An Interview With Catharina Boutari

Q: Welcome! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

A: Hello, Pretty White. I’m Catharina Boutari aka Puder, from Hamburg, Germany. I’m a singer, recording, releasing, and touring artist. I studied opera directing and run a feminist label called Pussy Empire Recordings, where I release female and non-binary artists. I’m half Egyptian and half German, and very proud of my two cultures. Since 2016 I have written my music in international collaborations in songwriting residencies with a live recording with an audience close to us. I call it the ‘Puder Session Tapes.’ You can watch the documentaries on my Youtube channel.

Q: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s not heard your music before?

A: Independent pop flavored with a jazz vibe on a bed of electro-pop in often unexpected combinations. Danceable, organic, poetic.

Q: You recently released your new single, ‘Of Elephants and Monsters.’ Can you tell us what the song is about?

A: The song is about the toxic thinking and actions of old white men and women that I experience again and again and that the world is too often ruled by. Cementing discrimination, exploitation, racism, and inequality further and further. Change is prevented. I’m so fed up with this that I dared to write a song about it. Of Elephants and Monsters are my raised-middle-finger response and my call to action.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to become a musician?

A: At the age of 14. I sang my whole life and started to play guitar at the age of 12, but the big change in my life came after the first rehearsal with a band I was invited to. First, I didn’t want to go, talked with my guitar teacher about it, and he convinced me to try it. After the rehearsal, I instantly knew that this was all I ever wanted to do and be. Sounds extremely kitschy, but it was exactly like that.

Q: What inspires you the most to write your songs?

A: Life itself. Everything that touches me. When I hear music that connects to these feelings, the songs arise by themselves. Current happenings, old memories. It’s like a channel that is open the whole time, and when music connects to it, the songs come rushing in.

Q: Who would be your ultimate dream collaboration with, and why?

A: I would love to work with Bon Iver, Lizzo, or Stromae. And hopefully, one day, I will.

Q: If there’s one song from your catalog that you wish everyone in the world could listen to, which one would it be?

A: It’s Of Elephants and Monsters. All my heart goes out to this song. The topic is so important, and I really like the combination of club music with Jazz and Indie. I’ve been looking for a long time at how to combine my different influences, and with this song, I think I found the way to do it. Dance and think.

Q: These days, it’s all about singles and individual songs in playlists, songs that have become hits, and the visuals that go with them. Does the classic album still have a justification or chance nowadays?

A: Yes, of course! A single is like an episode of a series. An album is a whole series. It creates a world and has the time to illuminate every corner of this world. Not every song on an album is single and has the strength to stand all alone, but these songs are very important to connect the songs around them and give them more impact.

Q:  What do you think about the digital transformation in the music world, about the focus of artists on digital platforms like social media and streaming services?

A: I like social media because it opens the whole world for artists. And I like to communicate with people and show what I’m doing. I don’t like the pressure to post more and more to keep the algorithms going. And it’s totally boring to watch others showing a perfect world where everything is great. I want real people and meet their (artistic) lives with all their ups and downs. And I’m very sad about the fact that people stop to go to live concerts in Germany. Music needs the connection from the artist to the audience to unfold its whole impact. To celebrate together and be transformed by the evening afterward.

Q: What do you have planned for the year ahead?

A: A lot, as always. I have just finished my 7th edition of the Puder Session Tapes. So now I have to check the recordings, choose the final tracks, and let the music be mixed and mastered by my sound engineer Linda Dağ and mastering engineer Frida Claeson Johansson. Parallel to it, my videographer Marie Krahl has started editing the documentary, and hopefully, the EP with the film will come out this winter. I did the sessions with three other musicians from the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal, whom I met last year at an artist residency at the Westway Lab Showcase Conference in Portugal. We were nine musicians from 5 countries, became friends, and started a collective to work together. I will meet them next month when I go to Guimarães again to meet, play and make plans together. And I want to work with Orianne Rondeau, a young videographer from France, who did the awesome video for my single. Where planning to create some live visuals for my shows.

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