With his Healing single premiered here on Radar today, we caught up with Colombian musician OKRAA to talk about The Beatles, the okra plant, and his forthcoming Dreamachine debut EP.
Under the moniker of OKRAA, Colombian musician Juan Carlos Torres Alonso fuses European electronic styles with the rhythmical roots of his native country. After collaborations with Glasgow pop act Turtle, OKRAA is now releasing his debut EP Dreamachine, a collection of songs emanating from his dreams. With his Healing single premiered here on Radar today, we caught up with the young multi-instrumentalist to learn more.
When, and with what, did you become interested in music?
– The first thing I remember is when I was about five. My father introduced me to The Beatles at that time. They have been an influence ever since. I developed a strong interest in music in that moment. The first time I tried to play an instrument was a few years later, though.
Besides The Beatles, what else did you listen to as a child? Do you think that has influenced the music you’re making today?
– There were a bunch of pop bands around as well. Later on, as a teenager, I developed a taste for punk and hardcore bands like Glassjaw and Refused, among others. I definitely think that all of them influenced in a way what I’m doing today. But discovering Radiohead and Sigur Rós was a turning point in my life.
I come from Colombia and my Latin roots are imprinted in this project
Where does the name OKRAA come from?
– The Okra is a plant that only grows in tropic regions. I come from Colombia and my Latin roots are imprinted in this project. I wanted the name to speak about that as well.
Tell us more about your Dreamachine debut EP. Is there any specific theme or main thread? Where did you find inspiration and influences for it?
– Each one of the four songs represents a different kind of dream. So, this first single is a healing dream. Around the end of 2013 I started to have dreams that would stick in my mind. I began to read about dreams and became somehow obsessed with the subject. I thought about representing some of those in songs. I was going through a lot at the time so it was actually very liberating. The other three songs on the EP are called Lucid, Mutual and Signal (dreams). Gold Panda and James Blake were important influences for Dreamachine.
What mood or situation do you think one should be in when listening to your music?
– Well, I think it’s music that could fit in different situations. I believe it could be great to relax at home and have an inner experience whit it. But after playing the songs live for a few times I’ve noticed that people felt like dancing, so an euphoric state of mind is also a great mood to be in while listening to my music.
What do you like to listen to yourself?
– All kinds of things. Some of my favorites along the years have been Radiohead and Atoms for Peace, Sigur Rós, Jamie xx, Moderat, Efterklang, Jon Hopkins, Flume and Pillowtalk. I also like Rumpistol and Mount Kimbie a lot. One of my favorite albums is Riceboy Sleeps by Jónsi & Alex.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
– My hopes are to keep growing as a musician and to become a better person every day. I plan on releasing the rest of the EP, doing more collaborations and playing live shows around the globe.
Listen to OKRAA’s brand new single Healing here.