Getting to Know: Carla dal Forno
Talking cello, painting and her debut solo album
In the video for her song ‘What You Gonna Do Now?’ Carla dal Forno walks from her flat in Neukölln, down Pflügerstraße and Pannierstraße, takes a bus to the Anhalter Bahnhof and a train to Yorckstraße station, has a chat with a friend in a café and returns home, at night.
This is Carla’s declaration of love to Berlin, where she moved to from Melbourne, Australia because, “My label Blackest Ever Black is based here, I had been before and I knew there was a big musical community,” she says, before adding: “I also like that even if it’s a big city, it’s very comfortable, peaceful and relaxing, also affordable and I love the public transport!” So, it’s between Melbourne and Berlin that Carla recorded You Know What It’s Like, her debut solo album that follows previous projects Tarcar and F Ingers. ‘What You Gonna Do Now?’ was the first single, and it embodies her post-punk-inspired aesthetic and the hypnotic, nocturnal atmosphere she likes to create with synth loops and her intriguing way of singing.
Why a solo record and why now? I had some songs that didn’t fit with the two bands I was in, so I decided that I wanted to try recording solo. I also thought that would be an interesting experiment to see what sound I could create by myself, without other people involved.
What was your goal? I really didn’t have a goal or a plan. When I started I thought I wanted to be minimal and I didn’t want to create anything too clouded. Nothing else; this was the simple idea I had at the beginning.
Your songs seem broken and ghostly, in some way. I agree. I would relate the word ‘broken’ to the fact that you can hear that it is actually someone who is playing every note or drum in the sound of the recording. It’s not programmed, it’s not a computer. And the ghostly aspect I think is related to reverbs; there are many in these songs, there’s a lot of space in the recording. And perhaps, the vocals sometimes sound a little bit far away.
What were your musical influences while working on the album? The main one was Flaming Tunes, a record by Gareth Williams & Mary Currie, which is on the same label as my album. That was a good starting point for me, because it includes instrumentals, vocal songs, and it sounds really DIY so it was inspiring. I understood that I could work on my own, mixing a pop aspect with experimental sounds. I also like Tropic of Cancer; she’s on my label too and she’s amazing.