Lupa J Interviewed by Elle Tayla
Photography by FAINT
As someone who’s primarily been labelled a pop artist, it must be freeing to finally be able to bend the rules by exploring different genres like techno and EDM. Have you found that exploring the grittier, more hard-hitting side of production whilst still being able to make pop has given you a newfound sense of liberty? Yes, definitely! I’ve always loved EDM and Techno influenced music, and I feel like Grimes’s production (who really inspired me to start making music in the first place) is somewhat influenced by techno. So it kind of feels like a natural progression for me to explore making EDM oriented music like this now, and it’s definitely freeing in the way that I can be entirely focused on beats & production, and have it not be limited by pop song structures, etc.
I personally find it so interesting when you can see an artist’s style develop and shift over time, what’s it like listening back to some of your first releases like The Seed EP and tracks like Armour? Do you still connect with them in the same way or has it changed? It honestly feels like listening to a different person now – or just like a baby version of myself. I’ve grown up so much since making those songs, now I listen to them and think wow, they’re so naive, there’s so much I didn’t know about myself. Of course I know what I was writing about, and what my life was like then, so I still somewhat connect to them in that way – but I just would naturally approach making music and interpreting my world in quite a different way now. I’d hope I have a more nuanced understanding of myself and my emotions / relationships & how to express it through music now.
You recently moved to Melbourne which I know is something you’ve been wanting to do for a while. How does it feel to finally be down here making music? It’s so so great. Now that I’ve been here for a month, the idea of trying to live in Sydney again almost feels depressing. Just having access to so many great gigs + club nights so frequently is amazing! Also the first weekend I was here I performed a set at 2am to a room packed with queer goths, all losing their minds – I’ve never seen people get into my music so hard, it was insane. It was actually co-organised by Alex from FAINT Agency who took these pics! I’ve never been able to play a show like that in Sydney, after that set I realised there’s no going back.
Do you have any favourite Melbourne spots so far? Now that Hugs & Kisses is closed, Sub Club is one of my fav club venues, and I went to Angel Bar on my first weekend here which was amazing. I work around Fitzroy though and I just love that area for all the food (so many vegan restaurants!) cafes + bars.
Can you pinpoint the moment where you really connected with the techno scene for the first time? Well I think I’d been getting into techno influenced live acts for a while before this (Friendships & Rebel Yell are some big ones for me) but there’s definitely a night that I can pin point. It was here in Melbourne, also among the first few times I hung out with you (Elle Tayla) at a Le Fag at Hugs & Kisses last June! My friend had been telling me I would love Le Fag for ages, and she was right. I’d never been to a club like & Kisses either, and it just blew my mind – the DJs, the sound system, the people, everything. There are no clubs like that in Sydney, lockouts were at like 1:30am. So to be somewhere where people thrive on experimental dark techno at 4am was nuts. It was also one of my first experiences in a very alternative queer oriented environment, so the whole thing was just really freeing / life changing for me at that point.
Are there any particular artists you turn to for inspiration at the moment? Right now I’m absolutely in love with the new FKA Twigs album, but then there’s a lot of stuff going on locally in Australia that’s amazing. I’m really into Lonelyspeck, Two People, Friendships, Rebel Yell, Marcus Whale, and so so many others. And then Melbourne DJs like Female Wizard, DJ Brigida, Spunkgunk, and all my friends (including you) that DJ too!
Do you ever hit a wall when making a track? If so how do you push through? Definitely – but I think it happens less and less while I work on multiple things at once. I used to focus really intensely on one track at a time, but making my album taught me that if something feels too difficult / like I’m not going anywhere, I can keep progressing if I just go work on something else that feels like it’s coming naturally.
Can we expect a second album to be in the works and will it follow a similar style to your latest dual release Half Alive/Out To Wreck? At the moment I’m just giving myself time to experiment – I really wanna push my writing to the extreme in both genres of pop and techno, so I’m just switching between both and seeing what feels good. The end goal is to put out an EP / album that does both genres at once, and puts them next to each other, but still feels cohesive and like a body of work. In the meantime just expect new tracks here and there, I’m definitely not gonna stop putting stuff out.