Occupation: Sound curator, composer, producer, therapist
Recent release: Inkarose's A Love Letter to Water is out via Constellation Tatsu.
Recommendations: More Energy Fields, Current (Album) by Carlos Niño & Friends. The Neverending Story (Book) by Michael Ende.
[Read our Carlos Niño interview]
If you enjoyed this interview with Inkarose and would like to find out more about her work, visit her on Instagram, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
As a kid, I was exposed to the magical environments of forests and mountains while growing up in the beautiful outskirts of Bogotá. This connected me to the sonics of nature early on. My father’s record collection also sparked a yearning to immerse myself in the worlds of Brazilian and Jazz music.
I began to explore my voice around age 15, and felt a magnetism towards singing Bossa Nova and Bolero in the styles of Nara Leão, Elis Regina and Astrud Gilberto.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
I’m a highly imaginative person and shapes and colors are very present for me as well, especially when crafting the music. It feels like painting to me – painting with sound. To me, making music is an outlet for the deepest reaches of emotion.
While creating my debut record A Love Letter to Water, I visited places of profound gratitude, love and elation. It was like spending time with a beloved old friend.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
In searching for my authentic voice, I went through a couple stages, from being in a Brazilian cover duo/band, to making electronic, hip-hop inspired beats.
Then I sort of hit a wall creatively, which led me down the path of DJing for a few years. This practice unlocked a vast library of music that led to me to the worlds of New-Age, Ambient and Spiritual Jazz music.
Now it feels like I’ve found a key to a sonic channel that is very familiar to me.
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
In my experience music and therapy live in the same continuum.
One side of my identity is the artist, Inkarose: the spell-caster, navigator, channeler. The other side is the therapist – a role that propelled me into the study and practice of clinical psychology.
These two sides of my identity connect and inform the way I give and receive music.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Essential to play, like a child would play with paint on a canvas.
The child-like wonder and spontaneity has allowed me to be a sort of antenna for cosmic messaging to trickle through. This approach and openness when creating has helped me synchronize with a higher frequency that often times allows for relaxation, contemplation and imagination.
If I can encourage these states of feeling in those who listen to my music then even better.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
What I’m most interested in are authenticity and magic.
So whether music is being made from a place of tradition or spontaneity, as long as it comes from a place of truth, either direction is fine by me!
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
I think of musical tools as close friends – some of my favorites to work with are Ableton (DAW), Arturia synthesizers, Omnisphere and the Zoom field recorder.
My strategy is not treating these resources mechanically, but rather organically and spiritually.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
Typically, my day begins with seeing a handful of therapy clients till late afternoon. My evenings and other free days are dedicated to making music, listening to records and/or crafting the next DJ mix.
I’m usually very territorial over my creative days and fiercely protect my time at the studio.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
My debut EP A Love Letter to Water.
Weaving the tracks on this record led me to realize I was chronicling the cycle of water – from River and Ocean, to Clouds and Rain, then back to River. The harmonics in some of these sounds in nature informed the next series of musical ideas.
It was about massaging the textures of field recordings, painting melodies with synths and keys, and giving space for harmonies to contain and define the sound. I’ve found so much beauty and joy in learning to listen to what the next vibration wants to be.
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Most of my creative process leading up till now has been on the solo side of things, but more recently in crafting A Love Letter to Water I felt the music was asking for other voices, colors, and contributions. It was really cool to offer my sound to a circle of musician friends skilled in flute, saxophone, keys and percussion, and to see how these collaborations enhanced the spirit of the music.
This experience has nurtured my desire to co-create with kindred spirits and continue to cultivate community.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
For me, the driving force to create music is the desire to communicate beauty. I want the cosmic beauty in my music to make room for the listener to feel what they need to feel: peace, relaxation, introspection or permission for tears.
“Garden Lullaby”, the closing track on A Love Letter to Water, feels to me like the warm embrace of a forest fairy godmother, (smiles) or like Dame Eyola, the red-cheeked apple lady from the novel of The Neverending Story.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
In every way and all the ways! You can time stamp a moment of your life with a specific tune, or record.
I have such deep gratitude for music because it’s been a loyal friend and guide during moments of not only uncertainty, loss, or abrupt transition, but also romance, hope and joy.
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
It’s always intrigued me how music isn’t just a set of notes, or scales, but a cosmic code that is alive in nature. It has the potential to impact emotion, neurology, psychology, and even the molecular geometry within.
Our bodies, water, trees, stars, rainbows operate from the same code of Oneness. So, it seems to me that music and science are interwoven elements from the same fabric.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
For me making a cup of coffee feels more habitual and automatic, whereas making music requires an organic attunement to a sorcery of sorts. It asks for an intuition that is found in the present moment and carries a message of authentic spiritual expression.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation on how it’s able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I’m not sure I can answer that (smiles). But it seems to me that there’s some kind of innate cosmic language being spoken through music, and the more we learn how to hear it and speak it, the more we can finetune the incoming messages.