LOUISAHHH!!! – Interview
When the people in charge at Discobelle (hi Martin!) asked me if I was interested in interviewing LOUISAHHH!!!, there was absolutely not a moment of doubt that I was going to make this happen. After all, who wouldn’t want to talk to an OG member of the Bromance family and learn from the best? She chatted to us about life, advice for safety in the night-centered world, and of course, her music. LOUISAHHH!!! truly is one of the wisest in the game. Check out what she had to say below, and make sure to check out her newest EP Shadow Work as well.
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Discobelle: Hi LOUISAHHH!!! Thanks for chatting with me again. Let’s talk about Shadow Work, your latest EP. It sounds like an advancement on your previous releases on Bromance, but I can’t quite point a finger to what has changed exactly. What would you say has been the major changes and growth musically in your recent EP release? I know you’ve mentioned your growth internally, and I’d love to hear you elaborate a little bit on that.
LouisaHHH: That’s a powerful question to start off with! I guess between releasing Transcend and Shadow Work, there was a lot of shifting in my life – I moved continents, got into and out of and into relationships, learned how to tour and write and play at a different level than I had previously. I also struggled a lot with depression and anxiety, and started seeing a therapist and working on shifting a relationship with self, with the world, with creativity and work. All of this stuff needed somewhere to go and this music is what poured out. I believe strongly that if creative energy isn’t used, that it will quickly turn on me, and so I’m grateful that I was able to channel it instead of letting it become destructive.
DB: I wanted to ask also about your new label, RAAR. You’ve described it as “techno for punk rockers,” so I wanted to ask you what punk rock means to you, and how you reconcile the two (at least in today’s world) differently reputed scenes under one label.
L: I’m so happy you asked about RAAR. Our mission statement is ‘a techno label for punk rockers, or a punk label for techno heads’. The story of the creation with the label is that Maelstrom and I appealed to Savoir Faire (our management company) for financial backing, and they were honest with us- they didn’t have money to put into a project like this. This was actually great, because it allowed us to have no masters in moving forward, no one to answer to but each other. We raised the money ourselves and decided the goals we have aren’t related whatsoever to outside validation – financial or otherwise – but simply investing in a place to release work that we believe in, and encourage our peers and heroes to do the same. The music itself is tied more to this idea of techno as ‘music for warriors’, not so much in purist aesthetics, so we aren’t releasing strictly techno, as long as it has a techno attitude: ‘we don’t need you to like us; we like us’. The dream is to create and exist within a benevolent anarchy, which is about as punk rock as you can get as far as I’m concerned.
DB: You’re also making an effort to press your releases to vinyl and releasing beat-a-pellas, acapellas, sound banks, etc., all things that are going to help out a lot of budding producers out there. What made you interested in providing these and giving these out to the public?
L: I think in encouraging an ‘open source’ sharing of tools and information tied to our releases, we are building a community where the availability of resources will hopefully lead to greater innovation and experimentation from fans and supporters. We’ve stopped believing in a functioning digital distribution scheme so we are releasing everything on vinyl, and the digital tracks and tools will all be ‘pay what you want’. We trust the community to invest in the work they believe in, just like we are. We understand the music will not be for everybody, by definition it’s kind of tough and arty and perhaps inaccessible, but it is our hope that the people drawn to this sort of thing will take what we are doing and run with it, creatively, and contribute financially if they can.
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DB: I’ve also heard that releases and such were going to be released with a visual component, whether it be poem, photograph, art-piece. What made you decide on bringing other artistic mediums into the core foundation of the label?
L: Why would we limit ourselves? Mael and I are both curious supporters and creators of artistic practices outside of music, and it is a dream come true to have a place to showcase, celebrate, develop the vision of fellow artists who don’t necessarily work with sound. One of the goals we have is eventually developing this idea into a fully immersive audio-visual experience, a RAAR party being not just a club night but a gesamkunstwerk that you walk out of feeling different from when you arrived. Our creative boundaries don’t have to do so much with medium or genre of what’s created, but the attitude and feeling of ‘RAAR’.
DB: A year ago, we talked juke, Chicago footwork, and getting that into your sets. I know you highlighted RP Boo as a particular favorite, so I wanted to delve into that a bit more. A year in, have you made any new artistic discoveries for your sets? If you have stuck with integrating juke in your performances, what or who (besides RP Boo) are your favorites?
L:Still obsessed with RP Boo. I’ve also gotten really into Jlin, who’s one of his progeny, and kind of the only woman making footwork, really changing the game. Her attitude is so ferocious and the music is mind blowing, unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I really love her spirit; her album ‘Dark Energy’ came out on Planet Mu this year and is incredible.
As for my sets and what I’ve been playing out, I’ve been touring by myself a lot more (as opposed to doing crew shows with Bromance). This is exciting because my confidence is building and I feel really deft and sharp right now. I find myself more willing to challenge the crowd with harder music, and then open up more emotionally, especially playing tracks from Shadow Work. I feel like it’s working, that it’s resonating with audiences in a different, more authentic way.
DB: I know that bringing the word woman in front of DJ is a really tricky grey area, but it’s been a tumultuous time for women and the media, so if you had any last words of advice for people looking up to you, what would you want to tell people?
L: I know there is some eye rolling and rancor when the question ‘what’s it like being a woman dj’ is brought up because it’s so dumb and broad, and no male dj has ever been asked the equivalent. However, I think it is important to talk about specifics of the female experience in the world of nightlife, especially as female DJs, or role models. We still have a long way to go in terms of equality of male:female booking ratio within the electronic music scene, as this absurd idea that ‘there’s only room for so many girls at the top’ must be snuffed out. I think it’s happening, but it’s an ongoing conversation. In the meantime, keeping night life safe for young women – this post-riot grrl ‘GIRLS TO THE FRONT’ movement – and especially acting as women of dignity and grace. Be kind to each other, be warrior women, act esteemably. This builds self esteem (for girls and boys) and then we make less harmful decisions, less cattiness or sloppiness or slutiness. It took me a lot of soul crushing, demeaning behavior to learn this – I’m just trying to save you the trouble. I love you either way. No matter what, You are enough.
Thanks to LOUISAHHH!!! for an amazing interview, even while she’s busy on tour, and another thanks to her for her positive words! Shadow Work is available via Beatport.
Remember to stay safe, and no matter what, LOUISAHHH loves you either way.