AVALON LURKS loves MUSIC
The DIY artist reflects on “Papi Chulo.”
Words by Tierney Finster
Photos by Jess Calleiro
Avalon Lurks (@avalonlurks) released her latest single “Papi Chulo” at the start of the summer, just in time for her fans to blast it in their cars on the way to the beach. In “Papi Chulo,” Avalon’s original songwriting creates a world that is idyllic but moody, much like her native Southern California. It feels sun-soaked but smoggy, a clever distillation of her “goth pop” sensibility and sensuous, grounded spirit. “Papi Chulo” evokes the buoyant warmth of G-Funk hits with the musicality and lyricism of a band like Portishead. The corresponding video by Ambar Navarro shows that nobody Lurks like Avalon – stunning in her self-styled looks.
Avalon is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and social media personality who uses the platform she’s gained through music to educate her community about everything from the history of pre-colonial Mexico to the little known business savvy of Marilyn Monroe. She tells TRASH about making stuff as an independent artists and the cinema that inspires her.
THANK YOU FOR BEING A TRASH ANGEL. WHEN DID YOU EARN YOUR HALO?
I feel I've always had a halo, it just became more effervescent as I grew into accepting my creativity and creations.
HOW DID YOU LEARN TO MAKE MUSIC?
I spent the last two years of high school locked in my room with my synths and guitars. It became an obsession. I taught myself most everything I know, aside from the things i've picked up more recently from being in the studio with my beautiful and talented friends.
In a more functional sense, I read a lot about songwriting, studied my idols and watched many a Youtube tutorial concerning ableton and other DAWs/VSTs.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WRITING YOUR SONG “PAPI CHULO?”
I feel like I picked the song from the same ether that I drag mostly all my ideas from. Papi Chulo is autobiographical. It's about fast love, about being willing to die for someone who excites you. When I was making the song, I already had almost exactly the visual you see represented in the video in mind. Creating this video with Ambar [Navarro] was sort of like seeing my idea become incarnate; it was quite liberating.
WHAT MOVIES HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR AESTHETIC SENSIBILITY?
For Papi Chulo, these ones: Suspiria (1977), Casino (1995) and Nightmare On Elm Street (1984).
WHAT MUSIC VIDEOS HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON YOUR AESTHETIC SENSIBILITY?
I’m more influenced by cinema and personal experience than anything, but the first video that comes to mind is "Luxurious" by Gwen Stefani. A hood classic. A problematic fave.
WHO HAS TAUGHT YOU THE MOST ABOUT MUSIC THIS YEAR?
Definitely one of my favorite humans – George Lewis Jr (Twin Shadow). Whenever I have questions, he's my go-to. A savant really.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER INDEPENDENT CREATORS WHO MAY FEEL INTIMIDATED BY THE PROCESS OF BIRTHING A PROJECT?
I think you have to realize that you need to just hunker down and accept the reality of holding your own vision in your hands. Executing that in a well-done fashion means extreme discipline. The vision is sacred. I also don't think it gets easier with bigger labels or bigger budgets. There are so many minute details I will still have to oversee and put my hands on no matter how big the production gets.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC?
The car for sure. because you can change locations when things get too stagnant. There's something comforting about quite literally being surrounded by speakers. My dad always says that when I was an infant he used to put me in the car and drive me around blasting Kraftwerk or Bauhaus just to get me to fall asleep.
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