Hi Laila! apart from being an occasional contributor to Doingbird, what else do you do?
Hi! I’m a musical artist, sound designer - for lack of a better word, a DJ and also a writer.
What is Strada?
Strada is a 5 track “mini album” or “EP” or just a group of songs that respond to the basic brief to “document sound” without too much pontification during the covid-19 period.
How did Strada come to be? Can you tell us about the series?
I was one of 30 or so artists commissioned by the label Boomkat Editions to do it. There’s contributions by artists from all over: sound designer Dean Hurley of Twin Peaks, Regis, Ulla, Mark Leckey who made Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore, Jazz artist Heather Leigh and of course Jonnine from HTRK. I didn’t know all this while making mine, I just set out to produce a classic car mixtape, but that wasn’t engaging or maybe challenging enough for me at the time so I became more interested in the idea of doing a blast of songs.
Now that Strada is completed do you have any new thoughts about what you captured and created over the period you wrote it?
Yes, creative decisions often make more sense to me after a bit of time. With Strada I feel a very specific image comes to mind for each song with an overall longing/idealisation for outdoor places being a clear theme.
Do you think you could break that down in terms of each song? Describe the image for us?
Ok let’s see:
Track 1 - La Macchina (The Car Drive) - Car drives in the hills where I’m from, with the hybrid English-Italian language my family speaks. This song also probably has the closest link to the overall concept of “The Street” which is what Strada means in Italian. Wake up, start the car, start the day. Innocent and hopeful but also redolent of driving as a young adult, often I don’t recall our destinations but so many memories of driving and listening to mixtapes and albums. Everybody drives everywhere where I come from and so it’s an important space for listening - we even test our pre-masters in the car!
Track 2 - Fiorucci - the angels of the (1990s Italian) Fiorucci hovering over a sparkling sea - a paradise/nirvana. An intermission piece really. “Sail away”.
Track 3 - The Blue Room - a 90s throwback for sure, entering a deep dance space/chill out room for a brief moment. Lusting for the nightclub.
Track 4 - Stephens Secret - actually named after a real person (great guy) and finding him in the back room of a deserted club playing a deep, revealing saxophone solo to an empty space. What is his secret?
Track 5 - Towards The Opaline Sky - moving over a hill towards a sunset after a grey day, when the sky changes for that brief moment before the sun recedes. An optimistic finale.
Sounds a bit like a film score, was that an ambition?
Towards the end yes I think I would pretend each little place (song) was a scene and that helped me to sort of make some of the final decisions. All in a very low budget kind of sense - I have done some film work and it’s actually not like this. I think to “make believe” during deeply stressful times is probably a natural, albeit regressive response. I just went with what gave me motivation.
It’s been a big year for you release wise with your album ‘Vivienne’ and now ‘Strada’, any thing else for 2020 or in the near future?
Yes, but at this stage it’s all secrets.