"I hope for the best and prepare for the worst"
Born and bred in New York City, Louisa Pillott – aka Louisahhh – honed her tough techno sound in her hometown after getting her start playing what she calls the “dance rock” of the mid-2000s. Loves playing and making records more than anything else in the whole world. The H's and !'s at the end of her name are meant to turn it a battle cry or a shriek of delight - a sure way of making any word more exciting to say. We had a chance to talk to her, so enjoy your reading and check out her latest releases.
What was your first foray into the world of electronic music?
From a young age, my interests had been obsessively musical; the first bands that I was truly obsessed with: Nine Inch Nails and Garbage - had a lot of electronic ideas in their production, though they were categorized as “Rock Bands”, they definitely influenced my taste in the direction of inorganic sounds.
Could you give us an insight into your collaborative process? Who does what when it comes to composing tracks. And do you ever have any conflicting opinions, or do you both tend to share a singular vision for your sets/lives?
I think collaborations are kind of specific to the partnership, even the piece of music we’re working on together. I have long said I am not a very strong producer, so my talent is really more on the songwriting and performance side. I try to bring my strengths to the table and work with people who can balance out my weaknesses with where they shine, to make whatever we’re working on the best it can possibly be. My primary collaborators, Maelstrom and Vice Cooler, are special in that I feel like we both compliment and challenge each other in equal measure. I am grateful for the gift of such partnerships and the work that comes out of them.
Which artists have your interest these days?
There are so many incredible talents working right now!!! I love the energy Cera Khin brings, I am a little obsessed with AnD and the new DIMI project from Dimitrios Ploumpidis. I feel like in these bizarre times, to have music that is so ferocious and kind of gratuitous in its sheer energy is really helpful for me, helps me feel clarity and freedom in my body.
Do you remember when music was first presented to you when you were a child?
Music has been a part of my life as long as i can remember. My first concert was a Pink Floyd rehearsal in an airplane hanger when I was six as my dad worked with the band. Our primary connection and communication was historically around music, so it was a really important part of my identity and upbringing.
In and out of the electronic music circle, who is an inspiration to you?
As human beings, working with a band this year has been the most beautiful experience. The goal for 2020 is to really go for it with a live (potentially postponed til 2021 thanks to global pandemic), and the joy that rehearsing has brought to my life has been unparalleled. Each person that is part of the project is so talented and brings so much, it’s humbling and thrilling to get to do this with them. They all have their own projects that you should check out: Maelstrom (machines), Bertrand James (Drums), Mathieu Fisson (sound). As I mentioned before, Vice Cooler is also a force, the most prolific genius I’ve ever met. His solo work is out of control! Personally, I have a lot of dear humans that save my ass and my mental health on a daily basis and in this time more than ever, I feel gratitude for the close circle of compassionate warrior geniuses that I am blessed to call my friends.
What was the last record store you visited and what did you keep there?
I don’t buy records anymore, sadly, as my turntables were left in the states when I moved to Paris and was changing apartments every 3 months, it became counterproductive to lug records around. I still love checking out record stores for inspiration and community, it’s a great place to find out who’s doing what in a much more tangible, concrete way.
What inspires you to produce your tracks?
Sex and death, I guess. Wanting what I can’t have.
How would you define your sound?
“Tough” would be flattering
What is/are your most favourite acid/techno record(s) of all time and why?
Impossible question, any ‘of all time’. Today my favorite record is ‘Alter Ego’ from Floorplan, because it’s perfect in every possible way, so jacking and ecstatic.
Who are your favourite electro/acid manipulators these days?
Honestly, I am not a big fan of acid, for me the 303 sound is best used sparingly, though there are undoubtedly some masters of this genre and my opinion is obviously an unpopular one, ha. Electro-wise, I think Jensen Interceptor and Assembler Code are doing awesome, consistent work. Alienata is also a force to be reckoned with. My favorite will forever be Anthony Rother as he has a real punk thing going on, and I always want to move in that direction. There are so many amazing producers who do this genre so well.
Now let’s talk about the technical aspect of your craft; what’s your studio comprised of at the minute?
My setup is super minimal: apogee one with a shure beta-58A, a Maschine, an Elektron Analog Rythm, a broken KAOS pad, some pedals. I have a ‘65 Fender Jaguar that is my pride and joy that’s been making it onto more tracks recently. A lot of my work is remote, writing and sending ideas back and forth to collaborators.
What are your favorite places to hang out in the city?
Right now, almost exclusively my home and the basin de villette with my dog who needs to be run on a daily basis. Barring confinement, I generally frequent the gym, stables in the bois de Boulogne, bike ride everywhere with my dog in a backpack. I miss places.
How do you deal with C19 confinement with your work?
I write every day, not necessarily songs but I never know what’s gonna come out so I keep my knives sharp like this. I’ve been trying to live-stream once a week to challenge myself to be more familiar with my musical library and to stay inspired and motivated to DJ. I try to say present with friends and peers in the electronic music community as we are all taking a heavy financial hit right now and it’s the moment to show up for each other as we navigate through this hellscape.
Is it possible another way to monetize magazines other than advertising, events, clubs...? Should we think of other sources of income?
Clearly. There is no foreseeable future for public gatherings in the next 9-36 months. We are potentially staring the slow crumbling of capitalism down it’s throat and unless world leaders do something about the vast socio-economic inequity caused by wealth-hoarding and exploitative labor practices in the near future, it’s going to be a rocky time ahead for many. Artists rely on magazines to promote our work, but if we can’t earn an income from touring, there is no way we can buy adspace to support journalism. Unless there is a real restructuring of the music industry to redistribute wealth (especially when it comes to streaming platforms), we are all pretty fucked. Rather than looking for other sources of income, I think it’s about a global demand to redistribute the wealth that clearly exists in this multi-billion dollar industry.
Has this situation influenced your creative perspective? What social and musical implications do you think this situation can lead to?
I hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Good thing the worst often means really disruptive creators making rad shit. I will do my best to be in those ranks.
What tracks would you recommend us to liven up the confinement?
What makes you happy?
Every day my partner and I do yoga, and every day we take a corpse pose at the end and the dog joins us, and just lying on the floor with my little family, I have about three minutes of guaranteed joy, no matter what’s going on. This is a gift, it makes me really happy.
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects? Where can we continue to see and hear Louisahhh?
My debut album is finally coming out this year no matter what. It is the best thing I’ve ever done and I hope you love it as much as I do. In the meantime, will be doing livestreams to keep up our moral. Facebook (Even though it is obviously super evil) is where everything lives for the time-being.