Jun 29, 2016

In this week's Focus interview, we chat with Louisahhh, a true dancefloor warrior who's pushing out on all fronts and dipping her fingers into almost everything the dance music world has to offer. Once you become familiar with her work, it's impossible not to start noticing her everywhere. As a DJ, producer, record label founder and vocalist she's worked with the likes of Brodinski, Danny Daze and Chromeo, released songs and remixes on labels like Bromance, Circus Company and Hot Creations, played at the biggests clubs and festivals the world over, and, with label and production partner Maelstrom, put out songs by the likes of Dave Clarke, JoeFarr and more on their own RAAR label.

If that seems like an unexpected mix of collaborators, it's a sign of how talented and versatile she is. Though she's got her feet planted in techno, with a style that her bio describes as "tough but tender" she's as comfortable diving deep as she is going hard.

Always pushing boudaries, she's established her RAAR label as a "a techno label for punk rockers, a punk rock label for techno-heads." Rejecting the typical approach techno record labels take, they put out music for free, accompany their releases with poetry and art, and chase down the wildest, most challenging acts they can find. It's reflective of a boldness that runs deep in her DJ sets as well, as we'll be able to see for ourselves this coming weekend.

RAAR makes a point of operating in it's own unique manner, not like the other labels in the techno scene. Would you prefer all labels operated like RAAR does?

I am actually glad RAAR is unique in it's open source strategy; we are planning to go further down this route as the label progresses. All releases are pressed to vinyl, and are available for free on our website, RAAR.FR . Additionally, sound banks, special versions and unique artwork are available online. We are presently interested in expanding cross disciplines, commissioning artists who inspire and excite us to work on new media to go with releases. Every time we wonder if people will like what we're doing, Maelstrom remind each other that our goal is not to be liked, but to push boundaries, release important work, delight in the process. If there is a band of merry pranksters, rebels and wildings that want to pick up what we're throwing down, awesome, but RAAR is a practice of necessity, not commercial viability. I guess to answer your question, if all record companies ran like RAAR did, the record industry would shatter entirely; 'Benevolent Anarchy' is our endgame.

In past interviews you’ve talked about the need to provide a space to “nurture the upsetters” and the pleasure of playing for enthusiastic, open-minded, musically educated crowds. Do you adjust your performances when playing in spaces that feel less nurturing or open-minded?

Especially at the beginning of my career, I've had to do a lot of compromising with crowds, playing 'entertainer' instead of 'artist, because that's the job I was hired to do. I remember reading a great interview with DJ AM in the now defunct 'Urb' Magazine where he talked about 'catering to the lowest common denominator, and educating them', and I try to remember the art and beauty in doing that when I want to punish a crowd for not 'getting it' or being resisting to try something new. Now that I am more established in my sound, and I have the great privilege of people hiring me to be myself, and I have to adjust A LOT LESS. The goal at the end of the day is to authentically channel what the crowd needs, through noise. Subliminal psychic healing that will look different every night.

What is your best memory as a DJ?

I get to make a new 'best memory' every weekend, it's absurd. The most recent one is from our RAAR party at Off Sonar in Barcelona on June 16. It was my first time playing a Sonar event and it was just an incredible privilege to watch the ethos of the label transcend a room. I deeply love and respect everyone involved (Maelstrom, Dave Clarke, Joe Farr, who played), and it was just magical to have evidence of the work we're doing, the music we're releasing, have a broader effect of this energy we're putting into the world. Also, every time I get to play with Mael is truly a gift.

What song first got you into electronic music? Does it still fit with the music you like today?

When I first started DJing, the first two tracks I learned to beat-match were 'Blue Monday' (New Order) and 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' (Kylie Minogue), I probably wouldn't play the latter, but would definitely play New Order in present sets.

If you could have a picnic anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I live right next to one of the best parks in Paris, the Buttes Chaumont. It is one of the most magnificent views in the world, and has ample lawns for picnicking upon. If it's too crowded (summer's here), I'd like to check out Iceland.

Don't miss Louisahhh when she closes Piknic on Sunday, July 3rd from 7pm-9:30pm.