BLUEM, a Sardinian singer-songwriter based in London who combines electronic and original music, will be Parquette’s guest at his next appearance at Spring Attitude Festival.
BLUEM is the stage name of Chiara Floris, a young artist with very strong ideas. Born in 1995, the Sardinian-born producer moved to London in 2014, where she studied music and perfected her musical language. A language in which modernity and tradition constantly engage in dialogue, aimed at intense introspective research.
Each BLUEM work is a snapshot of a present in constant change. Musical photographs tracing the desire for freedom, awareness of one’s past as a springboard for a leap into the future.
BLUEM has a spring-like attitude, a pure and sincere enthusiasm for the world that never stops contemplating and digging. With the hunger of a musician, with the soul of a poet and, above all, with a good dose of feminine fragility. Honest and direct, like his latest work “No”. We talked to her about it, enjoy reading!
Good morning BLOOM, welcome to Parquette, we are glad to have you as our guest. I’d like to start this conversation with the next live show, which will see you on the prestigious Spring Attitude stage. What are you expecting from this experience and what kind of performances can we expect?
I’m very happy to perform in Rome and especially on the occasion of Spring Attitude, I haven’t performed there for a long time and I’m trying to bring something special amidst this chaos. I’ll be doing a full live show as I always have this summer, but there will be some slight variations that will also be a preview of something I’ll announce later. I obviously expect to have fun and hope the same applies to those on the other side.
In your way of conceiving and presenting music, every melody and every piece is connected to the imaginary that you share between myths and legends, to cultural references that belong deeply to you and which you manage to develop in an always personal way through your experiences. What process guides the musical implementation of your and BLUEM’s ideas?
It’s hard to say because it’s an ever-changing process and it happens differently depending on the song. There are songs in which I probably start with the production, and therefore with the musical part, and based on the sensations that what I created instinctively conveys to me, I look for words, sometimes in personal experience, but in the case of “know” very common in ancient legends or stories. Other times I’m so invested in the story or character, as with “Creusa” and “Sula”, the album’s opening and closing songs, that I do the work individually. The cultural references I choose are always things that I directly relate to or that I feel represent a lot of who I am at the moment, so reconciling me with the characters I quote is very easy because on a personal level level, maybe I’ll use their story. learn something about yourself.
Sardinia is your land, the center of your storytelling, even if you live in London. This view from afar and no longer as a person who lives there every day, what point of view has given you the opportunity to talk about your land?
Sardinia isn’t really the focus of my story, there are many different aspects to my project, just think: if I hadn’t lived in London for nine years it would probably never have taken shape or would have been completely different. However, my land is definitely a place where I often enjoy creating narrative within a project. It’s incredibly exciting, and it’s also a place I have an intrinsic connection with, unlike London, which I’ve often struggled to relate to. Leaving made me realize how lucky I am to have been born and raised in such a wonderful and unique place. The opportunity to benefit from the cultural richness of Sardinia is always a great privilege for me.
“Nou” means “new” and talks about this perfectly balanced relationship between the nostalgic bucolic nature of Sardinia and English electronic rhythms. What does it mean to you to do something new in an ever-changing era like ours, where experimentation moves ever faster?
I don’t know, I don’t know if there is an opportunity to do something new. For me it is a term associated with research. However, the fact that we live in such a chaotic moment makes the research itself very difficult. We passively accumulate so much information that, at least for me, active research is very tiring.
I often feel that I no longer have the strength to concentrate because it is consumed by external stimuli that are almost inevitable. I would like to have less means, well, know some things more deeply, and then be able to find a new way to use them. Instead, I find that I have access to everything and therefore don’t look into anything. Now I miss the times when I was a child and had a teacher as a mentor when I was learning classical guitar. However, in this sense, “know” is the product of an ever-changing era and therefore it is perhaps more modern and correct that a creative project that persists through time represents the time in which it was created. Perhaps the next one will instead represent this era’s daughter’s need to stop.
The legend of the women of Janas is one of the most interesting references on your album. BLUEM, could you tell us how this legend of Sardinian tradition influenced your album and what kind of female image appears in your music?
