Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl
Zala Kralj and Gašper Šantl are two young and perspective Slovenian musicians, who try to communicate honesty and love through their music. Today we have the pleasure to present their talent, ask them a few questions about their creative process and introduce them in an exclusive editorial for Māgoa.
First of all, hi and welcome to Māgoa, Zala and Gašper. Could you quickly introduce yourself in a few words to our readers?
Hi, we are Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl, a musical duo that tries to communicate honesty and love through music. We want you to feel accepted the way you are.
How did you meet and start your music journey?
Z: Gašper’s friend Žiga Krajnc (he is filming our music videos now) found my Instagram and short videos of me singing. He sent one of them to Gašper and that’s how it all started.
G: We got connected throughout the process of telling the story and finishing the song Valovi. After that, it felt logical to continue what we started.
When did you first know, you wanted to pursue a music career?
Z: I never really wanted music to be my career. I always saw it more as a relaxation after a hard day. Just singing and playing guitar for myself. However, once Valovi started to become popular and people wanted to hear more songs and be a part of our story, I realized I could never just go back to my room and play for myself. We’ve already started something that’s supposed to be bigger. I want more people to hear what Gašper and I have to say.
G: Always. I think to take risks (of going for your dreams) is much easier than to live a life in which I don’t do what I love.
What does music mean to you? What do you feel while writing new material?
Z: To me, music is something that calms me down, gives me energy and makes me think, all at the same time. It also makes it easier for me to tell things that I can’t say by words alone. Combining lines and melodies is just something I love doing. It’s the things I feel that make me write songs in the first place, so it depends on each song.
What has had the biggest impact on you in your life and music career?
G: Going out of my comfort zone. On my graduation day, I took my bike, money I saved, a small backpack and started to cycle to the north. I wanted to find a job as a music producer. I thought it must be impossible that there is not one music studio in the world that wouldn’t want my help. After 80 days of being totally unsure about my future, I had my luck in Prague at Faust Records, where they took me for theirs. I spent 2 years there and learned priceless stuff. I also did a session with a Grammy winner this year.
After that I was empty again. I left to cycle over 10 countries and got to know myself a bit more. I think in order to grow as an artist, you have to grow as a person. That’s why I do stuff like that. Then, I returned to Slovenia and started our thing with Zala. It was clear that this was the next step.
You bring a different, refreshing sound to the Slovenian music scene. In your songs, do you focus more on the story telling or on the performance in general?
Z: I think we couldn’t even write a song without knowing what story we wanted to tell and what message we wanted to send. I think this is the crucial part of writing each of our songs. There are probably a lot of better performers than we are. I for sure know there are singers with way better techniques than mine, that’s why I put in so much effort to interpret a song as well as I can. When we record and perform, we kinda dive into the music in that moment.
What has been your greatest music influence?
G: We love to listen to Sohn, Glass Animals and Rhye. The National are also pretty great for rainy days. However, our greatest influence is our story and the rest just helps us to tell it.
How do you want your music to impact people?
Z: First of all, we obviously want people to have something they like to listen to. If you don’t enjoy the vibe of a song you can’t even start to think about the lyrics. Our music consists of quite a lot of metaphors, but I think the lyrics are still quite understandable and easy to identify with. We want people to accept each other and themselves, just the way they are / the way they want to be. We also want to show people it’s not foolish of them to have dreams that seem too big at first. No dream is too big or too stupid.
How much has social media shaped your entry into this industry?
G: A lot. In order to hear our music, you have to hear about it somewhere. This is where all the media comes in. We believe there are more people out there who would like to hear our stuff. We will do our best to reach them.
Which song was the most difficult to record?
Z: I’d say our first song – Valovi, since we didn’t know each other that well yet. It’s easier now that we know each other better and know exactly what and how we want to record.
What’s something that people would be surprised to know about you?
Z: We almost never go out. Or very rarely. Maybe… We know we should go out more, but it’s just so comfortable at home.
You recently announced you were signing a contract with Universal Music Group – congrats on your success! Any thoughts or feelings?
G: It’s amazing to have this support and recognition. We didn’t want to sign with any label before, but our team at Universal feels great to work with. Although with step like this, things get more serious, we need to feel cozy in order to be creative. We can focus on our music even more now.
A lot of recording artists and indie labels have taken to putting their music on Apple music or Spotify, does this appeal to you?
Z: I’ve been raised in a family that buys all the movies and all the music we own, but I know people usually don’t and I get it – they don’t want to pay for something that they’re not sure they’re going to like in a couple of months. I think platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify are a great way for people to contribute to the artists. It’s kind of like renting the music you listen to at the moment, but you can always delete the songs from your library if you don’t feel like listening to them anymore. I recently started using Apple Music and I absolutely love it.
Which song do you love to perform live?
G: I really like to play our single Baloni, it sometimes gives me flashback of everything we’ve done with Zala. I try to focus on entire live performance though, songs are like kids and you’d hate to neglect one. I think Zala also really likes one of the covers, because she thinks it’s funny and she laughs on stage.
What’s the song you’re listening to most at the moment?
Rhye – Open (SOHN Remix)
Any upcoming plans or projects you would like to share with our readers?
Z: Our new single is coming out on the 5th of October. And it will be awesome. Stay tuned.
Zala and Gašper, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects!
Visit their official Instagram: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl
Clothes: Janja Videc
Photos: Katarina Veselič
Styling and Creative Direction: Ana Znidarsic
Mua: Nina Burazor
Hair: Marko Klemen Sovree