“Sometimes technology is a roadblock to color. You’re sitting across from someone you’re romantically involved with and they’re glued to a dimly lit pixel screen. But sometimes, you’re in a rut. And like many, your choice of comfort is the time encapsulated in a song that grants you peace of mind; whether it’s discovery of something new or a rediscovery of something familiar, combing through the abyss of music at your fingertips online today, cannot be understated. Sometimes the noise outside and dense air gets to you, then you hear a voice that lifts your entire emotional state and you see the full spectrum of colors available to you. Pretty powerful stuff am-I-right? It was how I first discovered Valentina, an artist from near obscurity in Santiago Chile who goes by Valentism via Soundcloud. I was pulled into her two-sided personalities, sometimes an acoustic guitar is all she needs, at other times she delves into sparse electronic samples and drum machine patterns. She even covers the occasional song—but unlike what you’d expect necessarily for her brand of music—like “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, however with a rawness that makes the heartthrob’s infamous song a tad bit mature. So it began. From a Brooklyn studio to her home in Santiago a pen-pal of sorts speaking of the music culture of her neighborhood and city and how she even felt odd about speaking to me simply because she finds herself to be budding just now. I can only outline all this first by recapping our actual digi-letters. In respect to her these are edited and I’ll conclude this piece with my list of questions for her and her full answers as we step into a glimmer of music and life in Santiago, Chile with Valentina.”Our First Exchange:
“The music scene here is great. Has been for a while. Really flowing. All thanks to the support of local websites, music journalists, and mainly people who are just interested in showing new stuff and giving opportunities to all these new bands. Lots of people organizing tiny gigs during the week, for free, anywhere, using great new spaces. It’s crazy how nobody’s waiting for big guys with cash-in-hand, nor brands, to support them, they just do what they have to do, for themselves. That’s how I would describe the scene, and how I currently see it when it comes to local bands and dj’s. To be honest I don’t feel like one to interview mainly because I have played just a couple of times and I started uploading my music just recently, but I would be reallyreally glad if I could direct the interview this way, talking about projects and the local scene in general.”
Thanks for the interest and the kind words.
Greetings from Santiago,
Posted 15 days ago
I think the job of journalism should be to show an artists place in their community that give the artist a safe place to play, grow, and thrive. When it comes to this potential “interview,” if you’re ok with an interview I can focus my questions so I’m asking about the music scene in Santiago instead of focusing on your records or list of industry accolades, I also want to say it’s just my opinion that why you prefer to play music, or what it provides you as a person, is just as valid as someone who has reached a larger level in their profession!
Greetings from Brooklyn, NY.
Posted 13 days ago
“You know what? Let’s do it your way. Felt kind of shy about it at first but I think it’d be easier for me to articulate my words if you ask me whatever you want; about the local scene, about my songs or projects of mine, etc. I’d be glad to answer.”
Talk to you soon!
Posted 10 days ago
Hi Valentina!Ok! Here we go.
N – Hi Valentina, so it seems you’re relatively a new comer to the music scene in Santiago. It’s pretty incredible though that through the ease of a single message we can have this chat! While New Yorkers like myself have met and made friends along the way with a large Chilean crowd here in New York, I can admit i’m clueless to much about the scene in Chile, what are some things you can tell us for starters?
V – “The only way I could describe it is that it’s getting bigger and bigger and stronger, not only when it comes to having “major” artists coming to Chile, I mean smaller performances. It’s great to be able to listen to a relatively new artist sooner rather than five or six years later when they’re already releasing their third album. The ‘delay’ it’s still a reality, but I’m sure it happens everywhere. Everything is happening really fast, especially for the local scene with local artists.”
N – In our earlier conversation pre-interview, you had mentioned that there were many tiny gigs during the weeks and that the vibe seems like there are a lot of locals supporting others, how does this come to be? What is this environment like?
“I think it all comes from the necessity of showing what you do without waiting for someone else to come and tell you if you’re good enough or not.”
