“I think we would have been besties as kids”: CultureCritic meets OMBRE…
The duo’s debut record Believe You Me is out this week and doesn’t disappoint – a record for summer evenings that that passes by in a warm haze, seamlessly melting folk guitar and ambient soundscapes. In a chat this week, Julianna and Roberto told us how it all came about and why their alliance works…
Can you each introduce the other’s music for a new listener?
Roberto: On my first listen I found Julianna's music a perfect hallucination, one that didn't have any bad connotations, just bright and beautiful. Julianna's genuineness comes through in her music.
Julianna: Roberto's music is breezy, positive, fun, and full of Latin ‘flava’ just like him. I always feel really good when I listen to his music, just like when I hang out with him.
How did this collaboration come about?
Roberto: Julianna and I met in 2009 when I asked her to open for Helado Negro. It was around the time that she signed to Asthmatic Kitty, and the label manager Michael Kaufmann came up with the idea for us to tour together and collaborate on the road and make a record. We extended that process over two years and made music at my studio over a long period of time.
Introduce us to Believe You Me.
Roberto: It is the narrative of our friendship. Instead of listening to all the conversations and interactions we had you have this music instead.
Julianna: I second that. There are definitely 'Julianna' moments, and 'Roberto' moments, but I think you can hear the two of us blending what we do naturally and coming up with sounds that we might not have been used to, or comfortable with – a hybrid of sorts. I find the record to be summery, breezy, positive. We were never 'aiming' towards any kind of sound – we would just make stuff together, little by little, and it ended up having this summery mood.
What was your first session playing music together like?
Roberto: I can't remember. I feel like each time we would start somewhere and end up somewhere else. There was always a range of connections.
Julianna: Roberto and I were good friends by the time recording started. It was really tough to stop the talking and YouTubeing and get to work - we always had a lot of fun. I wasn't used to collaborating or recording with other people, I do nearly everything solo, but with Roberto it was really easy. There were no expectations or rules.
What influences do you share? Have any major differences between you become apparent during this collaboration?
Roberto: I don't eat meat. Julianna does.
Julianna: We're both in our own worlds. I think we would have been besties as kids.
What’s behind the band name?
Julianna: It took forever for us to come up with the project name. I kept seeing the word 'ombre' all over the internet and googled it and it was a bunch of things all at once that Roberto and I were into. And it looked neat on paper and sounded good – and we went for it.
Do you have any new music recommendations for us?
Roberto: My favorite record right now is the new Devendra Banhart album that isn't released yet. He shared a copy of it with me. It’s his best one yet.
Julianna: I think the new Prince Rama is radical.
What’s next for Ombre?
Roberto: I think we will make more music but it will develop naturally. There’s no tour plans at the moment.
… and what’s next for each of you individually?
Roberto: I have a new record that I'm finishing up and I’m touring in the US in September and opening for Bobby Womack in Chicago.
Julianna: I'm finishing up a new record that will be out in the spring. I have a 7" coming out on Suicide Squeeze this year, then a little tour overseas in November.
Believe You Me is out now. Read the latest reviews here.
Julianna Barwick plays London's Cafe Oto in November. Buy tickets here.
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- Opera & Dance