Q&A: Catching Up with Draco Rosa
12/18/2009 - 13:30|
“Omnia Vincit Amor” (or Love Conquers All) is not only the subtitle of Draco Rosa’s eponymous new album but it also may be what fuels his creativity as a producer, composer and singer. His latest collection of songs, inspired by his family’s homeland of Puerto Rico, is simple and poetic, just like you’d expect from someone that is above all a craftsman. I had a chance to chat with the man himself and here’s what he had to say:
Tell me more about the album.
I worked with instruments I don’t tend to use, like the Puerto Rican cuatro, percussion. I had a string quartet throughout the album. It’s reminiscent of another time yet still contemporary.
You worked on the album on your farm in Puerto Rico; what kind of place is Hacienda Horizonte?
It’s a 100-acre farm by a beautiful river. We live in an old house that we restored on the property. We’re planting over 4,000 trees, including hundreds of citrus trees. Our focus is food and now we’re moving into medicinal plants. It’s a lifelong project.
Are you out there doing the work?
Whenever I can. It’s a family affair. Right now we sell coffee. We move bananas, oranges.
Did the farm serve as inspiration for the new album?
On this album it was important to stay close to what I think is the Puerto Rican experience. I did the best I could. We’ve only had the farm for three years and we’re working there every day, Monday through Sunday. That had a lot to do with it. And last year I fell ill for a few months with rheumatic fever and I sat down and wanted to make sure I used these instruments. It’s very meaningful and exciting. I’m glad this is done—I can move on now.
Do you have a favorite song?
I feel that you can play it from top to bottom. I spent one night at the studio with my wife [actress Angela Alvarado] and a bottle of champagne and we decided the sequence together.
Is she a big collaborator?
She’s my best friend, my companion, my significant other, the mother of my children. She’s beyond a collaborator. I love her very much.
Are you looking forward to touring with this album?
I’m very, very excited. I don’t usually look forward to touring because I find boredom in repetition but I love creating new music and going into the studio. But something has happened in the last year. One of my top priorities is to go out and play. I have several records but I haven’t toured at all. Now we’re putting a world tour that will be called “Vagabundo por El Mundo.”
It’ll be tough to be away from your family.
That’s fine. When we need to see each other we’ll fly in, make love and get back to work.
I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you tweet about all sorts of things.
It’s extremely random. I love to read, I love philosophy and poetry, I love things that are absurd and surreal. I love being swept away by beauty and inspired by other people’s inspiration. I love sharing it. On Twitter, I post things that are interesting. The world is a beautiful place.
Do you listen to a lot of music?
The last artist I stumbled upon is Bon Iver. The band is reminiscent of Neil Young. Other than that I’m making music. I have this idea that maybe some day we can establish a new genre. It’s total madness—like changing the horizon—but it’s okay because it helps to keep my faith intact.