Sydney based electronic artist Lupa J has dropped yet another hauntingly beautiful EP, A House I Don’t Remember. We chat to Lupa J about the making of the EP, and how it differs from their previous music.
First of all, congratulations on yet another EP. Where did the idea for A House I Don’t Remember, initially come from?
I had been writing a bunch of quite different sounding songs, not really knowing if or how they could fit together, sort of freaking out a little that I hadn’t found the ‘style’ I wanted to write in yet. But then one day I came up with the lyrics for the song Remember, and I realised that I had unconsciously been writing on a theme – all these songs were about people around me struggling with issues formed in their childhood. Naturally, memory is a huge part of this, and I found it really fascinating and also kind of eerie that a few of these people either had huge blanks in their memory or were only remembering very crucial things about themselves many years later. So I decided to completely dive into the subject, and then all the songs just naturally came together & I was able to make the different sound worlds of each of them work next to each other.
You just had your first appearance at BigSound. What was that like?
Actually really great, so much better than I could have hoped for!! There were much bigger turnouts at my showcases than I was expecting, everyone was just really friendly and it was so amazing seeing & hanging out with so many other musicians.
You’ve already had some crazy experiences on your musical journey, such as supporting Grimes a couple years ago. Do you have a highlight so far?
Grimes was definitely a huge highlight, and I’ve had a bunch of amazing support slots since – Sarah Blasko, Tegan & Sara and K Flay were all out of this world experiences. Playing at NGV for their Dior exhibition recently was also pretty incredible.
The previews you’ve shared for the Moth music video look very exciting and also a little whacky. Where did you get the idea for the video?
Well Moth is about the way myself, and all women, have been raised in a culture where we are constantly reminded that our exteriors are the most valuable aspect of ourselves; our bodies are not our own; our bodies are objects to be consumed & controlled. The lyrics are literally about all these years of conditioning manifesting into an experience of walking into a shopping center and feeling paralysed by the surrounding images of objectified women. And so it made sense to use that scenario in the video too. But I took it further with this narrative where I attempt to ‘rescue’ a mannequin – it worked to push it into a slightly surreal direction because the fashion/beauty industry itself and the ways we depict and look at women are actually pretty absurd. It’s a strange and funny video, but underneath it’s really pretty dark – ultimately I end up saving something that’s not actually a woman. I’m so far gone I can’t tell the difference between myself and a mannequin anymore.
How important is it to you to be directly involved extensions of your art, such as your music videos and album artwork?
Really important, I think releases have the most impact when all the different elements are in sync with the artist’s vision. It just made sense for me to direct these last two videos as I had really strong imagery in my head for the songs already. I often do as soon as I write the lyrics, and that’s why I always want to be directly involved with how the videos turn out. I love the idea of creating a whole world surrounding the music that stays with people as they listen.
You’ve mentioned that the songs on this EP are a lot more raw and personal. Do you think this will impact your live show?
Definitely, and it already kind of has – in the last year as we’ve been playing these songs I’ve rearranged my setup so that I don’t have a table of samplers in front of me. It’s now been simplified and moved to the side so I can perform more directly to the audience, which makes for a more intense show. I’ve also had some pretty emotional moments performing these songs, more than I ever have before – I almost cried at my single launch while playing All Talked Out after explaining to the crowd what it was about.
And finally, a lot of the sounds on this EP are dark and haunting. How do you feel you’ve grown as an artist since your last release?
I think my music has always been quite dark, it’s a sound I naturally gravitate towards – but I think I’ve definitely taken it further with this EP. I really tried to not hold back with these songs, and just take everything to much greater extremes – I didn’t intentionally sacrifice mood and emotional impact for a tight, radio-friendly pop song structure, which I often tried to in the past. I’m most proud of All Talked Out and Ring Empty because I really let go with those two – they’re both over 5 mins long and together travel through every different type of sound & mood that made sense for me to stuff into one single piece. Which can make for a somewhat daunting listen, but I think it’s the most honest I’ve been within my music yet.
AMNplify – BD
- Chelsea King