Parra for Cuva: True to Oneself

In 2014, Nicolas Demuth, aka Parra for Cuva, released a rework if Chris Isaak’s renowned hit, Wicked Games. His version shot to the top of the iTunes charts in the United Kingdom, and he became a runaway success. Since the release of his first EPs Fading Nights, Something Near, Luhya, and Veiled in Blue, some in collaboration with his long time friend Anna Naklab, the German-born DJ and producer released his first full-length album Majouré in 2015.

A new album is on its way, set for release in May 2016, and we know what to expect. The pop aesthetic no longer, in its place is the true vibe and energy of Parra for Cuva.

His music has been described as lofty, introspective electronica, and upon closer inspection, his music is thoughtful, nuanced and a little hypnotic. Parra for Cuva spoke to us about creativity, discovery and remaining “true to oneself”, ahead of the release of his new album.

f. From the Lower Saxony area to Berlin – tell us about this journey and how it shaped you?

Parra for Cuva. Berlin was a very logical consequence after I found out that music is what I want to do.

This is mostly the only place in Germany where you can study electronic music and sound design. The city shaped me in many ways positively and negatively. I guess the biggest impact this place had on me was the people and musicians I met and continue to meet here. There is nothing better for a musician then having a creative surrounding. But as much as I love Berlin I really don’t want to spend all my life here. Summer might be nice but winter can be like hell. So after I am done with my study [in sound design] I might move somewhere warmer.

f. What made you gravitate toward electronic music?

PFC. Actually, it’s just a coincidence.

I was into instrumental music a lot. In my early days I was playing in an indie band with my keys. After a friend showed me these Digital Workstations I tried them just for fun, but after you put a beat under some of these ideas you get really addicted.

As I record all instruments myself it’s still kind of the same. I am just a big band where I play every instrument; only the sound is more electronic.

f. Describe your sound?

PFC. It’s a mirror of the most romantic part in my brain.

f. What is the narrative behind your productions?

PFC. I discovered that when I produce music I don’t usually want to narrate anything. It just comes as it comes and I make a track out of the flow. When it’s finished I might connect the song with a certain time or a situation I’ve experienced.

When somebody else listens to it they will put their own story or meaning to the track and that’s what makes it interesting. I love when people tell me what moved them about the song.

f. What do you aim to communicate through your work?

PFC. I do music for myself, for my own pleasure, but what I would like though is for those who listen to my music to have an inner experience where they drift away with it. Maybe even listen to the song a few times and discover something new like small percussions and a weird rhythm or a tiny sample in the background. That’s what I love when I listen to music.

f. What music genres have helped shape who you are?

PFC. I guess basically every genre in its own way (except metal maybe).

I still listen to a lot of music and it’s all so different – right now I am totally into R&B even if I usually don’t listen to it so much. Maybe next week I’ll be back in skater music, who knows. But the biggest impact for me is Downtempo or Trip hop.

f. Tell us about the creative process in the development of your music?

PFC. The most creative thing for me is to get some weird external effects or instruments/synths. That is always an amazing way to keep yourself busy. Sometimes creativity also comes when you watch documentaries. Sometimes you find little nice sounds or rhythms, which you can sample.

The best tracks come with strange quick ideas. The planned tracks, where you plan a lot, never work out.

f. What have you seen change over the years with the way you create your music?

PFC. When I listen back to tracks I made two years ago I almost start laughing because of their bad mixing and boring arrangements.

I think in music you never stop learning, as it’s an ongoing process. A few years ago, I had no real idea how to make record in terms of development and sound aesthetic.

I learn so much by doing, but I guess also my studies in sound design helped a lot. We had lectures about mastering, mixing and aural training. Also I spend a lot of hours with the theory of harmonics. So all in all I am a step forward on a long journey.

f. What do you prefer to play on? 

PFC. When I play live I am performing with Ableton and all my instruments and controllers, and when it comes to a DJ set I prefer CDJs.

f. Your long-standing friendship with Anna Naklab has seen much collaboration. Why do you think these collaborations work so well?

PFC. This long-standing friendship was very short. We made a few tracks in a short time with very little effort and very amateur approach. In the end it turned out to be very successful and I guess that’s because of her voice and the pop tracks we made. There is no big secret in writing pop tracks. In the end she wanted to be a commercial success and I preferred to remain true to oneself. That’s why we don’t do anything together anymore.

f. Is there an artist you’d like to work with in the future? If so, who and why?

PFC. If I could chose I would always prefer an artist or a band that have nothing in common with my music. As an example, it would be most creative to work with a drumming band from Africa, or with a more Latin-based musician because then you can experience new rhythm and ideas.

f. What can we expect from your new album?

PFC. Quite a long emotional journey.

Some tracks are really long and very hypnotic. The title of the Album is Darwis, which is related to the Derwisch [Dervish] dancers.

The aim of the Dervish dancers is to reach perfection be relinquishing superficial inhibitors like egos, and focusing on the music to which they spin. They reach their deity, Nirvana, Eden.

Just search for them on YouTube, watch them spin for a little while and maybe you will get an idea what to expect…

Parra for Cuva’s second album is set for release in May 2016. Stay tuned to fluoro for more.

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