Catnapp & Smolg

Catnapp & Smolg

Berlin, anger, love.

By Ohrkid

Catnapp aka Amparo Battaglia Lopez (she/her) combines R&B, rap, breakbeat, pop, drum & bass resulting in an intense & nostalgic atmosphere with heavy beats. In 2017, she founded the label NAPP Records. Originally from Buenos Aires, she is now based in Berlin.

Ohrkid (they/them) is an Earhart contributer, singer-songwriter, musician, & performer based in Berlin.

Photos by Johannes Lex, styling by Cassandre Clerc, asist. Alan Salari.

Ohrkid: So maybe you can just introduce yourself and say a little bit about what you do.

Catnapp: Okay, my producer name is Catnapp. My personal name is Amparo Battaglia Lopez. I’m from Argentina. I’ve lived in Berlin for three years now. I’ve been making music my whole life. Catnapp is mainly R&B, break beats, drum and bass-ey, rap/ pop mix stuff. I’m hoping that someone eventually invents a genre for what I do, or not, so it’s easier to explain.

O: You’re doing it, babe.

C: Yeah, I’m inventing genres!

O: Fuck yeah.

C: I’m just gonna call it something like...smolg.

(Both laugh.)

C: And everyone’s gonna be like, “of course, I know that. Yeah, sure.” Especially here in Berlin. “Oh that genre, yes of course.”

O: Wow, that’s so real. “Yeah, um, I listen to that all the time.”

C: “Oh you don’t know what that is?”

O: “You should be embarrassed, you’re so uncool.”

Photos by Johannes Lex, styling by Cassandre Clerc, asist. Alan Salari

Photos by Johannes Lex, styling by Cassandre Clerc, asist. Alan Salari

O: So, if you could have any super power, other than making music, what would it be and why?

(Sighs.) If this super power could exist, just take the selfishness out of [people] so they’d be able to realize what a deep problematic situation the world is in right now. A Selfish Stopper. Selfishness detainer. It’s so sad to see how everyone is just going. We’re following this path of destroying ourselves and destroying the planet. It just makes me so sad to see people in power that are so selfish. Just because they want to be millionaires for the ten years they have left, they’re destroying the planet. So my super power would be to change those mentalities and be able to build a planet how it’s supposed to be. In a healthier way or in a better way...and we should all be cats.

O: Where did you grow up, and how did you end up in Berlin? What is your geography story?

C: I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is the capital city, province, we call it. I was there until I was twenty-three or -four. And I moved to Berlin because my music there was so hard to develop, or to be understood or accepted. I had a nice audience, but then, since it was a bit weird and not so--it was not rock or something that you could sell really easy. Also because the country is not in a very good moment now, and they need to sell fast, to get money fast, and they cannot really invest in something that is strange when they don’t know if it’s going to work or not, if people are going to buy it or not, or like it or go to the concerts. So I felt that I had reached my limit there and that I could not grow any more. And that I had to go somewhere else. So I decided to come to Europe.

I didn’t know that I was going to stay in Berlin. I thought that I was going to stay in London. But I went there and I didn’t like it very much. I did not feel the vibe at all…And though I knew some people there and it was nice in that way, but it was not my place. And then I arrived in Berlin and it was like, it was May, it was starting to be a little bit hot, warm, the plants were growing and it was all magical and I was like, oh yes! But anyway, I don’t regret that. I love this place. And I feel accepted, and I feel that I can grow, and that I can learn, and I can be inspired by different things every day. And see something new every day. And there are so many opportunities here for me, I feel. I cannot see the end of that. I cannot see the end of opportunities, so I think I’m at the right place.

I cannot see the end of opportunities, so I think I’m at the right place.

O: What about Berlin’s music scene inspires you?

C: Well, Berlin is, you know, I think like ninety percent techno? Or related genres, like techhaus, or stuff like that. So actually when I first moved here, I thought about quitting Catnapp and starting a more techno vibey thing.

O: Woah.

C: Yeah. I was coming from like, I was changing so much, and as Catnapp I did an album that was very Fever Ray-ish, and before that I was doing drum and bass, and I was like, “what--who am I? What do I want?” And, yeah. I went to Berghain a few times and I was like “okay, I’m gonna do techno.”

