Interview

CURATED BY GIRLS- WHEN YOU CURATE WITH YOUR GUT

Laetitia Duveau aka Little Voice 

Laetitia Duveau aka Little Voice 

By Sonia Alcaina Gallardo.

Curated By Girls is an online platform that aims to promote diversity, equality and respect with a high dose of heart and optimism. Ingrained in a philanthropical vision of humanity, the project is all-inclusive; any gender, color, generation, or ideology is featured. Waving the flag of freedom, CBG is taking over Berlin, spreading beauty and openness. 

Over a cappuccino in her favorite café in the vibrant Berliner neighborhood of Neukölln, we spoke with co-founder Laetitia Duveau, also known as Little Voice. We talked about her projects, her dreams, about love and freedom, and about her purple jacket. 

 

Born in France, Laetitia moved to Berlin only six months ago where she is now based working on her music and curating the Curated By Girls’ 2nd IRL show, "POSTER BOYS".  This second IRL show will take place in Neukölln in the same studio as the previous show, “freer in Berlin,” at Blender & Co., on November 12 & 13, 2016. This time, the show features unreleased works by Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert, a 25 year old analog photographer who plays with portraits of gender ambiguous men. His 1st book “Gender As A Spectrum” is a stunning released example of his work.   

'Poster Boys' by Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert, Second IRL Show by CBG

'Poster Boys' by Joseph Wolfgang Ohlert, Second IRL Show by CBG

Kinofilia: Probably nobody asked you this before, What was your initial motivation when you decided to found CBG?

LD: It’s the first time somebody asks me this! I became a curator by accident in a way because my friend Ophelie Rondeau, photographer, came up with this idea to put up a website about diversity together. She asked me “do you want to get on board with me?”, and I immediately said YES. For me as a musician, the whole idea sounded very interesting. I was kind of focused on my music all the time and struggling with my own projects so I thought “why not try something different and put myself outside of the box that is my musical career?”

Our aim was to promote art that we liked without checking if the artist behind it was a young or old person, a boy, a girl, or a transgender person, famous or not. The idea was to create a platform where everyone could be represented, no matter who they are. 

Kinofilia: I like about your project that you go far beyond the limiting traditional idea of feminism by choosing to exhibit all gender’s art, and not only female artwork as it happened in the late 60’s with feminist art. How do you think that this ‘New Femininity’ story should develop in the future?

LD: I think we need to restructure the traditional pattern we followed until now where the alpha male was the one in control and owned the power to decide. I considered we needed to get rid of those old ideas and start to promote a new kind of feminism where both men and women are included, where men are allowed to be as masculine or feminine as they like, and vice-versa. I’m open to human beings; I welcome humanity as it comes and as it fancies to be. I work for diversity, for acceptance. New femininity must be more than words or debate. It has to be a bigger project than just a philosophy. I have decided not to focus on what's wrong in our society, just because we can't be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society like ours that is fostered by ego, money and power. There is a long way to go if we want to change this, but we need to stay positive. I am a positive person and I believe we have to support everyone and stop fighting between us. What I see is more & more communities fighting each other more and more. I prefer to see the beauty in every one of us. Just stop a second what you are doing and just enjoy whatever is around you! Just observe. That is new femininity to me.

Kinofilia: Trends have the power to influence the future of femininity. As an anecdote, before World War II boys wore pink as a lighter version of red and its connotations of power, and girls blue. It was only when the American newspaper The Sunday Sentinel advised mothers in 1914 to “use pink for the boy and blue for the girl, if you are a follower of convention” that the whole game changed to what we know now.  Considering that even gender is cultural, do you believe that we are actually changing the way we look at sexual orientation and gender socialization? 

LD: Ha, ha, ha, this is so funny! I decided to avoid the pink for our logo and go for the blue instead and now I just found out I am actually being conventional. Everything is so relative if you think about it. Answering your question, I truly believe we are indeed changing things by being more open to different categories of gender, accepting gender fluidity. But we are still so late! We need to learn a lot about acceptance and deconstruct what has been imposed before.

Kinofilia: This part becomes personal now, on a scale from 1 to 10, how dangerous would you consider the effect of Barbie dolls on the perpetuation of these distorted gender roles? 