I chose the Jana legend because it is one of the most famous in the Sardinian tradition and also probably has the most variations. These little women, who traditionally inhabited part of Sardinia, very well represent the Sardinian people. The story goes that they spent their days working on filigree gold and in the evenings they went to nearby towns wearing their own jewelry to meet people.
If they met honest people, they brought them to their home (domus de janas), showed them their work and rewarded them. If someone tried to steal from them instead, they were punished and cursed. I say that they represent the Sardinian people because we are characterized by an initial mistrust and closedness towards others, and then we become extremely generous the moment someone deserves our trust, but also extremely harsh and vindictive if we are deceived . I think this applies regardless of gender, but “no” in general is definitely characterized by powerful and unconventional feminine energy.
Compared to the rest of Italy, Sardinia has an important matriarchal history, in which chauvinism has been difficult to overcome, but in which the role of women, compared to other societies, has always been central to family dynamics. Was this aspect important to your story? What do you think is missing today, especially in the electronic scene, to achieve true gender equality?
Yes, it was definitely important. Although I had and continue to have very important male figures in my childhood, it was the women in my family who had the greatest influence. My character, which is not really simple, was definitely passed on to me by the women I grew up with. My grandmothers, mother, aunts, all incredible and uncontrollable women.
I think today there is still a lack of many women taking the reins of their own projects and not relying on men. They are there and coming out, but they will need more time to equalize the number of men participating in this scene. I often notice that the attitude of men in this sector, even unconsciously, is to treat any women’s project as an interpreter’s project or, in extreme cases, a singer-songwriter’s project.
We need to hear more female energy in production, more female vision and creative direction, in pop music, in electronic music, everywhere. We have to show at least a little of the assumption that the people doing this work have always thrown in our faces every day.
“Adele” is a track that struck me deeply. How did you come up with such a nostalgic instrumental piece and when did you decide to remove the vocal part?
It all started when Antonio Marras decided to use “FRIDAY” from my album “NOTTE” as the closing song of a short film of his show, set in the Sardinian lands affected by fires. The rest of the music for this short film was composed by Adele Madau, to whom I also dedicated the title of the song.
There was a part of this song that I couldn’t get out of my head, so I asked Adele to sample it. She was very kind and responsive, and watched with great charm and openness as her composition transformed into my song. I worked on the song with Baurut, who had to be very patient, especially because I still hadn’t decided on the vocals. At some point I accepted that this was an instrumental piece and that, as intended, it was necessary to leave the emphasis on those samples that fascinated me so much.
NIGHT, on the other hand, talks a little about the great myth for artists, namely the creative value of the night as a moment of writing and introspection. How did this song come about and, despite the success, especially in the last year, are you able to calmly create your music, freed from any pressure that the recording world often imposes?
“NIGHT” is what I now define as a unique moment. An artist’s debut is crucial because it’s when it gets attention that it puts you in a position where you can no longer make music the way you’ve been doing up to that point. It was very traumatic for me. “NIGHT” was born in the evenings of a week’s vacation after a suffocating job in a restaurant. He was born in a council house bedroom with the most basic means imaginable. However, there was an idea and there was a feeling that reached its apogee. I criticized him for a long time, but now I really like him. I’m still trying to figure out how to move forward and Know has definitely helped me a lot with that.
However, for a new artist who has debuted and received good reviews, I would advise not to get too attached to this period. We live in a moment where people are always looking for new stimulation and debut, and the way you experience a debut, along with the sensations you experience for the first time, does not last forever. You have to get used to the idea that this is a first time moment and that the fact that you then “get used” to certain things does not detract from the growth you make or the subsequent stages of your creative project.
What are BLUEM’s next upcoming projects and new musical frontiers you’d like to explore?
I’m working on collaborations that I’m very excited about, and I’m thinking about a long-term project, which, however, remains a mirage for now. I don’t want to say too much, also because I don’t know, but despite everything, I still feel a strong need to move forward, and that’s the most important thing.