One of the best things about having Pastel Zine is working with new artists - so I was very excited to have the chance to interview Brujita about their brand new ep and much more! Thank you so much for your amazing answers and the awesome photographs which accompany the interview!
AQ: Can you tell us a bit about how your Brujita ep came about and also the name itself? I know it’s your first ep, which is very exciting. I love it – it’s such a cool mix of rap, soul and dreamy pop. It’s very accomplished for a debut!
Brujita: Ah thank you so much! That honestly means a lot, this ep was honestly going to be something I was going to share to the 19 people who follow my finsta. It all started with “Deja Me Ir”, made the beat back in 2017 and had written to it, was originally titled “Bby Boy”, I wasn’t really feeling it so I scrapped it. Fast forward to fall of 2018, I was going through a lot and I was writing songs from left to right. One night I decided listen to the beat for “Deja Me Ir” to see if it would click with what I wrote, digged it, recorded millions of times, and decided that night that I wanted to put out an ep.
So the name “Brujita” came from Kali, last spring I went to go see her perform at Space 15 Twenty in LA. After the set she brought us into her green room and I wanted to share with her me identifying as non-binary and going with the pronouns she/they. I remember she signed a magazine I brought that night and her writing “Brujita” along with a cute ass message. It just stuck with me. To be referred to as my correct pronouns feels absolutely amazing, some of my closest friends still haven’t clicked with it so it means the world to me when someone gets it right.
AQ: I first met you online through the Kali Uchis updates account you run and an accompanying group chat. I feel like there’s a kinship between Kali’s music and yours – you both love diverse genres, older music and switch between English and Spanish. You also cover a Tommy Genesis song on this ep. Can you tell us a bit about the importance of these artists to you and what some of the other influences on your music are? Not just musically.
Brujita: Yes! Ugh we need to all get together one day somehow. Kali’s music is definitely a huge influence on this project along with artists like Tommy Genesis, BbyMutha, La Goony Chonga, and so on. I guess when it comes to music, anyone I’m extremely digging kind of inspires me to do things certain things in my music but like with my own twist to it. Aside from musical influences, movies really inspire me. I remember writing “Lil Angel Baby” after watching “Mi Vida Loca” which is a movie about Gangs, the come up of Echo Park in LA, relationships, and much more. It’s a must watch.
AQ: Are you part of a scene locally or is your musical community more online? You have collaborated with a number of producers on your ep. How did you link up with them? How does place contribute to your music? You create some quite specific atmospheres.
Brujita: (Ah little side note but it wasn’t more so a collab but beats I found online that I made sure were okay to use, like non-profit beats).
I actually am not, I do know quite a few people who do music but it’s not really like a whole circle. Everyone is doing their own thing. I’m still trying to learn how to produce beats and is something I would love to work on so I don’t have to rely on finding beats online. Nothing wrong with using someone else’s beats but I would love to fully showcase what I’m capable of if that makes sense. I’m very picky with almost everything, I was very precise when choosing beats. Also I needed to make sure that the songs I wrote would flow with them. Well most of the project was written in LA which is a huge city (that I’ve gotten lost in countless of times), I grew up in San Francisco so being in a whole new environment and basically starting all over impacted the way I made music.
AQ: What inspires you lyrically? Your songs are emotional. I love that. You have talked about how your songs are both love songs and explore your identity. They feel political.
Brujita: I think just real life experiences, not just my own but experiences that I’m apart of. Yes, my music is one of the few outlets I have to express what I’m feeling and talk about what I’m going through. I would say the music is political in the aspect that I’m non-binary and I’m using my preferred pronouns without like caring what others think. Many think “oh you just switched your pronouns” but it’s so much more than that, it’s what identify as and it’s important for me to be able to express it especially in the political climate we’re in. I won’t hide or suppress who I am because you’re uncomfortable or don’t agree with it. That’s a personal problem that you need to deal with baby.
AQ: Can you share a bit more about how your song writing process works? Do you write to beats or come up with the lyrics first and then create the music/work with producers to get a specific sound? You have some really cool sounds and contrasts throughout the ep between the harder raps and the softer and more soulful vibes. Is being a solo artist more of a challenge or more freeing?
Brujita: A lot of the songs/raps I wrote come from experiences I’ve gone through, clearly a majority of the ep is about men (multiple ones. Yikes, I know). Honestly it could go either way, sometimes I wake up and I’ll have certain words stuck in my head which then turns to a song. Sometimes I’ll listen to a beat and then based on the vibes I got from it is how I form words to go with it. I think being solo and basically independent should be a freeing experience in the sense that I have all creative control over what I do which is very important to me. I don’t think I could ever deal with a team/management telling me what to do and such, it’d break me. I will say though, being solo does mean I fund myself which means I still got to work my ass off at my regular job so that I’m able to put out music the way I want.
AQ: You are a photographer as well as a musician. How do your different art forms relate to one another? What are the benefits of working across different forms? I love the aesthetic of your photography.
Brujita: Well being a photographer comes in handy cause if no one can do photos for me for whatever reason. I got me, I know I can create some magical photos on my own. Side note, hire a photographer, your little friends who take insta pics for you won’t give you the results you want. I think some of the benefits of being a photographer and an artist would probably being able to make connections from both art forms. Awe thank you! I’m planning some shoots this year and totally want to revamp my work. Going for a whole new refined look.
AQ: What can we expect from Brujita in the future? Another ep or album? Videos? Collaborations?
Brujita: Well I have a visual for it coming out soon. I’m very excited to share it. Brujita was done a month before the release and I saved a few songs from the original track list that I would like to maybe add to the next one though I most likely won’t because I like starting things from scratch. Collabs? None planned but would love to for my next project which will be out sometime this year. Can’t give a specific time, i’m so indecisive so we’ll see!