Ohxalá is the musical project of Maria & Luis who live in Porto, Portugal but already have their tracks being part of several mixtapes around the world within the growing wave of ethno beats.
In 2017 they released their debut EP “O Futuro do Passado” in Casa Caos (BR), Dona Cuíca EP on Cosmic Awakenings (US) and more recently the Sereias do Planeta Vermelho Ep on Ready Mix Records (CA) with remixes from acclaimed producers such as M. Rux, Lemurian, Dandara, Discoshaman, Intiche, MiRET, Nillo & Maracuyá, Thommie G and Rodrigo Gallardo.
The duo is eager to explore a thematic cut with a focus on Portuguese, Brazilian and African culture, inspired by the strong rhythmic foundation of popular and ancient music. Their productions are full of field recordings and booming bass lines, they did not skimp on the effort to incorporate traditional ethnic folk elements into contemporary electronic music and that makes this project a unique musical experience.
What inspired you to do what you're doing?
Music is a part of both our lives. We love to dance and making music together was a natural step for us.
Do you think you'll ever change direction?
Probably [smiles]. We are always looking for new stories to tell and new influences, so it´s normal that our music evolves in different directions.
What advice would you give your younger self today?
Trust yourself and keep following your dreams.
Do you consider your work a luxury or a necessity?
Both. In most countries, like in Portugal, is difficult to make a living from your art so we feel very fortunate to have the conditions and support to do what we love.
Who/what was the last thing that made a significant impact on your thought processes/creative processes?
Being able to travel and get in contact with different cultures, different flavours and smells.
Also, meeting artists from different countries and backgrounds is absolutely amazing and influences our music a lot.
How do you keep yourself inspired?
We are always investigating new cultures, especially older, ancient costumes, melodies, and ways of living.
What do you do when you're not "working"?
When we are not making, listening or dancing to music we love to take a walk and photograph or to spend time with friends and family.
What do you want people to take from your work?
Good energy and universal love. Dance is an amazing therapy for all the daily life problems and situations. We always try to make music that has feelings and that can carry listeners to a different and happy state of mind.
What are you currently listening to, reading, or watching?
At this moment, we are watching a series of documentaries about ancient alien life on our planet and trying to keep up with all the amazing musical releases of this downtempo, slow-techno, ethnic-infused strand of electronica.
Which record or artist influences you most?
We have many many influences from different scenes but we really love to check new and upcoming artists.
As musicians, do you feel any obligations during this global pandemic?
Yes—to keep working and spreading good vibes to the world.
What do you think something like a global pandemic does to collective/individual creativity?
Being closed at home/studio for most producers is already the norm so the isolation part is a bit easier. At the same time, it’s really scary when you think that clubs, festivals and venues will be closed and gigs will not happen anytime soon.
Does the isolation influence your creative process?
Not that much—in fact, it’s good that we can spend three or four days just working on our music without the normal daily interruptions.
Name a record that helps you through crisis times.
There are two sets that we listen to a lot when we are cooking or just dancing around the house: Jan Blomqvist live at Burning Man 2019 and Kerala Dust live at Fusion 2019.