Miami’s beloved folk duo Dracula released their highly anticipated debut LP on April 19th, quickly gaining a slew of new fans in music stratosphere, and landing them a top spot in NPR’s New Latin Music Favorites. Their signature style of delicate melodies and harmonized vocals speaks to a deeply emotional level, to a wide audience, even though the majority of their songs are sung in Spanish. The uniqueness of their repertoire and the personalized nature of their live performance style has shrouded the artists in an alluring mystery, begging the question, who is Dracula, and what are they all about? Vents had a chance to chat with the two about the beautiful enigma that is their new album Dorys and Eli. Take a look below.
How did Dracula find its sound? Your music sounds very personal, even while being mostly covers, are the tracks you choose very close to your heart?
I don’t know if we found a sound, as much as we just brought our own ideas of what we like about music and we just went with it. As for choosing songs that are very close to our hearts, a lot of times, the songs we choose have some sort of lyrical relevance, while other times, there might be harmonies, or the possibility for harmonies, or melodies that we enjoy. Other times we take recommendations from musicians we love and respect.
Your music and performance style has been described as very intimate and romantic, do you identify with that?
We began performing to friends in backyards and have kind of kept up the same stage presence regardless of where we play.
Who are some of your top artistic influences and why (doesn’t have to be music based)?
As I’m sure anyone would say, there are several. If anything our biggest influences are the memories stored in our minds of the sweet voice of a store clerk once overheard singing as they work; a choir heard through doors driving by churches; songs that may never have existed coming from car radios in dreams, that one friend who sang you to sleep on a terrible night.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
Reflection and memory.
Have you always been music-driven, and what part of playing live is the most rewarding?
Yes, we’ve always been driven by music. The most rewarding part of playing live is the act of sharing and the opportunity to keep playing.
What you like about living and playing in Miami, and what do you not like?
We love that there are so many great bakeries, the proximity to the ocean and that our parents (and brothers) live here. We don’t like how bad traffic is, and the lack of attention placed on the public transit system (although it’s slowly been expanding).
Your debut full-length Dorys and Eli was just released. What was your favorite part of the process from arrangement to seeing the final outcome? What are you most excited about to come?
Our favorite part was that moment that’d come up again and again when we’d remember that it was actually happening, and of course, being able to hold the record in our hands and sharing it with others was also a satisfying experience. We’re excited to see if this will bring us other opportunities.
Since the space you create while performing seems so thought out, and beautifully curated, when writing and creating, what does Dracula’s ideal creative space/zone look like?
We usually look for a relatively quiet spot, around 70 degrees, with comfortable places to sit, and few interruptions. Ideally, (in addition to quiet, cool, and comfortable) it’d be a spacious, open place with reverberating acoustics by design, with little to no possibility for interruptions, proximity to wooded areas, rivers, a lake or ocean…and mountains would be nice. But not too far from town. And running water and electricity would be nice too. And at least one dog and one cat, preferably friendly, impressively well behaved and affectionate.
Do you have any plans to release a music video for any of the tracks on the album? Who would your dream collaboration be with for that?
We’ve been talking about it, so we hope we’ll get to start on something soon. Dream collaboration in the strictest sense would be Yasujiro Ozu, but since he’s no longer alive, maybe Wong Kar-wai or Alfonso Cuaron. Margot Benaceraf would be great too.
This is your first suite of music to feature studio musicians and session players. Since you two have played together for so long, do you find it hard to give over creative input to outsiders?
It’s not difficult at all as long as the musicians trust each other, and that everyone remains open. It can be scary and at times it’s hard to considerately voice to someone that you don’t like their idea, but then it becomes an exercise in learning how to do that.
How have you evolved as artists over the last year, and how have you helped each other along the transformative and creative journey of writing and recording an album together?
It’s hard to say…we both feel more confident going forward with the amount of support we’ve received so the field of possibility has expanded. We both try to provide each other with as much feedback as we can, but mostly just try to keep each other calm and away from overthinking anything.
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
We’d love to layer some vocals with Brian Wilson and perform with him. His choral approach to popular music has always been a huge inspiration.
What’s next for you guys?
Taking it a day at a time, just making it to work. In the near future, maybe start to work on a new suite of recordings, and hopefully we’ll get to go on a brief tour and see some great places.