Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Towards the Sea | An interview with Kabukimono

© Alda Silva

There is something ghostly and haunting…almost ceremonial about your voice. It lures you in and the music seems to grow roots and wind around your legs until your stopped in motion. For those who have not heard your music how would you describe it and how did Kabuki Mono rise from ideation to the actual?

I always look at art as some sort of big conceptual process. Whenever I make music, it’s not only music: it is movement, dance, nature, past memories, repressed feelings, photography, drama, performance. All the tools serving this big purpose of delivering a message, of getting into other people’s skin.

Kabukimono came up after a long hiatus in music (almost a decade, I must say). I’ve worked with a lot of other music projects and musicians over the years, but never accomplished a sense of fulfillment. Everything has its own moment in time, right? So there was this kind of synchronicity among all the things around me, from this musician from Azerbaijan which I met in London who lectured me on the importance of setting up deadlines, knowing your message and your audience, to this amazing Greek choreographer in Berlin, who taught me other ways in which we can connect with our ancient roots, or a dearest dancer I also met in London that took me to a 5 Rhythms workshop (5 Rhythms’ logic strangely matches the five stages of Kabuki theatre). I found myself capable not to fight my inner demons but embrace them, work with them.

Then the name. Kabukimono has a very personal meaning for me. Though Kabukimono were part of the Samurai history, they are also in the origin of Kabuki theatre: odd looking people who used to perform on the streets. The weird ones. The ones who dress and act in this non “standard” way. The ones that do not fit into any kind of convention.And that’s what I’ve been all of my life.

At this point, I just knew what I had to do. It was all very organic. The trick was just to avoid over thinking and try to be as honest as I could ever be, with myself and with others.

Each release/album intends to tell a story. And the main focus is and will always be emotion. It results in eerie ambiances, a balance between darkness and light, raw passion floating in some sort of light weighted monstrous pain. It is the inner struggle we all fight but can’t face in the mirror most of the days. My intention is to bring you back to the core of who you are, to the primordial stage of your essence.

Your recent release ‘Strega’ is certainly a testament to this feminine ceremonial mysticism your music elicits. The words themselves are almost poetry and story narratives strung together with whimsy. Can you explain your inspiration and the aesthetic of the sounds and the words behind it?

Sarah Kane, Virginia Woolf, Anaïs Nin and Sylvia Plath are some of my favourite writers. I’ve been devouring their work for years. Strong, intense, sensible women, free spirits always feeling they do not belong anywhere, carrying on their shoulders the cruelty of the world towards different ways of thinking, of being, of living. Anaïs was seen as a bohemian sinner. Sarah, Virginia and Sylvia chose to end their lives.

I can’t avoid relating this to the times when women were persecuted and burnt as witches, simply because they had an opinion. And most of us, regular women, with regular lives, face this. We are seen as either the Mother, the Saint or the Whore, constantly put into probation.
Hence Strega.

“Strega” is an archaic Italian word for the female practitioner of witchcraft. This particular tradition was connected to Diana, the Roman Goddess of Nature and Moon. So Strega became a ritualistic ode in homage to all these women through History, reconnecting us to the primordial forces, restoring the balance between masculine and feminine. To attain these ambiances, I combine the sounds that, somehow, represent the emotions I get from each part of the story. Like entering some sort of trance where the emotions of this persona transmute into visuals and movement inside your mind and, then, you transpose them into layers of sound.  Sometimes words do their job, other times they just seem like not enough or not even needed. As result, I can jump from a neoclassical mood into pure noise terror using only voice as an instrument to achieve that. I think this will get clearer and intensified through live performance.

  Your voice is soft and demure but commands the listener’s attention both audibly and mentally. How long have you been singing and are you self-taught or did you train classically?

Marc Bolan said in his “Cosmic Dancer”, “I danced myself right out the womb”. That’s what happened to me with singing. But only when I was 19, I decided to try to enter a classical school and learn bel canto. And I made it. After 4 years of training, I was forced to quit. And that’s when my hiatus in music started.

I must say that having a good technique is wonderful, but it can also turn against you. Once you start to be a perfectionist with the tools you use, it is easy to forget about genuine expression and delivery. It requires a great balance between mind, heart and soul.

Lately I’ve been more interested in using the voice with other techniques (like Middle Eastern singing) or a mean to create more experimental and unexpected sounds. Look at Lisa Gerrard, Diamanda Galas, Meredith Monk or Fátima Miranda: there are no limits for what a voice can do.

Even more integral to each song is the soundscapes that accompany them. I understand you do play both piano and guitar. Is this something that you are very heavily involved in creating and constructing? And how does that translate live?

I’m the only one composing, writing, producing, playing, singing and recording for Kabukimono. So far. I’m self-taught in both instruments, even though I took some lessons in piano while studying bel canto.
They allow me different kinds of expression. Piano is very organic to me, like a real extension of my hands, my fingers, my breathing. On the other side, guitar gives me an absolute sense of freedom.
The challenge, this time, was to simplify, in order to be able to assemble a live performance. So I ended up in a very serious a strong relationship with my loop station.

