Interview // Erasmo Parra

Studio whiz kid Erasmo Parra, is the button bashing detonator responsible for the wild child Latino lyrical pop of Valentina Fel. Signed to Lizard King Records in New York, the pair embarked upon a project that could quite easily be the badly behaved bastard child of MIA and Santogold. Valentina’s stripes are that of a war torn valkyrie, as she spits her non nonsensical lyrics over the borders of Spanglish into a hot climate of South American Riot Girl attitude. Erasmo’s skippity drum claps and Chilean charm, waylay his electro undercurrents with a truly original punk-pop attitude that few producers could lay credit to, think Diplo with less ‘Kartel’ and more ‘Vybz’. Both Erasmo and Valentina condemn the constraints around mainstream pop through an upfront attitude of nonchalance. Tracks such as ‘Caos Moral’ and ‘Sin Control Mi Diversion’ herald a strong potential of a Top 40 prime position, and will maybe one day put the straggling everyday r&b wannabes firmly in their place.

At this point in time Erasmo is in the early stages of starting his own digital label, however it’s so underground it doesn’t have a name yet. However what I can tell you, is that Erasmo’s philosophy is based upon the foundation of free distribution, due to the fact ‘everyone pirates everything these days anyway’. The label focus will be channeled into a lucrative live show format, and for those who are willing to cough up will not be disappointed, with the added benefit that some of the proceedings are donated to charities helping under privileged children. We can expect our dance floors to be flooded with a native persuasion of sounds from the likes of Erasmo, Matenlo, Tatsu, Johan Mendez and Lou Lima.

How did you and Valentina end up causing earthquakes in the studio together?

The first time she went to my studio (my brother introduced me to her), she showed me her collage’s/drawings and I freaked out with them, I was super inspired and I started to make sounds/beats that could fit those drawings, and when she started to sing to it she sounded like a little girl, (she is super euphoric) she reminded me of an old punk record I heard in Amsterdam. So I tried to simulate that sound I had in my mind to a more electronic/African sound, in the beginning I had to help her with the tempo and the way she would sing to it, but Valentina came from a punk school thus everything she sung was full of energy!

Which song that you have recorded has the most relevant message to us as listeners today, and where does Valentina get the inspiration for her lyrical flow?

I think it’s “No Control” in this track she sings about how addictive and how much influence the internet has over us in this era of future technology. The message’s behind Valentina’s lyrics are all encrypted, you need to listen a few times to the track to understand the meaning of it, it’s not only the lyrics but the combination of Music+Lyrics+Arrangement that give’s you the message…Her inspiration comes from different sources such as; Flamenco Artist’s (Camaron), The Ramones, Punk, Mainstream Hip-Hop, Street Artist’s from Santiago de Chile.

The lyrics were originally in Spanish and were then recorded in English. Has the cultural authenticity from your Chilean influences been maintained in the tracks?

It changed a little bit, because Chilean (Spanish) is pure irony, if you talk with a Chilean he will always use ambiguities, and Valentina’s Spanish album is like that. If we had translate it literally, it would have sounded ridiculous, But the intensity is still there and the energy and message are still delivered, I made a few changes in the arrangements of the songs and added new sounds to it.

You guys are currently signed to Lizard King Records in New York, led by the highly revered Martin Heath. Martin has been responsible for some truly innovative releases on the dance scene since the 80’s, with a catalog of pioneering house tunes by the likes of ‘Bomb the Bass’ and ‘Beatmasters’. Any chance of some interesting future collaborations with the Lizard King crew, maybe Santogold?

I think we will definitely do some collaborations and productions. I would like Tim Simenon and Santigold to remix Valentina that would be crazy!

The financial state of the music industry is in turmoil, as new solutions are being tried and tested to right it’s footing. Do you feel that the scene has become saturated and misrepresented? Or do you remain optimistic about the future of the industry?

The scene is super saturated and definitely misrepresented, real talent and originality is missing in these days, few kids come up with new stuff but there is no ear for them because cheesy pop music has taken over the World(Wide Web). I foresee an audio/visual(www) revolution, one that is going to change the conception of music and film, now we have plenty of A/V programs and web pages to make our own professional stuff and promotion, but something big is going to change the way we use and apply this, there will be a lot of new and young talented independent film makers, composers and producers, and the start of a new Audio/Visual/Web era will begin.

I know you have a big bro Erasmo, and one of the privileges of having a big brother, is from a young age you are able to trawl through their extensive record collection. Were there any particular tracks/influences that just really stood out for you?

Oh yes! A lot of 80’s & 90’s House, Hip-House, Hip-Hop, Techno, Jungle and Hardcore. Most of the tracks that really influenced me were tracks that he created, Johan (my bro) is my master he was always pushing me to make fresh stuff and to be innovative and always cheering for my creations!

Many aspiring producers seem to have been in some sort of experimental musical wig out ensemble, before they were met with popular appeal. What’s been your craziest electronic exploration in search of the ‘new sound’?

280 BPM Afro/Latin beats Synthesizers, Sub’s, my voice through a Chinese pc mic, with samples of “Los Jaivas – La Boragine” (Chilean Experimental Rock Band) featuring my little cousins… that was avant-garde!