Miruna Boruzescu – Interview

Borusiade: “I am very concerned about what we are experiencing as humans of today and how we handle our planet, ourselves, our environment”

Miruna Boruzescu (Photo: Dan Beleiu)


After her debut album “A Body” and the follow up single “Silent” Miruna Boruzescu returns these days with her new album „Fortunate Isolation“ (Dark Entries), the  very dark and unconsciously visionary soundtrack to our current isolated microcopically experience of the world. 

Thomas Venker did exchange some questions with Miruna. 
All images for the interview are chose by Miruna and are August Strindberg’s celestographs taken from public domain (some of them were also used some for the LP cover).

Miruna, your album title „Fortunate Isolation“ is spooky contemporary. What did you originally have in mind with the title?
Indeed, it also hit me when I realised that this is the reality we live in today… it is actually scary. Initially the title came out of my personal experience, regarding my own need to sometimes isolate and observe the world I live in, the environment, the human impact on all this. And now it makes even more sense. In a very weird way

The album title is slightly modified into the track title „Lament (Fortunate Isolation“), what’s
that twist about?
The whole album is a lament. A lament is ‘a passionate expression of grief or sorrow,’ quote from Oxford Dictionary. The choice to call the song like that was because I felt that it would be the centre-piece of the album and I wanted to sort of underline this idea It just felt natural.

Image: August Strindberg’s Celestographs (1893–4)

It does not end with the album title, also some of the other track titles are fitting much to well the current situation: „Time (No Time)“ and „When I Read The News Today“ for example. Being a writer and editor myself I am of course curious: which news made you go into the studio to start recording the album?
I guess it wasn’t anything specific but rather a Zeitgeist of this constant bombardment of news and more or less essential information where it becomes more and more difficult to focus on a viable truth, whatever that means.

The album is your musical answer to a world in change, coming (even before Corona) from the knowledge that the things can’t keep going like they used to run for the last decades. We humans failed in preserving our environment. Your compositions are therefore dark, they are very very dark. How did you experiences the process of creating those tracks?
I have a hard time describing my process of creation because it is pretty much unconscious. Of course the pieces of this puzzle go at the end through a deliberate filter but I work very intuitive. I don’t plan oeuvres, albums, concepts. I just filter experiences and feelings. And on a conscious level I am very concerned about what we are experiencing as humans of today and how we handle our planet, ourselves, our environment. This goes on all levels, from planetary to personal.

Are you re-listening them since you finished the album a lot or did you need a break?
I do listen sometimes but less and less. I like listening sometimes to older releases because time gives me this distance from them, a distance that I do not have when I produce. I am often surprised.

The album is coming in two years after „A Body“ and three after „Silent“, one could say you are a fast producer and good with time management as other high frequent scheduled djs and producers like you do not release with such a regularity.
Do you feel represented in my words?
Well “A Body” was indeed my first album. “Silent” was just a single… I wouldn’t consider myself a very fast producer ; I take my time. Plus as I said before I do not plan ahead. I just make music and when I have the opportunity to release a record, the stories happen.
It is usually tracks that are ‘witnesses’ of certain periods of time and they form universes, like pages of a diary. Same goes for the EP’s, a format I have much respect for – I see them as ‘short films’ if the LP is a feature film.

Miruna, I love the way you work with your voice on „Fortunate Isolation“. It fits so well the melancholic atmosphere of the album. How natural does it feel for you to sing on your tracks these days?
Thank you!
Singing is something natural to me, it always was, since I was a kid. I spent 10 years singing in a children’s choir in Bucharest, back than I used to be a soprano. I use my voice on many of my tracks and I gained the courage to use it more and more. I think it gives a very specific personal touch that no other production can and I feel I express myself better and with more honesty when I don’t just ‘hide behind’ electronics.

It has such a fitting dramatic effect when you for example in „Mirror Hall (This Relief)“ grumpily mumble the lyrics in kinda slow motion. By the way, what are you actually saying there?
“Mirror Hall (This Relief)” is like a calming meditation, a mantra caught between consciousness, pain, pleasure and letting go – it is about self realisation and acceptance. “This relief, please breathe in, now we start, you breathe out, in your mind so deep in there’s a tunnel, thoughts are riding, dreams are lurking like the shadows of the memories you forgot.” These are the lyrics.

Do you experiment a lot with your ductus?
I guess so. As I said before I feel it as essential to use my voice as a very valuable instrument and my lyrics as forms of expression. It gives a vulnerability that gives value, I think.

„They Pass By“, the short track coming in after „Mirror Hall (This Relief)“ feels a bit like someone cutting finally the throat through to end the pain. Is that what’s going on?
No. “Welcome Them” and “They Pass By” work like a prologue and and intermission in the album and would rather refer to the dramatical changes that we experience – this them and they is a personification. It is like an invitation to acceptance. It is interesting how you seem to perceive the album as something almost unbearably dramatic, but it isn’t. I felt it is more a meditation on a reality that is already there.

