This week, Pitchfork published a great Q&A with Bjork about her new album Vulnicura, released just a few days ago. The interview covers a lot of ground – including the very personal and devastating inspiration for the music (her breakup with longtime partner Matthew Blarney) – but it also included some fun tidbits about her collaboration with one of our favorite producers on the experimental electronic scene: Venezuela’s Arca. Here’s what we learned about their friendship and working relationship.
Arca Succeeded Where Many Failed
Unsurprisingly, lots of musicians and producers are on Bjork’s jock. “I don’t want to brag,” she explained, “but I get a lot of requests to work with musicians and a lot of time I say, ‘I’m very flattered, but it’s not right.'” (AKA sorry struggle producer, IDFWU).
But if vying to work with Bjork is like being a contestant on the Bachelorette, only Arca got the final rose: “He approached me almost two years ago, and it was just the most perfect timing ever,” she said.
He's the Most Funny Person Bjork Has Met
Arca’s music has a very dark undercurrent to it, but according to Bjork, he’s a barrel of laughs. “He’s the most generous, funny person I’ve ever met,” she said. “[it] the most fun music-making I’ve ever had.” I guess we shouldn’t be surprised someone who put out a minor-key laden, industrial-sounding Shakira remix has a sense of humor.
Arca Has Encyclopedic Knowledge of Bjork's Music
While working together, Bjork discovered that Arca actually knew all of her albums from his childhood, because apparently Bjork is a big deal in Venezuela: “He knew my songs better than me. I would say, ‘Oh, can you make that third beat like…’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, you mean like the third break of song five of album two?’ He was like a library of my music,” she said.
Arca Works With the Quickness
Their collaboration was so right, that the album poured out in a matter of weeks. “It’s the quickest I’ve ever worked,” said Bjork. “He’s so incredibly talented and so eager to learn. It’s one of those crazy things in life where people from opposite ends meet, and you’ve got so much to teach each other. It’s really equal, what you’ve got to give to each other.”
He Sets the Record Straight
It has been frequently misreported that Arca was the sole producer of Vulnicura –which is unfortunately not the first time Bjork (and many other female musicians) have been stripped of credit for their work: “It wasn’t just one journalist getting it wrong, everybody was getting it wrong. I’ve done music for, what, 30 years? I’ve been in the studio since I was 11; Alejandro had never done an album when I worked with him.”
Arca insisted on correcting the misconceptions and setting the record straight: “He wanted to put something on his own Twitter, just to say it’s co-produced. I said, ‘No, we’re never going to win this battle. Let’s just leave it.’ But he insisted.”