INTERVIEW: Laura de Vasconcelos
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Todays Miami Encode artist interview is with Laura de Vasconcelos, notable as she forges ahead in recent years. We are big fans of her output so thought it would be a great time to get in touch and find out more about her, whats important to her and what she is up to next.
How would you present/describe your work to someone who doesn’t know you?
My DJing style is a bit more experimental. It’s about playing what speaks to me, and mixing tracks that are normally not put together. So I bring genres and influences into my work in a way it gives that experimental feel to how I play. All in all, I bridge a wide-ranging House and disco, classics and rarities to create raw and energetic sets. That is my signature. My job as an artist is to innovate so I can explore more. I appreciate artistic freedom to play what I feel inspired by, and the sounds that relate to my musical background, experiences, and preferences. The result is that I start off at one place, then I add more complex and unusual cuts, building up until I bring it sonically together. And I’m always on fire that everyone is following me along.
And your last record? How was it born? And where do you want it to lead?
I’ve been actually experimenting with AV. I just released a series of music-videos, self produced and shot from scratch
I was revisiting a collaborative work with Annabel Guérédrat, a fabulous French contemporary dancer. It was back in 2013 and 2014, and I was sampling Kraftwerk for the sound installation we developed during her performances in Paris, Biarritz, Bourge and Martinique. That inspired me to dive into mixed-media work, so I rescued my camera and from that, things just came together. I invited some friends, who are dancers and performers and we brought to life a series of stunning city landscapes, mixing sound, dance and movement. The landscape evolves into a visual soundscape, in which my intention is not only to portray, but to evoke. And they are absolutely gorgeous artists. Those wacky ideas I have and they embark with me, I can’t believe it haha.
What message would you like to convey to the public?
I like to create some uplifting tension that rarely peaks, but also rarely resolves, deploying sophisticated voices and rhythms. Because my sound reflects my state of mind, my experiences and also what’s happening in the world around me, I have to live up to the challenge of bridging such disparates to reflect those stories. And I want everyone to feel free to be who they are. I am an autistic artist in this industry. I like the idea of people just being themselves, not conforming, but having fun, meanwhile.
How do you make music? What is most important for you?
I have to be passionate and inspired by the music I play, which is very carefully curated, mixed and thought. I don’t keep records for the sake of my collection. I want to play something different, evocative. I want to design an experience for people on the dancefloor that is fun and warm and sexy. Otherwise I feel I’m just like any other DJ, playing the same music as everybody else’s, conveying the same feelings and experiences…
Is there a unifying concept behind your art?
Well, I’m an old school clubber from the 90’s. That plays a role in how I sound and the music I like. I want to give clubbers of today a glimpse of that. However, there is a wide range of genres being mixed together and it is the whole set that tells the full story. I think being from Brazil helps me travel through different influences. I feel what unifies my work are sophisticated voices and rhythms that wash off inertia and keep your ears away from numbing repetition. It brings a lot of energy into play, it’s fun and extravagant.
What makes you unique?
To start off, I am an autistic woman DJ, that is already a lot. But I feel like my background also plays a huge role in the way I capture and interact with music, that makes me unique in the scene. That helps me to blend different patterns that might sound raw, but it also grows into something more classy. That brings a lot of that energy I mentioned to the dance floor. I want to fire things up and play the music I like, the sounds I feel inspired by. There is a bit of madness in that, it’s untamed, but it’s also sexy.
As for your studio, what is it currently composed of?
It is very basic, actually. I’m a minimalist and use mostly two Technics turntables, a mixer, a pair of speakers, headphones, my vinyl collection, an audio-recorder, a camera, a computer, and Persian carpets.
What is the one instrument you would never get rid of, no matter what?
I really like the piano. Every time I hear it, it works its magic. I used to play piano as a child and it is still with me. When it’s played in a track, it works every time: the crowd goes wild haha
Do you have hope for the future of music? How would you like the future of the music industry to be?
That is a tough one to answer. There is a lot to unpack if you want to be honest about what the music industry is, what it could be or what I want it to be. For me, there is neurodivergence; being a woman also plays a role in a still male dominated industry.
Well, you get the gist. I’m not fully optimistic, but I hope to see an equal opportunity, treatment, and influential roles for queer and women voices. Things did change in the past 10 years, but there is still a long way to go.
Can you reveal some future projects to us?
For now, I can only think about vacations haha I have planned forty days on Brazilian shores. But rest assured I will come back to fire up the dance floors. This winter will be a long one. Apart from that, I will see what comes. I am very interested in audiovisual and I have been producing and directing videos, adding mixes and finding new creative collaborations. I don’t always know ‘what’s next’, I prefer not to treat my life as a business plan. But AV projects have been taking my time and creative energy lately. Not knowing is maybe how I reminisce about a somewhat punk naivité, but it also keeps me on my toes, fresh, and helps me to resist the sometimes crippling pressure to conform to adult life.
What makes you happy?
To have time. Do you know what I mean? I think I am all-in for slow living. Taking my sweet time to play music, to get involved with my AV experiments, but also nature, travel, read, watch movies and to have close friends around. I am a slow burner, and taking my time to be present and enjoy the things I am discovering makes me happy.
What annoys you?
The glorification of busy. Busy became the new ‘fine’. ‘It is fine’. No, it is not fine. It is just another way of pretending we are ‘on the right track’. I think it is the wrong way of being comfortable. We all need time for feelings and emotions, you know?