Wonderland.

New Noise: Salt Cathedral

Chatting to the dreamy double act.

New York based Nicolas Losada and Juliana Ronderos are making their claim as one of the most exciting bands around. Previously known as Il Abanico, the duo’s reincarnation as Salt Cathedral perfectly echoes their ethereal sound.

With their name coming from a church inside a salt mine in Bogotá, the pair have stayed loyal to their Columbian roots, experimenting with sounds and rhythms to make them perfectly unique. In fact, if we tried to replicate Juliana’s stunning vocals, all dogs in a five-mile radius would probably start howling and our, already slightly resentful, neighbours would have the landlord straight over. She, however, sounds like an angel, something only highlighted by Nicolas’ experimental and excellent beats.

The pair have now announced their debut album, Big Waves/Small Waves, and it’s the electro pop sensation you’ve been waiting for. We managed to grab a second with them to find out more.

What music did you listen to growing up?

Growing up in Bogotá, Colombia we were exposed to a wide range of latin styles; cumbias, merengue, vallenatos, salsa etc. Most of it came from our parent’s record collection, family parties and minitecas (birthday dance parties). Parallel to that, the local radio and TV were very American-centric so, a lot of 90’s kids from Colombia were listening to pop, R&B, boy bands, rock and hardcore-punk.

How did you meet?

We meet in college in Boston while we were studying Jazz composition.

What’s the inspiration behind the band name?

There’s an active salt mine outside of Bogotá where the miners had carved a sanctuary for prayer before work. It eventually became a church inside of a salt mine and now it is a must see attraction when you go to Bogotá. The idea for the band was to have a name that represents where we come from.

Has living in New York had an influence on your music?

Yes of course. In New York we have had the opportunity to be constantly exposed to different cultures, people and points of view. For example, where we live in Brooklyn, we are exposed to a lot of hip-hop and reggae/dancehall. NY is diverse and never stagnated; That aligns with one of our main goals as music makers.

“We grew up dancing so it’s just inevitable as musicians to love this kind of music.”

Can you tell us about your newest track “Run For The Money”?

‘’Run For The Money’’ is a song about being courageous and bold to pursue your goals and working harder and longer to accomplish whatever you want. It’s our first collaboration with a Jamaican musician and we feel very happy that we were able to work with Assassin on it. David Rodigan said that “Run For The Money’’ is “what Sean Paul started”; An outsider band collaborating with a Jamaican artist. We wrote it with a lot of respect and love for this kind of music.

What’s the inspiration behind the song, and what made you want to get Assassin on the song?

Our love for dancehall and reggae music, in part re-discovered through our neighborhood. We grew up dancing so it’s just inevitable as musicians to love this kind of music. Lyrically, it’s inspired by the very common human experience of having to be daring and work hard to achieve what you want. As for Assassin, we were looking to work with Jamaican artists and luckily we linked with him through Jus Bus (producer and great writer). We wanted a strong voice that would contrast with Juli’s and Assassin’s voice and melodies are incredible. He also carries the true spirit of Jamaican music.

The track is influenced by your Colombian upbringing. Can you tell us a bit about this?

It’s influenced by our Colombian upbringing because we grew up with reggaeton and panamanian dancehall. We were listening to dancehall beats without knowing that’s what it was called. Dancing is a big part of who we are and ‘’Run For The Money’’ is a consequence of us looking to re-connect, now as immigrants, with our intense cultural desire to move and make others move.

You’ve announced your debut album, Big Waves/Small Waves. What can you tell us about it?

We are extremely happy to share our album with the world. We shaped a cohesive sound that hopefully people will enjoy and dance to. It’s Caribbean influenced, with breezy summer vibes. It includes more social and motivational lyrics for this weird time in history and also more collaborators. We have a song with Lee Scratch Perry which we’re stoked about!

What else have you got lined up for 2017?

We have shows in New York with Mitski and lining up a short run with Tei Shi. A headline show in NY, Firefly Festival and a residency in August at C’mon everybody (Brooklyn, NY). We also have plans for a UK/Europe Run in Sept/Oct!

Like this? Buy the Spring ’17 Issue here.

New Noise: Salt Cathedral

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