Pilar Díaz Checks in from Chile (and Talks About the Los Abandoned Reunion Show)!
While Southern California has been slugging through an often humid summer full of music events and festivals, singer-songwriter Pilar Díazhas been chillin' in Chile as inverted seasons make the country a winter wonderland. Hard at work, the three month-long artistic sabbatical the musician has undertaken was prompted by ambitions for a follow-up album to her self-titled solo debut that gave Latin Alternative fans innovative and infectious songs like "Ilegal en Estyle" and "Friday the 13th."
Born in Chile and raised in Los Angeles, Díaz has always held a bi-national creative identity. During her current stay in Santiago, she has taken the opportunity to work on new songs, play a number of live shows and attract local print and radio media spots along the way. Fans of the yet to be finished and still untitled sophomore album can take a listen to its evolution in process by checking out the musician'sSoundCloud page where rehearsal clips and recorded ambient sounds of the city are available. How they will be interwoven into the musical fabric of the new material remains to be seen!
As fans stateside await Díaz's return later this month, the Weekly caught up with the her from Santiago, Chile to check in on the musician's South American musical adventures as well as what she has planned for when she gets back.
OC Weekly (Gabriel San Roman): Was the primary reason behind going to Chile for an extended period of time to set the creative process for your new album in motion?
Pilar Díaz: Exactly that, to set the creative process for my new album in motion. In LA, I was in a deep writer's block for a long time and needed something drastic to get me out of it. Changing cultures, customs, language, being with my family on a regular basis, and surrounding myself with new and very creative people and musicians helped light a big fire to my curiosity and imagination again. I'm so happy to have created this situation for myself because it finally took me out of my rut, and I can now be a wiser person and musician for it. I'm consistently wanting to learn and grow, so it was the best experience I could have asked for.
How has being in the motherland shaped the sound and does it mark a departure from your first solo venture?
Working with brand new songs in their bare shape and writing new material here in Chile with a new producer, Vicente Sanfuentes, it's most definitely a change from the first solo album which was practically done by the time I went into the studio to record it. For my new album, Vicente helped me create the sound I was looking for in this second album--more focus on my voice than the ukulele, working meticulously on lyrics, a more produced sound as far as musical arrangements and recording, and a deep Chilean vibe that mixes my melancholic roots, yet with great beats to make your body move!
You've been able to book shows and play for live audiences during your stay. What's the experience been like?
It's been awesome and lots of work! In Chile I have a great team of friends and musicians that work with me on the creation of the shows and we just have a great time while working our butts off. I got to play a big venue and show with Denver and then I played a more intimate show of my own where I invited my dear Chileno music friends Gepe and Leo Quinteros where we performed some very special duets together among my musical set. The audiences were very welcoming, friendly and filled with super funny fans that love to talk to you after gigs and tell you jokes as an offering of how much they liked you. All of that love makes all the effort worthwhile.
Although the film doesn't come out until next week in Chile, you were able to get an early sneak peek of Violeta se fue a los cielos. Without spoilers, does it get "two thumbs up" from Pilar Diaz?
Two thumbs up for sure! Being a Chilean musician, there's no one that I feel deserves this beautifully well-crafted and creative rendition of their life more than Violeta Parra. People will see just how much she suffered for her musical standards and life.
As you're coming back to Los Angeles soon, what's on the agenda for the little that's left of summer here?
This girl is going to the beach! It's been three months of winter in Chile and as soon as I get off the plane I'm heading to Zuma! After that, I'll be hitting the stage on August 27th at the Troubadour with fellow Chilena Francisca Valenzuela and will perform a Violeta Parra song together. Carla Morrison and Fernanda Ulibarri will be performing that night also under the banner of "Mujer. Musica. Movimiento!"
Oh yeah, and there's that Los Abandoned reunion show, too!
That needs to be an article all on its own, don't you think?
To be continued! In the meantime, catch Pilar Díaz when she returns at the Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Aug. 27, 8 p.m.$15-18. She will also be starting a weekly residency at Eastside Luv in Boyle Heights come September. Get future show info at www.pilardiazmusic.com.