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2016 January 15
by Michelle Manetti



The 11th instalment of our mixtape series and the first of 2016 comes from Berlin Based La Fraicheur, a DJ I’ve had my eye on for a while, she made steady waves last year, but with a heap of forthcoming releases, collabs and gigs in the pipeline, 2016 looks set to be a big year for her. I had a chat with La Fraicheur about living in Berlin, her clubnight QUER and being a DJ and Producer.

Describe your sound in 5 words?
Oh boy. The sound I make or the sound I play? Damn. I hope warm, deep, alive, sensitive, honest.

You’ve resided in Paris, Montreal and now Berlin, how have each three places differed in terms of the music style and scene? And has this influenced your own sound?
Of course those places have very different sounds and of course it had an impact on what I listened to and played. Then again all of those cities are not fixed in one box either, we’re talking over a decade here, so the sounds of those cities evolved within that time frame too. It’s hard to pin point a life of living with music. I was definitely playing more electro back in Paris and because of my work as a band manager, my life was way more influenced by rock too, from low-fi rock to pop to post-rock. In Montreal I was reunited with my love of hip hop and also playing a lot of Caribbean music and Afrobeat. In Berlin, the electronic music I played got deeper and deeper as the time went by. I started playing House music over 12 years ago but had kind of “forgotten” about it for years and Berlin drove me right back into it. Now my main signature sound as a DJ is deep house.

Berlin is well known as a musical mecca, but from someone who lives there, tell us what is it that makes the city so revered?
Well it’s the specific history of the city that allowed a club culture to rise like nowhere else, because nowhere else could someone find so many playgrounds to create something in relative freedom, the institutions, from government to police, having other shit to deal with once the wall fell. Just the same way you could live there for so cheap that you could actually dedicate your life to dancing and music. And I think this spirit of clubs, as places of musical, physical and visual expressions, as spaces for life to be art, as moments like parallel universe outside of reality that lasts days in a row, opposed to clubs as businesses as known in the rest of the western world, can only have had a major impact on people’s collective imagination. Now 25 years later of course things have changed as the city and the country it is in, have changed. But that spirit lingers on, and you still have clubs like Mensch Meier, who refuses to have a FB page or “events”, that manage to open up in this saturated nighlife economy, because their love for music is bigger than their sanity. As long as people will experience in Berlin things they are not allowed to experience at home, Berlin will be revered.

You run your own party in Berlin, tell us a little about that.
QUER that’s happening at Wilde Renate, is a party that’s meant to build a bridge between queers and straight people. There is a “queer” nightlife (in Berghain, in Schwuz, in Gegen at KitKat etc..) that sometimes feels totally separate from a “straight” nightlife (at Ritte Butzke, Watergate etc..) which doesn’t make any sense to me. We’re all out to lose ourselves and find ourselves in music and I try to break that non-sense, one party at a time. As Berlin’s crowds are fairly more tolerant than I’ve encountered before, it’s seems doable, it’s just a matter of getting out of your comfort zone. I also want to showcase queer and female talents outside of the usual line ups (at gay clubs or all female parties) they are reduced to. They need more visibility, in other words, reach out to the rest of the world, and it’s important to me that I do my part.

Other than that… Not gonna lie! It’s hard! That I can tell you! Especially because as I mentioned before, the nightlife economy in Berlin is really tough. There are so many clubs and so many bars that function as clubs, so many good parties with great line ups on any given day, we’re talking dozens and dozens of great parties every single night. I feel like Berlin is partly suffocating from its own excitement. So much is happening at once. Driving the budgets down a lot and I often wish I could pay the people I book better. It’s not sexy to talk about money but let’s be real for a second. People need to stop looking at Berlin with shiny eyes and not want to see the reality of what it’s like to work here and bring all those exciting one of a kind experience I was talking about before. How do people think non-stop parties with an endless line up of djs in makeshift clubs when entry fees and drinks are less than half of what it is in Paris or London, can manage to survive? Because djs are paid with shoe string budgets. It’s hard living as a producer and DJ in Berlin.

You have a number of releases scheduled for the forthcoming months. What can we expect to hear from you in these?
Let’s see. After years of being too busy or too scared I finally got the guts to start producing and now that something is unlocked it’s like I can’t stop and it’s all going out in a mess of feelings! There’s my debut solo EP “Rhus Typhina” that’s being released on Friends With Benefits on January 20th, with an open-air, melancholic yet summery deep house track and a pretty intense, dark, warehouse tech-house track. I’ve produced a track with Berlin-based French producer and close friend Leonard de Leonard. It has a tech-house feel but with afrobeat samples so it’s weird inbetween. Since it’s weird, we appointed some of our favorite weirdos to remix it : Club Bizarre, Kaptain Cadillac and Larry Tee. There’s also an EP with Berlin-based American producer Sky Deep called “The Broken Bodies” with a tech-house track driven by a dark bass and sprinkled with a piano made for the footwork that instantly makes me want to fuck in a dark corner of a club. There’s an EP with Paris-based producer Greg Kozo with a stripped-down, straight forward, electro track and on the flipside, an after hours trippy deep house track to make you feel like you’re paddling up the Amazon river on MDMA on a misty morning with a parrot on your shoulder. And then I’m working right now on my next solo EP. I told you. I can’t stop now.

Production and DJ-ing are often intrinsically combined, but it’s argued they’re quite different disciplines, which do you prefer and do you approach each differently in terms of your creative process?
Oh I’m happy you’re bringing that up because it’s one of my pet peeves. Djing and producing are two completely different activities and I’m so tired of seeing big producers being booked for dj sets and then actually sucking at it. You don’t expect a radioshow host to know how to compose or a bus driver to tell you about the engineering of their vehicule? Why do people think producers are necessarily good djs? Djing is about creating a moment, a bubble for people to live and express themselves in, it’s about having a good perception of the crowd and what it needs, it’s about reading a room and, in my opinion, managing to take them somewhere they didn’t expect to go. It’s being able to figure out what the crowd needs and give them just enough of that which they need to dance, and use that loss of self, that trust they gave you to bring them somewhere out of their comfort zone, make them dance to music they didn’t know they would relate to. Djing is probably what brings me the most joy and the most fulfilment. I have a party in Paris that’s in a venue that mainly plays hip hop and mine is the only House party, so a lot of people come for the venue and not my party specifically and at the end of the night, when people come to me and say “damn if ever somebody had told me I would dance all night to techno, I would have never believed it” and I haven’t even played any techno but my funkiest house but for them, it’s a music genre so removed from their experience they don’t even know how to call it and yet I made them dance to it all night. Now that’s an incredible feeling I’m hooked on.

As you know, here at Lipstick Disco we like to give the musical ladies a shout out, so tell us who’s your favourite fellow female DJ?
ONE? I have to only settle for just THE ONE female dj? No no no no no no sorry can’t do that. If we’re talking DJs only, as in, judge for their dj sets, then definitely Margaret Dygas, Steffi, Ena Lind, AZF, Alinka, Avalon Emerson, Lena Willikens, Fleischer. Ok I have to stop. But I could go on. There are so many talented female djs and female producers out there. It’s beyond fathomable.

And one final question we always ask, what’s your drink of choice?
Well I am not much of a drinker and especially not when I play. But I’d say make me a good dark and stormy and I’ll be happy.

So there you have it, sit back and listen to the warm, deep, sensitive sounds from La Fraicheur, go check out her releases and if you see her behind the decks, fetch her a dark and stormy.


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