Music Interview: Braulio Cruz – ‘Motel 6’ Out Now!

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Carlos Lolito, Cole Witter, Julie O, Walter Wlodarczyk
Carlos Lolito, Cole Witter, Julie O, Walter Wlodarczyk

We were lucky enough to catch up with musician Braulio Cruz following the stunning release of his electronic-pop single ‘Motel 6’. Read the full interview now!

Hi Braulio Cruz, tell us about yourself?

Hey there! I’m just a guy who was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and spent a lot of my life moving back and forth to the United States. This created a weird duality in me where I feel like I have a foot in both countries at all times and yet don’t feel like I belong completely to either.

Something else that influenced me a lot growing up was being gay and the bullying that came from that. But now, I think being gay is completely fabulous, and I love the art that surrounds that aspect of my life.

Gay men are some of the most brilliant, introspective artists, and I think the playground torment helps us access a deeper level of thought. I’ve always been interested in music but started to take it seriously in my 20s after my mother died.

What is your songwriting process?

It starts with a stream of consciousness writing of poetry. I don’t overthink it and just write automatically for three pages (The influence of Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ on my life!).

A few days later, I will sit at my synthesizer, playing chords and singing over them until something sticks. I will play the song nightly until it solidifies into something.


You would think that something that started as a stream of consciousness would come out as nonsensical, but it’s usually very solid. I feel like the songs are a little like dreams. You don’t know exactly where they come from.

Tell us about your latest release, ‘Motel 6’?

Motel 6 is one of the singles from my third record, which will be coming out later this year. It’s about immigrating to the USA for the first time. My memories of then are so shiny.

It was during the late 90s when the internet was taking off. My family would take road trips around California, stopping at various Motel 6s, which in hindsight, have a sort of aesthetic beauty. It seems like the whole world is nostalgic for the 90s. I think that’s a sign of how desolate and overwhelming things are now, so we keep looking back.

How old were you when you moved to the United States, and how did that change your life?

I was six years old. We moved to Palo Alto, California, for four years while my dad did his PhD. For us, the US had a little bit of prestige to it. Like we had climbed the ladder of life by moving there.

I think that’s the US’s whole thing, this American Dream where you have to keep aspiring for more. But I think this aspiration and this always wanting more has kind of messed up the world. I feel like I’m living a little bit like a junkie.

This is really what ‘Motel 6’ is about. Just endless aspiration leads to burnout of the self and the world.

What draws you to the electronic-pop genre?

When I was eighteen, I sneaked out and saw this Ladytron concert which changed my life. I loved the image of them behind those bulky Korg synthesizers and the sounds they made. There is something about synths that is both cold and warm, mechanical and ethereal. I love them.

What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?

That making music and art are actually not so hard. It is totally within the capacities of every living human. If you had told me just ten years ago that I would be able to play instruments and self-produce my music, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are! It’s a lot of ‘work’, but the work is easy and fun.

Who are your musical influences?

Acts like Ladytron, Franz Ferdinand, The Flaming Lips, and Lana Del Rey. But most of all, I grew up listening to pop divas like Madonna, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, Bjork, and so many more.

Guitars at zZounds

Who are your non-musical influences?

Over the past few years, I’ve become a big Philip K. Dick fan. I feel like he has influenced my new songs a lot, actually. His stuff is part psychology, part science fiction, and part theology. It’s like doing acid.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?

I think the biggest obstacle is getting anyone to actually listen to your music. Especially because in today’s social media world, it’s all about the numbers and numbers equating to worth.

I think the key is to try to cultivate a sense of confidence and love for your work, even if only three people are listening to it. I’m not saying it’s easy, though, because it’s not.

Recording at zZounds

FVMusicBlog April 2022

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