interview with LUCIA LIP

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What´s the name of your band? LUCIA LIP

How was the band formed? How? Well it's a long way back! Ever since I can think of I had the idea of performing my own music in front of an audience. So, as a 4years old I would come up with stories and sing them to a melody. That was pretty much the beginning. I went to a music focused high school, learned to play the viola. With the viola I took part in two orchestras, then I also started to take classical singing training and joined the choir as well. I learned a bit electrical guitar, played some nirvana and some pop music on it. I kept writing poetry and lyrics. I founded a band age 16, but it didn't last long, the others lacked of motivation and discipline. I moved to Cologne, where I joined a band as a singer. Musical differences made me quit them after a year. I then moved to Berlin, where I started to write songs on the piano. I did a rough mix of the song "palestine boy", on which I played all instruments. It was my first officially recorded track. Proven that I could do proper songs myself, I looked for a bandmate. I found a guy with who I would do music for 1,5 years. We played the songs, I had written, developed his keyboard sound. I quit our project and decided to from now do it all by myself. I taught myself how to work with music softwares, how to mix.

Can you tell about your band? It's the spice you would never expect when eating an ice-cream, and only then you realize that this was exactly what has been missing and what you've been subconsciously always been longing for.

Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band?

All the band members are me. I'm the one member band, if you want to keep the band in the music.

I was born and grew up the first few years in one of those multicultural, cemented suburbs of Paris in France, with an italian father and a german mother. After a few years we moved to Germany. I then moved within Germany from the south to the west to the east in Berlin.

So far I do everything you can imagine that needs to be done. I compose the songs, mostly on the piano, write the lyrics, sing, program the beats, play the synth, do the whole electronical composition and sound work on the computer myself just as such. All music is me,  such as the artwork, the music videos. I now start to integrate others here and there. But I needed to prove to myself, that I could make it all happen independently. As a woman I also wanted to make sure, that I was able to keep up with guys in whatever technical or musical discussion.

What was the ambitions of the band when you started? My ambition has always been to perform my own music, bringing my expression to life,  giving this musical expression a form and sharing it with an audience. But a strong ambition and goal is also to go against the tide and still make something that can be accessible to a lot of people at the same time. I guess it's a sort of seduction that is needed for achieving so.

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? electronic pop extravaganza. nothing to explain but experience, that's what music is about.  experiencing it.

Where was your first gig? My first show was in an old brewery here in Berlin, Germany. A friend had rented it and had organized a party there. The location really was impressing with its old high ceilings of bricks and the huge pipes here and there.

Where was the latest gig? My last show was in Paris in the course of the Music Tech Fest at IRCAM, the famous institute for sound and avant garde electro acoustical research center, that is part of the art space "Centre Pompidou".

Who has the best sense of humor in the band? Since it's just me, I can proudly say: Me! It is dry and sometimes dark.

What's good/bad with the band?/What genre do you feel you are?

What's good and bad with myself? Haha. The great thing is that I get to do the music all myself, I stay very independent and get to do everything I want, when I want and how I want.  I just have myself to agree with. And all these good things are actually exactly the things that are the bad things at the same time. Communicating music whilst creating it with someone else is something I definitely miss at times.

I'm not a genre and don't represent a genre. There's no scene I belong to and actually I like to think outside genres, in generals. I don't mind to consider myself a misfit. It's certainly easier to label yourself, fixing your music to a certain genre and calling yourself part of a specific scene. But that's not progressive thinking. And it isn't necessarily about the music, but about a lifestyle and a belonging and recognition of a certain social group. I don't need this. I'm strong enough to go my own way and create my own artistic path. Musical clichés can and must be overcome, people can be led to greater sound. There is no need for fetishisation of instruments or specific music section, neither fiddling on sound in some public living room.

I'm doing electronic pop music as a singer and producer of my music. When live, I do for example keep direct contact with the audience in going into the crowd, face to face. So, I am putting the audience in the center as much. The focus keeps changing since I am moving a lot. There's no time for analysis or comfort or abstinence. This makes the audience be part of a vitality, part of expressional intensity. Some called it punk 2.0.

Why did you pick that particular style?/What are your songs about?

That said, I don't pick up no particular style. I like catchy music, I like synthesizers and I love to challenge myself in creating unique pop songs.

The songs are about people, the relations I had with some. My view on bigger group of people; societies.

They deal with deception, desire, discomfort.

Do you write your own material or mainly covers? It's all my own songs. Maybe I'll publish a cover at some point, but my focus lays mainly on creating music, bringing my own expression into life with my own little stories, put in abstract lyrics that mean something to me, and that do define a big part of the mood and spirit of the songs.

Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they? I have released several EP’s on my own label Lipping Records, on which I had the release of my first full length album "Your Motor", that is available through www.lucialip.bandcamp.com.

Do you have any clips on YouTube? Surely! You can watch the music video to my song "Accident", such as a music video to my song "And the heart weeps", an ode to men, actually. I had five guys from Berlin subculture taking part in it. The result is really cute, I find. I'm currently working on the next music clip for my song "With the sun in my hand". Should turn out great!

How old are you/What got you started in music?

I wouldn't consider myself born yet, to be honest. Let me get born and start counting once I finally can sense myself going my path from the first moment on.

Music has been around all day long, when I was a little kid. My father, who is an artist drawing on canvas, would always listen to very loud music all the time, whilst painting at home. I picked up on it, I guess. I began to make up little stories about animals that I would sing to myself and record into the tape player, my father then would do me a lots of tapes, that I listened to from when I was four years on. I quickly fell in love with John Lennon. I didn't understand the english language, but his voice stroke me, music felt just too good, to ever let go.

At what age did you start playing? If I consider to take the picture that shows me with a tambourin in hand in my parents apartment in France, then age 3. The flute at age 6. The viola at age 8. Piano I taught myself age 10, when getting bored at my grandmothers, where there would be a piano. I would get some sheet music and figure the right keys for it. Vocal training age 14. Electric guitar age 14 as well.

How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? The first time I stood on stage, was at the age of 7 playing the flute with class, if that counts. A year later I had my first concert playing the viola on a performance evening for the my and the others pupils parents.The first time I sang on stage was at age 14. I sang some aria in the same context in music school.

What year was the band started? LUCIA LIP as myself in 2010…as a band it started 2008.

Best/worst gig you've played? Best gig, that's a hard one. I actually still feel magical thinking about my first show in that old brewery I mentioned before. Besides of that, I really loved performing at Vrankrijk in Amsterdam, but also one of the Trash 'n' Core Fest parties in Berlin  are definitely part of my favorite shows. The worst gig I can clearly say, without having to think twice, was a show in Berlin, that was in the course of a launch of a blog . There was no interest for any kind of music at all, just for hanging around  and eating pretzel sticks. So, the sound I had was ridiculous low. When I started playing the people were sitting in front of me on the floor. I should have giving them lip, to credit my name  and for them to fucking get the fuck up, but instead I thought it would be smarter to just hope for them to get up at some point. It wasn't. They didn't move shit. I should've kicked their ass.

What places will you be playing in the immediate future? At the moment I organize several shows here in Berlin and in the rest of Germany, I will most probably play again in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and other european countries in summer or autumn.  Keep yourself updated on what is going on with LUCIA LIP at my website www.lucialip.com  or on my bandcamp-page www.lucialip.bandcamp.com.   I play with the idea of performing in Tel Aviv, and touring through Japan by the end of the year.That would be a dream come true.

Where have you played from then until now? Berlin, London, Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, several other cities in Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium.

Which band is the best you´ve seen? So far Gtuk, which is just one guy.  He did some great 8bit sound with live drumming and lots of screaming. Full energy, one would quickly get addicted to. Whenever he would play, I would go see him. Unfortunately he quit this project and is now doing other stuff under other names.  Not long ago, I've seen Kevin Martin with his artistic project "The Bug" at Berghain in Berlin. Berghain is world wide known for its incredible sound system. When The Bug performed he added to it his own sound system. Then he brought his own stage light, combining it with the fog machine. That massive sound he created, the tension he built and kept, was so intense, that I felt I had fallen love. There was so much beauty to this incredibly loud, but fine tuned sound, that I almost started to cry. It was quite of a spiritual experience for all of those who participated that night.

Is it always the same songs live? Yes. There's a dramatic and emotional concept in the set with the focus on creating a specific feel and vibe. And, of course, let's not undervalue expectation and the satisfaction from recognition and songs people feel familiar with.

Have you had any bigger tours from start to now? In 2013 I toured through the Netherlands and Belgium as a start. In Germany, so far I've been only performing in Berlin and two other cities. So, this year I will say hello to the rest of the country. Even if people in Berlin, like me, wouldn't mind leave the rest of Germany to another country, we still have to recognize it's the same country. So, Germany - beware of me. LUCIA LIP will be there.

How big crowds do you usually play for? From 10 to about 400 people so far.

What are the plans for the rest of the year? Finishing my new EP, looking for one or several labels to spread it around, little tours through Germany, performing several shows in other countries, organizing a tour through Japan, doing some more music videos, preparing the record release for early next year!

