RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN BAND LA PALMA
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music is kind of a thing for everyone though right, it’s what makes it so amazing. To be able to create it, maybe have someone listen to that creation somewhere and vibe, that’s pretty amazing too. We’ve both been making music since we were young, it’s something that tugs at our sleeves. And there’s a feeling that something is missing when music-making isn’t part of our lives.
Introduce us to the members and your musical history?
La Palma is a musical duo: Chris Walker and Tim Gibbon. We share the roles of writing music, singing, and playing a pile of different instruments. Since Chris lives in San Francisco and Tim lives in Washington DC, we make music long-distance, recording and passing sound files back and forth across 3000 miles. We met a long time ago when we were both living in Washington DC and playing in bands in that music scene.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with the USA and the UK, good idea?
Definitely. Anything that encourages cultural dialog and cross-pollination across borders is worth the effort.
Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?
Hmmm, did we need a flexatone?! A flexatone is a bizarre percussion instrument with a metal tongue that sounds like a UFO. Chris played it a bunch on our upcoming single, “Sangue Latino.”
What useless party trick do you have?
Between the two of us, we know a lot about birds. There’s even a field recording of a lyrebird – a bird that imitates the sounds that it hears around it – on our new track, making a “pew pew pew” space ray sound.
Tell us something about you / each member that you think people would be surprised about?
Probably the most surprising thing about us both is that we’re super sweet over the internet but horrible jerks in real life. Nooo, just kidding… we’re generally pretty chill.
If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it?
Chris said that our new release sounds like Brazilian-influenced sci-fi folk… that’s as good a genre description as any.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
There’s a certain play between intimate and infinite in our music: Chris brings a more acoustic-whisper-in-your ear vibe, and Tim brings a big-waves-of-electric-colors vibe. Our music resides in an interesting space between those two worlds.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?
Our new single, “Sangue Latino,” is a cover of a song originally recorded by the iconic Brazilian group Secos & Molhados in 1973. The song has a special place for Chris, who listened to “Sangue Latino” growing up with his mother, who was originally from Brazil. We recorded the song in homage, approaching it through our own kaleidoscope of memories, influences, and musical textures.
Talk me through the thought process of the single? What was the recording process like?
We had the idea to record a cover song, landed on “Sangue Latino” and it felt right almost instantly. Spent some time trying to articulate the magic of the original and figuring out how we could make it ours. Then we spent some months building it layer by layer until it sparkled just right.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?
For Chris it was definitely learning the Portuguese lyrics and their pronunciation and feeling confident enough to sing them. For Tim it was working on an already-familiar and legendary song, trying to not recreate the song as it already is, but rather as we understand it, through our own lens of experience, aesthetic filter, and contemporary context. The song is just as defiant, relevant, and meaningful today as it was in 1973.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
We could have played with the track forever, shaping it and reshaping it, but at some point we had to let it go and live its life out in the world. Fly away little bird! For us it’s a snapshot of a specific moment in our lives, but we hope that it will resonate and take new meaning for other folks.
What are your plans for the year ahead? Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
We hope to create a bunch of new songs and sounds for ourselves and y’all in the next year!