Skype interview by Floor Kortman
Photos shot by Jane Chardiet in New York City

With a name such as Horoscope, you’d think René Nuñez might have been able to predict that things were to inevitably line up and make sense in the end, without him even trying. And listening to his upcoming record, El espejo y el mar (out via Wharf Cat Records next month), perhaps he really did.

With this album, Nuñez turned his moments of introspection into infinitely traveling drone sounds. Pulsating, subdued and unnerving, the record feels like the musical equivalent of finally having all the cards out on the table only to realize that you had already lost at the draw. Coming from a personal, though not quite a conscious place, Nuñez explained: “It’s like I didn’t write this record, it just happened.” The five tracks are a sonic expression of the calm before the storm, one of transition and transcendence, in which there is nothing left to do but ride the weird wave.


Tell me about Horoscope. I’m curious because other than this vinyl release, the only thing I could find was a tape on Ascetic House. Was that the only one you did?

I did two tapes through Ascetic House. They’re very different from each other, not really that cohesive but that’s what I like about it.

Before Horoscope, you used to play in other bands, right?

I was in punk bands, hardcore bands. But it’s hard, in NY especially. The older I get, the older everyone gets, it’s hard to find people who can take time off work or who have the same goals as you.

So is being a solo project a conscious choice or something that just happened?

It’s more out of necessity. A lot of my main group of friends abandoned me and moved home or got married or whatever. So I bought some gear and just started doing this weird stuff myself.

How did this record come about and how did you get involved with the Wharf Cats?

I’ve been friends with Zach from The Ukiah forever, and then I met Trip through random people. He first asked me if I wanted to do a tape. I had just gotten a few pieces of new gear and recorded all of it in one sitting. I sent it to Trip and the next thing I know he’s like, “Yeah this is good, let’s do a record”.

You recorded it in one go?

Yeah, it was all one improv session, maybe not even more than one take each.

Where did you record it?

Just in my bedroom. It’s a synth and a four-track and a few samples and stuff, pretty minimal. I recorded this the day Dieter Moebius died.


I’ve been listening to this record a lot. It’s really chill, but also unnerving in places.

It’s weird. The live sets that I play are a little more aggressive. Performance-wise, I’m very much on the offensive. It’s funny to then have this record that is more like a reflection, like sitting in front of something and just meditating on these ideas. I didn’t know what the whole thing was about until after the fact.

What is it about then?

Ehm… I want it to be open to interpretation. I want people to invent what it’s about. Like when you read tarot, the cards come out and line up and you get to tell the story. That’s how I view it, that type of spontaneous composition.

That’s a nice way to look at it. What do you do actually, besides music?

I work in a wine store.

Really? That’s great.

Yeah. A lot of people I work with are in music also. I came to realize records are a lot like wine, in that they are an organic thing. This record in particular. With wine, you have these grapes, and if you’re doing it in a natural process, you don’t control what happens. The weather manipulates the grapes to make the wine a certain way, or the soil, who knows what it could be. It’s an organic process and you don’t really know what’s going to happen in the end. That’s how I associate it with this record, it’s the same sort of process. And I like to use wine in a lot of performances. I just find it interesting.


Speaking of that, I was wondering about your live show. How does it work, what do you do? There is a performance element to it, right?

Yeah, a lot of it is performative. I guess they’re all different. I also kind of don’t know what they’re all about, I just have these ideas. For instance, in the first one I did (for the first Ascetic House tape), I had this painted glass. I kissed people in the audience through the glass and then I would smash it and roll around in it. I don’t really know what it’s about. At the time, I thought it might have been about being in a monogamous relationship. Who knows, it’s all open. I don’t really know where these things come from. I just like the idea of something a little more dramatic, rather than someone standing behind some pieces of gear. It’s a more entertaining to watch, and also… I don’t know if cathartic is the word, but it lets something out.

How do people react to that?

Ehm. I don’t know. I’m always so locked in my own head when I do these things that I don’t really pay attention. I don’t know how people react really. Some people are shocked, some people think it’s funny, some people get angry at it. I just have my eyes closed the whole time, almost like method acting.

So you don’t really know what you’re doing?

Yeah kind of, it just happens.

We’re premiering a track from the upcoming release, Cortado con leche, and I was curious about something: did you record yourself in the shower?

That is definitely a recording of me in the shower. With that song in particular, it has a weird, sexual ritual thing to it or something. In my head I could picture myself masturbating in the shower. But anyone else who listens to it could think it’s rain or anything else.

I didn’t know, or didn’t really think about what it was, but when I saw the photos you did with Jane Chardiet, I thought maybe that’s why she photographed you in the shower.

It’s funny. I’ve known Jane forever and we’ve collaborated on each others performances. Usually we’re both the craziest people willing to do each other’s insane things. Like, I played a set where she spit wine in my mouth until we were both vomiting. She did a thing where she whipped me while Appetite (Jane Chardiet & Ciarra Black’s noise duo) played. And for this shoot she was like “Alright I’m gonna take these photos, get in the shower.”


Do you guys push each other, creatively?

I do feel we like the idea of upping the ante every time, but it all comes from a natural place. You do one thing and depending on where you’re at, you want to do something a little more aggressive or a little less aggressive. The way things have been going for me is I keep getting more aggressive or more subversive, maybe not even on purpose. Things are just being kicked up because I like pushing myself. It’s also the way I enjoy things – I like that, when everything just escalates.

So what’s next for Horoscope?

I don’t really know what’s next. I want to play more shows and I’m trying to write a new set. It’s all kind of up in the air, I’m just letting things happen.

El espejo y el mar is out on Wharf Cat Records, “For Christmas, for everyone.”