Where do you usually play? "Usually" is a word I've always had hard times to include in my daily language usage in life.  So far, whatever it is I can think of, in this case playing,  "usually" doesn't exist.

 How do you get psyched up for a gig? A bit of Yoga and a few singing and breathing lessons is what I always do before. Best is, if I have a room all by myself with nobody intervening the energy field I try to establish.

What are your goals with your music?

First conquering the underground music scenes, then conquering the world of popular music.  If I'm talking about conquering I'm obviously involving the fact of reaching to a lot of people, emotionally, artistically. Leaving a trace, touching people, being an inspiration or an anchor. And also being myself the change I want to see in the music landscape.

I want to tour the entire planet, get to know great people I can work with and implement every music idea that comes into my mind and create new forms of music and art, without wondering about time and money.

When did you decide to go all in for the music? In Berlin, after I got done with acting school.

Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? This is a good question! When it comes to musical inspiration it surely is modern music. When it comes to expression of voice or performance, I realize that I merely got inspired by old bands from the past. I love that 70s Punk for its rebellious and pure expression, its hard to find this uncompromising authenticity these days, you really need to go very underground, and even then often artists tend to hide behind their instruments, which they fetishise. Hard to find strong characters, that stand for themselves and not  just another product or a entity fulfilling clichés and other expectations. But music wise, there's so much more energy and fire in good grind core or death metal music from recent days. Music has evolved. Kids get better and better at their instruments and the musical expectations in music, beats and sound has risen massively. You understand, I'm not a nostalgia romanticizer here!

What are your sources of inspiration? I get inspired from failing and disenthral love adventures, people around me, society.

What's the first step when making a new song? I will be sitting on the piano and play some random chords. Then at some point there's this moment where you find a sequence of chords you like, you repeat playing them and create a melody to it. The words come later. I make up a scenario of an emotional state that I'm in. I turn it to the most exaggerated form and dramatic, I could imagine that situation or feeling to be. You do get to some truths and realizations there, actually. And it is a way to almost embrace all the hurt and pain you're experiencing. To become an alchemist. Turning shit into gold. That's my credo. No matter how painful an experience is I'm going through, I'm first of all the one who's triggering it for my own sake of subconsciously going through another learning process, and second there's certainly something I can use out of it for creating music or any other artistically expression. This is actually one of the first things I start to think of, whenever I jump into a  bad story. That's why I consider myself more and more as an alchemist. When it comes to the actual music, such as harmonies and melodies, let us demystify the art - making here. There's no big mystery behind the creation of great art. I just recently talked to a close friend of mine, who's becoming quite of a successful composer in scandinavia. He couldn't agree more. The act of creating a piece of music or other art is quite dry and technical. You sit down with no idea, trust that some good result will come at some point and just start playing what comes out without reflecting, analyzing, censoring yourself.

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? Ouhla, there are several aspects of downloading that  lead to different sub headings here. First of all, let's differentiate here. I believe, you mean illegal downloading. Is that the subject? Or are we talking about mp3s versus CDs, Vinyls and Tapes? Illegal downloading, well what can I say to it. We can all agree it's not cool to steal other peoples stuff. Or, from an other perspective, people want to feel recognition for what they've done and put all heart, time, energy, knowledge and money in it on their own risk. Just stealing something, with knowing all that, is kind of nasty. I, myself like purchasing for music of artist that aren't well known. I'm supporting that artist, financially, but also mentally in acknowledging the value of his or her work. Feedback is quite important for an artist, at least for those who do care about gaining, growing, maintaining an audience, fans, followers. Showing appreciation in purchasing for a song, album, a piece of art or merch is always really encouraging for any artist, I'm certain! If illegally downloading music gets an habit, the experience of doing it becomes like the consumption of fast food. It's quickly done with no thought process. How many just download music for the sake of downloading?  Purchasing a physical album isn't only nice for the whole package you get: some nice piece of art to hold in the hand. A lot of musicians are visual artists as well who create special formats out of specific materials in a  different production for a specific song or song collection. It is not just some data of a song. A nice record cover of a vinyl in a room can have such a sex appeal or giving the room and owner a sense of sophisticated aura. But then downloading can create a foretaste and trigger a search wanting to find more of great and greater music.

What would be your dreams for the band? My dreams for my music would be for my plans to become reality in a near future!

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? All sorts, really! From electronic music, such as techno or something completely different as 8 bit to classical music to grind core and death metal to 1960s funk or jazz to hip hop and pop music. At the moment some trash metal like nuclear assault, death grips, some curtis mayfield, the latest massacre record, cryptopsy's "non so vile", the new björk album, but also hard techno from AnD.

