Meet Chile’s Nova Materia, Industrial Punk That Will Unleash Your Primal Instincts

Née: Caroline Chaspoul and Eduardo Henríquez
Raíces: Paris, France by way of Santiago de Chile
Sounds like: Old school industrial fans assembling techno with shoegaze and krautrock building blocks.
You should listen to Nova Materia because…it’ll unleash your primal instincts.

In the mid-90s, Santiago de Chile birthed Pánico, one of the most celebrated cult bands to come out of the country’s independent scene. Twelve years and 10 albums later, members Eduardo Henríquez and Caroline Chaspoul have departed from their post-punk sound; now they’re making deeply personal, off-kilter electronic music as Nova Materia.

Nova Materia finds Chaspoul and Henríquez tackling the music writing process from an angle they had never tried before, after hitting a creative wall. With futurism as their flag, they repurposed minerals and metals – elements often tied to experimental genres – to create textures that redefine the vocabulary of pop music.

On their 2015 debut Aparece en sueños, the duo tamed their industrial and coldwave tendencies with krautrock, shoegaze, and even funk, delivering three tracks that are sexy, mysterious, and totally suited for the club. Henríquez cites BPitch Control affiliate Chlóe as a direct influence on their work. “Chloé did rhythm arrangements on top of our programming and worked on the rhythmic progressions, giving the production a dance floor-oriented twist. She helped us rescue the essence of what we were proposing,” he says.

Only months later, Nova Materia are back with All The Way, their second EP, this time on BYM Records. With a more concrete game plan this time around, the duo worked with Chlóe again to produce two eccentric techno/house tracks. First up: “ON/AV,” which features distorted guitars and oddball dada vocals, as well as the hooky title track, a dance-ready number with incidental clatter turned up to 11.

Three remixes complete All The Way, made by artists with very different backgrounds: veteran producer Alejandro Paz, Sacred Bones’ psych-rock foursome Föllakzoid (aided by Sebastián Román, of Román & Castro fame), and Franz Ferdinand’s own Paul Thompson. Henríquez explained how the remixes came to be. “[We picked] Paul because he’s a friend and he could contribute with that dark Glasgow electronic sound we love. Föllakzoid, because their music resonates with what we do. Suddenly, the idea of releasing this EP under their label came up, and also the idea of an artistic collaboration through a remix. And [we picked] Alejandro Paz because we admire the work he does in Chile’s electronic scene…We believe he’s amongst the most interesting figures in the local scene because of his political vision of music, something uncommon in Chile. We wanted to have that punkish Latin techno sound he produces on our EP.”

Nova Materia’s live shows are notorious, and fans often describe them as both futuristic and primal. “There’s a lot of energy on stage,” Henríquez describes. “All of the instruments are banged, be it the guitar we play with, mallets, or the array of metal scraps, stones, and wood we hit with metal bars. There’s an industrial and punk aspect to it.” Henríquez also cites DJ culture as an influence, given the way the duo arranges the progressions and blends the tracks.

With only five studio songs and a handful of shows under their belt, Nova Materia have already found a voice that’s both distinctive and continuously evolving.