If there is a constant, albeit unfounded, criticism of electronic music, it is that it lacks emotional depth. The whole pattern of dance culture has revolved around “don’t think, just dance” – which makes it all the more difficult for artists to inject their vulnerabilities into a track.
Yet if any artist can make electronic music a mix of euphoria and poignant melancholy, it’s Peruvian-born Berlin producer Sofia Kourtesis.
“Tú y yo/En soledad/Igual acá/Tratando de cambiar/Tratando de olvidar,Kourtesis sings on “La Perla,” the first track off her 2021 EP, Fresia Magdalena. The song is an ode to the producer’s late father and their trips to the beach as a child.
The snare drum skips like stones on water as the synths ebb and flow alongside Kourtesis’ vocals. The track sounds more like the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” than anything dance music has to offer. Buildups are dense balls of catharsis dropped onto the dance floor and bursting into a million different colors.
“I think there’s a special sound to being very, very transparent and vulnerable,” Kourtesis said. new times from her home in Berlin. “You can’t really create a soulful sound if you’re not honest about it. I couldn’t do Fresia Magdalena again because I’ve been through so many changes. We evolve as humans from daily lifestyles, and your perspective changes. The mindset keeps changing.”
While in Miami to visit extended family, Kourtesis will make her Magic City debut in Floyd on July 16.
“I hope the crowd will expect a great show with some unreleased music,” she says. “I try to take inspiration from the sound of Miami and its influences with Latin America and South America – trying to surprise uniquely for the guests that come. It’s going to be very Miami wise.”
After moving to Berlin at 17, Kourtesis studied communication and cinema in Hamburg, followed by a stint in a hip-hop group. Feeling that her flow was not suited to hip-hop, she switched to electronic music.
She started with guest vocals on Gold Panda’s album Half of your place of residence then bonded with Swedish DJ/producer Axel Boman after sending him music. The synergy between the two was instant, and Kourtesis released her self-titled debut EP on Boman’s label, Studio Barnhus, in 2019.
“I started very DIY,” she explains. “It was like stories converted into a collage. Now I take more time to compose music. I just want to be active and have hope through the pain. music for the club. I like the idea of being more vulnerable and seeing how I am in the moment.”
The collage metaphor may come from Kourtesis’ vast sampling of her own experiences: vocal snippets from films she admires, recordings of conversations with her father, street music she encountered while touring, and shouting at protests. in Lima in response to government instability.
“The way I make music is like having a diary of the synths I use – it’s autobiographical. I don’t want to build a Latin sound, I just want to live it,” she says. “It would be weird if I only used German synths. When I tell a story, it’s like a history book – Greek, Spanish, German and a fusion of all those worlds. I’m so grateful to people who buy and write on the album.”
After Floyd, Kourtesis will perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago alongside her manager Thomas Stevens. “We’re two people playing drums, bass, synths and I sing,” she adds. “It’s very electronic, danceable and dramatic.”
Upcoming projects move away from music to include a book of poetry inspired by 20th century Peruvian poets like César Vallejo and anonymous contemporary activists.
With a decade in the music industry, Kourtesis feels like her journey has only just begun.
“Time flew by. Seriously, I don’t know how,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been at light speed for the past ten years. I don’t know if it’s something we don’t notice as humans, but it’s run away. ”
Sofia Kourtesis. With Phoenix. 10 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at Floyd, 40 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-608-2824; floydmiami.com. Tickets are $20.40 through dice.fm.