LD: Danger! I would say the main problem here has to do not with Barbie dolls but with the parents of those children who are being given the toys. I would blame Barbie with a five. I remember once that I was working on a Teddy Bear shop with beautiful vintage stuffed animals and this two year old boy came with his parents and had a crush on a pink Chihuahua. The mother was shocked of embarrassment and tried to persuade him to take another animal, apparently more boyish. I though certain kind of parents are sometimes the ones to blame by trying to turn their children into whatever ideal they have in mind. The reality is that these children are individuals with their own feelings and personalities, and these character threats might not be what the parents expect them to be. 

Kinofilia: You are a musician who decided to curate art. What is the most challenging part of curating this project?

LD: It’s definitely the time managing. These days I spend so much time on the curating that I barely have time for my music. I’m trying to manage with both but the reality is that I am a perfectionist and I want to do things right, that means that sometimes you have to make some sacrifices. Another challenge about curating is having to deal with some artist’s ego. It can be tiring.

Kinofilia: What are your main criteria when you pick up the artists to exhibit? 

LD: I could say I curate with my heart and with my guts. I’m not denying that quality is for me an important issue but I mainly take honest and authentic proposals. Sometimes I receive series from some artists who are still a bit naïve in their conception but if I perceive that there is something genuine and pure in their works, I would definitely wanna feature it. I wanna share art that touches my soul.

Kinofilia: Somebody quite smart told me in art school that there are three stages in art: provocation, surprise and emotion. Most artists remain in the first two, limiting themselves to merely provoke or surprise with their art; few go further and try to create an emotion in the viewer. Do you think that is important for an artist, to connect with their audience? What are the parameters by which you distinguish good art from the pile of junk out there?

LD: I would say the precious feeling of being in front of a sincere piece of art is everything. It is hard to tell, I am not an art critic myself but I consider an artist has to create from the depth of his/her guts in order to be true to oneself. That he/she/they have something to say, whatever it is but has something inside tryin’ to say something. No just ego stuff and self-masturbation. I agree there's a bit of provocation, surprise and emotion in the work process. But art is not about making money or recognition in the first place. It is a therapy. We made it a business and that's when things went wrong. Good art is sincere. Have you noticed that some music doesn't get old? It's just because it is sincere, coming from the bottom of your heart.

I don’t judge imitation; I think it’s cute. It shows that this person is getting through. That is almost there. Most of the times you need to imitate in order to find yourself and anyway. Nowadays almost nothing is original. 

CBG first IRL Show 'Freer in Berlin'

CBG first IRL Show 'Freer in Berlin'

Kinofilia: Have you ever thought about making art yourself? Do you think that there are feelings or states of mind that only music can translate? 

LD: I’ve been a bit forced to do some videos, some editing here, some artwork there… When you don't have a team working for/with you, you have to do everything yourself from songs to videos, logos, artwork. So I am touching a bit of this too. 

Since I was very little I was involved in arts, maybe because of the fact that I am very shy I loved spending time drawing and doing stuff just for fun. 

Art is for me very susceptible to create emotions, which are the real purpose of it. Music would be more like a trip from one emotion to another, and transports you easily from happiness to gloom in about seconds. But it really depends on how the receiver gets touched by it, whether it is music or art.

Laetitia Duveau by Sonia Alcaina Gallardo

Laetitia Duveau by Sonia Alcaina Gallardo

Kinofilia: I read in another interview that the article, “Arriving at the Berlin State of mind,” from I Heart Berlin, made you name your first exhibition “Freer in Berlin.” What do you think that Berlin has that other cities lack? 

'Freer in Berlin' first IRL show by CBG 

'Freer in Berlin' first IRL show by CBG 

LD: I came across that article by Keith Telfeyan about Berlin and I thought it really described what I felt about this city and its freedom.  I contacted Keith and asked him if I could use his article for my first IRL Show “Freer in Berlin” and he agreed, which was great. Berlin is a capital city like New York, Paris or London, but what makes it different it’s his approach to money. There is not too much money in Berlin. Berlin is poor but sexy, but this is not an issue. It is exactly the opposite, the lack of money, of this commodity, it’s precisely what makes it such a creative city. Very often, money kills inspiration; it makes you take things for granted. In Berlin people come and experience and share with others, they take time to find themselves. It’s a very international and multicultural city. It’s a shame that is starting to grow so fast already like every other city. You can feel that is happening here too what happened with NY, and people try hard not to succumb to the monster of capitalism and keep the “Berliner vibe” as long as possible. 