(Both laugh.)

“Fuck this. I’m just gonna do techno.” So I started a new project. And I was very inspired by all the electronic music, but, I don’t know. Then I started digging a bit more, and I found parties like TRADE, and drum and bass parties, and other stuff that really interested me more. And break beat is coming back, so I also started hearing a lot of break beat in the clubs. So, yeah, I’m very inspired by that. And by day-to-day people. And by other artists that are not in Europe. Yeah, that’s basically it.

Photos by Johannes Lex, styling by Cassandre Clerc, asist. Alan Salari

Photos by Johannes Lex, styling by Cassandre Clerc, asist. Alan Salari

O: Do you perform as yourself, as Ampi? Or as an alter ego?

C: It’s me, but it’s not a part of me that I let out often. I realized that the other day, actually, just recently, so now I can give you that answer. Maybe three weeks ago, I wouldn’t be able to. It’s that. I realized that I’m so angry when I perform, and I let all that anger out. And I am not an aggressive person at all…I just feel that I cannot be violent. I just get this feeling inside me like (sharp inhale) I cannot be angry. Before I’m angry, I cry.

So I guess onstage, I’m just able to release all that anger and disappointment, and look at people in an angry way that I could never do in real life. I could never be angry like that with someone in real life.

O: It sounds so healthy to have an outlet to channel that into where it’s accepted and received and desired by the others.

Onstage, I’m just able to release all that anger & disappointment.

O: Are all songs love songs?

C: No. Most of them. Or heartbreak songs, but they go around love, too. Because heartbreak I think, is tied up to that a little bit. But I have actually one album that is called “A Cliff in an Eyeblink.” I recorded it in 2013 I think. That was the Fever Ray-ish album I was talking about. And in that album I talk about a lot of personal problems or just memories of my childhood, feelings I get about people that are not love-related at all. Fear, being scared of people. Or being nostalgic about my old home, or something like this. So I think that album is the exception to all the songs about love and about anger.

O: What gifts does your music give you?

C: Well, it’s like therapy. It’s rewarding, when you finish a song, to have been able to do it, actually. It’s not easy to make a song. It’s not easy to transform your feelings into music, and make it make sense. So that is the first thing: it’s just rewarding to complete that. To make that exist. Then to bring it to the people. To bring it to the audience and show it to them. To be able to unleash that feeling again, but, publicly. And then, the feedback you get from that. You receive something from the audience. They actually feel it, or they sing the lyrics, or then when the show ends, they come to you and they come to me and they tell me, “this song! When you talk about this, and that, I was feeling the same!” That is the best thing.

And sometimes when people come to me, and they’re like, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I need to tell you this,” it’s like, “don’t be sorry.” This is why I am making music, you know? So that’s the most rewarding thing. When you get this back from the people to you. As I was telling you before, I think, when you do a show and you see people really feeling it, that’s the show to me. They’re doing a show to me. So yeah, that’s it. That is definitely it.


O: What advice or encouragement would you give to other womxn or gender non-conforming artists?

C: Well, I’d just give this advice in general, but I guess, for me, it’s the most important thing: you just have to do your thing. And you don’t have to think if you’re going to be able to sell it, or if it’s going to be good, or if it’s going to be bad. Or change it because you think it’s not going to be accepted, maybe try to modify it a little bit so it’s more accepted by blah bla bla or whatever audience or whoever will want to purchase it. There are a lot of trends, and there are a lot of people making music because it’s a trend, or because it’s fashion, or because today, this is the music that you’re supposed to make. If you make that music, it’s cool if you enjoy it; then you’re going to be really happy. But if you’re just doing it because it’s a trend, it’s going to be over at some point.

But if you just do what you want to do, and what’s true to you, what is really meaningful to you, that’s going to last forever. That’s going to be special. That’s going to be what people are going to look behind at ten years from now and go, “oh, this is what really mattered.” LIke Aphex Twin to give you a crazy example. Or someone that makes really crazy stuff. And even more if you are a different person, you know? You just have to really embrace that, and really love that and appreciate who you are, and just do what you feel, and that’s what is going to be most important in the end. Everything else is going to change, disappear, be another trend or whatever. Yes.

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