Federico Durand is an Argentinian musician who turns live music into samples and creates beautiful accidents in the key of nature. He has released 5 albums on the labels SPEKK, Own Records, Padu, Home Normal and Desire Path Recordings. This interview is in the wake of his latest album El idioma de las luciÃ©rnagas. Federico Durand is also a member of MelodÃa with Japanese musician Tomoyoshi Date. As well he has a musical project with American sound artist Nicholas Sczcepanik called Every Hidden Color.
Innerversitysound: How did you arrive at music? I.e. does it run in your family (does it gallop?), is it a learnt thing or is there some random element to this having occurred?
Federico Durand: Music is in my life since I was a boy. There are pictures of my early childhood in which I appear playing a toy guitar with a stick, like a violin or a modest drum set made of cans and cooking pots made by my grandmother Agustina. My aunt Mirta had a Hitachi cassette recorder which I borrowed. I loved making recordings, singing and recording other people, animals.
Innerversitysound: You are quite laid back, atmospheric and ambient in your musical constructions. Is this a reflection on character, musical strategy, limitation of equipmentâ€¦..?
Federico Durand: I really do not know. I donÂ´t have many tools or gear to make music, even if I love them. I use instruments that I find or I need for playing. I like beautiful instruments, the wood. It comes easy for me to play them (in a rather personal way) and I enjoy it very much. To me, making music is a space of total freedom.
Innerversitysound: The way you construct your music, through building loops and overlaying them allows you to create a great amount of random possibilities and accidents. Can you explain a little about the process of construction you use and the reasons you employ?
Federico Durand:When I start a piece, I have little idea about how is it going to turn out. I let myself be guided by my mood. To me, music is like going empty handed to a road full of surprises.
Innerversitysound: Your music involves quite a lot of references to nature, both as field samples and “audio images’. Where does your nature reverence come from? Is it just another instrument, or a form of pantheism, or an attainment to sound as an environmental constructionâ€¦..?
Federico Durand: When I was six, my grandparents took me on a trip to the southern forests of Argentina where I’ve seen the beautiful lakes of Patagonia, the larches, the Andes, the myrtle forests and its cinnamon color for the first time. My grandparents had a beautiful house in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with orange and pine trees and some chickens. In that magical courtyard I learned, I believe, some important lessons, a way of looking at life.
Innerversitysound: There seems to be a residue of “magic realism’ in your work, while this was a common 70′ concept in South American literature and psyche rock folk music is it an element in how you conceive of your work?
Federico Durand: I really like the Uruguayan poet Marosa di Giorgio. Her voice is unique in the world narrative, like a blue flower, like an enchanted diadem. There is a very good translation of her work to the English called The History Of Violets, take the opportunity to recommend it.
Innerversitysound: The structure of your music depends quite a bit on sampling and overlaying, building a wall of sounds. Is it a solo thing, an art practice thing or just a result of your working on aElectroharmonix 2880 stereo multi-track looper?
Federico Durand: I like to build small melodies with my lyre or music boxes. I overlap sounds, assembling layers in a totally free way. The important thing to me is to create a space for introspection and delight. Music should be pleasing to the imagination.
Innerversitysound: The collaboration between yourself and Tomoyoshi Date (Melodia – Saudades) has been quite fruitful. How did this long distance collaboration start and are there any more offerings in the offing?
Federico Durand: Tomoyoshi Date is one of my favorite friends even if we met only once in our lives. The days we were in Europe on tour together were an unforgettable adventure. Melodia is the name of our musical project, but also of our friendship. Our first album “Saudades” (Own Records) and our second album “Caminos Del Bosque” still unreleased, were recorded during the tour in the forests of Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, especially in Tuebingen, where we went to visit the house where the poet Friedrich HÃ¶lderlin spent much of his life along the Neckar river. Both albums were mixed in Buenos Aires and Tokyo. For me, Melodia’ music itÂ´s also related to freedom but above all to communication, sharing and the longing of beauty.
Innerversitysound: What lies in store for 2014 for you?
Federico Durand: I will surely release two albums this year. The first one is called “El estanque esmeralda” (The emerald pond) and will be released by the Japanese label Spekk. The output of this work coincides with my first tour to this country. We will play with Tomoyoshi as Melodia and solo with other musicians that I admire very much. Then, IÂ´ll release another album called “TÃ© de manzanilla” (Chamomile tea) by White Paddy Mountain, Chihei Hatakeyama’ label. We have plans to edit the second album with Tomoyoshi Date and I am working with other musician friends.