Cora Novoa shares with us the series of photographs she shot on her Lomo'Instant Automat. Cora began her journey in the world of music 10 years ago - since then, she has formed an international career and played at a number of important music festivals. She tells us about her experience setting up a music label and sending music to space, and about her new found passion for photography.
Hello, Cora! Welcome to the Lomography Magazine. Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Cora Novoa and I am a music producer, DJ and founder/creative director of Seeking the Velvet, a music label that works with art, music and design. I have been working within the music industry for more than 10 years and I combine my artistic career with presentations, as an Ableton Official Trainer, curating music on behalf of companies and presenting my own radio programme on Radar Radio London.
When did you know you wanted to devote yourself to music?
It was something that came about in a natural way. Since I was very small, I have been in contact with all types of musical genres thanks to my dad, from salsa to flamenco via electronica; every day we used to have lunch while listening to Radio3 and I studied the flute, these are the things that without a doubt have influenced my way of being.
In addition to this, I have always had a fascination with technology, and with the years I discovered that you could make music with computers, so without really wanting to, since my childhood I started to take decisions that have made me into what I am today.
Seven years have passed since your first disc, in which you collected everything you had been accumulating in your first 25 years. Have you changed much since then?
I have changed in many respects and in others I am still the same person. My values and my essence are still the same, but my experience and my way of looking at certain aspects of life have changed. I consder myself to be a person who is very alive, I always need to be doing things, new projects that motivate me, and that motivation is intact, but you become more cautious and you learn how to say no. At the beginning my artistic identity was not clear to me and this resulted in me saying yes to many things that nowadays I wouldn't do, but it's good, it makes you learn, it makes you strong and with clear ideas. The same happens when we talk about the sticks that life sends you, the disappointments with people and certain mechanisms of the music industry.
I consider myself to be lucky, because I have always been surrounded by down-to-earth individuals, and that's a key factor if you want to continue in music. I know people who make marvellous music, but who unfortunately bumped into people with too much ego or unscrupulous people, and at the end this made them leave music behind to pass into second or third plane.
Also family is an important element, or having a godfather who treats you with affection and who supports in the good moments as well as the bad ones. I am lucky because I have had all of that, and I think that it has been a key factor to account for the fact that I am still here.
Do you collaborate with other artists in your projects? Tell us more.
I love collaborations, both with people, brands, or any creative project that is kindred. I see them as a blank canvas where you can explore new paths that you had never thought of yourself. When you work on your own, you end up taking the same paths and creative methodologies, so I love to experiment and be able to collaborate with other projects exactly because of this, so I can explore and experiment.
Tell us about your experience setting up a new music label
That is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life, it makes me learn every day a little bit more. Looking back, I appreciate how much I've done, and it's great. Before, I didn't even know what a press campaign was, what were the important parts to highlight in a contract, how to make a company plan, how to manage stocks or a stocklist. I have done a Masters in Music Industry, with the difference that instead of paying for my studies, I invested every penny directly into my company.
Of course I've made mistakes, mistakes that have made me waste time and money, but not as many as I could have made, if I hadn't done my homework in terms of coming up with a financial and company plan. These are the mistakes that make you learn and outline your modus operandi. On the other hand, the successes make it stronger and make you see things more clearly.
In our day and age, which is more and more digital, the distance between musicians and fans has been reduced thanks to tools like Instagram. What is your opinion on this topic?
I love being able to be in direct contact with my followers, getting to know them, know who they are... a lot of them have become people that I know and I am fond of, they are regulars at my dj sets or concerts. Thanks to them I am here and I can devote myself to music, so I can only have words of gratefulness towards them.
Do you use any 'analogue' tools in your work?
Right now I am using my modular sinthesizer, my drum machine and my Ableton Live. Before, I used to compose a majority of my musical pieces digitally, but it's been one year since I started working with analogue systems.
I like it because the pieces of the puzzle, even while staying the same, change completely both in terms of the way of interacting as the result.
Tell us about the series of photographs that you took with the Lomo'Instant Automat
They are photos that I took during my day to day, some of them are from the studio of Radar Radio in London, others from the studio that I also have there, on tour, with the team of Razzmatazz, and others of my daily life.
I had never worked with an analogue camera before and the experience has been fantastic. It has sparked my interest in the world of photography and made me want to know more.
We have heard rumours that you were part of a project in which you sent music into space. Is that true? Tell us more please!
It's one of the projects that I'm most excited about right now. From the very first moment that Sonar Festival got in touch with me and explained that they wanted to send 33 musical pieces from different artists to space, as part of their 25th anniversary, I automatically said yes. These are opportunities that only happen once in a lifetime and the fact of sharing a project with artists like Laurel Halo, Black Madona, LCC or Modeselektor is simply brilliant.
What projects await you in the future?
Right now I am focusing on my music, something that I had not done in years. The managing of the label, and all the projects I have in parallel, after the editing of my second album "Fight Love Faith" had been keeping me very busy. This 2018 is for me. I want to make music and work on a new analogue live with the modular and the drum machine.