the experimental musician through the character ‘Lia’, providing Dalt with a second self through which she embarks on a journey throughout the album; helping Dalt to explore the outer limits of the mind.

We caught up with Lucrecia Dalt, touching base on her inspirations, the story behind “No Era Sólida” and the present time of music. 

Tell me more about your background in music

Growing up in Colombia and listening to my parent’s records that spanned from Spanish ballads to Latin-American folk music to exotica. I didn’t think this was such a formative part of my musical development until rather recently. Studying piano and guitar and being in a choir when I was a kid, as well as being part of a music collective in Medellín later on, that triggered my interest in electronic music production.

When did this album start coming together? How and when did you know it was ready to go?

The first piece I recorded was “Seca“, it was around October 2018. With that piece, I felt the general need to do something that was levitating around the idea of finding new ways with the voice. Then-after, more ideas were developed in a residency in Paris at INA – GRM to consolidate it all in a residency at Pioneer Works in NYC in September 2019. I promised to myself to have a record finished by the end of that residency and I did so. 

How do you think your home town has inspired your music?

The musical memories I have from the engagement of my family with music are sublime and extremely valuable. Part of what I do now is to try to think about the essence of those melodies and rhythms and bring that to my territory with instruments I use in a more abstract way.

The entire album seems to follow a journey of transition and becoming, what can you comment on these poetic reflections, do they show how you see life? 

I guess the answer is no, because the stories that lie behind my music are all developed through fictions and characters; impossible connections between fields. I feel music is actually a medium that allows me to be connected and explore my “crazier” self. 

Guide me through the making of this album, which instruments were used?

I used two Clavia synthesisers, a reverb that I have forced to make textural rhythms (as opposed to its usual purpose), and what became probably the most prominent instrument along with the voice. Then the computer to sequence everything together. 

What was the theory behind the video Disuelta? 

No theory, the video was realised by Pedro Maia. He’s really good at creating heavy textures by processing 16mm film. Disuelta means “dissolved” so we wanted to reflect that in the video, not only by dissolving my face within the textures but also the focus. He used various lenses while he filmed as well.

The track ‘No era sólida’ is very evocative and introspective, can you describe to me what you were feeling when working on this specific song?

I wrote the text for this piece when I was commissioned to do a performance at the Mies van der Rohe pavilion in Barcelona. It’s written from the perspective of the sculpture named “Morgen”, from the materiality of it. It’s inspired by a short story by JG Ballard “venus smiles”, the sculpture is wondering about her existence when restricted to a black squared pond; what happens if it breaks? The tension between being material in human shape. Then I thought about how to accompany this text with a melodic structure that felt somehow “primordial” or “closer to death”.

What similarities can you see between your work and the stuff being put out in Berlin? 

I don’t know how to answer this. I can see how having worked and shared ideas with Berliners such as Jan Jelinek, Andrew Pekler, Gudrun Gut, Barbara Morgenstern, Matias Aguayo, Daniela Huerta, Mary Ocher, Rashad Becker, Regina de Miguel among many others, this keeps contributing to my becoming as an artist.

How do you personally think that corona is going to affect the way people make and deliver music? Has it affected somehow the making of your music? If so, how?

Mmmh, I’m conscious that we are in a process of deep transformation but I don’t think I have any way to predict how music will be affected. In my case, the positive aspect of this, is that being forced to a heavy process of self-scrutiny has made me conclude that having the type of life I was having before corona – the type that is rather -precarious, always moving, lonely, non-stop, with almost no personal life and taking health to the limit – is not what I want in life anymore. I want to transform my practice to create spaces with higher levels of empathy, caring, of coming together, it’s something that revealed to me during this time. I can also identify it comes from a structural problem, as I feel that the art world lately, has been legitimising solitary artistry as probably the most valid or feasible of explorations, however, I start to believe with more strength that we need to bring more opportunities to create community, to engage with nature, to gather together and create together. To recover orality as a form of collective creativity.

“No Era Sólida” is out 11th September via RVNG

Grab it here.

Words: Alejandra Cabrera

Photo Credits: Camille Blake, Pedro Maia

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