We introduced different times Peruvian pianist and composer Sergio Díaz De Rojas, now based in Valencia. A few months after Mundo Flotante, he’s back with a 2-track EP called Postcards. According to the press release, he has delved into a nostalgic state of mind after moving from Peru to Spain, leaving friends and family behind for a new chapter of his life. Various late nights by the piano led to the creation of a softly sorrowful tribute to one of his favourite composers, Fryderyk Chopin.
The project got its title from Sergio’s fascination of old postcards to be found while slowly strolling through a quiet flea market, lending a vivid visual for the wistful sense of (dis)connection apparent in the two pieces. “Porcelain”, beautifully fragile, has a solemn intensity in its movement, flowing with the grace and concentration of a dancer, easily evoking a sense of lonesome mindfulness. “Pomegranate” is equally graceful but harbouring a hint of sensuality; it beckons and moves away, slow-burning but relentlessly passionate.
Listen below and check our talk with the Peruvian composer who he details the new EP.
“Postcards” is your new double single. You said which is a contemplative exploration on solitude after moving from Peru to Spain. Tell us more about it.
I always thought that moving by myself wouldn’t emotionally affect me, even if it was not only to another city or country but to another continent, and I guess that for a while it was true. I was so busy applying to a conservatory in Valencia, trying to get my visa accepted, and preparing the series of performances I was about to give in Germany, that I didn’t really have time to realize what was going on. I imagine these activities where the perfect excuse to not letting feelings in. But when all of it was over and it was just me and my entire life between four walls, reality hit me. It wasn’t easy to realize that my family, friends and favorite places weren’t part of my everyday life anymore. I often felt lonely. But it became an opportunity to start taking care of myself, to make this tiny room I have now feel like home, to be a better son and brother despite the distance, to stop waiting for better things to happen and to simply try to make the best out of what I have at the moment.
You said also which is a sort of tribute to one of your favorite composers, Fryderyk Chopin. What do you like the most of his music?
I love how expressive and evocative his melodies are, his remarkable treatment of harmony and rhythm, the subtle details of execution that bring even the most simplistic of his works to a whole new level, the tenderness, the passion, how he managed to pour his heart and soul into each single note.
The artwork is beautiful. How did you choose it? How much important is the visual part for your work?
Thank you! It was just the process of translating visually the meaning and inspiration behind the project. Ryan did a marvelous job and it has been a real pleasure to collaborate with him.
For me, the visuals are as important as the music. And so are the titles, and the way I decide to communicate each new project. All of these aspects play a relevant role in transmitting the various ideas and emotions I try to convey, as simple as they could be, and they also help me create ambiguity, which I enjoy playing around with a lot —why would I call a piece about solitude after a fruit? I like to think (and hope) that people will wonder about these things, but it is also alright if they decide to only focus on the music, since each piece is composed to defend itself alone too.
You are from Peru and you live in Spain. I’m very interested to the connection between the places we live over the years, the territorial geography of our roots and the art. How do you feel these theme connected to your music, your way to think music? What are your favorite places which inspired the most?
I grew up studying classical music on piano, violin and cello, and my artistic, cinematic, literary and musical references were always quite Eurocentric. While I do appreciate the diverse cultural heritage in my country, I never learned how or felt the need to embrace it as my own. It was simply not my thing. Besides that, I never enjoyed living in Lima. It is, in various ways, an awful city. So, I was always daydreaming about moving to somewhere else and having the kind of artistic life I would read or watch films about all the time, but back then that wasn’t realistic at all. That’s why, in the beginning, writing music became my very own way of materializing those dreams and of dealing with a reality I wasn’t comfortable with. Today, my music is as intimate as it was years ago, but it responds to different artistic journeys and personal quests.
How are you living these strange times and what are the main concerns as an artist?
I had a little tour planned around various cities in the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as a trip with my girl, but naturally, everything got cancelled and my heart got broken. But I have been lucky in other aspects. I do hope concerts and festival become safe activities again, though, since performing live and sharing meaningful moments with the public and with other fellow artists is one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences.
Ritual question. Have you seen or heard anything good recently?
Lately, I have been obsessed with the works of female electronic music pioneers Delia Derbyshire, Wendy Carlos, Laurie Spiegel, and Pauline Oliveros, to name a few. I have also been listening to some Japanese ambient works such as Music for Nine Post Cards and Green by Hiroshi Yoshimura, Watering a Flower by Haruomi Hosono, and this superb compilation Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 released by Light in the Attic Records. And well, I always enjoy revisiting old gems by Keaton Henson, Sufjan Stevens, Vashti Bunyan or Sibylle Baier since they help me feel grounded.