in the Category: music

Clara! y Maoupa

Brussels-based duo Clara! y Maoupa consists of songwriter, MC and DJ Clara!, and experimental producer Maoupa Mazzocchetti. They’re about to release their debut album, Luna Nueva, on Editions Gravats while moving on from the post-reggaeton label by exploring other Caribbean rhythms, dub or just plain weird sounds without ever losing sight of the dancefloor. Just like their music, the duo navigates the border of the mainstream with an underground mentality.

Interview by Hannes Rooms
Photo by Laurianne Bixhain, shot in Brussels

How and when did a reggaeton DJ/singer and an experimental composer decide to join forces and blend sounds?

Clara: We were already friends when Florent Maoupa, ed. came up to me after a DJ set and told me we should do something together. I replied that I’m not a singer, but he convinced me, saying, ‘I noticed you sing along while you’re mixing!’

Maoupa: Of course I was familiar with some early 2000s reggaeton hits, but I didn’t know much about the genre itself. So Clara started to share tracks and I found that there’s some interesting and bizarre reggaeton out there! Even tracks that were mainstream back then sound strange and dynamic today. 

Did you already know from the start how this project was going to sound?

C: No. When we told our label about a possible collab, they immediately said, ‘We’ll release it.’ We hadn’t even started making music together! Then we did three tracks super fast just by jamming. The sound has already changed quite a bit and evolves even further on the next album. We both like to experiment.

Do you feel part of a space called the Belgian underground? 

C: I find myself in a weird position. When I play at an alternative space, I’m too mainstream and when I’m in a mainstream club, I’m too experimental for the crowd.

M: I still don’t really know what underground means.

C: I feel more connected to the French scene since I play more over there and in Belgium I almost never DJ-ed outside of Brussels. But I’d like to!

M: The peculiar thing about Brussels’ scene is that artists appear to receive more interest from international outlets than from national media. For example, the label PRR! PRR! has many fans in France or England, but in Belgium few people know them. We don’t have a culture of putting the spotlight on fresh artists. I guess this is why there’s no ‘fame’ in our music scene in Brussels. Of course, there are many poseurs as in many cities and art scenes, but you cannot pretend to be. People just don’t care about that side of art here.

The Sound Of The Belgian Underground with Clara! y Maoupa
26 Jan - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
free for members

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soundcloud Clara!
soundcloud Maoupa Mazzocchetti