Subtítulos en el video.
Video transcript below:
Then and now
The world hit us all the time with the idea “you are missing something”, “you need something else” so “Vulnerable” is a deconstruction work in terms of what success means for me and the better start point: me as a human being.
“I leave the character and show myself as I am: with the good, with the bad and with the insecurities, with the vulnerabilities …” It’s nice, it’s like an invitation to others too, right? It’s like assuming it first so that the rest feel comfortable and get on it.
Right… the things you work in yourself later appear on others. Many times our engine is “I want to produce something that nobody else does”, “nobody is talking about this”. Why is no one talking that we need to connect as humans and that not everything outside is always good?
Vulnerable is “The Empress” and her message: Is always time to be authentic. It is never too late to return to your essence. I understand that as this song talks about privilege many people have the privilege that they can be “themselves” and they are in an environment that rejoices, celebrates it and there are other people to whom -I say “us”, I assume it- we have a hard time trying to fit in, honestly. So I wanted to speak from the point of view I always felt in life: like an “outsider”.
Do you re-mean the song since you wrote it so many years ago?
I wouldn’t really change the content but I did change my position. I started singing “Vulnerable” from a “ask permission” position and today I think of it as “I invite you to break the distance” -Paradoxiocally, the song was launched in the middle of the Argentine quarantine of more than 100 days due to the COVID 2019 pandemic.
When I composed that chorus it sounded pitiful to me: “I feel hurt because someone does not see what I am going through, someone who is not understanding” and today when I read that chorus that says “You are above all, unable to see under the surface, because you are so fine” that you will not understand what it is to be vulnerable because you are in a privileged position. Today for me, that is a complaint.
I think that art is also very prophetic… if you listen to the verse, it starts off very sung, sweet, smiling like: “I get closer little by little” and the chorus is sung “from the chest” let’s say it’s great. In the past I would have interpreted it as desperate “Something huge is happening to me … and you’re not looking at it.” Today for me it is a complaint: “Open your eyes because not all of us are in your position” it can be an authority figure as each one interprets it. I don’t like to give a single interpretation of the song, but that’s how for me, the message didn’t change but today it means something completely different to me. Today for me it is a denunciation of privilege.
What a nice change of position “I started by asking for forgiveness, in the middle I did a whole process and now I ended up denouncing something. A great evolution too, right? Maybe of your self-confidence of the value that you feel as a person beyond your vulnerabilities. A confidence that makes you stand in a much more solid place, on yourself not on other things.
Not only did I compose it and sing it, I also produced it, I knead it, it was in my hands and something changed from the demo to the production level: The voice is enhanced. Although the song is the same, when I edited it it was powerful because it has to do – as you say – with a question of “I believe in my voice and I don’t need to hide it under a lot of instruments. I can take care of this and write it with pride… it is a beautiful path. I want to say something about this: we are very fragile. I wanted to start from there, from a human side trying not to be depressive because, although it is a very sensitive and human subject, the base is Bossa Nova, lightest thing I could do, I knew that what I was going to sing, to say it was going to be thick.
The song isn’t depressing at all and the lyrics aren’t either, I think. It is an intimate, sensitive letter, those are not qualities that have to define something “depressive”. Yes it is very sensitive and it does touch an intimate chord and others, but … I would not say that it is “depressive” at all. It stripped me of the pose … what we said earlier: “I am this. I am”
It stripped me of super production. This doesn’t need to be overproduced, it is what it is. You create concepts and once delivered they are like the meme, each one takes ownership, resignifies it in their own way and it seems to me that the most wonderful thing that can happen. At that point the song was very autonomous “Don’t add things to me because you are going to complicate me.” Very crazy when what you create becomes independent, has its own entity, that is “other”, it is “others” and clearly all I needed was that: 2 voice takes, 2 tracks … and we are fine. I wish all song were like this.
If all songs were like “Vulnerable”you could release 3 albums a year like in the 80s.
It is very idealized that good things are complex and the truth is that the key is not in how complex the song is but in how to tell something different on the same basis. I, who am a very minimalist, understand and value that very much: you don’t need to “burn” the person’s head with a lot of sounds to produce something interesting. It’s another aesthetic … I’m not saying it’s the best, but it is.
As a producer I look at what is being done around it and see how I am going to position myself. From what position do I stand? I wanted songs that I can listen to in 10 and the only way I think, to sound good in time is when you are playing on your own frequency. I love trendy music, I’m the first to listen to all the releases, but if you just aim for that you won’t want to hear it again in 10 years
Empathy and privilege
“Vulnerable” talks about empathy. To shorten the distance and to question or denounce … how you resignified it, the privilege Where does all this come from? Exactly what privileges are you talking about?
