Musical duo La Palma is comprised of Chris Walker and Tim Gibbon. Based out of San Francisco and Washington DC, La Palma has respectively been working between the two cities.
La Palma's music is created correspondence-style, passing recordings back and forth to build textured compositions that glean from everyday sounds and experiences. Steeped in dreamy psych-pop and indie-folk, both Chris Walker and Tim Gibbon are singers and multi-instrumentalists that share songwriting, performance, production, mixing, and art direction roles.
Feasting on the layers divulged in La Palma's full-length sophomore album, 'Moonflower,' we focus on the introductory single showcased on the poignant body of work. "Sábado" exudes a rustic and soothing connotation as the various sounds that flourish in an expansive universe of throttled harmony combine to intricately strike your senses in a heightened fashion. Throughout "Sábado," the miscellany of musicality that freely roams in the soundwaves invites us into an impeccable offering of perfect timing.
Every sound that we're exposed to has its moment to twinkle without overpowering the eclectic resonance that surfaces meaning behind the warmth and authenticity highlighted. La Palma ensured that thematically "Sábado" inhabits the liminal space between awake and asleep, the moment of surrender at the day's end where reality and dream collide. A surreal realm filled to the brim with chiming percussion, infectious grooves, and powerful riffs that accentuate the airy synths and pads amalgamate for a fortified foundation acts as a salutary edifice to blanket the buttery vocalization upon.
Laying in the delicate tenors, we pick up on the thesis of "Sábado" as we can relate to the emotions stirred from the composition in its entirety, including the messaging wrapped beneath. La Palma allows us to effortlessly float to an ambiance that resonates familiar to unbounded depths traveled.
Congrats on the release of your album, ‘Moonflower.’ What was the inspiration that you took into the creation of “Sábado,” and what was your reasoning behind making it the opening song on the full-length project? Chris Walker: "Sábado" came about when my family was driving back from a beach trip and we were listening to a storytelling podcast my kids adore that I often can't take to be honest. The story was a retelling of Daniel in the lion's den and a line from it struck me about how the king couldn't sleep the night Daniel had to spend in the den. Something about it really struck me, about the vulnerability we all face at night, how the guard comes down and the thoughts can have no mercy. When we got home from the beach I literally ran to my acoustic and the song came out like a wave. We chose "Sábado " to lead off the album I guess because it sets the tone for what's coming. Dreams and shifting between them is a major recurring theme throughout "Moonflower' so "Sabado" felt like an appropriate entry point. A lot of people are unaware of the fact that “Sábado" was written in a socially distanced fashion nearly 3,000 miles away from one another. Could you please take us into what that process looked like? Was this the first time that you both had to create through a process as such?
Tim Gibbon: It's true, I now live in Washington DC and Chris lives in San Francisco. And when we started making the album two years ago, I lived in Philadelphia and Chris lived in DC! We've always made our music bypassing sound files back and forth correspondence-style, building up layers until we have a complete track. One of us will get the initial inspiration for the song and lay down the basic framework, maybe guitar and vocals. Then the other will respond by adding elements to fill it out and complicate it a bit; keyboards, percussion, samples, another verse of vocals, or maybe a cell phone recording of something that connects sonically or sentimentally, like the lion roaring at the DC zoo or nighttime San Francisco patio sounds that you hear at the beginning of "Sábado." We keep adding layers and new sections this way until the song feels really three-dimensional, like something that you could walk inside of and look around. This socially distant creative process definitely informs our sound, since it's a slow and reflective practice, and we're not concerned about the logistics of how to play the music live in a room. Do you both feel influenced by the environment that you’re living in? Does this make it so sounds seamlessly mesh or at times clash when collaborating on a project? Chris: Oh absolutely! We're both constantly collecting sounds around us and weaving them into the songs, so much so that we included information about the samples we use in the liner notes of the record. It all meshes with a desire we have to create songs that capture who we are and where we are at the moments the songs are created. On a more granular level, I see the environment making its way into my lyrics as well. Early on after moving to SF before the pandemic, I was in a grocery store checking out some products, and "Here Comes the Sun" came on. I looked around and noticed everyone around me was singing and dancing along. That's the power of just talking about the sun. So when I wrote my next song, which is the fifth track on 'Moonflower' called "Ohio", better believe I put the sun in it.
What does your audience have in store when going into the listening experience of ‘Moonflower?' Do you find that “Sábado" shapes the sound for the listener right off the bat?
Tim: 'Moonflower' covers a lot of range, drifting from hushed to exuberant, intimate to infinite... sometimes within the same song. I think this is the case with “Sábado," which sets the palette for the record. The album has a nocturnal feel to us, like a series of shifting dreams, so the name 'Moonflower' seemed right. The album encapsulates the experiences of the past two years for us, in which the world and our lives were turned upside down by the pandemic and social/political/environmental upheaval, as well as navigating cross-country moves and parenting young children. But ultimately the album searches for something beautiful that blooms in the darkness, and we hope that resonates with listeners. What's next for you? Tim: Since live shows are still on pause, we're in the same boat as so many artists; thinking of new ways to keep sharing and creating music and fostering a creative community. And as inspiration moves us, we'll keep sharing! We're so grateful for everyone who's supported, listened, and connected with us.