Bringing a fresh spin and a feminist edge to reggaeton is Clara!, who sets us up ahead of her upcoming SSFB performance with a rolling compilation of simmering dancehall mutations.
The mix starts with an announcement of the full moon. Can you briefly explain what the woman says?
It’s part of the weekly video Mia Astral does with the planets’ positions. In the little part I played she talks about the full moon in Scorpio occurring on the 19th. Besides that there was a ground trill at the beginning of the week, so time for important changes.
What does astrology mean to you personally?
I’m not an expert at all but I think astrology is interesting. I’m learning to ignore all the prejudgement people have with it. I’m tired of intellectuals that know everything and are condescending with other people’s believes. It’s something very common in astrology. Even if I agree that there are a lot of fake and bad astrologers out there, that happens with every form of knowledge.
Also, I’m totally disappointed with the ‘cold, rational, normal’ sciences. So it’s natural for me to seek other ways of approaching reality.
On the other hand, astrology is usually associated with femininity, I think it’s one of the reasons it’s been so discredited.
In other interviews you expressed your visions on machismo and sexism in relation to reggaeton. A frequently used objection to socio-political inequalities in music is that music should predominantly be about pleasure and the quality of sounds. How would you react to this?
I don’t think reggaeton is more sexist than other musical genres. If society is sexist, of course that would be reflected in the music industry.
To me it’s super important to grant visibility to those usually without. If you don’t actively search for them you will end up just finding the artist with the privileges because they are the most obvious. If I hadn’t searched for female reggaeton MCs I wouldn’t know they exist.
Also, it’s one way to set an example. I remember seeing a photo of some little girls dressed as Ghostbusters after the female-led remake of the movie. That was very revealing for me.
I’m thrilled that things are changing a lot with music. I truly believe that’s happening thanks to all the advocacy by collectives out there and ‘positive’ discriminatory attitudes.
Is it true you prefer playing music with lyrics in a language that you understand?
I prefer to know what they are talking about.
In the beginning I was very uncompromising with my ideals, but nowadays I do make exceptions and play tracks that I’m not 100% ethically OK with. For example, I don’t subscribe to ‘money apology’, but the theme is so present in music that I’ve decided to accept it.
Your mixes are always a high-energy follow-up of songs, sometimes getting played for only one or two minutes. This must require a lot of mixing and editing skills. What’s your process like?
When I’m unable to mix the track the shorter way, say in the brake or the classic way with beatmatching and EQs, I’d cut it on Ableton, usually I’d place the end of the track before because it’s more ‘mixable’. It’s not complicated at all; I learned to mix on my own just by experimenting so I have weird ways of doing it. I’m not very good with machines.
This summer you’ll be performing at Strange Sounds From Beyond festival with Maoupa Mazzocchetti. How do the two of you prepare?
We rehearse a bit in Maoupa’s studio but we need CDJs and we don’t have them, as they are so expensive, so we use The Word Radio’s sometimes. When we play live, we combine Maoupa’s machines, CDJs and my voice, with lots of sirens.
We’ve only recently started doing live shows; we’ve done four live concerts so far. I’m super excited about it; I was nervous because I hadn’t done it live before, but now I’m enjoying it a lot.
Also, we have a new album coming out. The track “Truenos” that I played on the mix is from it. I can’t believe we’ve made a long album, I never thought I could be a part of something like that. It’s amazing.
Are there any reggaetoneras who have inspired your performance?
I saw Tomasa del Real live 2 years ago. It was super funny and without any hang-ups. She made me lose my fear.
Slikback – Gemini
Lady Ann – Quemalo
Sheck Wes – Mo Bamba (Chico Sonido Perreo mix) Instrumental
Mala Rodríguez – El gallo
Dj Pucho Mastermix – Cumbia Tro Wepa
DJ Raff – Dark Caribbean
Becky G – Sin Pijama feat. Natti Natasha (Uncle Montana Playground Riddim Refix)
Kenya Racaile – Tu Me Llamas Mami
LUNY – Lucid Dreams Riddim (Leon)
Ivy Queen – La Otra
Miracles – Wavvy Riddim
Mara – Cata (prod. by Vitus Tribe)
Demphra – Que no me agarre el brazo
Zutzut – MAMA (ZUTZUT DEMBOW)
Paloma Mami – Fingías
DOBLE TEMPO – Reggaeton Gothico
La Goony Chonga – No Quieres Lío
Reyna – No Te Pase
Clara! – Meiga (prod. Low Jack)
Architect – Telekinesis (Cave mix)
La Nana – Quieres Tirarme
Big Yamo Ft. Natya – Tocarte Toa
N1L – PRE MAMMALIAN WISDOM
Hitmakerchinx – Arabian King ft Davincii
ChuCko – Mi Salsaton
Lorna – Se Me Ha Ido La Voz
Keiska – Hallowed Riddim
Demphra – Tu Mega Bi
Lurka – Heat Mover
Franchesca La Profeta – La ave
Clara! – Acero (prod. Low Jack)
Nick León – Totem
KA-YU – Culturão
La Japonesa rd – Me Gusta Que Me Den
Clara! y Maoupa – Truenos
Haram – No Wave
Konafa – مهرجان الكلاب
Qnoe – Khusara
La Nana – Quieres Tirarme
Junior XL – Ludo Lost