People & Culture: Luca Durán and Belia Winnewisser in conversation
The two musicians from Switzerland are exploring a new dimension of Electronica meets Abstract Pop.
Luca Durán and Belia Winnewisser are two of the most intriguing musicians to emerge from Switzerland of late, having recently collaborated on a new EP which weaves between worlds.
Drawing upon a broad array of influences the pair created a two track record, paired with suitable remixes, which emphasised the continuing and progressive crossover between elevated club music and pop culture in the present.
The worlds have more in common than you might think these days, with many musicians seeking to tap into the ideology and sound from both worlds to create something else entirely.
Released at the tail end of last year on on zweikommasieben Magazin’s Präsens Editionen imprint, the record has helped introduce the pair to a wider audience. We invited them to reflect on the process of collaboration…
Belia queries Luca…
During our collaboration, in order to get started we took a sketch from one another and tried to complete it. Then we went to the studio together. What was this process like for you?
“This way of working was new to me, as on the first step, after choosing a sketch from each other, we both worked alone on it. After noodling around and turning it into something different, we then met again to finish them together. I guess this process allowed us to combine our two worlds in an organic way. To me, it felt like a combo of remix work and collaboration work all in one, which I really enjoyed.”
It feels like you have many great collaborations with different people. Is this something you want to keep doing in your career?
“Yes definitely! I’m mostly alone in the studio, so working and exchanging with others seems essential. While working alone, it’s more like meditative work, where I take my time and try things out. When collaborating with other musicians, there is often this feeling of ” something needs to happen”. So I’m in another mood that I also like and work in a different way.”
Over two months we would meet almost every Friday afternoon for producing, talking, eating and drinking coffee. What was it you like to remember the most during this period of time?
“Aside from the good times and the thousand cups of coffee, I remember one day when we were taking a break, we spent some time at this manga store near my studio. We had some really inspiring conversations. I was happy to see that you take time for breaks, too. Those moments and the exchange on a human and musical level are sweet memories.”
Beside Music, what is it that you like to do?
“I really enjoy being in the water! I go swimming regularly. As well as the sporting aspect, there’s something meditative and hypnotic about it for me. When I’m traveling, I take the opportunity to discover swimming pools in different cities. Somehow, I find pools fascinating places. I also love cooking and trying out new dishes. From shopping to preparing and cooking. Sharing a meal with my loved ones and having a good time together is very precious to me.”
You study social work right now, how does this impact your musical career?
“That’s right! People, society, culture, and of course music have always been topics that interested me. Whether at school or in my private life, I noticed early on that not everyone is equally well off. A few years ago, I gave music production workshops in youth centers, which is how I became aware of the course. I then worked in schools and one thing led to another. During this time there were some key moments and situations that influenced me to start studying. I see many points of contact where music can be used as a means for many positive purposes. I love working with people and devoting myself to it gives me a good balance alongside music.”
Can you tell me what are your plans for the future?
“At the moment, I’m finishing some new music, collaborations and productions that I do for other artists. Aside from that, I’m focusing on a live set that I’ll start to perform early 2024.”
Luca queries Belia…
Speaking about collaborations. You’re the first artist that I’ve met that doesn’t use any external Plugins. Can you explain the thoughts and workflow behind it?
“You are not the first one to ask me this. Maybe it’s an old habit, like I don’t need all this stuff when it’s already there in the program. But of course you can reach specific levels with some external plugins ect. If I wanna create some weird sound for example I use some Max MSP patches. When it comes to mixing I use whatever there already is in Ableton Live because I am a lazy mixer. In this case I’d rather sit together with some of my studio colleagues or friends who are cracks in mixing and find a solution together. This also brings me a different perspective.”
The artwork for our release was done by your friend (Sabrina Zeltner). You both have already worked together on different projects, including your actual live set. How did this collaboration start, what are you working on at the moment, and do you plan any further projects together?
“So this is actually like a little love story. We met at the It Isn’t Happening Festival in Nürnberg where I played. The booker of the festival somehow knew we would fit together and connected us. We had a very nice conversation and later on Sabrina sent me her work which I really loved from the beginning. Our first collaboration started a bit later when I asked her to create a video for my upcoming single Dancing Patterns released on Die Orakel.
It was clear that Sabrina understood my music, she did such a great job, I really wanted to keep working with this genius, I wanted her to come on stage with me doing live-AV. Our first show together on stage was at the Soft Planet Festival in Frankfurt. From then on we kept working on our show, created a video for 25AV and played several live shows. Sabrina will do the artwork for my upcoming album and we will keep working on playing together on stage.”
I remember hearing you for the first time when you did this amazing live set in that old church in Zurich. What’s your approach to live performances, and how have you developed it over the years?
“That was a special event and opportunity to sing and play along next to the organ. I remember I was super nervous because of the long pause we all had because of COVID. Playing live is something super important to me. It can be the most painful thing if you are unsure or not happy with yourself. But it can also be the most powerful thing. I can show a certain thing, a very personal thing, I am not able to in everyday life and it somehow touches people. It is such a balancing act because it’s so vulnerable and powerful at the same time. In all my life I am drawn to things being a contradiction in itself. How many times have I found myself asking: Why am I doing this? And many times I knew exactly why. To me it is a magical thing I hope I will do for a long time.”
You often go back to Norway and spend time in nature. How does that impact your journey as an artist?
“This impacts me and my art a lot. In my case solitude and nature gives me freedom and freedom gives me honesty and space for intuition. My intuition is smarter than me so I wanna be as intuitive as I can. Stress, fear and frustration takes me away from it so I need to take care of myself, and that’s a way of doing.”
You’ve been working on theatre plays and performances a lot lately. Is it something you want to focus on primarily?
I work on theatre projects once a year in general. Somehow it gives me a good balance but also good money. These are mostly well paid jobs but it is nothing I wanna focus on too much. To be honest, these kinds of productions are super intense and I often feel like an outsider. Last year I composed the music for a dance theatre, that was a really nice experience.
Do you still take ballet classes?
“Well, I try. I really try to go every week, but it’s almost impossible for me. I am also bad at it but it makes me feel good. The group and the teacher are amazing. I have always wanted to dance ballet but never did, so I started three years ago and I wanna keep doing it. I don’t like sports in general, but ballet is pretty good for me. It is really tough but also gentle with the piano music in the background and the slow movements. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but the moment it clicks, your brain can let go and the body can take over, is special.”
Buy the release HERE.