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by Adam Himes
June 6th, 2014

Tonight at 5 MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, among the bustling schools and industries that surround this picturesque space, Rooftop Films will host a free show, including a selection of shorts from the Sundance Film Festival. To help us get the party started, we’ve enlisted Brooklyn rockers Salt Cathedral.

Hailing from Colombia, Florida, Canada, and New Jersey, Salt Cathedral pulls from their diverse backgrounds to craft intricate rock sounds infused with a South American flair.

We chatted with Salt Cathedral about coming together, crafting their unique sound, and looking ahead to the future.

Salt Cathedral has performed at Rooftop several times before. How does performing at a film festival differ from performing at a more typical music venue?

Actually we were suppose to play last year, set everything up but it rained! We are really excited to play this year, its always nice to play in different settings and for people who have interests in other arts.

You all come from such different backgrounds: two of you are from Colombia, while the other three come from Canada, Florida and New Jersey. How did you begin making music together, and when did you realize that what you have as a group is so special?

We started playing in college. There was a click in a musical and personal way, but since that time people in the band have come and left, because you know, people take different paths after college. Nico and I (Juliana) always remain as the core creative force of the band, always inspired and nurtured by the people who play with us. At the moment, we are working as a tree-piece with Tommy Hartman from New Jersey on drums (our old bass player). He is multitalented and brings so much liveliness to our music with his amazing musicality.

How do these different backgrounds, as well as your different personal tastes, affect Salt Cathedral’s create process and the music that comes out of it?

It’s a melting pot that produces what we write and play; from the music we grew up with, to our cultural background, our jazz studies, and the use new technologies, it’s an outcome of all of this.  It’s exciting because, everybody brings something that the other person didn’t have or though of and we complement each other.

Your music is often very texture-based, with repeating rhythmic cells layered on top of one another. How do you compose these textures? Is it a collaborative, group process, or does one person take the lead?

As I said, Nico and I take the lead with sounds and composition. We work both in collaboration and individually, always striving to find something that can enhance the vibe of the music and get to a place we find what we are looking for. After this, we work closely with Tommy on other arrangements and grooves.

Although your instrumental playing is clearly quite involved if not downright virtuosic, the melodies Juliana sings are incredibly straightforward and catchy. How do you combine these two seemingly contradictory elements? Do you write vocals melodies around preexisting instrumental riffs, or are riffs composed around melodies?

We just do it. It’s an experiment. Both vocals and the main ”riffs” come at the same time often, although we also put music to melodies and melodies to existing music. We don’t have a set process because we think it frees us up to improve our songwriting and production. New processes often lead to new results.

How do you see Salt Cathedral changing and evolving? Do you imagine it going in radially new places, or rather continuing to refine and explore similar sounds and styles?​

We are constantly searching for new music that excited us within our own work. We are redefining ourselves and our music constantly, taking advantage of new knowledge, experiences, technologies and always trying to find the right music for the intended vibe or feeling.

Be sure to come down to MetroTech Commons tonight at 8pm to groove to Salt Cathedral and feast your eyes upon Sundance Film Festival Shorts!

For more on Salt Cathedral, check out http://saltcathedralmusic.com/

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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