clara-meiga

Would you say that’s your favorite aspect of DJing? I really DJ for the music. I love discovering new music. Searching for transitions in mixes is so fun for me—like that special moment when you’re at the computer and you realize, “Oh! This song would be perfect with this song.” It’s like a puzzle. Doing the Reggaetoneras mixes is very nice because it’s like searching for gold on the internet. I dig and dig, and every time I find a new track I like, I get more excited. I also love when I play and someone who never listens to reggaeton comes up to me and tells me, “Wow I had a lot of prejudice about this, but I love the production.” There are people who come from more techno and experimental backgrounds who enjoy the music I play and realize there are actually really notable things about it. This happened with Maoupa, for example. He came to a party where I mixed, just as a friend giving support, and he felt inspired and said we had to do something together. This is how Clara! y Maoupa was born. You’ve mentioned that most people you knew at the time that you began DJing didn’t know many female reggaeton artists at all. How did you start building your archive, and are there any specific places that you find them? Were they difficult to find? For the first Reggaetoneras tape, I mostly searched on YouTube and old blogs. But for the second one, I posted on the Sister’s page, which is for female artists and DJs, and on the Classical Trax Facebook. Once people started sending me songs, I realized I knew some of the artists like Lorna and La Factoría from my teenage years, and looking back, I saw that they just didn’t get the same level of success as these other very popular male artists like Nicky Jam or Dom Omar. Why did you move to Brussels? I was completely lost after getting my degree in fine arts, so I followed my mom’s advice to move to Brussels and get my master’s degree in film. Even though I was very unhappy studying here, I love Brussels and am grateful to have moved. Is there a reggaeton scene in Belgium? No. I mean, if you go to a Latino bar they will probably play it, but in general, no. Now reggaeton is a very trendy thing, so you’ll hear DJs play it sometimes. Can you tell me about your position in PRR! PRR! and how it formed? DJ David Goblin is my ex-partner, and DJ Cloarec is a very good friend. When I first met them, they were just talking about starting the label. Initially, I considered myself as just the girlfriend, but now I have taken on more responsibilities. As we share the same sense of humor, they ask my opinion on most things, but I am not the one who is ultimately making the label decisions. And I participate with my little money for the productions. Can you talk about the meaning behind Reggaetoneras? What does it mean to you? I was frustrated and confused by the lack of visible female Reggaeton artists. I feel a lot has changed in the music industry within the past few years. I often hear things like, “It’s not good to give visibility to only females, the importance is in the music, not the sexes” or “Only searching for female artists is not good for gender equality”. At first, I could see credibility in that, but If I never actively and adamantly searched for these reggaetoneras, I would have never listened to them or even heard of them, it is about showing that these female artists exist. For Reggaetoneras De Estribillo, the mixtape is composed of 2000s reggaeton tracks popularized by male singers that used uncredited female vocals, exploiting the female voice to add a “sexy” moment. You’ve mentioned that people describe reggaeton as macho. What’s your opinion on that? Do you think female reggaeton artists approach their music differently than men? I think people see the genre as macho because it’s very sexual. That idea in and of itself is very macho because when you say that, you are limiting that sexual attitude to only men. Women should also be able to sing about sex. There are differences. Women usually sing about themselves being the objects of desire, and men often sing about women also being that object. But, fortunately it’s not always like that, and sometimes the roles switch. It was great hearing your project Meneo because that was the first time you released your own singing and production work. Are there any central themes behind your lyrics? I am inspired by the ways some reggaetoneras, like K-Mill or La Mulata, sing about how men dance. I use this in “Discordia”. “El Ratón” is about something that has always bothered me in clubs, which is when guys push and push to flirt with you no matter how many times you say no. I don’t exclusively write about the dance floor, though. I also like to explore other themes, like astrology. “Maestro”, the digital bonus track from the Boomkat Christmas special edition, is a joke about mansplaining. What else do you have coming up? A new Clara! y Maoupa’s album is in the oven. It should be out in July. Is there anyone that you find is a major source of inspiration for you? Ivy Queen, especially with her song, “Pa La Cama Voy.” She sings: “Yo quiero bailar, tu quieres sudar, y pegarte a mi, el cuerpo rozar, Yo te digo si, tu me puedes provocar… eso no quiere decir que Pa la cama voy!” (I want to dance, you want to sweat and stick to me, and rub your body, I tell you yes, you can provoke me…that does not mean I’ll go to bed!) Is it difficult to balance raising a child with being a musician? I’ve seen this question asked to a lot of DJs and musicians who are mothers but rarely to a father. For me, it’s hard, but I don’t think I’m a good person to answer that. I was just beginning when Félix was born. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for someone to have music as their full-time job, because you would have to travel a lot and work late nights. Our son didn’t sleep a full night until he was 18 months old, so it was very difficult for me to stay awake and work. I’ve been lucky the past few years because I had a grant, but it’s finished now, and I’ve been working at a restaurant. Having a job and a kid while still making time to do music is crazy hard. Are there any modern reggaeton artists that you really like? A lot, reggaeton, dembow or whatever: Tomasa del Real, Ms Nina, Karol G, Jenn Morel, La Japonesa, Lapili, La Goony Chonga, Bad Gyal, Milka la Más Dura, La Materialista, La Insuperable, Bela Mami, etc. What do you think about the current reggaeton trend? Though you’re not from Latin America, do you ever feel territorial over reggaeton because you grew up with it? I totally understand why people might feel that I’m appropriating music that’s not technically mine—because I’m Spanish, not Latin American. But I would never feel territorial over reggaeton because it’s not Spanish, even if it’s very present there. I think you need to have respect for where music comes from and give the artists credit.