SIP - SoundLAB Interview Project

Coronado, Luis

Luis Coronado (Guatemala)

artist biography

Interview: 10 questions

1. When did you start making music, what is/was your motivation to do it?

I was very young when I first got in contact with music. There was always plenty of music in my house when I grew up. I first started studying music at the age of 9 in the Guatemala’s National Music Conservatory. It wasn’t as pleasant as I thought, so I gave up, and started studying guitar directly. I wanted to play!!! After learning my first chords, friends came and went playing many musical styles, from blues to heavy metal. I always liked the feeling of creating music and sounds. I think that the main motivation to make music is to be able to transmit different states of mind. The second motivation (but at the same level, I think, of the “main” one), is to keep the ludicious state of mind from the children, alive in yourself. Making music for me is not just making music, it is playing music or playing with it. Then I started to collect sounds of Latinamerica for my personal joy. And one thing led to another and I started to experiment with sound art using the material I had recorded. The motivation to do sound art is basically the same as in making music, but much more personal, as I work with the memory of the feeling I had while recording the sounds.

2. Tell me something about your living environment and the musical education.

I can tell you about two totally different experiences, due to growing up in Guatemala, and then keep on growing in Uruguay. Back in Guatemala, life runs very fast and the music or artistic part of life, is left behind. The low educational levels of the population, limits the artistic-creative instance. Music, as an artistic-creative instance, is something that only the wealthy population can enjoy or practice. The rest, just plays for working in the showbiz (to call it somehow), repeating musical styles proved to generate money incomes, not to experiment. The artist becomes a craftsman. It’s a very thin line, but still it exists and limits the creating experience. Down here in Uruguay (or up here, depending on how you are holding the map), music, as well as most of the arts, are basics to the human life, as I think it should be everywhere. It’s a human necesity. In the public schools, where still there is a good education being provided (compared to most of Latinamerica’s countries), you have a good musical education. Almost everyone plays at least one instrument, it’s incredible. I have travelled almost over all America (the continent, obviously), and I’m sure that Uruguay has the most musicians per square kilometer. I came to study guitar for a couple of months (twelve years ago), and I just can’t leave!! There are lots of impressive musicians all around. Lots of great teachers with huge musical backgrounds, that keeps the Uruguayan musical reputation as one of the best in the Southamerican region.

3. Is making music your profession?What is the context in wich you practice music nowadays?

Fortunatelly yes, but not exactly. As a musician I play with my band very often, but because there are so many bands around, the pay is not that good to be considered as an income (sometimes, or most of the times, you just play for the drinks), so you are not to be considered professional. Anywhere else, that’s amateur, isn’t it? But I’m lucky enough to get to survive from music. I’m a sound tech, and work in a recording studio, and from time to time I get to work in live gigs. I’m not becoming rich, but I’m being able to survive. So, I practice music with my band, experiment with sound in personal projects in the recording studio or at home, and helping friends with their sound/music projects.

4. How do you compose or create music or sound?Have you certain principles, use certain styles?

Creating music for me is totally instinctive. I just let the beat or groove strike my stomach, and go along the wave. I have never surfed, but for me, it must be like making music. I should try it sometime. For creating sound, I do almost the same, but reprocessing the sound of the memories in my mind, then trying to duplicate or recreate it in the studio. It`s more intimate. The only principle I use in both creating experiences, is to be true to myself. The style may vary but if I feel I’m going the right way, I keep going.

5. Tell me something about the instruments, technical equipment or tools you use.

As a guitarist, I use an old Fender amp, with a nice, neat clean sound, and a very thick and powerful distortion. My guitar is a ‘74 PF-400 Ibanez and my only pedal is a SuperPhaser(it’s a very funny pedal, and very, VERY, versatile). I also have a 12string and a 6string acoustic guitar. For experimenting with sounds, I use a Kenwood DMC-G7R Mini Disc recorder and a homemade stereo mic for the takes, then I process them in a good PC, using Nuendo and its different plug-ins for transforming, editing and enhacing them. Sound Forge 8.0, Steinberg´s Wavelab and/or some other mastering programs are very useful.

6. What are the chances for the New Media production in general and you personally?

I think that the New Media production is growing on a “high speed level”, due to the accesibility to new technologies for almost everyone. Nowadays, it is very simple to acces to a PC, where you can create, re-create and manipulate whatever you like, from image to sound. This new approach to ways of creation is making everyone able to produce New Media pieces, and share them with the rest of the world, in a fast, and almost free way.

7. How about producing and financing your musical productions?

As in the answer above, the accesibility to new technologies, is bringing the opportunity to produce your musical productions very easily. The great financial task is to buy the necesary equipments for recording, mixing and masterizing your work. It’s just a PC (a good one) and a bunch of programs. Not as complex as it used to be not so long ago. This fenomenon makes that lots of musicians and artist are recording their own material, and holding the rights to it, using the record companies just as a distribution channel. I think it’s getting fairer for the artist everyday. No more MYTHS!!!!!!

8 .Do you work individually as a musician/soundartist or in a group or collaborative?If you have experience in both, what is the difference, what do you prefer?

Personally, I don’t like to depend on other people, but playing in a band, you have to. For me, that is enough. Besides the band, I really enjoy working alone in the studio, or at home, for making my own music or soundart at my own pace. I do prefer working alone definitively.

9. Is there any group, composer, style or movement wich has a lasting influence on making music?

I´ve been influenced by a thousand musicians, maybe more. Since I was very young, music has played a very strong role in my life. When I was growing up, music from all over the world came to my hands and to my ears. But I think that the Brazilian approach to music has made the most influence in my playing. Brazil has a very rich musical culture. The musical range goes from Tom Zé (a genius of samplers and melodies), to Naçao Zumbi (one of my favorites exponents of the “manguebit” movement), to João Gilberto (one of Bossa Nova’s greats), to João Bosco, to …….I can keep on listing names because the list is huge, as well as the different music styles and rhythms.

10. What are your future plans or dreams as a sound artist or musician?

To keep on playin’(that’s the plan)……………I would really like to travel around Latinamerica playing with my band, and meanwhile record the sounds of the places we visit, so I can use them for experimenting and creating more sound art pieces (that would be my dream). To be able to share the sounds in my mind, with the people that are creating them.