SXSW Entry #3 – Natalia Lafourcade: LA ENTREVISTA

Disclaimer: I’ve been a fan of Natalia Lafourcade for over 5 years now, and developed quite a crush on her during that time. I’ve met and interviewed many pop musicians in my time, but this was the first time that I’ve been nervous in someone’s presence. To illustrate, I met EVERYONE in Natalia’s entourage because I was too scared to even look her in the face (maybe because it would then be too real that she was shaking my hand). I think you can even smell my anxiety in the pictures posted here. That being said, she was a very nice person, and more than gracious with her time. Well, here’s a transcript of our short interview:
Andrew: First question, writing in English: “Running Too Fast” has been around for a while, and you performed a few other songs in English today, [one of those being the Beatles “Blackbird”] do you plan on writing more songs in English?
Natalia: I don’t know yet. I guess I just wrote those songs in English because I was in Canada and I was hanging out a lot with many people from there. They just came out that way. I really like to go to many places, so writing in English is a way that I can communicate with more people. But I’d like to write more.

Andrew: You mentioned the Beatles, your music has a lot of Beatle-esque characteristics, particularly melodically. I go back to your first record, where you played a lot of different styles, bossa nova, funk, acoustic pop songs, rock songs, a little jazz, but the last two records, Casa and 4 Estaciones of Love, were straight-up rock and classical. For Hu Hu Hu, is it going to be like the debut, all over the place, or are you focusing on one style of music again, like acoustic pop perhaps?
Natalia: It’s very sweet. It’s sweet pop music, I’d say. It has a lot of experimental stuff, we try new things and sounds very different from the others. I think it’s the first album that really sounds like me, no one telling me “You have to do this.” I did what I wanted to do.

Andrew: Going back to Casa, how did it feel to make such aggressive, loud, screaming music?
Natalia: It was great. A part of me has that sort of thing, with the love of distortion, pedals, and all. This [new album], I’m in a different mood, probably because of the instruments. [4 Estaciones and Hu Hu Hu] are like siblings, haha, they come together. If you listen to the arrangements [of 4 Estaciones], you can see that it has a lot to do with Hu Hu Hu.

Andrew: The thing about 4 Estaciones, as classical music goes, it sounds like children’s music, y’know, not in a bad way…
Yeah, I know. I say that too. My album has sort of children’s thing, very sweet, but bitter at the same time.

Andrew: How does that feel, as a musician, artistically, having no words?
Natalia: It felt great. I wanted to make something that I wouldn’t be so worried about lyrics. Many times, I have done something, I don’t know how to explain it… For example, I make music without words, but I have to throw it away, cause there are no lyrics. So I wanted to make something that was just music, no harmonies, more free. That’s why I made it.

Andrew: You obviously like a lot of music, so I’ll ask the easy question: What are you listening to right now?
Natalia: Right now, one of my favorite bands is Fleet Foxes. I love them…
Andrew: That was my FAVORITE album last year… [Writer’s note: You can’t tell, but my heart just stopped for 15 seconds when I found out that our musical tastes matched up…]
Natalia: Haha, it’s my favorite record right now. Andrew Bird, too. Bat for Lashes, just a bunch of things, I can’t even name all of them. I like many styles of music, I’ve been listening to Afro-beat, particularly Fela Kuti.

Andrew: Your music is very complex in structure, particularly the way you use your background vocals, which are very intricate and layered. You’re obviously a very talented composer, and bandleader, do you see yourself as a pop singer in 10, 15 years? Or do you see yourself becoming another Gustavo Santaollalla, just making music, but not really a singer anymore?
Natalia: I don’t know, because I really like pop music. Sometimes I like being in the studio, but get tired, and just wanna tour and play for people. Producing is one of my goals, though. Not just for me, but for others, and a range of projects.

Andrew: OK, I like close every interview I do with a completely random question, so I just have to ask: Menudo or Pozole?
Natalia: (asking to make sure which one doesn’t have beef tripe) Pozole, haha.
Andrew: Damn! Well, thank you…