Name: Kamila Govorčin
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Anima on Clang Records
Narval Orquesta, Mismas Aventuras Nuevas
Felipe Otondo, Night Studies
If you enjoyed this interview with Kamila Govorcin, check out her Soundcloud account for more music.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What what is about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started producing quite late as I studied something completely different. I decided to change my life when I was 29 and started getting into DJing and producing electronic music was even later, in 2015 (32). Since then, I've had an intense and increasing career as a DJ, but now I'm just in the process of changing to more production and less DJing, also because of the current situation.
During the 90s with my family we moved to England for three years and that period was my main influence in music and in many other aspects. For me, England was a completely new and interesting world, full of information. I learned to play the flute back then and was always listening to new and different music. In later years and back in Chile, I moved a little away from music as I started doing sports very professionally and that was how I passed my twenties. Anyhow, during those years I received strong influences from Chilean, South and North American music. Therefore, my influences are mixed and diverse.
No one in my family was very much into music, so what I heard back in the 90s was mostly from the radio and TV.
When I finished my studies I started working and non of it made sense to me. I was feeling depressed most of the time. Music was my salvation back then, especially electronic dance music made me move and get my mood up. Listening to music made me feel alive again, as if I was dead working in offices and had forgotten who I was. It was such a strong feeling that I ended up quitting my career and slowly introducing myself to the electronic scene. All of this experience has made me respect music and see it as essential to everyone.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice? What is the the relationship between copying, learning and your own creativity?
Due to my experience with music, what I create is very personal. I listen to a lot of different music and those amount of hours into listening and investigating have definitely some influence on my creations. But I try not to emulate anything, as it just doesn't feel right to me. I even think during the process of creation, it is better to listen to something different or nothing at all in order to create authentic music. That's the reason I think from the very first track I made, I have my own voice in it, and also the reason why I almost never mix my music in a DJ set as I feel it doesn't suit itself to that.
I've put more importance on developing my voice before learning more and sometimes I see it as a mistake; I constantly feel a lack of knowledge as I've been an autodidact and until now more a DJ than music producer. On the other hand, emulating helps you learn more as you discover different techniques that can then be used in an authentic manner. In this way and in specific aspects, I can say, emulating others has helped me.
What were your main compositional- and production-challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
As I've been an autodidact, my main challenges have been learning about this new world of electronic music, from using Ableton Live to understanding synths, machinedrums, effects, and so on. This challenge remains until today. Over the previous years I've awarded more importance to being a DJ, so I haven't been able to learn as much as I would like about production and composition. For the last 4 years, I've been DJing every single weekend, mostly in Santiago, but also in other cities of Chile, and I live 250kms southwest of Santiago, so it's been exhausting. Now, due to the pandemic, I'm just starting to go deep into this. What I've done until now is a result mostly of intuition.
What was your first studio like? How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
My studio hasn't changed much. I wish it would, but it's very difficult to do this in Chile. There needs to be a lot of passion about what I do, as it doesn't give me enough money to buy new equipment or software.
When I started I had some savings and got an Elektron SPS-I machinedrum, microKorg synth and an interface. I later got a Tascam which I use very often. I also added a Behringer Neutron last year. And that's about it. I sold the microKorg in March as I felt I needed a better synth, but the situation today is even more complicated, so no synth for the moment.
Today I'm working with the Elektron, Neutron, Tascam and a better interface, the rest is all done in Ableton. I still have my flute and get creative with objects to find sonorities. When I want to get specific or new sounds, I go to a friend's studio to record and later develop in Ableton. In March I also sold a turntable which I used for sampling some times.
How do you make use of technology? In terms of the feedback mechanism between technology and creativity, what do humans excel at, what do machines excel at?
Technology is giving us the chance to develop sound in new ways we never did before, and I think we're just learning to interact with this new tool or diverse instrument. We humans have the creativity and intuition which we can use with technology to create something new and unpredictable to what the human ear was used to.
Production tools, from instruments to complex software environments, contribute to the compositional process. How does this manifest itself in your work? Can you describe the co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
Production tools help me nail down what I have in mind. It usually starts from my imagination, but in the process of creation, exploring different possibilities with tools usually take me to new places which allow my imagination to expand. So I guess exploring and learning more every time about different tools will make me create things I can't imagine yet.
And at the same time, knowing there are infinite possibilities with tools has made me imagine music I haven't been able to create yet due to my lack of knowledge.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
Lately I've done a lot of collaborations, from remixes, to developing something new between two, or using an instrument played by someone into an electronic composition. I enjoy and learn a lot every time I do this, so I'm trying to do more collaborations. I don't have a preferred way. Every new approach is a good challenge.
Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
As I did sports from a very young age, later studied and worked in full time jobs, I got somehow traumatised by routines. Through sports I learnt about discipline and that has stayed with me until now. So I lost routine, but kept discipline, meaning that when I have something clear in my mind or if I have to finish a task, I don't stop until it's done. On some days I'll forget to do normal things, like eating, because I'm too much into my work. But if I don't have something in my mind or task, I get a little lost and don't use my time well.
When it comes to other aspects of my life, it depends. I can have a problem and that doesn't interfere with my work too much, but when my mood is down it gets difficult to motivate myself. I've confronted problems in a strong position and immersing myself in music is always best. The difficulty comes when I feel weak and mostly down.
This quarantine has been a clear example of that. During the first 2 months, although I had to cancel very important plans and there was a lot of uncertainty, I made more music than during the past years. But after the first couple of months, my mood began to get affected and the last weeks I've found it hard to create or motivate myself. The pandemic has grown badly here, there's a lot of people with lack of food, the government has done the most insane moves. So I'm worried where this is all heading.
It's not easy to live in a country that had a dictatorship 30 years ago. I'm saying this from a privileged position, but also from being a woman in this extremely sexist country.