I’m not talking about the song as “I am the victim looking up to a privileged position.” Many times the privileged one is me and for that matter of privilege I cannot listen to a person. Sometimes I am vulnerable and sometimes the other is vulnerable and this song is being dedicated to me. “Unable to see beneath the surface because you are so fine …” that you won’t understand what it feels like to be vulnerable. It is a strong subject, but I hope I have been as sensitive as possible.
It takes us back to many other debates that are taking place in society, for example: with respect to feminism, anti-racism, gordofobia … the issue of privilege is constant and it touches all of us because at some point one has a privilege and at another point one is the victim, one is “Vulnerable” -as you mentioned- and I also take this reflection with me regarding the privileges of “Not bad have privileges “.
There is no use denying the privilege, what is good is to question it or raise awareness, be aware that one has a privilege and for one to have that privilege there is another who does not have it because if not, it would not be a privilege. What do we do with that privilege? What do we use it for?
As you say, aware that for example your body is in your favor, your body is your ally in your case because you do not suffer from a disability or anything like that and well, how do you use that privilege? What are you doing with that? And what do you do with someone who does not have that privilege and well, that is where the empathy that you mention comes in and that is a very nice message and it seems to me that above all it is super current it touches a lot of edges of society that we are questioning and that we are beginning to see and analyze
As you say, one can support. It is good that one is aware not only of their privilege but also that empathy is an effort and in situations it can be super effective and in other situations it is impossible, it remains in the intention and it is something with which you have to learn to live or be you will not be “standard bearer” in this. In this you will not understand me.
You are, you are naked, you are vulnerable. Let’s talk about the elements, why they chose them, who made the album art and so on …
I took the photos with Luis Sebastian Grillo. He had seen some of my work on networks. I remember it was one day before Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Obviously he already had a nude portfolio and I said “Let’s see what happens …”. I think there is something that one has to mentalize: As an artist at some point you will be naked. I had assumed that from the moment I composed my first song: “I know that at some point I’m going to be naked in front of a camera.” What I never imagined is that just the first job was going to be like this but I felt super comfortable with very sensitive images. The final work, when I saw it was: “Wow … wow.” My first experience right? with a photographer who apart, really knew how to portray nudes.
When the album came out I had already been communicating the singles with these images for almost 2 years and just as I needed to resignify the music, I needed to resignify the image. “And that’s where Anix appeared. From postmodernism onwards, the“ mashup ”, the“ collage ”… everything that involves integrating references is “the thing” and I wanted to exploit the possible universe so we don’t only have images in orange tone. I always loved her work, I did other photo sessions with her and it didn’t cost me anything to think about redefining the album with her and offer something renewed, current and incorporating these concepts that I was finding along the way. When I work with someone I don’t like to ask for explanations. I delegate it, “I give you some advice and it’s your space” I felt super great trusting the visual part in Anix and Lizzie.
It is very strong when the work detaches itself from you and is someone else, then as someone else requires an energy that sometimes I have and sometimes I don’t. Thank God I am with this team with which I feel super comfortable and we are building it, for many it is like our first experience
We always have references, influences. What are yours? Or what were those of “Side B”?
We are a generation that does not discriminate against music, that listens to any music. “Lado B” is an experimental album. I don’t think I make the music that I listen to. For example: In my music I don’t do Mariah Carey… I find myself a lot with the postmodern dilemma of What am I going to do if everything is done? So what I did allow myself is that in each song I dress, I wear a different outfit. I think I was more direct to the genre than to think about artists. I got more to listen to each genre itself, what are the characteristics it has and how to make it my own, personal
It is a very diverse journey and it is true that you go through a lot of different genres … There is a little proof of everything. I feel like “Lado B” is a catering test for a wedding and they let you try a little of everything.
Also for this reason I don’t like to underestimate people. We listen to everything … And what challenge can I have as an artist? Play, because it is the part that amuses me as a human being, as a person and see how well I can do it. The biggest challenge I have is not to fall into a parody. I think there is the game between what belongs to someone else and what is yours, properly. If you listen to a song that attracts you – because surely in all the musical genres that I interpret one that you will like – let them fall in love, go that way … on the other side, as I was saying there are 21 songs: The 1st 7 are soloists. The second part I have duets and the last 7 songs are all remixes, reversals. Let each one take what they want from there, make it their own, make it personal. That was the idea from the beginning.