Text and Interview: Monica Uszerwicz
Photos courtesy of Terrorbird
Swiss electro-dance-pop group, Larytta, draws their name—and that of their new EP, Jura Libre—from a whole array of places: Larytta is named after bandmate Christian’s grandmother; as for the EP title, they explain, “We are fans of both the Cuba Libre drink and the Swiss canton, Jura, so we thought it might be a good idea to mix them.” Also, they add, “Jura Libre has a political meaning in Switzerland. That would be a bit long to explain why, but let’s say a little political wink doesn’t hurt.”
That’s what Larytta are all about—multicultural influences all anchored in their own sense of home. All four tracks on Jura Libre—including “Sexy Front,” which they premiered last month and whose cheeky title is most definitely a Justin Timberlake reference—are playful, danceable bangers filled with cheeky vocal patterns, wildly chaotic drumming and samples, and their expert homegrown production skills, resulting in something simultaneously viscerally raw and super-polished. “We played in rock and punk rock bands when we were teenagers, and Christian still does,” they explain. “It, of course, influences the way we produce, and we always try to keep a raw approach towards making sounds.”
“Bota Maõ Pra Encima” is the EP’s gemstone: featuring the Brazilian MC Junior, the song was created in the midst of Junior’s freeform improvisations and dancing—its literal goal. Junior, the band says, “grew up in a Brazilian favela and came to Switzerland a few years ago. When we brought him to the studio, he started to dance and improvise on the track for hours. The hardest part was not to edit the recordings; the hardest was to make him sing in the microphone,because he was jumping all around. Junior is the best.”
From where did you get the name Larytta, as well as Jura Libre?
We are fans of both the Cuba Libre drink and the swiss canton Jura, so we thought it might be a good idea to mix them together. Also Jura Libre has a political meaning in Switzerland. That would be a bit long to explain why, and we wouldn’t be the good persons to talk about it, but let’s say a little political wink doesn’t hurt.The name Larytta comes from Christian’s grandmother name, hi grandma!
Tell me about teaming up with Junior for this track.
Junior is a walking dynamo. He’s a good friend of Manu who plays with us, and a great musician who grew up in a Brazilian favela, and came to Switzerland a few years ago. When we brought him to the studio, he directly started to dance and improvise on the track for hours. And all great stuff! But the hardest was not to edit the recordings, the hardest was to make him sing in the microphone, because he was jumping all around.
Junior is the best.
“World” sounds, specifically Afro-Latin vibes, are all over this short EP, so I was also hoping you could tell me about the inspiration there.
We grew up and still live in Switzerland, which is a country that built itself on stealing various stuff to other people and countries, so it feels quite natural for us to also do it in music. More seriously (or wasn’t it serious?), what we do is influenced by so many different things that we wouldn’t only pick up African or Latin music. But they are definitely very big influences. What we do is dance music, and when it comes to that, you can’t beat these two continents.
Did you all grow up with electronic music? Some of it is even more visceral than analog.
We both played in rock and punkrock bands when we were teenagers, and Christian still does. It, of course, influences a lot the way we produce, and we always try to keep a raw approach towards making sounds, especially in this EP. But Christian is a hardcore fan of Jean-Michel Jarre since he’s 8 so you might say that the analog approach is also in Larytta’s genes now.