Chakra Khan, the new collaborative project from Alexandra Love and DiViNCi of Solillquists of Sound, have been quietly piecing together a body of songs that are adventurous, personal and intimate. Chakra Khan - based around Love's vocals and DiViNCi's beats/electronics - sound at times like a whispered lullabye and at other times like a great lost trip-hop album. The album will be unveiled this weekend at a release party also featuring the Beautiful Chorus, Zoya Zafar, Yardis & Stephen and many other notables. Alexandra Love answered a few questions about the project for us.
Everyone involved in this has numerous other projects/pursuits - how did this album come together and how did you find time for it?
Living together definitely helps. DiViNCi and I have always talked about putting together an album, and it sort of crept into our days as it started. Once we realized the sound we had created, it moved more to the forefront of our daily life and became what it is now. Working for ourselves, we stay mindful of not exhausting ourselves, but the flow of this project stayed balanced and we were able to make the time for it.
How did you come up with the name for this project?
The name was actually a joke idea, posed by a friend of ours online. It made me laugh but I loved it so much I convinced DiViNCi to let us keep it.
You've said that this might be your favorite of your albums?
Yes, for us both. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s honest in a new way. It’s honest like the type of honesty you have with yourself when you’re alone. It feels like we were able to take the feelings we have in those solitary moments and bring them to forward without getting lost in translation. That’s how it feels for us, anyway, we hope it translates.
I'm new to your music - tell me a bit about how you got to this point in your creative life?
DiViNCi and I, along with Swamburger and Tonya, have been in Solillaquists of Sound for over a decade now. We came together and it was this whirlwind of creativity and laughter and fun and ease. We started making albums on our own, were able to tour, and gained enough momentum over the years to start expanding in our individual crafts. DiViNCi has worked with some stellar artists and musicians like Ms. Lauryn Hill, and I’ve created a women’s chorus that travels year-round.
We’ve always had a great synergy on stage, and after exploring our individual strengths even more, coming back together for the creation of Chakra Khan feels great. Solillaquists of Sound is still very much a group, and our individual endeavors are going strong. We’re also really excited about the potential of Chakra Khan, and this debut album. June 11th at The Venue will be our first official performance, and we’re looking forward to being able to play these songs wherever they bring us.
There are a few covers on the album - Bjork's "Joga" is one standout - how did you choose them and what did you feel you could add to the originals?
For us, including these covers on the album actually came from really enjoying the original songs as they are. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. We’d be talking and it would come up,“What if we did 'Take My Breath Away’ by Berlin?” Then, "I love that song.” We’d look at each other, shrug, try it out, have a great time, and ended up really liking how it turned out. The original versions of those songs are all so perfect on their own, we didn’t think about adding to their legacies. It was really nice to explore the combination of nostalgia and possibility. Chakra Khan being new to us, it was a cool experience to have such familiar songs translated through our new sonic playground.
There's an incredible level of intimacy and vulnerability in the recorded performances both vocally and instrumentally - which is sometimes hard to get with an electronic album - how did you pull this off?
I’m not completely sure, maybe other than feeling like we were safe to be ourselves during the creative process. That can be so important. We're so glad it comes across.
What do you have planned for the album release show?
The live show is going to be so much fun. We’ve got some amazing openers, female-lead groups that are very raw, honest and talented. DiViNCi and I are looking forward to performing these songs, with the vocal backup of Beautiful Chorus for a few numbers, too. It’s really going to be a night of genuine celebration, we’re so excited.