What do you hold most dear? Ouuhh, I love these sort of questions! Getting better in knowing myself and how the world turns, I realize that truthfulness and demystification are values I highly perceive and trying to live up to in life. I  hold dear my critical and at same time very open mind, such as my vivid imagination of turning the world upside down by just expressing myself openly, pure, by irritating and challenging stereotypes. I think a big quality of mine is that I'm quite humble and curious. And that is at the same time my biggest weakness. Presenting these characteristics you're quite unprotected towards ignorants. But that again gives you inspiration for your art. And luckily I am at the same time very determined, thinking highly of myself, rebellious and forever making up my mind, looking for friction!

What would be your greatest fears for the future? I like imagining good things to happen and focus on the positive. The greatest fear that is actually taking place in reality in more and more parts of this planet, would be war all over the place, the taking over of xenophobia and other kinds of fearful fanatics all over, such as another nuclear disaster and the eradication of the rain forest and any sort of species.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? There's no fear once you're on stage. Fear is what holds you back from being, or in my words, let me instead say "becoming" alive. Being on stage means to expose yourself in some way. It means to open up and become vulnerable. If you don't want all that, get off there! Once you're there, it's too late for fears. If you'd really fear the stage, you wouldn't even be there, because fear hold you back from the thing you fear. The only good thing fear does, is making you precautious in certain moments, where it would be dangerous to be too adventurous, but asides of these random occasions, fear is the maintainer of repression. It leads to a feel of helplessness, straight into the dead end. Fear is the gratis weapon of oppressors and everyone who wants to gain power over you. The least it does is maintaining the status quo, the worse it does is supporting any sort of violence and intolerance, really. You get nowhere with fear. Nowhere. It is impossible to be on stage with fear. You might be nervous before a show. You might have those moments where you're so nervous that you start to ask yourself, why the hack you are doing all this, torturing yourself in that moment. And in the end you know, that this feel was what gave you the biggest push and greatest presence once you got on stage.

What songs and what years were they released? "Palestine Boy" was my ever first song that was properly recorded. I never published it. Instead my best friend put it online without even my permission, after he got the single, that I had giving away to friends. Then I had a few songs that I worked on with my former band member. We put them on myspace and made a first EP. That was in 2009. In 2010, when I started working by myself with music software, I brought out the single "accident", that was then part of another EP and also became part of a compilation with ten berlin-based-bands by another label that year. In 2011 I made this epic song "Electricity in my head", which became part of the next EP. In 2013 I then finished my first full length record "Your motor." And now I'm working on the next release, that will apparently be released in february next year. I know, it's a while until then, but I want to make sure to advertise it well this time! And this needs preparation. You gotta learn to become a businessman, if you want to become successful and famous I realize more and more. If you don't believe it, just watch some interviews with the great opera singer Maria Callas. That's when it finally clicked and all myth and glamour behind famous musicians and artists I imagined broke down for good.

Have you been part of any other projects?

I did some music with several people, but haven't felt musically challenged enough or in any other way interested that I would have wanted to collaborate so far. I'm still open for it if the music making and visions sounds right, though.

I plan to do some completely different things myself. At  some point I will do a string chamber music record, for example.

Have you been in any other bands? Well, yeah, when I was going o high school and then later in Cologne, when I went to university.

What do you work with outside of the band and the music? I'm a trained actress and speaker. At the moment I mostly work as an extra for different movies and tv productions at the moment. Ahaha. Oh well. You really don't need to go to acting school for this, that's for sure! Besides of walking from one end to the other in front of a camera, I have written my first book in the last half year, for which I am now looking for a publisher.

What would you do if there was no music? I would hear the music in every possible sound out there, be it the washing machine or the birds singing. And certainly I would do more of the other things I do besides like writing and acting. I would surely start to realize my own movies. Things I have in mind for a coming future anyways, to be honest.

How important are your fans? I'm quite sure, ever since the internet (and all social media that has come into existence with it) has won over print, the term "fan" has evolved to something else. As an artist you certainly have followers, supporters, admirers. And those are essential! More and more these days. Not only because you get the sense that the things you put all your focus, love, energy, time and money in it, get appreciated and are of importance, but also, let's be frank here, because it will get you further. Nowadays you won't find no major label that will sign a contract with a band or act that doesn't bring a certain amount of fans/followers/admires itself already. The more impact you have, the bigger the chances are you get to play at the venues you want, get the payment you want and the deal you want. In the end when a certain size of popularity has been gained, it's not a question no more, whether the event maker or the dudes from the label really like your stuff, but of what economical value your music could be to them.

Where do you rehearse? In my basement.