You are coming not only from a classical musical education, you also have a bachelor in film direction. How huge is the influence of those two fields on your current practise of composing?
I ask this specifically as to me your new album has – in opposite to the works before – a really classical approach with these kinda of religious-esk sound motifs, and of course the storytelling of the music is quite visuable and brings up many pictures in the head of the listener.
I grew up with sound and image as defaults and this has obviously shaped me. I can not use one without the other, so when I make music, there is always a narrative or an image that goes with it in my mind. This is probably why my work becomes so ‘visual’ to listeners. Comparing this last album to other releases before, I can’t feel a difference in the way I worked but there must be a natural evolution of my expression. It also has to do with my overall mood and intention.

That said: How do you write your lyrics?
I usually write a draft of the lyrics after I have the vibe of the produced song and from then on i start working further on the two fronts in parallel: on music and text. It is also very important for me that besides the message, the text also sounds good phonetically. I feel it is essential to find the right words.

Miruna Boruzescu (Photo: Dan Beleiu)

What is it that you search in your work with words?
As I said, I want to transmit an idea, a message, an opinion but also integrate them in the music.

How much air is there between the lyrical I and you? I ask as the lyrics are covering pretty dark areas as already mentioned here a few times. Is this your world view or rather a collage of perspectives filtered from what you read and saw and heard during the process of working on the album?
I am very honest in what I do in my music and the lyrics I write are usually very personal filters of my world view. They may seem dark but in my opinion they are just realistic observations. My world view is a pretty balanced one: I definitely ain’t an optimist but not a pessimist either
but I definitely underline the things that make me pensive or uncomfortable. I need to release them in order to understand and solve them in my mind.

Miruna, you just left Berlin behind and moved after something like how many years back to Bucharest. How does this feel?
I didn’t. I continue living in Berlin for 12 years now but I indeed am very much travelling often back to Bucharest to visit my life here. But I continue to officially live in Berlin.

In general but also in moments of crisis like now, we always here so much more from the big cities like Berlin and New York and Los Angeles and their communities. How is Bucharest handling the current happenings?
Because the risks of contagion in this given situation are very big and the medical system in Romania is not in the the best shape…, they have implemented really strict rules for the population already before it all went out of control. So people have been told to stay home before the numbers on infections and deaths rose to extreme numbers. Still the pandemic runs its course but maybe a bit slower and more controllable with these measures.

And how has someone who has never been to Bucharest or Rumania in general imagine the local community?
This is something I can’t know since I was born there… but I guess I could say: eclectic, contradictory, beautiful, chaotic, a mind-fuxx of a city.

And you? I mean your album is now out for about a month, this is normally the time an artist is the most busy promoting the album in the clubs and on the festivals.
Well this is obviously not happening as it should, given the conditions. I had the very weird realisation and other people have told me too that the title of my album is somehow visionary “Fortunate Isolation” Now i stay home and wait for this storm to pass. What comes after is uncertain but nobody does…

That said, of course the problems of us writers and artists, are – as valid as they also are – marginal within the bigger picture, at least for now. Whats your view on the community around you and the handling of the situation?
Right now I think all we have is hope that things will somehow change for the best, sooner than later. I feel the community but I do not think that anyone has a clue about what to do and how to act on this. All we can do is stay ‘sober’ and informed and act in realistic terms. And then when we’re all out of this, hopefully some things will change for the greater good.

To change back to something positive, I like your cover collage. It was designed by Eloise Leigh. What can you tell us about her? How did you work collaboration start? What do you like about her art.
Eloise Leigh is the very talented graphic designer that works for years with the label Dark Entries and even thou I was given also the choice to work with another designer if I wanted , I chose to collaborate with her. I like the label’s visual identity and I wanted to keep that.
It was a very productive collaboration where I have sent her some images that I found fitting to the universe of this album and she has put together this beautiful collage that has become the cover of the album. I feel it perfectly illustrates the universe and vibe of the album. I am very happy with the end result!

After releases on labels like Unterton, Cititrax, Correspondant and Cómeme you are now collaborating with Dark Entries Records, based in San Francisco and run by Josh Cheon. How did you two end up working together?
I was always a huge fan of Dark Entries and I felt that my music could have been a fit for that home, and so it was. I first met Josh personally at the festival Nuits Sonores in Lyon during the days curated by Jennifer Cardini where we both were invited to play. Before that I had done a remix for a track of Lena Platonos for the EP “Sun Masks Remixes” , alongside other artists. When I sent him some tracks for consideration he was the one who proposed me to release an album. The rest is history.

It kinda makes full sense when digging deeper in the label catalogue as Josh has also a faible for and a talent to find all those dark wave enigmas from the past, right?
Exactly, I felt the same and the feeling was right.

The album ends with „Follow“. So, let’s def think optimistic: What is the first thing you gonna do when the virus is hopefully pushed back and we all are able to go out of the houses again?
I will probably have to re-adapt to the new order of the world first. After that I will continue doing the best in my work but also in life generally.

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