We're off to a great start with none other than Luis Clara Gomes, aka Moullinex ó DJ, producer, artist and multi-instrumentalist musician, who agreed to drop by to learn more about Ambitious. We got to sit down and talk a bit and register the moment. Below you'll find a brief roundup of his visit, as well as a transcript of the conversation.
A: Hi Luis, first off thank you for accepting our invitation, we're very excited to have you as our first guest of this series. Your latest album "Requiem for Empathy" came out in 2021, amidst a global pandemic. How was it creating music during this period?
L: It wasn't easy! In fact, part of the record was already completed before the pandemic. "Luz" was a track I created along with GPU Panic during the first lockdown and I chose to include it in the album because it just made sense, musically and conceptually. It was a difficult time for me to create music, especially because I always picture it being played on the dancefloors, something that we had been deprived of. I channeled my creative efforts towards visual arts, something I focused on during most of 2020.
A: How was the process of interacting with other musicians and artists from a distance, lacking the proximity? Was it challenging or something you were already used to from previous projects?
L: I'm used to collaborating from a distance, despite preferring doing so in the same physical space. Proximity brings vulnerability and other aspects such as non-verbal communication which I find very important in the creative process, but on the other hand, the possibility of having different people working in their own space at their own pace, can also result in beautiful outcomes.
A: Do you believe your personal experiences during the pandemic materialized on a more instrospective and dark sonority and even in a more minimalistic aesthetic compared to previous albums?
L: I believe my music is always a response to what I'm feeling, I see it as a form of therapy and it's very rewarding knowing it can have the same effect on other people. The more instrospective sonority was something I started experimenting with in 2019, as I was going through some crisis in my personal life and I considered whether I should incorporate it or not into the music I create as Moullinex. I think we can "dance the pain away" and that's what I wanted to do with this record.
A: Do you feel a post-pandemic world needs more empathy? That's what you try to appeal to with this record?
L: Definitely. The polarization we are currently witnessing in today's world relates to our inability to place oursevles in the other person's shoes.
A: How has it been getting back on stage? Do you feel the Portuguese people were eager to go out again, dance and listen to good music?
L: The people, me, and all the musicians and technicians I work with. Getting back on stage was a catharsis and I felt a loop of euphoria from the people to us and from us to them. In reality, the collective experience of live music cannot be replaced, and the pandemic only strengthened that notion.
A: Moving into fashion, it's easy to understand the aesthetical concern in everything you do. Are your personal and professional styles relatable? Meaning, are there things Moullinex would wear that LuŪs wouldn't?
L: They can't be divided actually. My personal style is quite functional, maybe just like my music: I look for objects that were designed for a purpose, but I'm very sensitive to aesthetics, looking for textures, harmony, lightness and comfort. Those are features I look for in music as well.
A: People recognized you for the colorful and patterned shirts you wore during your sets. You even told us people were betting on the color you would wear next. Are they your favorite piece or do you have a new staple?
L: Truth be told, I've never worn them again! Without delving too much into the subject, I felt I was wearing them as a crutch, the safe option. I'm never too comfortable with playing safe, there's always a part of me that wishes it's in a somewhat uncomfortable territory: that led me to ditch the shirts and look for monochromatic tones.
A: Whats your relation to fashion in general, what part does it play in your life? Is it more utilitarian or a means of self expression?
L: I see fashion as a bit of both. However, it's rare for me to favor form over function, if a garment doesn't fulfill its function then it doesn't make sense. That being said, the way we dress directly influences how we feel and what we tell others about ourselves, so, in that sense, even purely aesthetic pieces can have a function. Like all forms of art, fashion can be evocative and inspiring.
A: We must talk about footwear. What do you usually wear: a) sneakers b) shoes c) boots d) sandals?
L: I wear mostly sneakers, shoes on specific occasions, boots when the weather is awful and sandals....never.
A: When we offered you a pair from our collection, you chose an ECLIPSE, one of our minimalistic styles. Is that the aesthetic you favor on your sneakers? What other traits do you value?
L: In line with my admiration of minimalistic and functional design, I like simple sneakers that are able to develop their character through wear. I am very loyal to the styles I like and often wear them to their limit. Texture is for me, one of the most subtle ways to add a touch of individuality to a sneaker and that's what drew me to ECLIPSE.
A: Now that you had the chance to visit Ambitious' facilities, did you have any idea of the number of processes and people involved in creating a sneaker? What did you think of the experience?
L: I found it fascinating, especially because I'm obssessed with complex production processes (you can take the boy out of engineering but you can't take engineering out of the boy). I especially enjoyed discovering a highly technological process paired with human experience, made by true artisans. That dichotomy between state-of-the-art technological complexity and traditional techniques is one of the things that inspires me the most.