By Nicholas Jason Lopez
New York City-based experimental pop duo Vákoum – composed of multi-instrumentalists/composers Kelli Rudick and Natalia Padilla – recently dropped their debut album ‘Linchpin.’
The Music Bugle had the chance to chat with them about ‘Linchpin’ and more.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about experimental pop?
Kelli Rudick – We love music that makes us feel when it is unpredictable and new. The freedom to take a composition to familiar places and then shift it to where the mood takes you without following any system is pretty exciting!
Music Bugle – What are some challenging aspects of being a musical duo people might not otherwise be aware of?
Natalia Padilla – Both having a strong sense of leadership in composition can sometimes be challenging, when there is an attachment involved, but this has taught us to focus on what’s important and that is what the song needs.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the artist name?
Natalia Padilla – We were having dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant when the name stood out to us after getting a series of visuals of what the process of making music was to us. It has a lot of meaning, but in short, it’s the process of being sucked into the creative world, needing that complete silence and an almost sterile-like environment in our minds.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your debut LP ‘Linchpin’?
Kelli Rudick – We have a small studio at home where we made it all happen. Making this album took almost three years. It was a very beautiful process. Every song and every lyric was so necessary for us to learn to listen to ourselves, feel more, expand and ultimately heal. There were, of course, very dark and heavy moments, in which the process felt very long, and often times, extremely lonely.
Music Bugle – What do you hope to accomplish in 2021?
Natalia Padilla – Relax more, love more and hopefully, play live.
Music Bugle – How would you describe New York City to someone who has never been there before?
Natalia Padilla – We don’t live in NYC anymore, but I could describe it as a place full of energy, inspiration and opportunities. A place that forces you to keep a consistent flow of mental positivity, which can be both an amazing thing, but also super exhausting. The moment you start developing the smallest amount of negativity, everything goes wrong for you, everything. That said, we miss it everyday. it’s also the only place where you’ll hear a Japanese person playing “Bésame Mucho” on a violin. We also love the random nights where anything can happen and you could meet anybody. New York can be the most intense mirror you have ever looked into. It teaches you so much and having left it feels like we will never know ourselves the same way.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Kelli Rudick – Oneothrix Point Never, Austra, Kelly Moran and Kazu Makino, but lately, we’ve been blasting Sting!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Natalia Padilla – We trip out every morning to the thought that this is happening globally. There’s a sense of helplessness, because there’s not much that we can do to help others, except try to stay at home as much as possible and wear a mask when we go out, but something in all of this feels like a big change is coming. There is a sense of loss, because nothing will ever be the same, but also this unexplained excitement and curiosity towards something new. Musically, the lockdown has given us the time we needed to focus and finalize the album. It also has given us the opportunity to learn new skills and figure out things we didn’t have the time for before and use new technologies for when touring becomes available. Not being able to perform, as we are sure many musicians can attest to, especially when releasing an album, is really hard. The excitement is contained in our home instead of being released in an explosive performance in a room full of people we love and want to share it with.
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?
Kelli Rudick – For a bike ride to the beach. Taking our golden retriever Elvis for a walk or the park.
Music Bugle – What’s something you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Natalia Padilla – It seems that we are in an era where robots are determining whether something is good or bad based on numbers. We are losing that sense of community where people have conversations about what they love and why. We wish there was more awareness around how much work and commitment goes toward making an album and that there were equal opportunities for all types of artists. We also hope at some point that streaming platforms will have an interest in promoting and compensating fairly, so that musicians feel like what they do actually matters.