bRUNA is the kind of perfectionist and scrupulous artist that leaves nothing to chance. It may be a very hackneyed remark, but it is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to describe Carles Guajardo’s career. His apparently reserved and shy aesthetic hides a musical discourse based on emotions and feelings. The darling of the Sonar Festival—he has performed there seven times so far—is an increasingly polished diamond in the Barcelona musical scene. Someone who doesn’t care about the relentless—and indecent—pace with which artists should release music and who makes things whenever and however he wants. After four years without news, last year bRUNA published ‘Thence’ through Spa.RK, an album of affected and soulful tracks ranging from synth-pop to IDM and French house to be listened to both in a club or in your living room. Together withWooky and Lester, bRUNA runs the Lapsus Radio radio show aired on Radio 3 de RNE from September this year.
Third interview after beGun and Alizzz and we don’t want to start without asking you first about your relationship with Barcelona. Do you think that affects you when composing? Have you been professionally affected by the changes the city has undergone in the last twenty years?
I’ve been affected, yes, and for the better. People are more and more interested in what is happening around here musically. We are immersed in a phase of creative splendor and there are more promoters committed to local and national proposals. In terms of compositions, it also influences, of course, but I don’t see it as a determining factor (I’ve lived in many different places throughout my life). Any input, positive or negative, large or small, can trigger the creative process.
People are more and more interested in what is happening around here musically
Tell us a bit about your day to day. How do you combine case law and court cases with music and with running a radio show on Radio 3 as Lapsus?
And don’t forget I also co-direct it with Wooky and Lester, a record label and a festival. Lapsus is a three-headed project. You’re not the first person to ask me about that and the truth is that I don’t know how to answer that. I guess it’s the energy and the passion of being young and all that. I need to have my head busy all the time with several projects, present but also future projects to carry out when the present ones have consolidated. Kevin Shields, Elizabeth Fraser and Vince Clarke. Why? Pure fanaticism.
I remember reading “Thences” was developed in only two or three weekends in 2010. You had accumulated a lot of material from which you created the 11 tracks of your latest album. Have you ever had a weekend as creative as those ones since? Releasing in a label like spa.RK gives you peace of mind and the freedom to work at your own pace?
I still have spontaneous creative outbreaks, yes, but I’m also trying to find a routine, a fixed daily schedule whenever I can in the study to avoid the anarchic recording sessions of the past. So far the results are very satisfactory. As for spa.RK, they’ve never pressured me into releasing an album on a certain date. They prefer the end result above anything else.
We are used to artists releasing a lot of material every year. Yours is a special case. So far you’ve only released one EP (Paradigma Musik), that was six years ago, and a couple of albums. Are you worried about how immediate and ephemeral music is becoming? Can this be one of the reasons why you prefer not to release too much material?
We live in a time when not only the music but “culture” in general has been devalued to outrageous extremes. Perhaps it’s the accessibility, or perhaps it’s because everything’s been done already… You could write a book trying to answer that question and ask several sociologists to find the answer, if there’s one. When I started, I just wanted to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And finally, without pressure of any kind, I’ve been fulfilling all my childhood dreams: running a radio show, releasing records, buying the synthesizers I dreamt about as a child, traveling the world showing my music, producing records for other artists … even making a soundtrack that was selected for the Goya awards (Seis Puntos Sobre Emma, whose album EMMA, a collaboration with David Cordero, was released by Foehn in 2012).
We live in a time when not only the music but “culture” in general has been devalued to outrageous extremes
bRUNA is almost absent in social networks, your live performances and DJ sets are scarce. Why is this? Do you still feel ridiculous when you play live your own songs? Is it insecurity or is it that you’re reluctant to do so because of your introspection?
My moment of glory on social networks was between 2005 and 2010 via Myspace, that corpse… I had a great time playing the fool all day, and actually I met some great people with whom I’ve become very close friends. But I got tired of all this, it takes a long time and time is something that, as I said before, is precious to me. Nowadays I’m semi-active in twitter for self-promotion and to promote Lapsus. About your second question, rather than insecurity or introspection (those who know me know that I’m not introverted at all), I felt ridiculous playing live the songs from my first LP (And It Matters To Me To See You Smiling, 2009) because it was something with a deep emotional charge, and every time I played these songs live I reopened chapters of my memory I didn’t really want to go back to. That’s why I didn’t want to play back then, only on very special occasions.
What do you think about the vote (or referendum) for independence in Catalonia?
Nothing, seriously. Neither for nor against; I don’t care. I’m fed up with it. If you want I can explain to you one with solid arguments what I think the role of politics should be, particularly at a European level and in times of crisis like this. But I don’t think anybody cares about what I think about this.
And what do you think about the National Lottery TV ad? I think it emphasizes the—toxic—idea that the greatest happiness is achieved with money. Is it not a bit dangerous to play with this idea given the situation we’re in?
Well, I like the ad. Damn, I was moved the first time I saw it! I read somewhere that the cinematographer had quarreled with the advertising agency for using him to win the competition to make the ad, but then they didn’t call him. That’s really bad, but the ad seems pretty good to me. If I’m honest, and back to your question, I’m pretty tired of people who show the anti-capitalist vein in Christmas, writing tweets full of bile from their new iPhone 6 and wearing 150-euro Air Max sneakers and 200-euro Tom Ford glasses, advocating austerity, charity drives and all that bullshit. So enough!
Ok, back to the music. We asked Alizzz about his relationship with Sonar, but you have performed there seven times. What has changed since the first time you stepped on the festival? Does Barcelona need Sónar or will this relationship become weaker?
The first time I was able to go to Sonar was in 2001. And say “was able to” because I had been following it since the beginning, but due to my age or because of school or university exams, which coincided with the festival, I had been unable to go cos’ I couldn’t afford it. I used to read all the magazines and newspapers where Sonar was featured. I bought the Sónar CD compilations (I learnt so much with); I listened to all the interviews and radio shows… But in 2001, with Masters at Work for the first time here, John Peel, Aphex Twin, Frankie Knuckles, Sonic Youth, Sigur Rósor Andrew Weatherall, damn, I had to see that. Barcelona needs Sonar, of course. June is not June without the festival. I think there are many people who still are not aware of how lucky they are for having what’s possibly the world’s best electronic music festival at home. It’s much easier to say “everything is shit” from Twitter in slippers, of course.
Ok, we’re drawing to the end. First date with a girl. What restaurant in Barcelona would you take her and what record would you give her as a present?
I’m addicted to pasta with ricotta, to vegetable patties and the tiramisu they serve at Sarrietto in Plaça Camp, No. 2. She can order salad if she wants, I certainly won’t. I would give her a silly record so she can laugh and so break the ice.
And then you become more honest and confess your guilty pleasure, which is…
Pfffff, I do not know, I have too many and they’re very internalized. Sure she would see then before I had time to say “hey, by the way, er…”.
Alizzz asked us to ask you this: Where is your facebook, instagram and so on?
I don’t have that and I don’t think I’ll ever will, as I mentioned earlier. In fact, I have a friend who opened a fan page on Facebook a few years ago because he couldn’t believe I didn’t have one. I asked him to cancel it and he couldn’t believe his ears. Oh, well.
And finally, what artist would you like us to interview?
Mans O from Disboot.
Great. Now you have to ask him something…
Are your nervous about Sónar? Congratulations for having been chosen!
Thank you very much, Carles.