Interview by Helena Markos
In the photo: SMFORMA from the isolation
Witchcraft, poetry and darkness combined with heart-shaking synth lines and sharp beats. This is how I see the Barcelona – based duo SMFORMA, in few words. We got to know them through their staggering, mind – bending releases on Diffuse Reality and Periphylla. They create ritualistic dark electro, EBM and hard beats washed over by Jogile’s witchy and entrancing vocals.
Today, I ask them to share their reflections regarding the pandemic, as well as their art and expression.
A thought – provoking read, which shows that the voices of artists, who contribute with meaningful sounds to the scene, must be heard more often, especially right now. Mario and Jogile talk about their story, their creative process, the post-virus era and their future projects.
T.O.P: Hi guys, first of all, thank you for your time to do this interview. I would like to ask you how you are coping with the current situation created by the virus COVID-19 and what are your emerging thoughts, both as humans and artists?
Mario: The truth is that at the beginning of the lockdown we realised that our lives didn’t change that much as most of the time we are working from home, although now has come the time when all this is too much.
A situation like this shows that we are nothing and shows how easy it is to push the human being to the limit. Nature rules and either we start to change our habits and relationship with the environment or we are condemned to be exterminated.
It makes us laugh when everyone puts their hands on their heads when they see a Chinese market selling all kinds of animals but their pulse doesn’t tremble when they go to the supermarket to buy chopped animal bodies. The human duality is like that, we are able to sign against bullfights while eating a ham sandwich.
Jogile: We’re definitely living in interesting times and, obviously, that what we were imagining as the far future, which would be more like a scene from a sci-fi movie, has actually become reality now. What a slap for humanity!
I like to say that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and we should try to do the best out of this situation, contemplate and reflect. It’s a chance for many to think and do changes. Maybe for some, it is changing the work, for others eating habits or a lifestyle. The truth is no matter how scared, anxious, or insecure we are, we must find the way, even if we are limited. We can cry and do nothing, or we can keep ourselves busy, stay positive, and create a better future. Starting from ourselves and now.
For me personally, this is the time of focusing on myself (mentally and physically), my work, my projects, and my home. Though, I madly miss my friends and dancing! 🙂
T.O.P: How was your journey into the music so far and is there any moment you would say it has been a milestone?
Jogile: SMFORMA is a love story that started 3 years ago between Berlin and Barcelona. In this period we understood we are a perfect combination either at the studio or on stage, having our own roles and the same professional approach to music. There’s one thing that is the most important of all, it is to be present and have fun! Years of experience in music from both sides helps a lot to go through the creative process smoothly.
Mario: Music is something that we need to be always present, like the one who makes sculpture or paints a picture. We need to lock ourselves in the studio and play with the machines.
We both have a similar background, I come from the most extreme and noisy part and Jogile was part of experimental and darkwave bands, industrial scenes for many years in Lithuania and Berlin. Musically the connection was easy.
T.O.P: What would you say is the main characteristic of your music and what is your main source of inspiration?
Mario: Puff…we are inspired by everything!!! We buy a lot of music, both Jogile and I have been working and related to record stores, record labels and different music scenes for many years, that means that the number of inputs we have is brutal.
It’s true that when we have to compose we try to reduce the listening of other people’s music to mark the distance but still it’s difficult.
SMFORMA is focused on a type of music that we like to listen to when we go out to parties. Although, there are no rules. But it is true that when we have several beats and lyrics we choose the ones that make our heads move.
Jogile: We both love noise, experimental dark electronics, obviously our sound couldn’t go too far from it, but we also like smooth cold electro sounds and hard beats, so our live show is an interesting journey based on the very deep message, too (you’ll have to find out yourself). We don’t like to put ourselves to the frame of one style, it’s more about the evolving story and changing moods.
T.O.P: How do you feel the scene will emerge in a post – virus era and how things will develop in terms of creation, expression and the social aspects of it?
Mario: I have no idea and I’m so bad being Nostradamus, but I’m sure everything will change and since we read something different every day I don’t even know what to think.
Jogile: Sometimes I think that the music scene is gonna turn to a non-stop online broadcasting loop. What is totally fine but at some point, we would need a human connection and not just a screen in from of us.
Another thought is that we might have a virus test security at the door of the clubs. And the theme parties ‘Virus’ would become a thing. Don’t know let’s see… I want to be positive and will say that hopefully, we’ll be able to come back on stage again soon, as we really miss it!
T.O.P: Who are you outside the studio/venues?
SMFORMA: 2 aliens in human suits who don’t want to be discovered as we don’t want to be locked and tested in a lab in Arizona Zone 51. We have 6 arms, 7 legs, 3 penises and 4 clitoris. That sometimes makes sex difficult, but please don’t let it get out of hand. We like privacy and discretion.
T.O.P: You are both involved in some side projects. Would you like to tell me a few things about them?
Mario: I am part of Dead Normal (Harbinger Sound), an electronic punk trio with quite a lot of bad blood, a project very much thought out for live performances. On the other hand, I’m preparing the first EP with Aitor, singer of The Wax, a hardcore band from Navarcles (Catalonia) under the name of Data Error. Also, thanks to the confinement I have been able to recover some ideas I had for my solo project d.Forma, and I hope to finish an EP this year.
Jogile: Since some years I’ve been occasionally active as a DJ under the name Snegu Magdalene. This name was born in the abstract, surreal act-video collaboration filmed in Berlin, where I explore my roots in a spiritual aspect through combined passions: performance, music and fashion. Later Snegu Magdalene blended together with d.Forma and became SMFORMA. Though I still might use that name for my solo project in the future.
T.O.P: Any upcoming projects or releases to announce?
SMFORMA: Right now everything has been frozen but we hope to be able to announce many things soon.
T.O.P: If you would choose a mind healer piece of music which one would be?
Mario: How difficult, as we said before, the fact of consuming so much music makes us change our taste every 3 days but based on what I’m listening to lately I would say Caterina Barbieri, Grebenstein Seefried, Nazar or Scarlxrd.
Jogile: Helen Ripley-Marshall – Green Chaos