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If there is such a thing as a post-genre artist, then Luis Mojica is the perfect candidate. His music seems to not only hop genres but ignore them altogether preferring to weave his own sounds for many different and desperate strands to create something truly original. I sat down with him to find out all about latest album How to Make a Stranger, the inspirations behind his music and what the future holds.
If there is such a thing as “genre music” then I would suggest that your music is the exact opposite of that. How do you begin the process of writing a song and do you always know where that song will end up sonically?
LUIS MOJICA : You are absolutely correct. I don’t even understand genre, nor is it something I use as a structure for my creativity. Songwriting, for me, is deep listening. Whether it’s listening to the thoughts in my own mind, or listening to the overtones from a car’s engine, I find music to exist everywhere in abundance. Writing it is just as organic for me. The words or the piano parts will come first, and then I simply follow it until it’s finished. Sometimes I have no clue what it’s about until I’m done and then I’ll edit lyrics so the story makes more sense – or not.
How a Stranger is Made is a really clever blend of accessible and intricate sounds, do you see your music as being commercial or cultish and is it possible to be both?
LUIS MOJICA : I do think it’s possible to be both, and I’m totally open to both because I’m just following this authentic thread wherever it takes me and I won’t discriminate between a stadium or a dive bar. I definitely don’t try to be either, but I’m curious which one I might fall into as time unfolds.
Your life seems to focus on musical creativity and holistic healing, how far apart are those worlds and do they ever exist in the same space?
LUIS MOJICA : I’ve been battling with this for a while. It took me some time to understand they’re both the same thing, really. The difference is therapy is one-on-one and deeply about the individual before you. Where music is about me being the individual and emanating my own self well enough so that others can project onto me and connect. They’re two different skill sets, but they yield the same result.
Your musical route to date is quite unusual, do you take much notice of what other, more mainstream artists are doing and if so, who are the artists you look up to past and present?
LUIS MOJICA : I am most inspired by the careers of artists like Joanna Newsom & Laurie Anderson. They’re all so connected to their art, but not to their “careers”. Joanna doesn’t even have a website! There’s a mystery about her I find so appealing. She’s not interested in celebrity. Laurie Anderson is the same way, where she creates these incredible records, but rarely tours them. She plays live all the time, but only what is relative to her. She’s not interested in playing the hits or following the rules. I once went to a film screening by Laurie Anderson and, before the film could start, she turned all the lights on in the theater and said she’d rather teach us all tai chi! So there I was, with my pregnant wife, practicing tai chi on a big stage with Laurie Anderson. I found it so inspiring and freeing!
Has much changed in you and the way that you make music between Wholesome and this latest album? Is it all part of a focussed journey or have you found yourself moving in directions that you may not have originally envisaged?
LUIS MOJICA : Yes, tons. I found myself getting bored of the Wholesome songs while playing them live so I cancelled my shows and went into the studio, and into therapy, to “find myself”. I found a lot and each song on this record is a like a trophy from each discovery. Music has always been about self-realization for me. Unknown, subconscious realms of myself speaking to my conscious self through poetic code. I often write a record, then spend a year uncoding it. This record was the most lucid for me. I knew what I was saying and what I wanted to say.
Your lyrics always seem both personal and confessional, how much of you is actually on show or is the Luis Mojica on the album more of a character or conduit for ideas?
LUIS MOJICA : Every album I’ve ever made has been an overexposed part of myself, like a mythology of my own self and experiences. This record, however, is not like that. This one feels the most confessional, straight forward, and intimate. It feels most like me and performing it confirms that. It’s so tender and vulnerable, yet incredibly powerful to have my honest self being seen and received so beautifully. It’s quite healing actually.
Where next for Luis Mojica? Obviously touring to promote the album but do you look beyond that or prefer to live more in the moment?
LUIS MOJICA : I’ll be touring How A Stranger Is Made all over the country throughout 2020. I spent 10 years in the musical closet, completely hiding my music from the world and even my friends. Because of that, I have a dense amount of work, unrecorded, that gently taps at the door of my mind on a weekly basis. So I have a lot more music to write, but I’m dedicating the next year to promoting, touring, and honoring this latest work.
Thank you for your time
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
Jan. 08 Brooklyn, NY – Gold Sounds
Jan. 09 Hamden, CT – The Cellar on Treadwell
Jan. 24 Piscataway, NJ – Radisson Hotel Piscataway-Somerset
Jan. 25 Somerville, MA – The Jungle Room
Jan. 31 Pittsburgh, PA – 222 Ormsby
Feb. 01 Frederick, MD – Cafe NOLA
Feb. 07 Burlington, VT – Radio Bean
Feb. 13 Buffalo, NY – Buffalo’s Mohawk Place
Feb. 21 Toms River, NJ – The Clubhouse of Toms River
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