domingo, 18 de novembro de 2018

Slovenska Televiza in interview: "It's all about that sensation and all the East European imagery culture"

© El Carrusel - Taller de fotografía

On September 9th we drove to Dom Carlos I Park in Caldas da Rainha to learn more about the Spanish duo Slovenska Televiza, composed by Wladyslaw Trejo and Lunademayo, who released their debut EP, Documento, through the label Peripheral Minimal on that week. 

Slovenska Televiza were formed through the conception of a crazy idea divided into three phases: First, they had to compose a song about Latvia, with lyrics composed in Latvian, a language that neither of them speaks. Second, they made a limited number of CDs containing this song, with handmade covers, one by one. To finalize the project the band traveled to Latvia, where they abandoned the CDs recorded in several places that would be chosen during their stay in Riga and surroundings. 

Learn more about them reading our interview below.

Threshold Magazine (TM) - When did you start Slovenska Televiza? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – I think it started in 2013. We both had a previous band that ended, but I wanted to make more music and to have an evolution. That band was kinda pop and I tried to go more introspective, that's when Slovenska Televiza came. Still wanted to have a girl singing and I had - Lunademayo, and she sings very well, so it was a good opportunity to reach new sounds. She also wanted to sing in another tessitura, less poppy but more classical, maybe, more lyrical, and that's the way we began. 

TM - Why did you choose the name Slovenska Televiza? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – It’s a long story! I first went to Czech Republic, to Prague, in 1997 and I felt a strange sense of belonging, not like saying I would love to live here, it was sensed like 'I am from here'. But I came back to Spain and forgot about it. Then we both went to Berlin in 2012 and I felt the same sensation back again. So I wanted to understand why this feeling, thinking about it myself I finally got the answer. That was because when I was a child my favorite cartoons were the Czechoslovakian ones. In Spain, in the 80’s, there were a lot of Czechoslovakian, Polish and Russian cartoons in the national television and those were my favorites. They were kind of strange, sometimes with experimental soundtracks and less action than the American ones, but those were my favorites, all that imaginary was deeply recorded in my subconscious. I remembered that every cartoon started with "Ceskoslovenská Televize uvádí" (Czechoslovakian Television presents), but I was a child and couldn’t read it, so I used to read it my way: Slovenska Televiza, that's it. It's all about that sensation and all the East European imagery culture that exists in my head. 

TM – Your first single, "Bailes Valstīs", is written in Latvian. How did the idea come and why Latvia? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – We were planning to visit Latvia on holiday, and it was Lunademayo idea to make a song. Well, the first idea wasn't to make a song but to make some CDs and left all the copies in Latvia. Travel there, walk around, select the places we like, leave a CD, take a picture and say goodbye. So we had to make a song, and we thought to write the lyrics in Latvian. It should be a very short song because Latvian language is too difficult (laughs).

Lunademayo – There was a bit of the idea of building something about Latvia, given the impression that we had from the country through the information available on the media, about their history, the city of Riga and everything else. 

Wladyslaw Trejo – We wanted to make a song about our idealized Latvia, even if it was right or not. And as we felt that Latvia was going to give something important to us then we wanted to give something to Latvia. A crazy, crazy idea! 

TM – What happened after you left the CDs? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – We got no answer, neither an e-mail nor a message. There was some traffic on our Bandcamp page but it's impossible to know if it came from people who found the CD or not. In the beginning it was kind of surprising, but at the end we thought that it was the better option. We were lucky to have very different experiences from what a normal tourist would have, everything was more intense and deeper, we met people and we arrived at very special places that we would not have found otherwise. Latvia left an important mark on our hearts. I wrote a travelogue about those adventures with also some pictures that was published in a Spanish and a Baltic culture web. 

TM – How was the process besides this new Documento EP? Because the sonority is totally different from the first single. 

Wladyslaw Trejo Documento songs are previous to the Latvian performance, we finished them in 2014 but had some delays dealing with the music industry. We didn't want to forget about them, our firm purpose was to release this EP on a worthy way and go ahead with our music, and happily, we could publish it thanks to Peripheral Minimal record label. But maybe if we do something new it will be also different from Documento, once we do not have a narrowly focused style and we like to change. It depends on what we want or what we need at the moment. 

TM – What do you have to say about "Muskiz"? (It's my favorite song of the EP) 

Wladyslaw Trejo – Muskiz is a village from the north of Spain in the Basque Country, it’s in the coast and they have a petroleum refinery. First time I went there was by night, it’s a very big industrial place with fire coming out from tall chimneys and lot of lights, it's a spectacular view, like a film, I was very impressed by it. "Muskiz" is about that contrast between nature, the cathartic sea and this kind of technological construction, it’s a confrontation. This song talks about an elevated group of people that live in the refinery central and secretly play with the elements, with nature, only for a scientific commitment. 

TM – Do you have more songs besides these 5 from the EP and "Bailes Valstīs”? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – Not at this moment. Wait, we have two more instrumental from that time, maybe we should do something with them. But not more Slovenska Televiza songs for the time being. I've been working on new music for my solo project, and Lunademayo is a graphic artist and she's also very busy with that. So we don't have any time back to do some new material soon. 

TM – What were the last concert that you saw and the last record that you have listened to? 

Wladyslaw Trejo – We have been this week at local festivities in our city, Valladolid, so our last concert together was a hard-rock one from a local band, and my last one was also a local hip-hop band. The last record… ah! Well, today, driving here it was that one from Molly Nilsson, These Things Take Time. I love it, but Lunademayo doesn’t, there is always a dispute in the car for this reason (laughs)! 

Lunademayo – Mainly classical music! But I have been also listening to many pop groups, I do not have a defined favourite song. I can listen to classical music, but also mainstream tunes at the same time and I’ve got no problem at all.

TM – Ok we are finished. I don’t know if you want to add anything else… 

Wladyslaw Trejo – Thank you so much for listening to our music and taking the invitation to us. We hope to get back to Portugal soon for playing live or something. 

TM - Thank you so much for your time!

Interview by: Sónia Felizardo
Photos by: El Carrusel - Taller de fotografía

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