Don’t you just love it when something finally comes full circle? It seems like this is one spotlight that has been a long time coming. Since bumping in to Cualli down at Envision we have been trying to orchestrate something for you guys and it hasn’t been until just now that we are ready to drop the curtains on everything! After realizing Cualli was making music right in our back yard here in Colorado it seemed like a no brainer to have you guys take a better look at this talented artist. I won’t get into too much now so check out some musical flavors and dive into the brain of Cualli for a little bit to see what this ingenuitive producer has up his sleeve.
TD: We usually like to get everyone on the same page before diving into things, would you mind introducing yourself for the unfamiliar readers on the other side?
Cualli: 26/M/Colorado hah 😉 Hey my name is Aaron and/or Cualli. I make sacred bass music. “Sacred” is maybe one of those catchwords that gets thrown around in the “spiritual” community so let me elaborate. Most of what I’m wanting to foster in my music is mystical experience. All of my favorite experiences in life all have to do with feeling something bigger than myself, something beyond. It’s wonderful; it’s healing; its blissful; its frightening but ultimately it fosters growth and ultimately, these experiences of the something beyond don’t translate well into words. On the other hand, music is a language through which we are able to transmit some of these feelings and experiences. So… having had these experiences, many of which were inspired in me through music, I wanted to carry the torch and inspire these sorts of feelings in others. As such, When I say that I make sacred bass music, what I’m talking about is music which is inspired by and inspires a feeling of the beyond. (healing too, realigning consciousness and DNA)
TD: Back in February we were lucky enough to attend Envision Festival with your down in Costa Rica, was this the first time you had the opportunity to play outside of the states?
Cualli: Envision Festival was an amazing experience for me. It was actually the third year I have played the festival and was the best year yet in my opinion. I had been talking about how much I really wanted to see Tipper play there and low and behold, team Envision booked him for 2014! This also meant that the humungous Funktion-One sound system which was assembled for Fractal Planet at Burning Man this past year was there. It’s a real treat to get to play my music on a sound system that can actually articulate the detail that I put into it. So Tipper+F-1+Jungle and beach equaled an amazing time.
The Luminosity Project guys actually brought me out for a gig in Victoria BC Canada last year as well. They throw an amazing festival on South Vancouver Island in BC called Luminosity.
TD: The set you played for us down at Envision was made up of mostly unreleased material, when can the public expect to get a taste of some of those tracks.
Cualli: I plan on releasing much of that material through an LP called “La Ceremonia” which will be released in July or August though Cuallimusic.com. The set is also posted on my Soundcloud though and is available for download if you want to hear or snag these tunes before the release.
TD: You are both a producer and instrumentalist, have you always found a way to meld the two or did you originally keep the two sounds separate?
Cualli: Well I guess this all started when my parents gave me an electric guitar for Christmas in 5th grade. I had this image in my head of my (little 5 year old) self ripping some sweet guitar lines like a rock star. When I got the guitar and tried playing it I was kinda like “dang this sucks,” and didn’t do much with it until later in high school when I started learning power chords from tabs so I could play punk rock and metal music. Then, I started getting into some more psychedelically oriented jam style music and a friend taught me what a minor scale was. That was the tipping point.
When I got a Computer for college I didn’t have a band but I wanted to make music with a band; so much of what I was making at that time was something that could be played by a band that I would play guitar and synths in. By the time the band showed up (RLA which I played in and has since disbanned) I was deep into the Cualli music which had by that time become its own thing.
TD: Do you tend to work live instruments in to all of your live performances or is it something you only whip out on special occasions?
Cualli: I generally play live guitar with my sets but not always. Before it was sort of the element holding the whole thing together but I feel I’ve gotten my production to a level where it stands strong by itself as well. I play live sitar in sets but that is a much more occasional thing. Its a delicate instrument; traveling with and amplifying it can be tricky. It is a beautiful instrument.
TD: Being based in Colorado you are surrounded by a thriving music scene. Does constantly being surrounded by these different forms of music lend a hand in your creation process?Cualli: Yeah its crazy. Seeing acts like STS9, SCI, Lotus, Bassnectar, the Glitch Mob, Zilla, Eskmo and Vibesquad back in 06-08 is really what convinced me that I wanted to be making music. These days I still go out to shows but much of the inspiration really comes from A) my friends making music and B) going to music festivals. My brother who goes by Atomic Reactor along with my friends Omega and kLL sMTH have been instrumental in getting my production quality to where its at. Before, I was totally focussed on the musical/compositional aspect of things but these guys have really helped me take things to the next level in my sound. Right now I’m really inspired by artists like Tycho, Whitebear, Erothyme, Sixis, Mumukshu, Shwex, Soulacybin, Biolumigen, Boggtrotter, Kalya Scintilla, Kaminanda, Birds of Paradise and of course Tipper who is like Yoda and in the words of a friend, “there is only one Yoda.”
TD: You are also part of a collaborative group YuYu with Omega, how did this side project come around?
Cualli: You could say that Omega is one of the dons of the electronic music scene in Colorado. His sound engineering skills are amazing. He mastered my first LP “Quantum” a while back at no charge under the premise that I might record some guitar for one of his tracks sometime. Not to long after he sent a work in progress to my brother who showed me the track and I was all “man, I need to add some funky organ and guitar to this.” I hit him up about it, he sent me the stems, I recorded some organ, synths and guitar for it and we released the track “Global Deceleration” as Omega ft. Cualli on a Simplify compilation in 2011. We were really stoked on it and it got a great response from the community so we decided to continue making music together.
TD: There is definitely a difference in the sound put forth from both projects, how is the live instrumental element worked in to your production as YuYu?
Yeah there’s definitely a different sound to each of our projects. I think that’s a big reason the YuYu material sounds so unique. The way that we put tracks together varies, sometimes Chris (Omega) will send me the bones of a track and I’ll fill in my parts (the more melodic instruments and such), sometimes I send him the bones and he fills in his parts (drums, bass and percussion) and other times we sit in the studio together and create a track. A big part of why it has taken us 3 years to finish our first album is that I’ve had to get better at guitar to play a lot of the parts I wrote out for the songs. Sometimes I’d spend a whole day recording for a song and then come back to it and not be happy with it. So integrating the live instrumental elements has been a tedious process but we’re really excited to have our debut album “One” completed and available through Addictech records.
TD: Aside from YuYu are there any other collaborations in the works you can shed some light on for us?
Cualli: My main focus’ right now are Cualli and YuYu, at this point, I don’t have time for much of anything else.
TD: With the summer quickly approaching do you have any big plans for the coming months?
Cualli: Yes! I plan on going to Peru for the month of May to gain more inspiration and prepare myself as a better vessel and creator. I’m also playing a Cualli and a YuYu set at Sonic Bloom as well as a Cualli set at Gratifly, all of which should be pretty special sets.
TD: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, are there any last words you’d like to throw in here for the fans?
Cualli: My pleasure, I appreciate ‘The Dankles’ support. I definitely also want to express my gratitude to all of my fans and friends supporting and participating in my music. THANK YOU!