A Day in the Life of El Perro Del Mar
office caught up with the artist to uncover more about her sort of intangible aura that keeps all of us listening and coming back for more.
Tell me a bit about yourself and how El Perro Del Mar came to fruition.
My name is Sarah. I’m a musician and artist. I’ve been doing that my entire adult life. I think that the point I found my pseudonym as El Perro Del Mar was around when I was 27 and it really marked a point in my life where I found my right place and my right voice as a musician. So it took my quite a while, but from that point, I’ve just been making music in any kind of shape or form, but always under El Perro Del Mar.
What is the difference between Sarah Assbring and El Perro Del Mar?
El Perro Del Mar is very much my way of being able to express all of the different personalities and emotions that I feel. It’s the umbrella that I use, the toolbox I have to express myself and the way I need to do, but maybe not in the way I can do when I’m just Sarah.
Throughout your countless artistic expressions, what is the most important thing you’ve learned along the way?
At one point in life, I was really in a very fragile, tumultuous state of mind. I was asking for means to be alive. For the first time in my life I was doubting whether music was the thing that I was going to make, whether it was the key to being a happy person. And I think that’s when I found out that it is. I did it in a easy that made sense to me, in a sort of existential way that made me happy. That’s what I’ve learned.
How did you create the name El Perro Del Mar?
The reason I chose the name El Perro Del Mar was because I had a meeting with a stray dog and I felt like there was a bare and unfaked being with that dog that I really wanted to hold on to and that was the very core of what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. So that is something that I always try to go back to everytime I make a new record.
Shirt by Carin Wester (left); shirt by Carin Wester, dress by Whyred (right).
That’s such an unique approach.
I hold onto that very much and every time I feel like maybe I have forgotten it, I have to go back again. It’s painstaking because when I start, I always end up at that moment where I have to deconstruct everything and fall to the floor, and really ask myself, “Why do I do this? Is it worth it?” Then I end up having that bare, raw, naked reason where I know, “yes this is the place, this is where I’m supposed to be.” It’s very existential. It’s the same feeling as knowing I have to eat. I have to breathe. I have to write. A lot of things have happened since that day, but I always carry that principle with me. It’s very important still, and I know that the day when it’s not important anymore I wouldn’t go through it again. I wouldn’t make music and have this work if it wasn’t clear for me.
Is this kind of ultimate revelation just as groundbreaking each time?
It is actually. I think that is one of the key reasons why my music is different. I’ve heard why every album for me sounds different in some way. But that is a reason why. That is why I have to go through that surge within me. I need to find that revelation again and again. I do this by experiencing new sounds, playing new instruments, looking elsewhere for music. It takes me to different places each time.
What is the most profound thing you’ve discovered recently?
I just found out a couple of weeks ago this Moroccan kind of music that’s called Gnawa. It’s this sort of exorcistic, ritualistic, very simple, beat-drive music. There are people going around the village playing this music during the day or night and you just fall into this trascendental beat that lasts for hours. It’s very rave-like. That is an example of when I stumble upon something where I’m like, “wow this exists and has been existing for a very long time.” It’s very much to do with being being together—melting together. The more I discover, the more I realize that everything is connected.
Jacket & pants by Remake, shirt by Acne Studios, coat by ARKET, shoes by Ganni (left); shirt by Carin Wester, dress by Whyred (right).
What’s one standard you’ve never felt the need to fulfill?
I’ve always been free with the idea of what I should be and I still feel that way. The older I get, the stronger I hold this ideal of what I want to be, but I’m sometimes I don’t feel as driven to fulfill certain things. I’m very basic when it comes to my own life. I just need to create and do it constantly. As long as I can do that, I’m happy with a simple life. Age brings a wisdom that there isn’t much to worry about.
What is the last movie watched and loved?
I saw a documentary on Joe Strummer the other night. I was so fulfilled, but kind of blue after. He was a genius but also had the sadness within him. He would always say, “dont worry about it, just do it” That kind of a very cliche thing. He ended up dying from a heart disease that he had all his life and he could’ve died at any moment, but he didnt know it. That rings very true when you think you have to make what you have to make. I’ve always had that feeling even when I was little. Waking up with those kind of itchy hands, where you feel like you have to make something. I have that still. All I have to do is make sure I go through with it and if I didn’t, I would be very unhappy.
I feel like you have such an ongoing sense of fulfillment. What has been your proudest moment to date?
I always say this and it’s making me tired of myself, but absolutely my son. I was so surprised at being able to have a child and everytime I look at him I’m shocked that sort of thing is possible. I would never do something better than him.
What are you most looking forward to in the near future?
My dream today is to write the film score for a beautiful film. That’s what I’m intending to do and most excited about making. Of course, I’m always excited about making music, too.
Listen to El Perro Del Mar here.
Lead image: Jacket & pants by Remake, shirt by Acne Studios.