With millions of streams on Spotify and their new single with Matisyahu, electropop duo Salt Cathedral carved a space for themselves in the electronic music scene last year and are set to take over in 2017. The duo have made their own brand of electronic music by blending pop appeal and intelligent, inventive arrangements, all while collaborating with artists well out of their comfort zone. The result is just what Salt Cathedral needs to start the new year off on a strong foot, and with more new music planned for January, it seems they’re already on the right track.
Interview by Dom Vigil
Can you tell us a little bit about Salt Cathedral for any readers who may not be familiar?
We are a duo, originally from Bogota, Colombia and now living in New York. We come from a jazz background and have been making pop music as Salt Cathedral for the past three years. We have released three EPs, a couple of singles and next year we’re releasing our debut album.
You have had a very busy year of touring, writing and recording in 2016. What has been the best part of your year so far?
The best part of 2016 was writing our debut record. We got the opportunity to branch out and collaborate with artists we really admire like Matisyahu, Assassin and Lee Scratch Perry!
You also recently released “Unraveling,” which features vocals from Matisyahu. How did the collaboration come about?
We originally reached out to Matisyahu asking if he’s like to collaborate. To our surprise, he had already heard Salt Cathedral and liked it. We went into the studio for a couple of days and cut two songs – ‘Unraveling’ and ‘Carry Me’ out on his Release The Bound EP
On top of “Unraveling,” you also collaborated on Matisyahu’s song, “Carry Me.” What was the highlight of working with him on these songs? Did you learn anything from working together?
Absolutely! Matis is a very talented and inspiring artists. The experience of being in the studio and working these songs into shape was fascinating for us and a highlight in and of itself.
Watching the way his brain works out melody in a very particular process that stems from lyrics, improvisation and perfection of this improv was very enlightening. We really admire his freedom in the studio and you learn to accept process and the shaping of a song in a shared manner. I feel like many times artist believe they should not show their work in progress – only when it’s done, only when it’s “good” and we learned through collaborating that accepting process is as much a part of it as the final thing.
With “Unraveling” out now, you’ve also been teasing your new album, which you finished recording earlier this year. When can fans expect to hear some more new music?
Definitely in January!! Our next single is called “Run For The Money”
Did you have any major goals or plans when working on your new music?
Yes! We wanted to go back to our dancing roots and culture. We grew up dancing especially to styles like merengue, salsa, champeta, reggaeton, and other caribbean rhythms. So, for this record we wanted to explore those styles and try to push/stretch them as much as possible.
How do you feel you’ve grown or evolved with those new songs, or even throughout this year as a whole?
We’ve grown to accept all the music we love and want to make and to understand them as projects within Salt Cathedral. I think at first we were very confused with the vast amount of different sounds we were making. You can hear examples of that on our 2016 releases – Homage EP and No Ordinary Man – two fairly different releases.
We have music for years and will always want to reinvent what we do and explore unknown territory, but for these songs we’ve crafted something more ‘pop’ an accessible than our previous material and perhaps less self-involved, something that alludes to your dancing instinct and speaks about struggle, determination and self-love.
With 2016 coming to an end and 2017 beginning, do you have any plans for this year yet?
Yes!! We will be releasing our debut record, will be playing SXSW as well as another pretty big festival that we can’t announce yet! Hopefully we can tour on this record!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
2016 has been a bleak year. It’s frustrating to just sit and watch this world get destroyed: global warming is real and we elect leaders who disregard this, the refugee crisis in Syria is a tragedy that should hurt us all, the treatment of women all over the world and especially in our home country of Colombia is something that society should condemn, our children need to grow in peace.
We look forward to using our voices and our music to add to the conversation of how we can make this world a better place. We should all be – this is our shared world and it is our responsibility.