Kinofilia: In that interview for I Heart Berlin, you also talked about two philosophical matters:  love and freedom. “Love is freedom” were your words. It is a curiosity that in both our mother tongues, French and Spanish, “liberté,” or “libertad,” respectively, come from the latin, “libertas-atis,” but the English word, “freedom,” comes from an Indo-European root meaning, “love.” What it is even more paradoxical, is that the same root is at the same time used for the word “afraid.” Now, somehow that makes sense to me, how scary being in love can be! How do you think that our society can overcome this fear of love that limits us so much, and become “freer” in Berlin, in Paris, in Shanghai…?

LD: This is so curious! Language can be sometimes so surprising! What I believe is that we are most times too focused on our own egos, on ourselves, and we should stop being so selfish and have a look around. I think we are afraid of falling in love because we thing people have to love us back. We fear rejection and abandonment when we should overcome this fear and be the one who loves instead. We shouldn’t wait for others to love us to be able to love.  That is the real freedom I would say.

Kinofilia: Tell me about your purple jacket. I heard many stories already, but I want to know what it means for you. Did this jacket become your freedom jacket? Your fear-free jacket? 

LD: Oh! My purple jacket! Yes! I had to leave it back in France. I wore it way too much! It became in fact a symbol for me. It represents a state of mind. I refuse to wear black all the time, which in Berlin is a must, but I just love colors. I don’t do things to please others; I want to be myself. That is what this jacket is about. The story is that I was enjoying my night with some friends in France and this girl came and said to me, “I have to tell you, your jacket is disgusting.” I could tell she was a bit drunk, but that was no excuse. I felt bad, not for myself, but for her. She might have been very sad to say something like that to another person. I was a very shy person by then, I am still am, but I somehow arrived to this peaceful place where I feel free to be myself and wear whatever I fancy. I have been a unicorn for a year, almost, and it is amazing. 

It is great satisfaction to be able to do what you want to do without caring of what other people think. That is what many people fight for, to be respected, but who cares! The most important thing is to respect yourself!

Kinofilia: Visiting the show “Freer in Berlin” the past 8th and 9th of October, I enjoyed seeing how many artists actually sold some pieces.  I thought that you did a good job as a curator because the affordable prices of the pieces were coherent with the kind of audience attending the exhibition. In that sense, it was indeed, as your entire project claims to be, very honest. Are you gonna keep on working in this line? 

'Puta' by  Julia de la Torre  

'Puta' by Julia de la Torre 

LD: What I am trying to do is make art more accessible. The artist is always the one who sets the prices, the one in control. I always give them my advice though, and that is how we created this line of work. I work with emerging artist and we try to keep it as I mentioned, affordable and honest for everyone. 

My vision is to give access to Art to everyone in the most pleasant way possible. 

Kinofilia: Is there any future dream you want to share with us? 

LD: I have many of them! I would love to go with CBG around the world. I would also love to keep on working on my music and eventually touring worldwide too. It is all about work and dreams. For now, I will try to keep on helping artists to get more exposure. 

Moonlight Shapes, the beach Mexican sound of hedonism

Photo credit: Monique Flores

Photo credit: Monique Flores

 

By Tom Spiegel

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Coming from the Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen Mexico, two dudes who were born in one of the music meccas of the country thought it would be a good idea to move past the conventional ways of making music and cross over to the electronic music world. I know both of them, but have a tight friendship with Luis Mario Mijangos, who people call 'El Negro' (and no, it's not a racial slur - only a nickname). This guy has always shown a devil may care attitude, worthy of a true rockstar from the 1960's, and I've been fortunate enough to follow his path both in music and in life for quite a while. 


 

Photo credit: Monique Flores

Photo credit: Monique Flores

That easy going vibe translates into his art, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Moonlight Shapes' best hit, “Pieces Ft. Gustavo Lobo.” The atmosphere and samples on that song are just perfect for the hedonistic lifestyle people live in a place such as Playa del Carmen. But the background that Luis has, combined with the technical abilities of music engineer Pablo Candelaria, perfectly portray the roots of a city presumed to have a nearly perfect palate when it comes to music in all its forms. 


