Curiosity & Vulnerability: An Interview With Estrella del Sol

Time stands still inside the spacious melodies and emotive structures of Estrella del Sol’s new album, Figura de Cristal. The Mexico City-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known for her work in Mint Field, winds a gossamer spirit through the open spaces of the album, using that delicate intricacy to tease out buried emotional threads. At times, the music is calming and quiet, though it floats in heavy water, but in every stretch, del Sol’s songs are dreams. 

Figura de Cristal is out now on Felte Records

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Going back, what are some of your earliest memories or experiences related to music or sound? What are some of the real formative things from when you were young that have stuck with you?

I remember singing from a very young age, I started singing when I was around 7, and I was always curious about music. It all started with my voice. 

I have a memory of asking my parents to take me to this contest TV show for kids that sang in Mexico. It was called ‘Codigo Fama’ and I did the audition, sadly I didn’t end up getting into the program but I remember it being a very formative part of my life as a child.

Did you always want to be a musician or play music?

In some way yes, I didn’t know it was possible but I was always attracted to the idea. 

What pushed you to take the first steps in playing and creating your own works? 

I started my music career in my band Mint Field and I have always loved creating music in a collaborative way but deep down inside me I wanted to explore new sounds without limits or without a specific vision, I wanted to create music in my own terms. Explore my vocals and sound in a different way.

Can you talk about the themes of fragility and delicacy that you explore on the album, and how music and sound are mediums that create the space for you to explore them?

In this album, I am talking about how fragile I can be and that if I don’t take care of myself I could brake as if I was a crystal figure, this concept of the album just came naturally during the process of doing the songs. I always talk based on my own experiences. I really don’t like to push myself into making something already planned I like working with the present moment. Music and sound are a natural part of myself as a way to express my feelings. 

More generally, but related, I’m curious how music and sound play a role in processing emotions and thoughts, whether it’s writing or listening?

It is all connected, my songs talk about my feelings as if it was in a way my own diary, a way of recording this chapter of my life. And the music I listen to is a huge part of my daily mood, I can’t pass a day without listening to music, it’s a huge part of my life. 

Photo by Melissa Lunar

What significance does the title track, “Figura de Cristal,” hold for you personally? How does it encapsulate the essence and message of the album?

Like I mentioned earlier this album is a reminder to myself, as if someone else was talking to me and remembering me that I have to take care of myself in order to have good relationships with others and especially with me. That I can be as delicate as a crystal figure, that you have to take care of yourself very carefully, and that it could break. 

The album is described as an exploration of multiple realities and the coexistence of different perspectives. Can you elaborate on how you convey this through your music and soundscapes?

I used some field recordings from my surroundings in Mexico City and the ocean in Tijuana. Where I live in Mexico City is very chaotic, I’m surrounded by so many sounds, motorcycles, car sounds, people talking, etc. I wanted to add those because those recordings are the complete opposite of Tijuana, and that’s how my life is most of the time. With my music and especially with this album I’m on the lookout for calm and peace, a safe space for me where I could feel completely balanced. 

Mabe Fratti contributes cello to the record and is an artist that has been blowing me away with all her projects in recent years. How did you all become friends and what is it like working together?

We met because she opened a show for my band in 2019 in Mexico City and that night she blew my mind. I love her as a person and as an artist. We naturally became friends and after meeting each other we started jamming and hanging out. Working together is pretty easy as we understand each other very well musically and since we’re friends it was so easy for me to communicate with her what I was looking for. 

Photo by Melissa Lunar

Relating to that, how important is collaboration to you as an artist and how does it help push and grow your own music practice?

I love collaborating I think the best music comes from collaboration. It’s a beautiful practice. For example, with the songs that Mabe plays I already had some of the parts done with some MIDI violin guides that I sent to her and then she completely recorded something different but so beautiful that took the songs in another way I couldn’t have done it by myself. 

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to deal with in making Figura de Cristal?

Being organized and decisive, it took me some time to believe in myself as a solo artist, sometimes I am my own enemy and I overthink too much. I am very grateful that I was encouraged by people around me to put out the album, Sebastian who helped in mixing the album, Mabe who played cellos, Jeff from Felte, and as well as my friends who all helped me realize the album is worth putting out.

Foxy Digitalis depends on our awesome readers to keep things rolling. Pledge your support today via our Patreon or subscribe to The Jewel Garden.