This month (April 2021) we caught up with the fantastic ATTAWALPA to discuss his latest track, creativity during lockdown and the importance of mental wellbeing. Let’s dive right on in.
[JSF] Hey man, how’s it going in London town?
[ATTAWALPA] London Town is wearing a frown and I’m prepared to turn it upside down.
I’m sure you’re as busy as ever. I’ve just had another listen to the new track ‘Please Take Care’ – a really dreamy, kaleidoscopic vibe going on, what’s it all about?
Thank you! So it is about the ongoing pursuit for stable mental health. I feel this song has healing qualities. I hope that resonates with you the listener. Cos that’s what it’s all about.
I Wrote it with an old friend. The feeling to write this came from the worry and frustration we had for a few people in our circle of friends. They were heavily into drugs, partying, etc. As was I. Fast forward a couple of years or so and I had finally sorted myself out, over a year sober, 5 element acupuncture every week to help me stay clear and conscious. I got this song out one day in the studio with Matt Allchin. It was half-written and I had a rough demo or two. He helped me finish it and we got Misty Miller to sing on it. I now realise that it’s as much about me as it was about my friends.
Another excellent video, as we’ve come to expect, you must have had a talented team working on it – where did the concept come from?
Thank you! So my best mate Emma Chitty came up with the concept and I just went with it. She wanted to explore the idea of self. As a Gemini that suffers from trauma-related anxiety and depression, there are a few layers there!
It feels quite introspective, perhaps delving into your own mind. A few artists I’ve been chatting to seem to have been doing some of that, perhaps the current world climate lends itself to that way of thinking and writing. Was it tricky to get this across on film?
You know what – Even on the shoot days it really felt like we were documenting something special, specific, yet deep and unknown. The first edit I saw I loved and it just got tighter the more Emma and Jennifer Tividad ( the editor) went at it in the edit zooms. Capturing a feeling in music or film is a sort of spell, magic. Everything is changing and evolving and generally, I think as a species we are on a decent trajectory.
How have the various lockdowns affected your music, in terms of how you operate and record?
Well, the first lockdown I was in a flat in north London with an associate musician I make angrier music with called Nrvs. We had a studio set up in his basement. I was planning on self-isolating before all this pandemic kicked in any way and had a nervous/ back to school Esque feeling in my stomach cos I knew I needed to get a bunch of stuff off my chest( I always do) but it had been a while since I’d written.
That first lockdown I got a bunch of ideas down which I still love and will certainly release but I feel since the last lockdown (December 2020 onwards) I have been getting the best stuff I have ever written to date down. I had less equipment, I was at my mum and dad’s near Portsmouth. Nice windows, more air. Acoustic guitar, bass, one mic, etc. Limitations. Limitations are so important. Anyway, I have been blessed with about 18 new songs that I’m either forming into demos or taking to producers at the moment.
And what about your creativity, has it suffered or flourished?
I would say flourished. I’m very happy at the moment. The happiest and clear-minded I’ve felt since I can remember. I feel powerful and confident most days.
What else are you up to, what’s next for Attawalpa, you must be busting to get back on stage – any live shows on the horizon?
May 19th I’ll be playing and putting on one of my ‘spells’ nights with Rosie Alena and Blossom Caldarone . Two fantastic singers. It’ll be at the George tavern and tickets go on sale on April 9th.
🎟 🎟🎟 TICKETS: https://link.dice.fm/9UAb9Vm00eb
Other than that I’ll be continuing to write. I’m getting into making soundtracks and scores for certain people. My sophomore ep patterns will be out July 2nd too. Also, my cooking game has upped a lot so that’s just delicious.
We thoroughly enjoyed this feature with ATTAWALPA and hope you did too. You can connect with ATTAWALPA on Instagram – @attawalpa – and you can subscribe to our Strummerville Calling monthly(ish) email.
Thanks for reading ✊
The Joe Strummer Foundation