What does TULUM SOUNDS like? An interview with Hugo Branco

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Hugo Branco, Artist Resident and creator of Sound-Escapes speaks with us about his stay in Tulum, his experience in Residencia Gorila and Sound-Escapes, a project that integrates diverse pieces like a track of all the Tulum’s sounds that got his attention.

1. Hugo Branco, can you talk about your work and passions?

I’ve basically have worked in many creative projects, more in the line of sound. I started as a DJ fifteen years ago then moved to production and experimentation, I think sound is a very plastic matter that you can really work a lot with and it has a strong influence on the lives of people. Besides sounds I’m very interested in words because when I was a kid I wanted to be a travel writer. Being a DJ took to me to travel and to know other places, and also cooking, three things that interested me are those: sound, words, travelling and food.

2. What was THE PLAN before you arrived to TULUM?

I was going to come to Tulum and be here for two months. Finally I stayed for four months. The plan was to run through several Latin countries recording sounds that got my attention of each city that I picked from each country while writing about it, also collaborating with other artists and make a performance of each place. My first stop was going to be Tulum and then get to Mexico City.

3. And what did it REALLY happened?

I arrive to Tulum because I wanted to land in soft land, I started to meet people and hear about other places inside México. I went to Bacalar, to San Cristobal and I wanted to go to Oaxaca but couldn’t, at the end I didn’t even reach Mexico City. I was hired by an Ecoturism Agency, and started working with them and that’s how I ended up staying more, my idea was to keep traveling but now I’m going back to Porto because we got a grant to work with another project. Certainly I will come back and keep persuading the first plan, because it feels like the beginning of something and all the doors are being left open.

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4. What did you expected before coming, and what did it really happened?

I had the urge to do the whole trip at once, being in a city and moving to the next and so on. But once here I started relaxing and feeling that I could stay as much as I wanted and that I could end up absorbing more experiences like meeting more people, doing more traveling, collaborating with other artists, moving around to know what can happen. I feel more relaxed in a sense and more confident of what life has reserved for me.

5. Can you talk a little about the project “Sound-Escapism”?

The project Sound-Escapism was also a project that changed; finally I decided to take another approach, what I did is more on the narrative side. I did a sound story about Porto, starting very abstract until it gets to a sort of rhythm and fades out giving space to Tulum. Where I record the basic sounds like the wind on the palm trees, the waves, the birds, then I go to the generator sounds that are on the beach because is a big contrast. I wanted to translate this paradox. What I’m doing is something very personal; I’m not trying to say that Tulum sounds like this; I’m trying to say that this is what to Tulum sounds for me. Then I start playing the sounds of the vendors: the shoemaker, the bread guy, the ice cream guy, and the gas company… I’m very happy with the result.

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6. Since you already describe in your blog your experience in Residencia Gorila, can you give us a more personal approach?

My trip to México was like being caught by a metallic hand and then getting dropped somewhere else. You lose the context that helps define yourself so when you lose you have to redo it. When I arrived to Residencia Gorila I started a personal rebuilding process that is faster and harder when you are amongst lots of people. By living together in community you are constantly getting mirrored by other people. I have to say now I’m much more easy with myself than when I arrived. I went to travel to Bacalar and to San Cristobal, and this is where I felt completely being myself. When I came back to Tulum I had a job and I felt more independent, I knew people and the place and how to work with the energy. To sum it up being in Residencia Gorila was kind of (good) shock, being with other artists that have other processes, in a creative and emotional way different from mine, a very important and beautiful thing that I loved experiencing.

7. Did you collaborate with someone else’s project during your time in Gorila?

Yes. At the end I’m doing some work with Lushlife, a guy that makes incredible music (read the interview here); also with Anna Kin an amazing photographer. During my stay at Residencia Gorila they were people making music and dancing, and I recorded everyone doing their things. I helped with the videos that Spencer Keaton Cunningham was making. Alejandro Canela made the drawing for my webpage, and is completely what I wanted. In some way there is interaction with everyone and everyone is constantly influencing you.

8. What would you say to the next artist that lands in Residencia Gorila?

Enjoy, take your time… just make the most out it! Is a good place to work, is a good place to have creative and social experiences and to get inspired by everything that’s going around you, you have the beach right there; you are around amazing people all the time, so make the most out of it!

READ Hugo Branco’s experience in Residencia Gorila and in TULUM!

VISIT Hugo Branco’s sound-escapes!

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