Sofia Kourtesis On Her Debut Album Madres And Subverting Techno Perfectionism

Sofia Kourtesis On Her Debut Album Madres And Subverting Techno Perfectionism

Photo: Dan Medhurst.

Under the red light, Sofia Kurtsis held a crowd of 200 fans in the palm of her hand. Late this September, the Peruvian producer took on the seemingly impossible task: get audiophiles, techno zombies, and European housewives to dance to Brooklyn Public Records' raucous concerts . Courtesy brought two clubbers to the stage, one of whom danced with her in style for the last 20 minutes (she'll ask that same fan to dance next week when she opens Flume's concert.) As her song "By Your Side" plays on the high-definition sound system, the audience hums, jumps and throws their arms in the air. It sways, filling the room with wonder.

This spirit and priority of audience participation is the essence of Curtesy's artistic philosophy. "At the end of the day, you're writing music for people, so people have to like your music," he told me via Zoom a year later, reflecting on a show at his home in Berlin. Curtis speaks with his hands, and his nails - sharp, white, well-groomed, almond-shaped - emphasize every style. Her winged eye is just as sharp, but there's a softness to her expression that takes the edge off. Behind him hangs a single rosary in the corner of the wall.

During a conversation, Kurtesis easily switches between Spanish, English and German. She is beautiful and talented in all languages, naturally dreamy. Today, he follows a creative approach based on emotion. “Less perfection, more Corazon, Germany. This is my motto for the next professional year,” he explains. It's a departure from the heavy, cerebral concerns that characterize much of the techno world. "I can't play techno at 140 beats per minute," he added. " I can do it , and dare I say it, I do it well, but I also like to put my whole heart into it. If the way I express myself is only intellectually, that's not me and I'm lying to myself."

Curtis is a strong proponent of the principles of enjoyment in electronic music. His songs are intimate, joyful and full of hope, like climbing a cliff by the sea and contemplating the endless waters of the ocean. In the year In 2021, he released the EP Fresia Magdalena , a semi-autobiographical collection of rainbow house music that evokes nostalgia for his hometown of Lima and pays tribute to his father, who died of leukemia. The EP supported his high-profile shows at Primavera Sound and Glastonbury, as well as Caribou's UK and European tour last year. Curtiss has a local following in Berlin as a producer and performer at the city's famous Funkhaus, bringing Frasia Magdalena to the international electronic scene.

Kurtesis has lived in Germany for over twenty years and gradually established himself in the corner of the Berlin electronic scene. He's about to release his first full-length album, Delivery, which features samples and field recordings from the library he's amassed over the past two years. Like Freesia Magdalena , green, full of color and nostalgia - music that melts all the cold and reminds you of your life.

He left Peru at the age of 17 because of his homosexual feelings after kissing a friend at a conservative Catholic school. "I was sent to a psychiatrist, a priest," he explained. "I remember the next day the girls weren't allowed to sit next to me ... all my friends didn't want to talk to me and I was really hurt."

A longtime associate of Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders, he was interested in studying at the Baden-W├╝rttemberg Film Academy. But at 17, he was too young to enter the directing department, so he switched to communications. "I always say I'm a nervous director. That's why I make a lot of collages," he says of his style. "I see it before I write a song. I dream about it. When you see it, there's a feeling, and it turns from a feeling into a melody."

Delivery repeats this method of writing. Courtesy's "Confessions of Freesia Magdalena" is dedicated to Courtesy's mother who had cancer while on tour. He returned to Peru every chance he got to take care of her between tour stops. One track is named after Peter Vaikochi, an award-winning neurosurgeon who saved his mother's life. After several other doctors refused to perform the risky operation, Courtesy posted a snippet of the song on Instagram, saying that if she operated on her mother, she would dedicate the track to Vaikochi. Through the friends of his friends, he learned about this story and agreed to perform the surgery that Cortesi's mother had done. A few months later, Bergey invited her and her colleagues to his favorite Berlin nightclub for a show of appreciation. "I saw glitter," he recalls of the dance. "I wasn't even on MDMA or anything like that."

Delivery is a memory leader and travel archive. Before he died, Father Curtis promised him that he would visit the world and document his travels. Based on the travelogue of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Delivery called his Motorcycle Diaries - the trip was made only by air . Kurtesis chatted with people on walks or chatted with them on their porches, collecting their stories and conversations along the way. He participated in protests in Peru, flew to Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala and even visited the Ballumbrosio brothers, heirs to famous Afro-Peruvian traditions such as the Zapateo and Cajon dances taught by family patriarch Amador Ballumbrosio Mescira. Balmbrosio's son showed him El Carmen, a stronghold of Afro-Peruvian culture. This also allowed the delivery to integrate vocals and vocals. "I really wanted the album to be about the people I met on this trip," he explains. I wanted to eat a little bit of everything to make the best e-salsa.

