The safety distance that the pandemic has forced has also reached the field of interviews. In-person encounters have been reduced and replaced by remote conversations. This leads to possible inconveniences such as frozen video calls, coverage failures or confusion about the communication path. The latter was what happened with Joana Serrat, who was waiting patiently next to her mobile to answer elDiario.es’s questions about her latest album Hardcore from the Heart (Great Canyon, 2021) while this journalist waited looking at herself on the computer screen with the Zoom ready.
Rodrigo Cuevas, folkloric agitator: “The place of the elderly should be the city and the youth the country”
Finally, the artist picks up the phone laughing, talkative. That will be the general tone of the conversation because Serrat is generous in responses. His recently published work has collected in a few weeks a good string of recognitions: position 31 on the official list of best-selling albums in Spain (Promusicae), 24 on the official list of best-selling albums in England or the note of 9 out of 10 that He has been awarded Uncut magazine.
His genre is American folk with forays into pop that gives rise to a somewhat dreamlike atmosphere. The lyrics are introspective and often sad. A literal reading would make you think that they are about a love that ends. “In them, the doubt about a relationship, about choosing a new beginning or not, is hovering. A life with my partner far from a reality that I had lived and knew. But there is no rupture, it only arises in a moment of very important personal crisis ”, he explains.
The album is conceived as a global entity, with a beginning and an end. “I don’t understand music in any other way. But for me the whole of a work makes sense. Disks are photographs, representations of moments. Each one reflects and represents a very specific time in my life ”, he explains and continues to explain that:“ The songs have a meaning between them, also sound. It is no coincidence that it begins with Easy and end with Wild beast. I am asking the listener for a predisposition and the first is that small toll that you have to pay to get into the album ”.
Hardcore from the Heart It was recorded in Denton (Texas), in the studio of Ted Young, who has also worked with other famous names such as Sonic Youth or Kurt Vile. The previous one was made in Dripping Springs, a place that also gives it its title, but for this one he decided to change places so as not to spoil his memories. He states that: “I was so happy there and it was all so magical that I knew that if I returned it would be like a second chapter. I like to quote Pavese because he has a phrase in his book The beach that says: ‘there is no less livable place than the one where you’ve been happy’ and it suits me like a glove ”.
After Dripping springs he settled in a small town in Catalonia, his land of origin. “I decided with my partner that we wanted a change of life. But it was not easy to integrate. Actually nowhere was okay and I had a constant need to be on tour because in the end it’s the only place you feel like you have control. It is as if your life stops, you do not have to make any decisions, it is like a parallel life. In addition, you coincide with other musicians who always have pending questions. We are all the same ”, he says with a laugh.
While waiting for the album to come out, [la pandemia trastocó el calendario] I had time to reflect and realized that it was sending another message that I did not notice when I was working on it. When you are twenty years old it seems that anything is possible but in your thirties you see that there are things that you will no longer do in your life unless there is an unexpected turn “, he maintains and adds that:” It is very good to have dreams, but many things are required to make them come true. Anyway it will not be so easy and maybe it is time to move to a more realistic plane even if we are ambitious “.
The album shares the title with a book by the sexologist and former porn actress Annie Sprinkle. “I came across a quote that basically talks about pornography being a mirror in which we can reflect ourselves and we will see things that will probably make us feel very uncomfortable. But it is a wonderful opportunity to enter and get closer to the truth “, he declares. His was a pornography but emotional, that made him face his feelings. Hence the relationship established between the two works. “The book appealed to me and I knew that that had to be the title of the album,” he explains to elDiario.es.
The industry and its edges
Joana Serrat started self-publishing in 2012 and currently has her own label with David Giménez, Great Canyon. “We put it together out of a need to find and create a scene in which to identify ourselves. And a way of working according to the idea that we have of what the industry has to be. In the end, as in so many issues, in this industry music can even be residual. We like to accompany the artist, to be present as much as they want in their creation process. From the first demos or audios that they send you with your mobile to the final product, which is when you already have the physical CD ”, he argues.
Specify that you cannot complain about your own track record. Shortly after self-publishing The Relief Sessions, The Segell del Primavera [el sello de Primavera Sound] he noticed her. In 2014 he published under his mantle Dear Great Canyon and in 2016 Cross The Verge, for which he also had the English record label Loose. At that time he began to cherish the idea of creating his own company and Dripping springs (2017) and Hardcore From The Heart (2021) have already come out with their own label and Loose.
On July 3 she played in Llucmajor (Mallorca) and for the next few months she has concerts scheduled that will take her on the part of Spain and Sweden if the instability of the pandemic does not disrupt the plans. The music scene has seen great ups and downs and has changed many things, including the festival posters. Those initiatives to promote parity, which in many cases were announced with great fanfare, seem to have been left behind (or third).
“It seems to me that they are very good and they have to be done because not all of us leave the same starting box, there are some that start from -10 and others from 15”, he maintains but also declares that: “I also get angry because in the end they are marketing strategies. People have to really believe these initiatives. Two or three years ago everyone was talking about parity, but a pandemic is coming and no one remembers women. Didn’t we all stick out our chests because we were so modern and so cool? Well now I don’t see it ”.
She confesses that she does not have the answers because she is not an expert but thinks that: “we all have to re-educate ourselves with a gender perspective. You are constantly being a victim of the system and any decision or initiative you take can always be criticized, there are observations that are not without meaning. But I would like the people who are in charge of venues, circuits or festivals to be more aware. And that, on the other hand, the administration, which is the one who subsidizes and gives aid to an important part, demanded it. If not, what is the use of running a campaign if in the end you don’t end up fulfilling it? ”