“At Benidorm Fest, Tracción will go without autotune”

Rakky Ripper is one of the most exciting proposals that the second edition of Benidorm Fest has left. It will be from January 31 when we will be able to find out what the singer from Granada has prepared for her song, the great pepinazo of ‘TRACCIÓN’, which has quickly positioned itself among the favorites by the public (it is currently the 4th most listened to on Spotify). An accelerated, abrasive and pounding hyperpop production that, in the vein of Rakky Ripper and her influences, comes flooded with Autotune, one of the many vocal effects that exist today. Raquel García Cabrerizo herself tells us about the merits of this tool and its differences with the melodyne or the vocoder for our Meister of the Week section, curated by Jägermusic.

Why have you chosen to talk about Autotune?
Because a lot of people ask me about it for the Benidorm Fest and I think it could be interesting.

Do you think you understand what Autotune is? How is it different from other tools like Melodyne?
I think people related to the world of music understand it, but the general public does not understand it so well.

What most people don’t know is that all artists, even the great voices like Ariana Grande, tune note for note (with technological tools). They don’t use Autotune (automatic) which gives that characteristic sound, but this is where the Melodyne theme comes in. With Melodyne you tune manually syllable by syllable, while Autotune -as its name suggests- is automatic and leaves that characteristic sound.

Are there differences between autotune and vocoder?
A vocoder is a voice synthesizer that gives a robotic effect (very typical in eighties or electronic artists like Daft Punk). The vocoder only adds a texture, it does not tune like Autotune.

What does Autotune mean in your music and in your artistic proposal?
This is my case, more than to tune, it is one more element that adds texture, brightness and personality to my voice.

What song or artist made you discover Autotune?
I think Ke$ha and the Millionaires were the first people to make me look at Autotune and try it on my computer to see how it sounded.

What musical works do you consider have been influential in the normalization of Autotune in music today?
I think Cher, Ke$ha or Lady Gaga were very influential in the 2010s.

And which ones have influenced your own work?
I’ll tell you: Ke$ha, Gaga, Rihanna and more people from the MySpace and emoscene times like Jeffree Star, Brokencyde or the Millionaires.

Autotune -as note corrector- has made the voice of today’s artists sound exaggeratedly perfect, to the point that you listen to a single from the 80s and it seems that the artist sings badly. Do you have the feeling that today’s pop sounds plastic?
I don’t think it’s about that, but we have gotten used to everything being perfectly perfect and that we don’t feel like hearing clean voices. Even so, the “vocals” have never been completely clean because effects were already included in the 80s, it is not something new and it also depended a lot on the musical genre.

What creative uses does Autotune give, to you or to artists in general?
It’s not just tuning, it’s also giving a fantasy, futuristic, robotic effect… It’s sounding new instead of the usual.

Which artists or songs do you think make good use of Autotune, on a creative level, and which ones do you find less convincing?
Autotune is very grateful, I can’t tell you any well-known artist who doesn’t use it well.

«The soul of the voice is not in the tuning and I don’t think that the Autotune eliminates the timbre»

Cher’s ‘Believe’ comes to mind, or Kanye West’s 2008 album, or current trap, or of course hyperpop, when we think of Autotune, but these are usually extreme cases. Actually, its use is more subtle on artists like Rihanna or even Michael Bublé, because the correction is not supposed to be noticeable. Do you think Autotune “steals” the soul of the voice when used like that? Does the voice have “soul”?
I believe that the soul of the voice is not in the tuning and I do not believe that the Autotune eliminates the timbre, it simply adds a specific sound that is like a unifier between genres. The original timbre and color of the voice is always there. The soul of the voice is much less tangible than the effects or the way it is recorded.

On the contrary, do you think that the beauty of hyperpop is that there is no soul in the music, but that it is all artificiality, robotic coldness? Is this rather a prejudiced idea?
The “plasticity” of hyperpop is part of its charm, but the emotionality can also come thanks to the melodies of the voice, the beat and the “lyrics”, so I will never feel it a cold genre. They say that robots can feel too, right?

“Eurovision is a festival of the song, not of the voice”

Do you think Autotune should be allowed in contests like Eurovision?
I think Eurovision is a song festival, not a voice festival, and if songs nowadays use this tool a lot, I don’t see why it couldn’t be allowed. I think it’s a matter of time before it’s accepted, just like they went from live orchestras to playback music.

Does ‘Traction’, your proposal for Benidorm Fest, have Autotune? Will the recorded version be different from the live one?
It does have it because I didn’t want it to lose my essence, but I’ll perform it live without it since the voice is actually a power vocal and doesn’t really need much electronic arrangement.

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Elton Gardner

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