Ultimately, delivery is a testament to Curtis' commitment to the principles of vulnerability. "I felt like I needed to remove this stigma from other people who felt the same way," she says of the album's themes of care, family and survival. I'm so tired of being in this techno world where everything looks so fancy and perfect. Because it's not true.

Pitchfork: You say your heart is Latin and your engine is German. for what

Sofia Kourtesis: My heart and love will always be Peruvian, but the strength of the movement will always be German. [Peruvians] are stupid. We are idiots, you know? Yesterday I went to the psychiatrist with my mother. My mom is very Peruvian, very dramatic [ laughs ]. Seriously, the conversation started with me wanting to kill her by drinking too much. [ mother's voice ] "He wants to kill me!" This makes me overdose on vitamins! But you know, they don't mean what they say. The boy asked, "Why are they giving you medicine (over the counter)?" How do you explain this to a German? He is already completely confused. It is funny because they are more logical and solution oriented. Some of my Peruvian family members are more dramatic. It's a good combination.

What was it like making this album when your mother was sick? Did you share any music with him on the road?

It was beautiful but it was painful because [when he left us] one of the songs called "Si Te Portas Bonito" he had epilepsy [seizures] and a heart attack. Every time I release an album, something weird happens. I'm so vain right now.

But he's a big fan. He is my best critic. He loves to dance to music, so I'm glad he can come to concerts soon. But talking about family is painful. I wish more people would openly tell me what they felt [when my father was sick]. No one talks about leaving the music scene. And no one will tell you how hard it is. Taking care of a child is very difficult. But when your parents are weak, it's a very sad feeling.

As Latinos, we have our ups and downs, but it's great to always count on our parents for support. Some of my friends in Germany said, "Hey, can you put your mom in a nursing home and visit her once a month?" They called me. I could never make my mother. Putting him in a nursing home and visiting him once a month broke my heart. I respect all cultures, but one of the great things in Latin America is that we have great respect for our mothers. They're like our little saints, you know? If they tell everybody we want to kill them [ laughs ].

Whitesoxy played a major role in this album. She is an incredible muse.

My life changed so much the day I met him because he was like a UFO hope. He said he would, when he gets better, music will come in handy again. If there were more people like him, this world would be a completely different place. When he looks at you, he really looks into your eyes, you feel. It's obvious he really cares, you know? It was thanks to him that I changed my outlook on life. Appreciating the people around me, spending more time with them, understanding them, doing my best for them.

One of the songs that stand out on Delivery is "Moving Houses" because it's a bit dark and even atmospheric at times. Why did you decide to explore this direction?

Because there is always grief that will change your life completely. This was 10 years ago and I was in so much pain that I felt like my life was over. This feeling was left behind because it was important to write. It is also important that part of my personal world is closer to what is most important: my family. It was a great relationship, but the breakup was painful. It's like someone is dying. Someone you've been with for five years, someone you love dearly and would do anything for. Then they disappear from your life and you never hear from them again.

Your father worked as a pro bono lawyer under the former Peruvian leader Alberto Fujimori and your mother worked for the rights of the indigenous people of Peru. How has being in this progressive environment affected you?

I'm my mom's mini-me [ laughs ]. It always took me to protest, so from a young age I knew how to protect our comrades who were more vulnerable than us. And all my aunts. They are very communist. If Bernie [Sanders] were in Peru…

One of them will be Bernie from Peru.

I don't feel good because I'm not as active as they are. Sometimes I feel like I need to know more to give a good opinion. I only communicate, send and share. Not brave enough. Every week they go out into the streets where work is wanted. That's what I love about South American parents: they're made for people.

Most people don't think of electronic music as an autobiographical space. They often see it simply as an escape. Why do you think you are so drawn to share your life story and continue to be vulnerable in your music?

If I tried to be perfect and practical, I wouldn't be here anymore. It's important for people in the electronic music scene to know that it's okay to be imperfect. Show who you are. I respect all my friends who make electronic music beautiful and flawless. Well made and durable. But sometimes you wonder, "Don't you worry [about being perfect] all the time?" I want to ask them. You know those beautifully written articles about this holiday and that holiday? There's a lot of pressure in this industry because it's really hard to be [in fashion] all the time.

I tried to please the industry more. I worry less about it now. When I played in big clubs, I felt I had to play the best, the coolest sound. Then, "No, I'll collect my piece and respect it and I'll help if they don't accept me anymore." I told him. But if I get hired again, I can be who I am.

It first appeared on Pitchfork.

0/Post a Comment/Comments