There are some artists that just get everything right. You come across one of their songs and go: “Yeah, that’s the shit, who is this?” And then you find out that it’s some band who hadn’t even had any releases yet. Which makes you extra proud that you made that disovery before anyone else did. Now I have this lucky chance to introduce one of such promising collectives. If it was all about image, they still would have gotten it – just look at that sexy/dangerous/mysterious picture. Luckily, their music lives up to expectations. Ana Katana & Li Vox create a combination of knock-out beats and enchanting vocals that is both “retro” in its stylistic similarities to “classic trip-hop” and refreshing in its enthusiasm and love to music that is reflected in every note. Naturally, I wanted to know more.
tipkin - So, is it Ana Katana, Ana Katana & Li Vox or something else entirely? How did it all start and how did Li Vox become part of the project?
Ana Katana – I’ve been writing, recording, and performing music for many years, mostly as a bass player. A few years ago, I started getting really into the world of electronic music. In 2010, I decide it was time to start releasing some of the music I had been making online. I started out just as “Ana Katana”, but I felt the instrumentals I was putting out were in need of vocals. I posted an ad on my MySpace, and got a bunch of responses from interested singers. When I got the demo that Li sent back to me, I was blown away. She was exactly what I was looking for. Her voice really fit my music. As soon as I heard her sing, that was it. I took the ad down and stopped looking.
I felt the best way to represent what we are doing is to make a change from being Ana Katana to being Ana Katana & Li Vox. I really think what we have is greater than the sum of its parts.
Li Vox – I just contacted Ana Katana through MySpace, because she was in need of a vocalist. So, firstly, I recorded the song «She Change Her World», and apparently she liked it!!!
I must say there’s a 3rd person involved in the whole process: Daniel Matias. His amazing skills and studio (Djungle Productions), allowed me to record our first songs.
Then Ana and I started chatting through Facebook, Skype, SoundCloud, e-mail, and we started exchanging ideas and concepts. Amazingly it’s working great! We match perfectly, musically speaking, and I’m very honoured that she picked me to sing along her songs.
t. – Why trip-hop? Do you feel that there is still demand for trip-hop music out there? What is trip-hop to you?
A.K. – I never really set out to specifically make trip-hop music. I had been listening to a lot of it, and I think the influence found its way into what I was doing. When I started listening back, I could hear those influences in my music, so I decided to let the label stick.
I think there is always a demand for music of every genre. The internet is what allows everyone to connect with others that have the same musical tastes. The audience is there, they just might not exist in any concentration. If a few people in every city in the world love trip-hop, multiply that by the number of cities, and it adds up pretty quick.
To me, trip-hop is electronic music that moves your body, your heart, and your mind. It’s not the music you hear at the club on a Saturday night. I think of it as being a little more personal, something a person can form an emotional connection to, which seems to be absent in a lot of electronic music these days.
L.V. – Personally, I always enjoyed trip-hop – stuff like Massive Attack, Tricky, Thievery Corporation, Portishead, even some stuff from Lamb… it’s a “relaxing” genre, I guess… this is a genre where I feel comfortable whilst singing.
t. – What is the music scene like in Tampa, FL (and in Portugal)? Is it hard to find distribution for your music?
A.K. – The music scene in Tampa, Florida, has a lot of unrealized potential, in my opinion. There aren’t really any clubs that play trip-hop or downtempo that I’m aware of. Most of the electronic music around here seems to tend toward the more harsh, breakbeats and drum and bass. There’s definitely a lot of the club stuff for people to shake their asses to, but without any emotional depth. That’s all my perception, of course, so I could be mistaken. As far as distribution goes, we’ve been going the internet route. Bandcamp, Reverbnation, Soundcloud, MySpace. We try to get our music up anywhere we can. I think we’re to the point where some help from a record label would really put things over the top. The way things are with the music-industry these days, though, I’m not holding my breath.
L.V. – I’m not too involved in the trip-hop scene in Portugal. (I’m not really sure there’s a “scene”, actually!!) We have some radio stations that promote electronic music in Portugal. Also, some gigs and small events. But, I was always a “rocker”, more than a trip-hop”er”.
t. – Your music is very “classic” trip-hop (if one can say so) – you’re not trying to incorporate trendy genres like dubstep and such into your sound. Is that deliberate “purity” or are you planning on experimenting with different styles in the future?
A.K. – If our music is considered “classic” trip-hop, it was unintentional. Everything that I write has only one deliberate goal, which is to find sounds and loops that work together to make a whole. I try to avoid falling into the trap of striving for things like “staying pure” or experimentation for its own sake. I’m just trying to lay down some tracks that sound good in my headphones, and I’ll pull the sounds from wherever it takes to achieve a great song. If I have to write 50 shitty songs in order to come up with one really good one, then that’s what it takes.
As far as the future goes, who knows? Sounds and ideas can come from anywhere. The only thing I can say is we’ll write the best songs we can, and hopefully the music continues to resonate with people like it has been so far.
t. – You list Massive Attack, Portishead, Thievery Corporation among your music influences. What inspires you outside of music?
A.K. – I love music of all types. I’m kind of a geek about it. Outside of music, I’m inspired by all types of art. I’m inspired by artists who continue to create for their entire lives. I’m inspired by energy. I’m inspired by trees. I’m inspired by the animals that live in the forest. Everything is an inspiration if you stop and pay attention.
L.V. – I’m deeply inspired by life. By the things I see and listen. The things I smell and feel….
t. – When is the LP coming out? I’m dying to hear it! Can you talk a bit about it?
A.K. – At this point in the game, we’re releasing a couple of songs at a time, rather than waiting several months until enough for a full-length album is complete. Perhaps an LP would be a future possibility, but for now, EP’s and singles are the way to go. We want to keep people excited. The way the music industry is nowadays, for a new band to make people wait for a year to release a full album is an easy way to be forgotten. Since we aren’t in a position to form a following through touring and performing, this seems like it will work best for our unique situation.
t. – What are the long-term plans for the project?
A.K. - The long-term plans are pretty simple. Li and I will continue to write and record more songs. I have the music for about 45 songs in various stages of completion. When they are ready, I’ll send them off to Portugal to let Li work her vocal magic, and then it’s time to release! Unfortunately, having a few thousand miles and an ocean between us is going to prevent any live performances anytime soon, but we hope to one day be able to perform together onstage.
I’m thrilled with the support we’ve been getting from the friends and fans we have made online. So many people have told us how much they enjoy our music, it’s been amazing! I would like to thank everyone who has listened to us and shared our music with their friends. I especially would like to thank Daniel Matias for his superb vocal engineering skills, and Dennis Gomez at Tripnotic Downtempo club for his support.
Expect a lot more new music from Ana Katana & Li Vox in 2011 and beyond!
L.V. – I really hope to keep on singing with Ana Katana. For a long, long time! And I really hope that people can listen to us, enjoy our music, and follow our work.
I hope so, too. I am definitely going to listen, enjoy, follow and, sure enough, expect more! You should too.