Name two of your own songs you like at the moment "With the sun in my hand" for the listening, for it is very dreamy and hypnotically in a way. And then "Trojan horse" for playing on the piano, because it is on the contrary very energetic. And I still get so excited singing the words I came up with on that song.

What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing? Believing or even knowing that the music one creates is something new, an expression that hasn't been there and that has a necessity to come to life and get recognized by others.

Do you have any webpages? Finally, yes! www.lucialip.com

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? My wisdom as a successful and famous artist? Hehe. Sure! Let me think. I'm wisdom all over!   Be true to your creative self and others from the first moment on. That's the only way you will be able to get far and able to always stay excited. This way you will also save lots of precious time and energy, no matter how insecure, lost and misunderstood you might feel at times! The source of inspiration, when being honest and blunt with yourself and others will never die, but always be something that will get you strength and lust for life.

Describe your show, visually and musically Work in progress. I'm about to evolve. But one thing won't change. I break the so called fourth wall, an expression that comes from theater. It stands for the imaginary wall between the audience and the actors on stage. The actors in their role don't leave or surpass that wall. They pretend to be only in their microcosmos. A lot of musicians do that as well. And I go against it. I break this wall. I thrive for a communication between me and the audience. I leave the stage, walk into the crowd, get everybody including me out of the comfort zone and out of the imposed roles and their behaviors. I'm making it obvious, that I'm not masturbating on stage, but that the music that is happening, my singing, my performance and the vibe that arises, is something that includes everyone in the room.  This all derives from the days of hard core.  My expression on stage, I'd say is Punk 2.0.

How do you view the music industry of today? I subscribed myself to some newsletter of people who used to work in the music industry and are now going self employed, proposing their help to independent musicians with marketing and songwriting and what not. I'm not giving too much into that and would not pay what their asking for their help. There are free webinars that I join, where they give free advices but also advertise their promotion and products. What I came to realization more and more: The music industry is completely lost or shall we rather say dead? The way of how music gets consumed, such as music production itself and promotion has changed so much ever since internet and music softwares became affordable for everybody. Musicians have gained a lot of self reliance, the role of music industry has been challenged and modified. DIY, a term that had been an expression for real independent artists back in the 1990s has become common ground. No  more money is to be made with the record sale. So, where does the music industry get their money from? If your an act with few fans, there's no interest from big companies. They expect you to bring a big crowd of followers and lots of references. There's no risk taking. And then their not very progressive orientated. They are so lost now, squinting to underground musicians and artists to see what they can learn from them and get a prognosis in what direction music is heading towards and what importance and impact underground trends could have for the future.

What advice would you like to give other bands? Get real. Forget about everything you've ever thought about music business, success and fame, and groupies and every other ego boosting stuff.  Don't get too overwhelmed by all the work that needs to be done. Just do it. And never forget that the reason you started at the first point -  was because you enjoyed doing music and working towards the goals related to it! (If that wasn't the case in the first place, stop it right now and spare your time with something less demanding.)

What are the biggest obstacles for a band? Hm, I've been in two serious bands so far. Once with four guys, the other time with one guy.  If the devotion and clarity about the goals are not clear for all members and if there are opinions about them that differentiate too much from the others, this will become an issue at one point. Better figure that out in the early stage!

What is best/worst with playing the clubs? Depends. If you get to manage to have an amazingly loud and pumping sound, then this is the greatest for a performance. If you got a random crowd that just ran into you, because they were looking for a beer and you happen to coincidentally share the same room with no interest from no side, then this is the worse.

Tell us about upcoming gigs and why we should be at them? You're tired of clichés and you don't want to miss the real shit? You want honesty in performance, dream and get touched, even tenderly hit at the same time? Then come to a show of LUCIA LIP.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence electronic pop extravaganza in your face.

What is your favorite crappy instrument? My washing machine. So far I still haven't included her to any of my songs. But she's so loud, you can't even have a conversation in the same room, when she's on, that's how brutal the sound is. That washing machine, how impotent and yet annoying at times she can be, she's not crappy, though. There's no crappy instrument, as long as you believe you're getting something appealing out of it.

What was one of the most quarrelsome times for you in the band? When I started doing my own music here in Berlin the hardest was a quite existential personal crisis I went through for several years. The second hardest was leading an unhealthy weird kind of relationship with my former band member. I wanted to quit him so bad, but on the other hand I didn't want to give up on our band we had started together. I imagine that's how it feels for parents who want to go separate ways, having a child, making it tougher for them to loose the bond.

Do you have anything to add? If you want to have me perform in your city, get me some recommendation or let's figure out another way to make it work!

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