Category: Interviews
More about this Artist

If you guys noticed, that in the last update the radio got some new music by an artist named latrama. Well recently I was able to talk him into giving us his views about his music, his origins and the "asian" movement at large.

AV: How did your interest South Asian fusion get started? Its not every day that a composer from spain is using South Asian instruments in his music.
L: Well I'll try to tell you something about "the beginning" of this musical project called "latrama," in as little words as possible. I hadn't been interested in electronic music and gear for a long time when I discovered the album 'New Forms' (roni size / reprazent) and I was amazed with the freshness of their rhythms and atmospheres.

At the same time I was composing one of my first love tunes with some sitar melodies and breakbeat bases with my brother's QY700. So my brother, a genius passionate about music and the best master I've ever had (he has made me love the music as he does) gave me the album 'OK' for Christmas and helped me rediscover 'Anokha' to the point that I couldn't stop getting more and more of this music. Thus my interest about Asian-influenced music has been growing ever since. Now I have fallen in love with this genre and feel that my emotions about it and my love to the person I dream of when I compose my music (because she makes my music sound like it does) are giving me all the inspiration and force that I need to produce it. So as you can see that the story of "latrama" is very easy: passion at all senses. That is the basic idea.

AV: So do you yourself play any instruments? Or is the music is all done through digital production?
L: Yes, I have been playing the guitar since I was nine. Also, I have been studying solfa for 5 years, so I play a many instruments like keyboards, flutes or drums. All my music is composed and recorded by me, direct played or into the sequencer, but not taken from any sample library. Most of my production has been performed under Yamaha RM1X and "retouched" (editing, FX and final mixes) with audio software. But I do wish to introduce more "live" instruments in my music as my gear and time let me do it. "latrama" is just one of my projects, the most electronic one. I play the guitar in other one called "drama dabinchi" influenced by "chucho" or "king krimson" and centered in a very different idea and my first band was the typical teenage-hard-rock group who like to play "metallica" or "soundgarden" versions. So digital production is not my only way about making music.

AV: Since you have all these different projects? How did you get started with the chandra sound system? And exactly what is that all about?
L: Well I'll try to fill you in but I want you to know that this is not very easy! "latrama" is two years old as "latrama" but I was making electronic tunes some years before. It was born as my real love was and the feelings that she and fused asian music woke up in me. The name... friends are the guilty party there, it comes from spanish verb "tramar", like plotting in English. "drama dabinchi" is about 5 years old and it began with the best guitar connection I've ever had: my brother. This project is not completely defined as of yet. We are moving ourselves between a strict acoustic sound and an electronically fused idea. I don't know how exactly it will end up finally. About "chandra sound system" I was as a simple viewer in one of their live acts, I met the guys that run the system (Nak , Narkotic and Ekant) after him and I fell in love again. And since I was a dj also, they received me with the open hands. So we tried put our minds together to expand the dj set in a way of improvisations with visuals, tabla, didjeridoo, guitar, sitar players or electronic music gear letting us go with the music and trying to connect it in this way with the people in the dance floor. Narkotic was telling me about the origin of this concept (chandra = moon's god from indus religion). He already had a psychedelic goa trance collective with oriental influences. With the knowledge of the asian underground movement in London and his travels made him change the collective; increasing the styles under the basic tunes and melodies from all over the world and getting together Nak, Ekant and finally me.

AV: So your involvement in chandra sound system is minimal?
L: Well I was the last incorporated of the collective, that's all. But, I think I am involved much more than anything minimal.

AV: Being a non-asian working with Asian elements how do you react to people terming the music "Asian Underground" how would you explain your involvement?
L: I have nothing to explain. People like to catalogue art and music in categories and I have no problem if people want to involve me in this one. I think I have my own thinking about it. "Asian underground" can be anyone put together, be it juttla mixes or a.r. rahman's classical tunes. All I know is my music is Asian-influenced because it's a music I love but I don't know if I'm in this "underground" movement or not and sincerely I don't care. To me "asian underground/breakbeats/fused movement" is just a generation of artist involving musicians, producers or dj's causing people like me to dream and enjoy a different way of sound; something completely out of the "box".

AV: So what would you term the music you created under the name "latrama"? Is that Asian Underground?
If you like to term it as asian underground then ok. From what, I understand about this "style" of music then of course I think "latrama" is.

AV: Don't you think that by titling the musical style "underground" one is reducing its growth potential because it is viewed as underground, not important, not meant for the general public?
L: "Underground" = "worst or less important"? No, it's just "different". It escapes from the fundamental rules or structures. I think that any style known as "underground" is an independent style in the way that big companies can't distort its musical essence cause the artist has all the control over his production and he is feeling the music he makes. This is not possible in any commercial circle? The meaning for the public is what the public wants it to be.

AV: So where do you see yourself going w/ latrama? Planning on releasing any new albums besides the one on Anything new coming up?
L: I don't know where I'll go with latrama because I'm not thinking about it besides as a passion. I hope to finish my last love tune early April and maybe I'll release an album on with all the tunes or a new EP, I'm not sure yet. I want to make some new mixes as good as the upload ones I have. There is a project to produce one or two tunes with chandra sound system this year and following that with our dj-projects in some festivals and clubs here in spain. I prefer to let things going by themselves and not to seek them hopelessly; I guess that way of thinking becomes double edge sword.

AV: So, is there anyone else besides "chandra sound system" out in spain doing something similar as you guys? Another south asian electronic group that you possibly know of?
L: I think we would have met them by now if there was. But, if they are here we don't know about them so I guess we are the only asian beats collective here.

AV: So that is all the questions that I can think of. Is there anything else you would like to share w/ the readers of AV? Any final comments?
L: I just want to thank you and your partners for this personal space and support. And I beg other artists people around the globe to continue with this culture; teach it to the world and make people dream with it as I have and as I try to do. Good luck with AV and your future projects. And to the readers: thanks for your attention. Visit latrama's site and enjoy.

Duque [Latrama]

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