  Who are your own personal musical inspirations and who are you listening to at the moment, new or old?

My playlist is schizophrenic. You have Diamanda Galas, Tim Buckley, The Doors, Nick Cave, Satie, Chopin, Burzum, The Damned, David Bowie, Vashti Bunyan, Cinema Strange, Marc Bolan in all his stages, Dead Can Dance, Bauhaus, Kate Bush, Black Sabbath, Sprung aus den Wolken, Joni Mitchell, Placebo, Townes Van Zandt, Chet Baker, Jacques Brel, Esben and the Witch, Mahsa Vahdat, Einstürzende Neubauten, Arvo Pärt … I always draw inspiration from music that speaks to my senses.
And there’s also a big influence from literature, dance and cinema (Jodorowsky, Jarmusch, Godard).

   There is an air of mystery around Kabuki Mono and it’s not too easy to find much information about you. Is that a deliberate move on your behalf?  And what does that shroud of mystery or the veil if you will, do for you both musically and personally?

I see myself as a low profile eccentric. I’m not really comfortable with a spotlight above my head. Unless while performing. Not sure what will happen from now on, but it will surely depend on the connection with my audience.

  I definitely noticed listening to Strega a certain sound that I really think is reflective of old England times and elicits thoughts of castles and fields and stone. It makes me think of candlelight, villages and the sea.  Whilst there are a lot of amazing female artists currently around at the moment I think this aspect of your journey musically really shows through. How would you describe the relationship between England and your work and is that something you ever considered before? 

Although I was not born in the UK, London is the place I truly call home. Maybe because it gives me space to be this low profile eccentric, maybe because I’m so absorbed in all that’s related to the Victorian Era (which revived some of the ancient traditions in the country and paved a new way for all the studies in occultism, paganism and witchcraft).

“The Dawn of Times”, the opening music of Strega, starts exactly with this imagery of a high cliff by the sea, like Purbeck or this vision I have of the old Scarborough. Then comes the desert as an exile. Sorrow, chaos, loss, acceptance. So, you can go back to the roots, to where it all started, with “Towards the Sea”.

Yes, definitely there is also a strong influence of old England in my creative process.

   Are there any plans to tour UK or Europe this year?  And are there any other projects on the horizon you can tell us about?

I’ve just started to book my first live performances and, at this point, it is confirmed that I’ll be playing in Leipzig (Germany) in September, after being in Lisbon (Portugal) in August. I’ll probably fit some dates in the UK by the end of the year. I have to say I’m pretty excited to make this work as a full performance.
There are also some ongoing and planned collaborations with other projects and musicians. Everything will be announced at the right time.

9.    If there is one thing you would like listeners to come away with after listening to your music what would that be?

Catharsis. Pure catharsis.



Instagram : @kabukimonomusic

Friday, May 26, 2017


The Carlton Arms’ Artbreak gallery is pleased to announce HYBRID, a solo show of new works by multidisciplinary artist Heather Gabel. The two part show features Gabel’s collage works alongside an ephemeral installation in a separate space.

HYBRID: the offspring of two plants or animals of different species or varieties; of mixed character; composed of mixed parts.
HYBRID is a new body of work created by Heather Gabel that addresses the processes of assimilation vs the act of appropriation. Through this minimally assembled collection of collages, both a natural desire to move towards a feral world and a more sinister motive rooted in control and objectification present themselves. How we see ourselves and our place in the natural world and how we are perceived and belittled in a capitalist society create conflict in attaining the ultimate goal: personal autonomy.
Heather Gabel (b. 1977) is a multidisciplinary visual artist and singer in the band HIDE. Gabel studied photography at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit and holds a BFA from Columbia College Chicago. She has been exhibiting both internationally and across the United States for nearly 12 years in galleries and alternative venues, including several public art installations.

HYBRID by Heather Gabel
May 27 – June 3, 2017, open daily, noon – 6pm or by appointment.

Opening reception: May 27, 6pm-9pm
Artbreak Gallery @ Carlton Arms Hotel
160 East 25th Street, corner 3rd Ave, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10010


One Of These | Sextile

Albeit Living releases July 14, 2017 

℗ + © felte 2017 
Sextile is Brady Keehn, Melissa Scaduto, Eddie Wuebben


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Apocalypse | Cigarettes After Sex

From Cigarettes After Sex LP due out on June 9th.

Pre-order special limited editions & digital versions here:



recorded December 2015 in Brooklyn, NY

Written by Greg Gonzalez
Greg Gonzalez - vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Phillp Tubbs - keyboards
Randy Miller - bass
Jacob Tomsky - drums

Recorded by Greg Gonzalez
Mixed by Rocky Gallo
Mastered by Greg Calbi

Cover photo by Ryan Zoghlin
Cover design by Randy Miller

Released on Partisan Records

Hopeless Lingerie | OPHIDIAN