Ela Minus is the name of the solo project from Gabriela Jimeno. She hails from Bogota, Colombia but now calls New York home. In February she released Adapt. the third EP in a trilogy that shows her growth as a songwriter since the inception of her solo project. Those are the facts.
What you don’t learn from those simple points is Gabriela is an intensely shy person who is meticulous about her craft. She also finds ceremony and tradition in the most simple pieces of everyday life, from “a glass of whiskey before every concert” to “Eating Chocolate cake for breakfast on Sunday morning with (her) father.”
It was her view of ceremony that first caught our attention when the aptly-titled track “Ceremony” slid across our desks. From the second we heard the song it encompassed us. We breathed in the heavy air of her technicolor world.
We caught up with Gabriela as she traveled across the globe and she was kind enough to take the time to play a little game, a revised version of truth and dare with us. She played quite well, as you will see below.
Please take 7 days
Meet each of these demands, and answer each associated question:
Purchase a small plant
I don’t feel responsible enough to buy a new plant because i don’t have a home at the moment, so I couldn’t take proper care of it. So I made some adjustments to this:
Name your new plant.
I made a new friend, went to his house, asked him if his plant had a name, it didn’t, so I named it Charlie.
Find a desolate area in town that looks like it could use some vegetation.
I have been traveling since you sent this questionnaire, so I haven’t had the time to do this. But I swear I will.
Plant said plant.
I didn’t read the entire page before naming my friend’s plant. Because of that, I give you my word that I will buy, name and plant 3 plants in three different cities of the world.
Please describe the air around you?
I am sitting down at a bakery, they mostly make pies, the air is warm and moist and it smells like apple pies.
Pick up your phone
Call a person you love
Tell them what if feels like when they are not around
I just did. I called my mom.
Why do you create art?
Because… I don’t think I have a real choice. Plus I enjoy it more than anything else in life.
Go to a cafe or diner
Buy yourself a drink
Think about the person who made the drink
Before you leave, buy a stranger a small snack or drink
Offer no explanation for your actions
Ok. Just did it. It felt funny, I ran away from the coffee shop nervous, as if i did something wrong, hehe, I think I was nervous that someone would ask my to explain myself. They didn’t catch me : )
Describe the last time you openly communicated with an individual despite it being difficult.
Communication tends to be very difficult for me. Real communication. So when I read this question I honestly thought about all the last human interactions I’ve had. They are all difficult for me, but I am trying really hard to get better at it. So… I don’t know, I guess you were looking for a specific situation, maybe next time you interview me I can have one in mind.
I am not afraid of conflict, I am very interested by it, I think the best conversations and ideas come out of debate and friction between two (or more) points of view, so I think that makes my definition of “difficult communication” be very different than what I think you meant with this question. For example; Going to dinner last night with new friends and keeping the conversation going, etc, was difficult for me, so that was the first thing that came to mind, normal socialization hehe.
Go to a store
Chose a relatively cheap item
Take your place in a checkout line
Turn to the person behind you
Recommend a song that changed your life
I couldn’t not get myself to do this before finishing answering this questionnaire for you. I thought about it at least 4 times while at the checkout line, but chickened out a couple of times and then couldn’t think of a song fast enough before losing the place in line, or having everyone else pay and leave the store.
A few days later:
Also, I am in an airport now, and in the security check line I turned around and recommended “Downtown” by Majical Cloudz to a stranger.
What do you feel when meeting the demands of a performer?
Well… in one way or another I have been performing all my life, I started playing drums very young, and since then also started playing shows, and even though they were different to what I do now (they were small sweaty punk rock shows) that gave me a strong foundation, I grew up playing shows, so by now.. it’s been around 10 years of doing it, it doesn’t scare me, I don’t feel vulnerable at all, I think the vulnerability would come from being afraid, and I am not afraid. I don’t think it is about me. Therefore I don’t think it takes courage, I think anyone could do it.
Doing something special and different, however, it’s really hard, and I really have been focusing on that. On doing something live that really makes a difference for the people that are present, that grounds everyone to the present moment, and that is surprisingly hard to do. But when you accomplish it, it’s pure magic. I have been seeing my place as a performer as one that only “guides” everyone present into something that they already have inside, like the urge to dance, or to smile, or to see with their own eyes the metaphor of “standing on a stage in front of other people, on your own, and doing only exactly what you love to do”.
Performing as Ela Minus does bring out a very different and specific side of my psyche, one that I didn’t even know existed before and that I feel I am just starting to explore.
Fill cup to the top
Drink while properly hot
I do this at least 6 times a day. : ) it was 7 today.
Please describe the last time you felt anxious.
Last Friday I had a release show in Mexico city for my new EP. My throat had been hurting a lot all week, and I had a lot of friends going to the show, and I wanted to make them smile, I was very, very anxious.
Pick up your phone
Call a family member
Make no small talk
Tell them the most significant memory you have of them
Just did. (I think I do this often.) But they still laughed and appreciated it.
What is it like to spend time completely alone?
It is… great. I enjoy it a lot, a lot… maybe more than it’s healthy. But I think it is very important, very difficult, but very important.
Choose a charity
Go to the charity website
Donate what you can, even if it is only a dollar
Do not tell anyone of your generosity
Well… I donated all my belongings to charity last year, and every like 3 months I donate a lot of clothes for the season to come, and I just donated half of the clothes I’ve been carrying with me for the past months. And I also donate $10 to wikipedia every month. Can I call it good on this one? It’s just the timing… hehe… I won’t stop donating!
When was the last time your received a gift you weren’t expecting? Please describe what it felt like.
I am leaving for tour tomorrow morning and this morning my friend James gave me one of those things you put on your eyes when you sleep (I don’t know the proper name for it). It was very unexpected and nice of him. I felt great! I’ve never had one of those, and I am sure it is going to come so handy! I can’t wait to use it!
Find some paper and a writing implement
Compose a letter to your six-year old self
List three facts of life which you feel they should know
Look at the list
Do not share the contents of the list
How do you balance professional creative pursuits with the needs of personal intimacy?
Ufff… this is a really good question, and one that I have been trying to work at the most. I think I suck at it. I am too consumed with what I do, I have isolated myself unconsciously from many of my friends, family, relationships, etc. my head and my heart are always somewhere else.
In art it’s hard to feel happy for long periods or time, or to feel satisfied. Its both physical and mental, I try really hard to always be 100% present and that, mixed with my lifestyle (making music and traveling) makes a combination for unstable relationships. Anyway, definitely an unbalance between creativity and intimacy, way more creativity, which is a mistake. And also as a source of anxiety, I am working on finding a healthier balance.
I believe strongly in being present on what life offers you at every moment, not trying to change it, but to accept it as is, and it seems to me right now it’s the time of my life for music, creativity, and solitude, and I embrace it completely.
Choose a piece of fruit
Eat the fruit
Think of the person who planted the tree
What does tradition mean?
Coffee every single morning when I wake up. A glass of whiskey before I perform as Ela Minus. My mother’s lasagna on my birthday. Releasing songs as presents to the new year on January 1st. Eating Chocolate cake for breakfast on Sunday morning with my father.
Think about your favorite game
Imagine yourself on a winning streak
TRUTH: What rules do you want to change?
Keeping score. Although I don’t know if that is considered a “rule”.
HURRY – LISTEN – ELA MINUS
KEEP AN EYE ON ELA MINUS