Having a disability can create obstacles producing and performing music. This is something Spanish electronic music producer Jorge Navas has successfully conquered, but it hasn’t always been a straight-forward battle. With cerebral palsy, Navas works under the name lospiestorcidos, “Crooked Feet” in English.
With an innate sense of curiosity and playful experimentalism, Navas has developed an improvised setup, releasing a broad spectrum of playful, ambient techno. Talking to ADAM Audio, the Spanish producer talks about the challenges that have presented themselves to him, and what he would recommend to the wider community to advance inclusivity.
Being born with a physical disability poses special challenges. What were some of the obstacles you had to face at the beginning?
The main complication is having reduced mobility. I spend a lot of time testing MIDI interfaces, mappings, and remote-control scripts that allow me to interact as smoothly as possible with software and hardware synths, and drum machines. Fortunately, however we live in a time full of endless possibilities in this sense.
Can you share any strategies or techniques you have developed to overcome the physical challenges of making music with your condition?
I use is Ableton Live, both live and in the studio, and a few years ago I discovered ClyphX Pro, a framework that allows you to program scripts to customize the program behaviors. I see Ableton more as a modular system which you can use to create your own way of producing.
What equipment or special settings do you use?
My equipment choice is mostly influenced by my mobility. As I said, I work with Ableton, but I also use different instruments to create and manipulate sounds. Amongst other things, I have a couple of Moog synths, a Minitaur and Mother-32 for example, which are easy manipulate thanks to their clear panels.
I also use the Elektron Analog Rytm and Digitone. With Overbridge you get a perfect symbiosis between the machines and software. For me the most important thing is to be able to work intuitively, but if you need to make finer adjustments, the software allows me to do so.
Do you think audio equipment brands can do more to improve accessibility?
Sure. Right now, there is a tendency now for manufacturers to reduce the size of the equipment. I understand that for different reasons, but the truth is that clear boards, large buttons, and good integration with the software greatly improves the accessibility of musical instruments for everyone.
What monitoring configuration do you currently use?
When the ADAM Audio T7V came out, I bought a set immediately and I really love the balance they gave.
What motivated and inspired you to overcome barriers and dedicate yourself to music?
I have known frustration since I was a child. I originally wanted to be a pianist, but my body made it difficult for me. Fortunately, we live in a time when technology finds more and more solutions for us to express ourselves and develop creativity, and to find mechanisms that allow you to impress your personality onto your music.
What message would you like to convey to others about accepting diversity and creating a more inclusive society?
I really prefer the word diversity instead of disability because it’s more inclusive. It doesn’t create a barrier between those who meet the expectations of the norms and those who don’t. We are all special and unique and for me music and art in general is the best way we can share this.
Are you working on any projects now?
I’ve just released a double-single called “Díptico” which I’m starting to bring it to the live stage. I’m always trying out ways to improvise more and work on new songs. We are also presenting a short documentary called “Torcidos” at a film festival. Directed by Charly García it shows how I make music and lead my life in general. An important part of lospiestorcidos is that it allows me to create a discourse from functional diversity to give visibility to and provide advancement in the field of inclusion.