Chilean pop sensation Francisca Valenzuela released her third studio album, Tajo Abierto, yesterday, out on her very own Frantastic Records. The album marks Valenzuela’s return to her North American home of California after considerable time living in Chile, fostering her style as a recording artist.
The album also works as a reflection of the artistic community she finds herself involved in, combining collaborative production credits from Dave Sitek (TV On the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Aureo Baqueiro (Natalia Lafourcade), Vicente Sanfuentes (Surtek Collective, Los Amigos Invisibles, Matias Aguayo), and Grammy-nominated Jesse Rogg, a.k.a. Golden Touch, who’s lent his hands to Sky Ferreira, OK GO!, and The Presets, among others.
Remezcla chatted with Valenzuela as she reflects on diving deeper into the US music market, the value of self-sustaining as an independent artist, and the organic, pajama-mode recording sessions for the new album.
Tajo Abierto can be purchased via iTunes after the jump. Catch the link and the video for the release’s lead single, “Prenderemos Fuego al Cielo,” set in a disco-ready cave.
What inspired you to start working with artistic communities in the US?
Basically the US in general is an epicenter; Los Angeles, New York, the cities in specific are the musical epicenters of where all of these amazing people from all over the world come to collide and do their projects. So it came to be because I was basically searching for collaborators, specific people I wanted to work with, and I was in LA, living for the last year and a half.
I reached out to a whole bunch of producers and did projects with some of them, and it all organically began to happen. I began to work with some producers on my stuff, and I happened to find Jesse Rogg so I passed him one of the songs that I was working on and he finished it. Aureo Baqueiro who is a Mexican producer was in LA and we were working together on another project; we started working together and it was so great, so we decided tocontinue doing stuff together. Also Vicente Sanfuentes, who is Chilean, and we live together in LA– he does a whole bunch of stuff, and works with Amigos Invisibles, Matias Aguayo, and he has his own label– we started working together as well.
I always say it was a super organic, kind of almost pajama-mode album; just very relaxed, and among friends…there wasn’t a master plan in terms of how to develop this album, I’d had all of the songs written, and laid out with some arrangements, and we just began to build on top of that. Down the line I began to see things take shape and to understand that it was going have all of these producers at the end of the day.
Why has the choice to be an independent artist been important to you?
In the beginning it was a total default situation, it wasn’t really because of a decision– it was because it was the only way to move forward. When I was around 17, 18 I did go to the few that were here in Chile from multinational labels and they said no– that they were not interested, that it’s not what they want. So faced with that decision it was like, I shouldn’t just stay with my hands crossed and wait for someone to rescue me, so we began to do stuff independently.
Chile’s small enough and self-developed in many ways, and very independent in general, especially in this new generation that has no multinational labels, and then it just kind of moved from there and it became this thing where it was the way to go. It’s been very difficult at times; it’s not always as easy as having a corporation behind it to give you infrastructure and support, but I’m very proud that other peers and myself have been able to develop careers from Chile with music and artistic projects regionally, and to have a sustainable career doing so.
You also have your own clothing line, you write, you’re producing music– do you see yourself reaching out to any other creative areas after this album is released?
I would love to. I have so much stuff I love to do, and it’s like every time I do something new and I learn a little bit about it, I get excited and want to do more of it. It’s been great and I’ve been really lucky to have collaborators of all sorts. Whether it’s the producers I work with or whether it’s my team for the label, and even how we interact with different people all over the world– like with Rocio [of Digital Girl Inc] we work with in the States, and I have an agency in Spain, and an agency in Mexico, and learning the whole production aspect and development.
It’s been super challenging but then also super fun and interesting. I’m just excited to be able to develop videos, and I did the collages for the album; to do all of the work associated to different artistic fronts has been awesome, especially in the production aspect of developing music and projects, and having artistic vision. It’s been a whole learning curve that makes me excited to think, well maybe there’s so many other things you can do as well, and there’s so many other projects that don’t have anything to do with me necessarily that are exciting to explore.
What’s next, now that you’re more or less based in Los Angeles?
To learn from people and to be in a 2.0 situation of the project I guess. Coming back and forth has been great, and I’m lucky enough that Chile allows me to have a sustainable career, and has worked as this platform or trampoline into the region to get my project out there. They’re complimentary; I would love to do an English album as well to explore that at some point, being from the US in a way as well. There’s so much to do but for sure right now the thing is to get the album out and to be performing the album all over the place. For sure it’s a phase of a lot of work, but I’m also excited to see what being in a super professional music place like LA can bring.