Although born and educated in London, Sasha Perera was a major player in establishing the dub and grime scene in Berlin in her DJ incarnation as Mother Perera and also as part of Jahcoozi – a band that’s something like the bastard child of bass and mongrel pop. Deciding to go elsewhere this year, Perera chose a trajectory that might seem dissonant from her earlier works as a bass-heavy electronic musician; she toned down the volume and turned to a minimal sound that while still indebted to electronica, is acoustic on the onset. But as she pointed out to us, this isn’t a new phenomenon restricted to the past decade, acoustic acts had always embraced electronica. JUICE gets cerebral with her as she waxes philosophy on the ‘Elsewhere’ tenet, the relationship between an artiste and their image, and her modus operandi when playing a DJ set.
Hi Sasha, how has the reception been for Everlast?
Actually really good, better than I ever expected.
What made you move from bass music to stripped down, minimal, acoustic sound? And how’s the transition to making that sort of music like?
I just started making semi acoustic, semi electronic tunes in my apartment in 2010 without really having any particular mission. I had a guitar in the apartment and I had the Jahcoozi studio microphone there per chance as I was recording a feature for a producer in Japan. It was a cold winter and it was a really small apartment. It seemed like a good way to pass time! I’ve always been into loads of different types of music, what drives me is sound aesthetic rather than style to be honest. At the time I didn’t really like the beats I was making so I just worked with the vocals and the guitar added loads of reverb and delays, pitched stuff, and I was happy with the minimalism that arose. It was more by chance and the love of experimentation that this album came into being than anything else.
Playing as Perera Elsewhere is going to be quite a difference experience for you, from the instruments you use to the music you play. Have you gotten used to it yet?
I’m still adjusting the live show. It’s not easy to play because it’s not 100% acoustic but it’s also not 100% electronic. It’s also a new context for me to play in, i.e. not at 2am in the morning! (Laughs) I also never had a band as a teenager or anything. Most people go from indie to electronic music, for me the development was vice versa. Just like the making of the album, it’s a learning process…
There seems to be more acts that combined electronica with acoustic – these two used to be kinda mutually exclusive…
I disagree, I think there are loads of acts who are acoustic and electronic. Look at Stockhausen in Germany, John Cage in the USA, or Halim El-Dabh in Egypt. People started introducing electronic sounds into acoustic music well over 40 years ago. I would say that electronic music has become much more accessible to the masses over the last decade and unfortunately most of the consumers have very little idea of what happened before then and that is where this misconception comes from.
You call your solo project ‘Perera Elsewhere’. Does the ‘Elsewhere’ in the name your way of separating your previous music with the current project?
In a way, yes. ‘Elsewhere’ has to do with a place where I have not been seen before, but it also has to do with a much more intimate place that is more personal. Perera Elsewhere music starts in my house, on my computer, on my own. People have seen or heard me playing in clubs but have never heard the sound of my apartment or my voice so clearly because of the minimalism. ‘Elsewhere’ is also a vibe, it unifies other likeminded people who are looking for a place of musical refuge, to hide from the reality of a world that can be harsh and full of plastic. ‘Elsewhere’ is surreal and realer than real all at the same time.