 

Photo credit: Monique Flores

Photo credit: Monique Flores

There is no denying that Guadalajara is one of the main music influences Mexico has. A certain aura of creativity roams around every corner of the city, whether it's downtown or in the hippest, most posh areas. The quality will always be a constant there, and our duo from this interview is a great representation of this crossover from the city to the beach life. They have just begun, but already there are talks with a world-class label. They were kind enough to answer some questions for Kinofilia, with an exclusive look at what it is they do, their musical background and their process. Enjoy!

Hey dude, tell me first, how did Moonlight Shapes as a name come to exist? Who is part of this project?

Negro: Hey man, great to be here. Well this project started in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and consists in Pablo Candelaria also known as “Vaktun” by the electronic music scene. He is in charge of sound engineering, producing and the live percussive elements. And  myself Luis Mijangos also known as “Negro” or “The Darkest Boy Alive”, I’m also in charge of production and live instrument performance and recording.

 The name actually came after we had already recorded about three tracks and we got to really trip out listening to the music. We were trying to find something that would reflect the mood and groove of what we were doing. So Moonlight Shapes for me hit right in the spot since our music, in my opinion, is really dark and ethereal. It always takes me to really abstract places in my mind when I’m listening and feeling it, kind of when you go to a really far away place at night and you start noticing all those shapes painted by light in the trees, the water or simply just in the ground. Those sounds can be really different for everybody, so I think of our music as something really similar to this, in which there’s not just one sole interpretation of what we are expressing, but on the contrary.

 

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Listening to these down tempo-ish kind of beats, what is the style you would give yourselves in the Electronic Music genres? 

 That has actually been a question that we have been trying to figure out ourselves for a long time hahaha, since our tracks are very different from one another. Some can sound very deep and techno oriented and some others are slower and more nostalgic, so I wouldn´t really like to categorize what we do into a specific genre. I think that sort of limits oneself to go only in that direction and sometimes inspiration for us takes very different roads, we try to keep that style that defines us without putting a label on it. Our approach since the beginning was not trying to use the formulas that a lot of electronic music producers are basing their tracks on. We have always aimed to go the old school way and tell stories with our music, not necessarily with vocals but more with the instruments, sounds and sequences we use for it. But I guess you could say it has a lot of influence from deep house, techno and alternative music.

 It’s worth mentioning that our foundations are majorly electronic but using as much live instrument resources as we can for our shows, as well as for when we go in the studio to give it a band-like feeling such as guitar, bass, live vocals, synths and lots of various effects.

Who are your main influences in music and other arts?

Negro: My main influences which always inspired me to want to become a musician were classic American and British rock & blues, mainly because I listened to a lot of that with my parents in the house or in road trips. Good examples are The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, Queen, Eric Clapton and B.B King. I’ve always loved Mick Jagger though; I think I still have one of those super embarrassing videos that moms love to keep, from when I was like 3 years old where I was “dressed as Mick Jagger” with a toothbrush in my hand and I was trying to sing (mumbling/screaming) “Ruby Tuesday”. 

I think the bands that have had more influence on my music style are actually Queens of the Stone Age and Pink Floyd, since I´ve always liked all the weird stuff that they recorded while experimenting and creating atmospheres as well as saturations or dissonances and all sorts of sounds which really make you wonder how the hell they pulled it off.

In the electronic field I like Bob Moses a lot, I think they have something really interesting going on. Seeing them live once made me want to also create something with a live music feel, more human in a way.

How is the Electronic lifestyle in Playa del Carmen? Which styles are the most dominant? 

It has always been my opinion that the music scene in Playa del Carmen has two main elements: electronic music and cover bands. This can be frustrating sometimes because I lived in Guadalajara most of my life. I mean, I love electronic music but I was used to have a lot of options to choose as far as “going to any music show in the city” was concerned. There is a huge amount of different bands and projects performing either local or international over there. From a techno live act to a really acid alternative band, and all in between.

But the scene has grown a lot in the last few years, I could even say that instead of Playa having an electronic lifestyle, the Playa lifestyle IS electronic music. You have the BPM Festival happening every year and other parties from big labels and promotion agencies. It has become a paradise for party people, DJs and producers worldwide. And it’s bringing more and more people every year to see what the fuzz is all about. Although my favorite parties have been mostly in Tulum and other locations along the Riviera Maya.

I would say the most dominant genres are House, Deep House and Techno, with their endless variations. If you walk downtown through the different establishments, you’ll hear a mix of these and the overly commercial music that’s on the radio all the time (which is shit mostly in my opinion).

