Billed as Cuba’s first ever female-fronted electronic duo, PAUZA is gearing up to spread their native island’s eccentric sounds around the globe.
Cuba is often marveled at for its diverse ecosystem, unparalleled cigar stock, and blossoming cultural scene. One of their greatest exports, however, also doubles as their best-kept secret. PAUZA, the brilliant pairing comprised of Paula Fernandez and Zahira Sánchez, has been making waves in Latin America with their infectious groove-infused tech-house and Afro-electronica productions. Frequently cited as Cuba’s first female electronic duo, PAUZA is bringing a new dimension to electronic music by fusing their Cuban flair with dance-floor primed productions.
In 2012, the duo crossed paths in a workshop for aspiring female electronic music DJs – the only one of its kind located in Cuba. Their creative partnership kicked off immediately, and they made it a goal to realize their artistic vision together as PAUZA. Last year, they officially released their debut single “Ildé Pa’Beberte”, a pulsating concoction of airy chimes, a fluttering sax riff, and a sultry vocal topline. It quickly became apparent that they aimed to spread the essence of their culture through their music on a global scale.
2019 has seen the dynamic duo continue to craft different soundscapes that convey the essence of their native island. Their January tech-house/Cuban Groove release, ‘Carajilo’, was selected to form part of Get Physical’s ‘Cocada: The Second Season’ compilation CD, a series that aims to highlight fresh, new, and exciting electronic producers hailing from the Latin American sphere. They teamed up with Latin Grammy-nominated rapper and lyricist Telmary to release ‘Se vende’, a downtempo conga infused beat fused with gleeful vocals that describe the mundane magic of day to day life in Cuba.
Now, they’re gearing up for the release of a late-summer EP, an updated collection of their unparalleled electronic vision. Check out our exclusive interview below to get a grip on what they’re all about.
The Knockturnal: Hi Paula & Zahira – thank you for taking the time to answer a couple of questions for us at The Knockturnal! Could you start by telling us a bit about the story behind how you met and created the brand PAUZA?
PAUZA: We actually first met an electronic music party. Shortly after, a couple of friends told us about the first and only workshop for female DJs in Cuba and everything sort of kicked off from there. Due to our preference in genres, artists, and similar sources of inspiration, we decided to pair up and officially create PAUZA.
The Knockturnal: Your sound is unique and infectious. The way you blend distinct Cuban sounds with progressive tech-house elements is bringing a new dimension to electronic music. How did you come up with this concept? Which of your productions would you say best represents your sound?
PAUZA: Every single one of our productions – intentional or not – conveys influences from our Cuban roots. Creating a unique and distinct style in today’s electronic music market is difficult but we have always and continue to stay true to our musical identity in the studio. All of our tracks have a distinct ‘Cuban flow’ but the one that really exemplifies our sound is “Cuban Groove”.
The Knockturnal: Tell us a little bit about the obstacles you had to overcome to gain access to the resources needed to produce your music. When did you move out of Cuba to fully pursue your dream of becoming DJ/producers?
PAUZA: We didn’t leave Cuba to pursue our dreams – quite the contrary, we built our dreams there. Cuba is the only place where we can comfortably use a tambourine or a batá drum without needing to turn to digitalized drum samples, thus the absence of these tools have really made us miss the extra dimension of creativity we used to incorporate into our productions.
The Knockturnal: How does the music landscape in Cuba compare to that of, say, Mexico & the United States? Is everything primarily influenced by the radio?
PAUZA: We used to circle music via USBs (and still do), but increased infrastructure and resources internet streaming has also become a lot more accessible for all Cuban citizens. The use of streaming platforms has become normalized and has as much of an impact on trends as radio play nowadays.
The Knockturnal: You recently relaunched your single, ‘Carajillo’ on Get Physical. What are some other labels that you respect, admire, and aim to release on one day?
PAUZA: We’ve always respected and admired Defected Records and everything they put out. We’re confident that with enough work and music, we’ll be releasing with them one day.
The Knockturnal: What are some festivals/stages that you aspire to play in the future?
PAUZA: Our main goal is to become a global name. We’re positive that once our name and brand are omnipresent, we’ll be taking over the decks wherever the wind takes us.
The Knockturnal: What’s next for PAUZA? Can we expect any tour dates any time soon?
PAUZA: Our next big performance will be Tecate Liveout 2019 in Monterrey. We’ll be playing alongside legendary acts including Beck, Vampire Weekend, The Offspring, The Kooks, and many more!