Lupa J is the creative project of Sydney based producer and songwriter Imogen Jones.
Imogen joined the team of mentors for the All Girl Electronic Recording Workshops this year and has shared with us a little more about her music, her live shows and her thoughts on the music industry:
How would you describe your music?
It’s a weird mix of genres – electronic but with violin & emphasis on lyrics like in folk songs. I kinda like ‘Goth Dream Pop’ as a descriptor.
Can you tell us about the first show you played as Lupa J?
Technically the first show I played as Lupa J was to my whole high school when I was 15. I went to a music school so there were a lot of opportunities to test out my live show on my fellow school students (I think a lot of the time to their disdain). But the first paid gig I did was at a beer festival at Carriageworks. We were on a big stage but the room was really boomy and people were just sitting around drinking and talking, so we were kind of more like backing music.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as an artist?
To not try and predict how people will respond to your tracks or cater to anyone else’s taste. Just do what feels right & honest for you, because you can never know how people will react.
What’s the one piece of gear you couldn’t live without?
Probably my Juno 106 at the moment. It gets used in literally every track I write.
How do recreate the music you record for your live set?
For the bulk of the synth / bass parts I export an audio file of them from start to finish – kind of a ‘backing track’ – which then gets triggered at the start of the song by an SPD drum pad. All the drum sounds from my tracks are exported as individual samples and played live by my drummer Nathan on a different SPD. Any other samples – manipulated vocal samples / backing vocals, sound effects, one shot drum sounds etc- I trigger on an SP404SX sampler. My friend Mara sings backing vocals and plays viola through a bunch of effects on a pedal board. I sing, use vocal effects pedals & play violin too.
What artists are you listening to right now?
A lot of King Krule’s album The Ooz, Let’s Eat Grandma, & also going through old Bjork albums like Homogenic & Post.
If you could change 1 thing about the music industry what would it be?
Obviously the inherent race & sex based discrimination – how women & people of colour enter music from an unequal position, having less access to education, gear & opportunities – and how it then continues into the industry with white male musicians often being privileged & overrepresented on lineups & radio. But also just how in Australia there seems to be less tolerance & support for more experimental forms of music – there’s less of a culture around going out to gigs and discovering new innovative artists as there is in other countries, particularly places like Europe. It’s definitely harder for people working in more experiential genres to get recognition.
To anyone starting to make music what would you tell them that you wished you knew at the beginning?
Basically to just trust your instincts! Making music is something that should be fun & expressive, & once you start taking it seriously, or seeing it as some kind of career, you shouldn’t have to lose that. If something feels forced, or not natural for you – don’t do it. Don’t do anything out of desperation for recognition! Just first and foremost, make the music that you want to hear.
Words: Imogen Jones
Photos: Julia Mendel
Find out more about All Girl Electronic here: https://ice.org.au/project/all-girl-electronic-2018/