Returning in style for the third episode of The Many Homes of Raumfeld, Glamcult meets Cata.Pirata in a peaceful, plant-filled haven. Recognizable as the front woman of SKIP&DIE, the South African/Dutch singer, artist, and actress (the list goes on) opposes being tied down to one title. Expressing her urge to branch out into a solo career, Cata.Pirata divulges the details of her universe and her secret affection for reggaeton. “I really want to get into it and feel my sexiness.”
What exactly is it about music that you love so much?
That’s a big question! Music is my livelihood because I am a singer and performer so it’s number one for me. Personally, it’s a way of expressing myself; a lot of the emotions inside me get to come out through my music. I think listening to music is kind of like going to therapy, you listen to songs that other people wrote and you’re like: ‘Oh my goodness, that’s exactly how I feel, that’s what I wanted to say!’ It can help you get through things; it can help you get to know yourself better and become more in touch with your emotions. It can get you out of the darkness when you’re there, or it can accentuate a certain mood. It’s extremely important.
In your spare time, do you listen to music that’s similar to what you create?
I listen to so many different kinds of music and so many genres; I think that’s why my music is such a jumble of sounds. I also have a guilty pleasure for reggaeton. [Laughs] I listen to reggaeton when I’m at home or before I do a show, if I really want to get into it and feel my sexiness (even though that sounds super chauvinistic). I just really get into it. Most of the time I have nature sounds on rather than music because I get very affected by music. If a song comes on that moves me, I can suddenly go into a zone that I don’t want to go into.
Vocalist, director, actress, activist, visual artist—you can be described with a lot of titles. Which one do you enjoy the most?
That list could go on forever! I don’t feel like we should necessarily have titles because as humans, we are so layered and we do a lot of things. I guess they’re here to make it easier for people to position us. As a visual artist I make installations, and I paint and draw. I have done a few exhibitions—I did one at the Stedelijk Museum and got an entire room to myself, I couldn’t believe it! Whenever I’m not on tour I try to do something else, I think it’s so important to try and do different things in order to plant the seeds of new ideas.
Would you say each art form has an effect on the other?
I do think they influence each other, but they are also different layers of storytelling. When I’m making a song, for example, I think: ‘Ok, what do I want for the video?’ You can see them as two stand-alone things; you could see the visual and you could see the sound separately—and if you put them together they tell another story. I find that quite interesting.
You recently performed at the Dutch Design Awards! How did it go?
We were invited to do the music by Glamcult Studio and I really enjoyed it because it was something different to what we usually do. It wasn’t just a regular show; we actually created a soundtrack to the award ceremony. As a performer it really gave me a different role to play. We did three songs to open the night and for the duration of the event we did the sounds before each award. It was really creative and good to do something different. It’s always nice to do something that gets you thinking creatively and differently about what you do.
Why is it you chose Wildernis to be the location of today’s shoot? What about this place makes you feel at home?
I am obsessed with plants! I have a lot of plants in my house, sadly not as many as here though. My favourite place is the Hortus Botanicus because there it’s actually warm as well. If it’s a horrible rainy day, you can go there and still feel all tropical. It’s the best place to go and chill.
You seem to have travelled a lot. Do you have a favourite place? Where have you not been yet that you would like to go?
One of my favourite places in the world is Brazil, I would move there tomorrow if I could! I am originally from South Africa but I also grew up in the Azores. I feel that Brazil mixes both of those cultures really well, it has the African influences but it also has the Portuguese, so culturally I feel very at home. I also love the optimism and the music; there is always music everywhere.
Would you say your travels have influenced your work a lot?
Definitely, whenever you meet someone new you get to see the world through different eyes and you hear different stories. Travelling to diverse places just really opens your mind and can make you feel so much more connected to the universe. You’re on a constant journey and adventure, expanding the mind and the way you see the world; I feel very blessed that I do get to travel this much.
Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming tour with SKIP&DIE?
We just finished our European tour, and now we have the Dutch tour coming up. We once started touring in Holland, so it’s always nice to come back here. The European tour was really exciting for me because it’s the first time I toured with my baby; my brother joined me and helped look after the baby when I was on stage. It’s really nice because we are just one big family! Being pregnant gave me time to reassess what I was doing and it led me to also wanting to do a Cata.Pirata solo tour. I still have a lot I want to say that I’m not expressing through SKIP&DIE. The experience has really made me evolve as a person as well as an artist.
Do you have any future plans that we should know about?
I’m working as the ambassador and judge of a project called Art Rocks: a music competition where people can send in songs or soundtracks that are inspired by different artworks in museums in the Netherlands. It’s linking music with visual art and that’s something really interesting for me. There will be lots of shows by the winners and myself (as Cata.Pirata) so that’s really exciting!