Video: Soundcheck & Interview w/ Federico Aubele (ESL) & Jerry Busher (Fugazi) by Dubspot

Argentine singer-songwriter Federico Aubele has been creating beautiful guitar-based ballads on D.C.’s Eighteenth Street Lounge Music for the past ten years, pulling inspiration from South American styles and adding sentiments of electronic music for a classy but modern feel. A swanky combination of eclectic global sounds and mariachi flair have given weight to ESL’s dense and eccentric catalogue. Heavily influenced by Jamaican dub and a variety of musical styles throughout the Americas and Europe, Aubele has always been into synthesis, exploring the creative possibilities of electronic music and connecting musical dots.

Dubspot caught up with Aubele at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre just before a live performance.  He was in town celebrating the release of his new album Berlin 13, which was influenced by Tarot card 13 (death) and the years he spent in the German capital where he embraced the city’s strong electronic music identity. In our Soundcheck interview, Aubele talked about mixing and incorporating electronic music production techniques and elements using Ableton Live with live instruments and organic sounds, and also translating that process in a live performance setting with his band, a trio of musicians which includes drummer and multi-instrumentalist Jerry Busher, member of Washington D.C. post-hardcore band Fugazi and pianist and collaborator Will Rast. Busher ta Federico also told us what he’s currently listening to, which includes UK electronic dance music artists Lone and Actress, as well as Detroit house producer Big Strick.

From ESL Music:

Federico Aubele returns to a smoky realm of acoustic guitar licks, heavy rhythms and sinister dub atmospherics for his fourth studio album, Berlin 13. The record pulls from the personal transformation Aubele experienced in his time living in Berlin and the vibe of a city strongly associated with electronic music.

“Moving to Berlin was a great experience for me, though not an easy one. It forced me to face a lot of my demons. When everything that you take for granted disappears and you find yourself in a whole new scenario, you need to redefine all things in your life,” Aubele says. “Sort out what you want to keep and what you need to leave behind. It can be painful, but it is a great experience once you assimilate it. It reminds me of that Bukowsky phrase that goes: what matters most is how well you walk through fire.

The inclusion of the number 13 in the title refers to the Tarot Cards: the 13th card is “Death”. While many may draw a negative connotation with this card, it can actually signify a deep renewal and transformation in a person’s life.

“I learned how to read the Tarot Cards when I was still living in Buenos Aires. It’s a fascinating system for self-exploration. The 13 can mean a deep crisis that eliminates everything that prevents you from moving forward. That is exactly what I experienced in Berlin”.

To set the tone for this album, Aubele revisited his deepest musical influences, focusing on those he believed essential in his formation as an artist. From the backing beats to the musique-concrete samples, and the nylon string guitar layered with his baritone voice, the result is a blending of the elements in his unique style.

“I had a formal musical education. One of the things I rescue from those years, is being exposed to a lot of 20th century composers and styles. I was fascinated with Schoenberg’s atonalism, Stockhausen’s explorations in electroacoustic music and musique concrete, Ligeti’s tone clusters, etc. The core of my music is a combination of electronic music, dub, classical guitar and the experiments those composers conducted in the 50′s and 60′s.”

Berlin 13 features collaborations with Natalia Clavier, Ka, Mauro Refosco  and Jesse Harris.

Listen to new music from Federico Aubele, as well as tracks from his new album Berlin 13, available now on ESL Music.

Federico Aubele by FedericoAubele