PURPLE is enigmatic singer/producer Luis Dourado, a man who has gained a flooring amount of notoriety for both his music and his artwork … and who is also responsible for debilitating my headphone’s ability to play bass. Prayer hands to you, PURPLE.
He just dropped his debut album, Silence & Remorse this week on Sholomo‘s collective WEDIDIT, and I have to say, it really made me want to coax a demon out of an abandoned Civil War cemetery using nothing more than white miniature horse hair, sage, and my own baby teeth. This album is darker than a black hole, but all that not-goth/neo-goth/goth-fuck shit sounds so good to me and my brooding sense of apathy right now. Exploring notions of fatalism, loss, love, hopefulness and internal conflict, the album smolders with evil synths, distorted vocals and doom-filled beats. It’s sinister and house-y enough to be the sonic background at Club Berlin in Berlin, but there are softer moments within its scaly exterior that resonate the non-sociopath in you, making for a generally menacing first release with a distinct human element that draws you in.
In addition to his musical offerings, Luis is a much-lauded visual artist. His work has been published in various renowned publications such as The New York Times Magazine, he’s collaborated with publishers such as Gestalten and even exhibited his series in galleries such as the esteemed Arnolfini in England.
I caught up with PURPLE from his home in Berlin to find out how he balances his art with music, how he got involved with WEDIDIT, and what would happen to his lusciously dark sound if his life was a shining butt-beacon of optimism and glee.
People keep saying you haven’t gotten anywhere near the coverage you deserve to be getting and I would totally agree How does that make you feel? When I started writing and recording songs as PURPLE some years ago I wasn’t even thinking of sharing them. It all felt so personal to me, so intimate and weird. For me, there’s been this process of dealing with being exposed. I’m delighted to know that people feel that and I hope people get the chance to know more about me too, I’m looking forward to that.
Silence & Remorse is your first record. If it was a kind of food, what would it be? An old and round tray full of black grapes.
This album is sexy as fuck. Was it meant to be a baby-making soundtrack? Thank you! I wasn’t thinking about writing “sexy music” while recording Silence & Remorse. It perhaps turned that way because it’s mostly based on my feelings of passion, obsession and devotion. I’d rather let people figure that out by themselves while listening to the album.
Your vocals really evolved on Silence & Remorse. Are those all your vocals on the record, or are you working with a secret talent? The vocals are really diverse across the songs on the record too. Even before my Salvation EP I was trying different stuff with my voice. On Silence & Remorse, that was one of my main options, to sing all over it without processing my voice. I sang both lows, highs and harmonies, using them to create different kind of tensions. I like to whisper but I like to sing high too. So no, beside the female singers I invited to collaborate in few songs there´s no one else singing besides me.
You’re in Berlin right now … Do you have any stories from Berlin the infamous club? I had some intense moments there, it’s a really unique place. I used to go there more often in 2009/10 when I moved to Berlin for the first time. Probably dancing to some of my favorite techno producers in a place completely filled with smoke, light pink lights with the fastest strobe lights.
Speaking of da club, what club or party would you most want to see your music played in? I would rather have the chance to live sing my songs to people.
You’ve managed to create highly unique and successful art and music … but is there anything you’re bad at? Ahah, thank you, I don´t know … I bet there is.
Your music has a lush, harrowing dark sound that you’ve said was inspired by “notions of fatalism, loss and internal conflict.” Would your music still sound like that if your life was a shining beacon of optimism and fun? People have different perspectives, personalities, beliefs and views on reality and life in general, that’s the beauty of it all. Each person feels things in a different way and concerning me, I’ve always been a nostalgic and melancholic person since I can remember. While writing music I don’t feel I’m only talking about certain memories or events or ghosts but also trying to share the way I feel life.
How did you get acquainted with Shlohmo and WEDIDIT? I started talking with Henry (Shlohmo) online and we kept sharing some words across a year. I was talking to D33J too by that time, we were sketching some beats together. So things eventually grew very naturally, I was talking to Nick Melons all the time, he came up with the first idea for the Salvation EP and since then we’ve been building it all with a lot of love, care and friendship.
Which WEDIDIT member would you most like to be stranded on an island with? We are a team so we would have to play that island game together.
You’re also a highly successful artist. What are you focusing on in your art right now? At this stage, I’m exclusively focusing on PURPLE without having actual time for much more. Also I like to fully commit to the things I’m involved in; it’s the only way it works for me.
What do you listen to while you’re making art? Doom and Dark Jazz.
Has one of your pieces of artwork inspired a piece of music or vice versa? Not that I can remember.
How do you decide to express something musically vs. visually? Or do you not really see a boundary between those things? I always kept music and arts separate. My artwork is usually built under a straight visual concept, like an illusion, a manipulation, a possible new reality. Writing and recording songs always felt way more intimate, human, and visceral to me.
Any plans to come to LA? Wanna get tacos? Not really but truly hoping to be back soon … and yes, already missing those divine fish tacos.