Ela Minus is back in a big way. The Colombian electronic musician has announced her signing to international label Domino and a new single to reaffirm her next stage in her personal evolution.
It doesn’t seem that long, but five years have gone since the debut of Gabriela Jimeno as Ela Minus. Debuting in late 2015 with her EP First Words, it was co-produced by Andrés Nusser of Chilean shoegaze pop cult band Astro, proving to be a worthy successor to the genre. Ever since, she has been steadily putting out short format albums, adding more depth to her music—as heard on tracks like 2019’s “Jacinto”—without sacrificing her inherent pop sensibilities while mastering her laptop-less electronic rig to make music rich and enjoyable. She has also been able to collaborate with such artists as Helado Negro and Mitú, among others.
“they told us it was hard but they were wrong” is probably Ela Minus’ most ambitious track to date. An intensely rhythmic track with catchy, down-to-earth vocals that have characterized her work so far, “they told us…” features electronics built virtuosically to explode in dramatic yet grounded form. Lyrically, she seems to address the myth of the tortured artist as the only valid form of expression. “You fools trying to go deeper / don’t you see how easy it should be?” she asks in one of the verses, although we can also read about the struggle of living in our current world. “When we love / we love it all / and nothing seems impossible” she sings as if summoning the light in these dark times. She cites Fugazi as a prime inspiration for the song, reaching back to her political DIY influences from her times as a 12-year-old drummer for the hardcore punk band Ratón Pérez, a point-of-view that still informs a positive mindset.
The video, directed by Will Dohrn, gives us an abstract and kinetic representation of the track as it transitions from hazy and monochromatic to an explosion of movement and color. We see Ela Minus become a living spark that lights the world through her dancing. “they told us…” might be the experimental dose of warmth that we might need at the moment.