I first became aware of Diego Barrera in May of 2011 around the time that his video clip for the Witch House musical outfit Mater Suspiria Vision and their track “Seduction of the Armageddon Witches” came out. I was lucky enough to pierce through his mind in a recent interview to find out a bit more regarding his style, his motivations and his recent collaboration on “The Sun of the Natural World is Pure Fire”, with Jim Jarmusch, the fabled director most known for his films Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, The Limits of Control, and Jozef Van Wissem the Dutch composer and self- proclaimed “lute player with a punk rock attitude”. Nota bene: for this project we see Jarmusch and Van Wissem team up once again to release this strictly musical endeavour (Jarmusch was not involved cinematically here) as a precursor to their brand new edge cutting experimental album Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity. Which is a little dissonant, cleverly composed but mostly dope.
But I have to say before you scroll down some more do bear in mind the aphoristic nature of the technicalities behind this interview. You see, with all this talk of artists taking us on ocularly laden self-spiritualised voyages which lead us to a better understanding of communication or connection with something/someone, there’s a dollop of irony in this recipe. Diego Barrera is in fact Spanish and although he does have a good grasp of the English word, his linguistic adroitness lies in his native tongue. So as I wanted it to flow as freely from his fingertips as possible, I’m certainly glad he responded via e-mail entirely in Spanish. So Google Translate, now is your time to shine. But seriously, thank you modern technology for improving the nexus between human beings. Because of this we are able to do just as Diego’s videos do: interact.
Portable: What was it like working with Jim Jarmusch and how did that come about?
Diego Barrera: It all began with the previous video I made for the group Mater Suspiria Vision, as Jozef turned out to be an ardent fan of the Witch House movement and was able to see my video, liked it and got in touch with me, just started talking about the idea to make a video clip for his new project with Jarmusch. It took some time as I was finishing up other things in Barcelona, luckily already had a script that I had begun writing since last year, and seeing as the world wanted Jozef to represent his music and the new album with Jim it fit so well with the universe of which I spoke in my new script, I just asked for a little time to complete it.
Once they received it, they liked me and gave me complete freedom, so everything was pretty smooth, I took it easy with the shooting, which has been the longest I’ve done so far, but also less stressful for me. Jim was busy with the shooting of his new movie so he did not have the time to record it, but once he agreed with Jozef we took a few shots and recorded the first video clip.
P: In your latest video I sense a fluent theme of sadness and despair, but in a very beautiful respect. Was that intentional?
Diego Barrera: My main motivation to shoot, or rather in the result is the healing process; one of the characters in the video is the embodiment of a wound, so their relationship was to represent this despair you say, and another major inspiration was the end of The Dead by James Joyce, really epic, especially great in the way of telling the past relationship of the protagonist, the death of his love and life never again as they both felt at that moment. I still like to imagine such love after death, and those eyes in low rainfall.
P: What does the video represent?
Diego Barrera: I really do not like to explain the videos much, I prefer that each draw their own conclusions.
P: Where was it shot? How important is the sceneries and the settings for you, creatively?
Diego Barrera: Recorded mostly in Barcelona and in a small town about an hour from Barcelona, with that precious hidden pond, also in Madrid and scenes in Sitges. I like to interlayer spaces ‘created by me’ with the natural space, of course. Nature is very important in what I do, so I always try to be so hard on the exteriors and interiors, and nothing is as sublime as forests.
P: If you could have any choice and there weren’t any restrictions, who would you collaborate with?
Diego Barrera: Antony Hegarty, Karin Dreijer, Dead Can Dance, Diamanda Galas, CocoRosie, Alan Vega, Kate Bush, Brian Eno, Chris & Cosey… and many more.
P: Is it important for your work to carry conscious messages or would you prefer to unleash a sense of adventure in the viewer, as if to challenge them to look closer?
Diego Barrera: For my work, or what I want with my work, it is important on one hand to think I have found
my “post” so to speak; I will guide the search that I have a passion for to form a “philosophy”, and build a theme that serves as the breeding ground for other new ideas.I do like to convey that. And the other thing is that the viewer can interpret it differently, which is something that should always be present in art.
For more finger-licking offerings by Diego Barrera check out diego-barrera.blogspot.com.