V – “I think it all comes from the necessity of showing what you do without waiting for someone else to come and tell you if you’re good enough or not. We are hyperconnected, we can rent or use a friend’s house on a Sunday and ask a couple of new bands if they want to play, and they’ll take that opportunity. This support is essential. Not for the money, not necessarily for the show, but to build something bigger. That’s the whole vibe, very constructive.”
N – What do you think artists need to do to prevent being bought out by “The People With Cash.” Is it even possible? Or do most successful scenes lay with capital at one point or another, leading to the homogenization of the culture they inspire? Hate to throw such a cynical question at you, we here in NYC have unfortunately suffered immensely from this issue in the last 15 years and even more so in the last 5-10, it’s like a vacuum.
“I think there’s space for everything. It is equally important to maintain your initial convictions and make something detached from all these market-aimed technicalities, and hopefully it’ll work.”
V – “We all need money, the ideal scenario is to be able to live from what you do. I can’t blame people for using this way to show their work, I’m sure new labels and newer brands are much more supportive… I do blame some conditions they might throw at you in order to support you, though. I guess it’s a difficult question mainly because everything and everyone aims on different directions. If you’re on a commercial path and that’s what you like, it might work faster, if you don’t, it might get tricky, but I think there’s space for everything. It is equally important to maintain your initial convictions and make something detached from all these market-aimed technicalities, and hopefully it’ll work.”
N – What are some good DIY venues?
V – “As I told you before, venues that are not necesarily build for these kind of events are a great opportunity for bands to play. Old houses, decentralized, or places you don’t normally would go to on a daily basis…there are some local djs organizing parties in places that during the day work as an average restaurant and in the night it turns into a club. During the summer, using public parks, you just show up. It works.”
N – Who are some great budding artists?
(Las Olas Noise Pop Group From Chile Pictured Above)
V – “Las Olas (http://soundcloud.com/lasolasbanda) and Patio Solar (http://patiosolar.bandcamp.com/) are working something beautiful. There’s a new label called Discos Pato Carlos (http://soundcloud.com/discos-pato-carlos) with a couple of local dj’s that have been around for a while. If you ask me on a personal note, this is what I have been listening to lately.”
N – Are you born and raised in Chile?
V – “Yes, born and raised.”
N – Have you ever been to the United States, (if so what state and what was your impression) do you ever get the desire to and why?
V – “I (actually) lived in New York for a while when I was fifteen, came back, spent time here and went back to New York for six more months. When I was in New York I didn’t really feel I was in the U.S., which I did feel in Washington or Virginia, for example. The fact that it is absolutely filled with people from every single part of the world, which makes it quite unique to experience, in every possible way. As cliché as it may sound; in the end, a cliché it’s a cliché because it is real for lots of people. I really want to go back, now that I’m older.”
N – Now, in our initial exchange, you were very modest as to not want to focus on your art as much, because you felt as such a newcomer, that perhaps it wouldn’t have been right to, is it ok i’m saying this? I find it very reflective of your character, if at all, can you give us some insight into your work? We’re going to share your music as our “trax” of the day to hopefully not embarrass you more, because you shouldn’t be!
V – “I do feel like I should have a certain position if I’m not as experienced as some of my peers, but in the end, I’m also working hard to achieve certain things. I taught myself how to play guitar, piano, techy aspects that allow me to record for myself at home, and it just evolved from that. I always liked to sing so I got to a point where I decided I had to share anything on Soundcloud and it was very rewarding. When I felt comfortable enough I started another account with the electronic tracks I was working on and I got the chance to play them on an exhibition organized by some friends and local artists. At first I felt I had to chose between projects but with time I find it natural to have many, and do whatever you want. I’m setting my self short-term goals, like recording an EP, making some videos with a friend, collaborating with other musicians, and see where it goes from there.”
N – I thank you so much for your time, insight, and would like to say that your music is beautiful and I hope it takes you on a journey you can enjoy full heartily.
V – “Thank you, for reaching out and taking interest on projects far from home. It makes the world go round.”