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Photo credit: Aleks OI

Tell us a little bit about your musical background, your roots. 

Pablo: My roots came mostly from psychedelic trance, electro and techno. That’s how I got interested in electronic music in the first place and what motivated me to study sound engineering at G Martell in Mexico City.

Negro: I always wanted to learn to play something and when I was about 11 years old, my older brother gave me an acoustic guitar as a gift. I was absolutely thrilled, so I used to lock myself up in my room for hours trying to play the song that I liked at the moment. By the time I was doing that, internet was already around so I looked up for theory there to understand how music worked.

Then me and some other friends put on a rock band and I started to get really hooked with the bass, so I decided to learn how to play it and I haven’t left it ever since.

With electronic music I was really interested in psychedelic trance, but then I decided to move to London for a while. There I discovered so much music everywhere, going to places like Fabric, Sosho, The Egg, etc. That made me get a much wider perspective in regards of electronic music, I started looking for more minimal, minimal tech, house and deep house. After that I had the opportunity to work with the Katerholzig crew from Berlin in Tulum, for a project they had going on at Papaya Playa Project. I also met a lot of people from the local and international scene there.

Moonlight Shapes 1

How is your process of creating this music? Walk us through from the beginning. 

Negro: Well… to be honest it always starts with a beer (he giggled). With the heat in playa it’s impossible to do it any other way.

Pablo: What we usually do is start creating a rhythmic base depending on the mood we want to create, after that we try to look for dark harmonies for the atmospheric melodies, since that has become our line of sound right from the beginning.

Negro: And after that I usually plug my guitar and I microphone and I start trying different ideas to start shaping the music, we choose what we like and we record every part properly.

After that well, it’s basically structuring the ideas and getting arrangements done, which we do together to get exactly what we’re aiming for. We have a pretty good musical chemistry and I think that’s reflected in the constant flow of ideas that we have in the studio.

Who are your favorite electronic artists right now?

Pablo: I’m listening to a lot of Kraftwerk, Teenage Mutants, Balcazar and Audictive, who is a good friend of mine and amazing producer. We actually have a track with him that will come to light eventually.

Negro: Right now I’m digging Kettenkarussell, Traumprinz, I’m liking a lot a live act that TheMidnight Perverts have been performing with Andy Martin, with a lot of live hardware and such. I also listen to Smash TV, V I V I D Savvas, Marc Poppcke, Konstantin, and a new live act that some friends of mine are putting together named “Calling Scientists”, from who I’m expecting to release something soon. I’m also really liking the latest MOTEK and Delay Records releases as well.

Tell us an anecdote about your life as a music producer that people will like, maybe life in Playa while making your music and meeting new people...

I guess a funny one could be from when we started working in the beginning, we used to go to the studio at a friend’s house and we used to record from 12 to 15 hours straight every time while drinking “caguamas” (40 oz beers). A lot of times it happened that the next day, when we listened to the material, on the first hours of the session everything sounded really neat on the recordings. But in the last takes my singing was not too sharp and easily could have emulated a wild coyote’s wailing with some sense of intonation. So we would have to record those parts again the next day. Some takes were hilariously terrible.

 How did you get to where you are music wise?

I have played many different things throughout the years, such as Blues, Funk, Classic Rock, Reggae and experimental projects.

The most recent bands I was in were “Pigs On The Wing” with which we performed the full “Dark Side Of The Moon” album live. Also when I moved to Berlin for a while I was playing with “Dear/Us”, an electronic live band that still performs over there by the way, which was an awesome experience since I had the privilege of playing in the now closed “Katerholzig” club, as well as other great places such as “Prince Charles.”

As a DJ I started playing constantly in Tulum, since I lived for quite a while in Playa del Carmen and I’ve had the opportunity to play in spots such as “Papaya Playa Project”, “Casa Jaguar”, “Todos Santos”, “Dragon Turquesa”, “Cannibal Royal” among others.

 What I think has helped me the most in developing as a musician is that I have always loved playing with other people, no matter what their style or their sound is. I have played with alternative rock bands, metal bands, reggae bands, experimental electronic bands, etc. And I always learn something from every person that I have ever played with. I love jamming with different people so that I’m able to try different things and get ideas for my personal projects.

You can check out Moonlight Shapes' music on the Soundcloud or the Facebook pages.