Name: Nova Materia
Members: Caroline Chaspoul, Eduardo Henriquez
Occupation: Composers, producers, musicians
Nationalities: French (Caroline Chaspoul), Chilean (Eduardo Henriquez)
Recent release: Nova Materia's XPUJIL is out now as the 45th entry in Crammed Disc's Made to Measure series. Recently, the band released a new remix album, XPUJIL Revisited, featuring new versions of the material by Donato Dozzy, Lucrecia Dalt and Low Jack.
Recommendations: Mariana Enriquez, Our share of night - an addictive book; David Cronenberg's Crimes of the future

If you enjoyed this interview with Nova Materia and would like to find out more about their work, visit them on Instagram, and Facebook.

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?

Edu: I got my first keyboard when I was 15. It had a little drum machine that produced accompaniments, I wrote my first songs like that and played them at school parties.

As it all happened during the 80s, I listened mostly to Cure, Madonna and Prince. Later I discovered post punk and then the Velvet which was our common passion when Caro and I met a few years later.

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?

Caro: My first symptoms when I am affected by music are hair. Hair thinning, hair movement.

I have always been attracted to cyclical and atonal music. Music that takes me to a second state. An escape. Whether rhythmic or melodic, I like my compositions to be simple and essential.

How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?

Edu: You build up over time, for us it's been a long time. First in the alternative scene in Chile with Panico and then much later in Europe with Nova Materia.

Throughout these years it's the stage and the meeting with the public that have contributed to build us as artists.

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.

Caro: I prefer to create. I admit it. I have no desire to compete, I don't compare myself to others. I just take great pleasure in composing and making music or organizing sounds. This particularity probably defines me as an identity. That's the way it is for me.

What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?

Edu: We have always approached music through the cathartic experience of noise, disorder and chaos.

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”?

Edu: As a fan of Philip K Dick and futuristic literature I would say that yes, futurism in music has always interested me. With Nova Materia we like to merge the idea of primitivism and futurism, to play these two antagonistic concepts in our compositions and performances.
What is innovative these days ... I don't know

Maybe the transversality in the arts, the increasing interest of artists in technology and science, to abstract from the rules of harmony, to no longer make a separation between past and future and to conceive art as a permanent flux

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?

Caro: The more time passes, the more I work with crumbs. I love traditional instruments but I am more and more attracted to the origin of music and new technologies. In this, I have a great pleasure to use the material by transforming it thanks to machines.

I really like to get out of the format to go towards more spontaneous things. It's an exercise that requires quite a bit of concentration and once again requires the ability to extract oneself from a certain form of humanity.

Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.

Edu: coffee, coffee, coffee, studio, studio, studio, more coffee, more studio. Then comes the concert period, no more routines, travel, transport, meeting people, restless nights. Then back to Paris and to the studio again and so on.

Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?

Caro: Every experience is different. If there are common points between each project, it is probably the need to be be fed by literature, cinema or art in general. We usually need to focus on themes and feel that we are not alone and that we share certain ideas or feelings with the people we are working with. We need to start from shared elements.

In general, once this nutritive work is completed, we let ourselves go in a rather intuitive way. There are no rules, and when we put them on, we find that we don't stick to them. There is no desire to control the creation either.

For XPUJIL, we were extremely impressed by La Conquête des iles de la terre ferme by the French author Alexis Jenni. This book stayed with us throughout our recording in Mexico, in the Yucatan jungle. The theme of immersion is approached in an extremely musical way. The sounds that populate the jungle of this literary work are probably those that we tried to find in our binaural composition. The notion of experiencing the invisible is very important to us.

The power of imagination that sound provokes when it is not identified was in this case the driving force of our research.

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?

Edu: Yes, working alone is sometimes necessary, but there's nothing like the pleasure of sharing a creative experience with others. In our case we like to meet people in this way, especially when working with artists we admire.

When you collaborate with others, there are few words. We like to get into the creative process without too much explanations and leave the field open to the imagination

How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?

Caro: We have always been very impressed by what surrounds us. From our beginnings in music, we have always considered that we could not separate the world in which we lived from our activity as a musician. In Chile, when we lived there in the 90s with Panico, our performances were real actions. Today Nova Materia also has this political dimension.

The role of music in society is fundamental. It is part of our constitution, it has always been present since the dawn of time and if its function changes according to the times. It is undeniable that it constitutes a part of society in what is most human.

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?

Edu: Perhaps our most mystical experience with music was a sonic experience in the Atacama Desert with Panico.

We had entered abandoned ghost mines in the middle of the desert to record music. The mystical dimension in the fact of playing music attracts us but we have no other particular experience to tell about it.

How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?

Edu: Music and science are connected in many ways, music is vibrations at different frequencies.

Lately we are very interested in the structures of the living and try to make analogies with the harmonic and rhythmic structures we work on.

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?

Edu: it doesn't happen at this level for us. We just make music out of necessity

Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?

Edu: No, there is no explanation. This is the mystery of music, no one really knows why it causes such diverse reactions in living beings.