KRAAK FEST 2024 HIGHLIGHTS: Maria Bertel & Nina Garcia

Longtime sound explorers Nina Garcia and Maria Bertel collide in a fever dream come true. As a duo, textures and rhythms come alive through burning amp bulbs, guitar and trombone reacting and refracting, a powerful complementarity slicing through roaring blasts. Their first collaborative release KN​Æ​KKET SMIL is out this February from a unique co-release constellation formed by No Lagos Musique, Otomatik Muziek and KRAAK’s yours truly.

Tell us a bit about your respective artistic parcours. How did you end up collaborating?
We met in Paris around 7 years ago, where the fantastic people of Sonic Protest set up a ten-day tour for us . We didn’t know each other beforehand, but had listened to other projects of each other and found there to be a mutual energy to explore further. It was one of those moments of just jumping on board and seeing what happens. And here we are still enjoying making sound together.

Your first duo record is out as a collaborative release with No Lagos and Otomatik Muziek. We know the story obviously, but for our readers, how was the process of recording and getting the record off the ground?
We recorded the sound during a residency in La Muse en Circuit in Paris, in a big room. It was a process of digging deeper into, and sort of taking a “snapshot” of our sound at that moment. Later on we were having a long period of editing and deciding on which material to put on the album. We were lucky to have Fréderic Alstadt of Ängström Mastering onboard for the mixing and mastering. And we are grateful for the incredible work Hélène Marian did on the cover art; it’s truly interacting with the sound in a very delicate way. And of course we are thrilled that KRAAK, No Lagos and Otomatik Muziek were up for giving the album its physical form.

So Nina lives in Paris and Maria in the Danish countryside. Besides physical distance, have there been any particular challenges to this collaboration?
It is a concern and a struggle to find a responsible way to tour without being too hard on the planet.

What’s next for Maria & Nina? And for Maria and for Nina? :)

Next up for us is to share the record with everyone. We are super excited about that, and also getting out there to play the music is something we are really looking forward to.

Maria: I have a solo record coming out later in the year on Relative Pitch Records, and also shows coming up with the band Selvhenter, who put out the album 'Mesmerizer' last year.

Nina: Arnaud Rivière and I are releasing a tape as AUTOREVERSE on Daheard It! Records right now!

©Paul Bourdrel

Maria Bertel and Nina Garcia's duo debut KNÆKKET SMIL is out now as a coproduction between No Lagos Musique, Otomatik Muziek and yours truly <3 Order it at your preferred source!

Maria Bertel: Instagram & Soundcloud

Nina Garcia: Instagram, Soundcloud & her slick website

Maria Bertel & Nina Garcia reunite at KRAAK Festival 2024 ~ also a release party of sorts! ~ this Saturday March 2 at Het Bos in Antwerp. TICKETS THIS WAY!