Ela Minus

Punk drummer turned analogue obsessive

Photo: Teddy Fitzhugh

Who they?

The alias of Colombian-born, New York-based electronic musician Gabriela Jimeno, Ela Minus was the drummer in a teenage punk group and worked with Canadian synth-popstrel Austra (among others) before immersing herself in techno and club culture. Having released a slew of well-received singles and EPs over the last few years, she’s the latest signing to the venerable independent label, Domino. 

Why Ela Minus?

With an impressive knowledge of electronic hardware (she majored in synth design at the Berklee College of Music in Boston), Minus eschews laptops and computers, relying instead on a trusty analogue set-up that’s built on Moog bass synths. Inspired by the likes of Kraftwerk, Daft Punk and Caribou, her debut album, ‘Acts Of Rebellion’ (she calls it “bright music for dark times”) was recorded at her home studio, with Minus composing, recording and twiddling all the knobs herself. A personal manifesto of sorts, focusing on the idea of change via small, everyday gestures (“being vocal, believing in the power of your own words, just being present”), it’s a pulsating, dancefloor-centric statement of intent.

Tell us more…

In much the same way that modular queens Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith are almost hard-wired to their Buchlas, Minus is hugely fascinated by synths. “I can make anything, even sounds that have never existed before, just by processing electricity,” she says. “I like the physicality of hardware, because the majority of electronic music is being made with laptops. And if I was craving a different sound, other people must crave it, too.” Yes, indeed – genuinely pulling off that rare trick of making electronic music sound human, ‘Acts Of Rebellion’ positively throbs with warmth, from the skittering ‘They Told Us It Was Hard, But They Were Wrong’ to the visceral, Marie Davidson-esque beats of ‘Megapunk’. It’s one Ela of an album.

‘Acts Of Rebellion’ is on Domino

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