Q&A: Lupa J

Sydney’s Lupa J is a magical force to be reckoned with. Both a gifted songwriter and producer, Lupa J has already supported the likes of Sarah Blasko, Grimes, Alice Glass and Tegan And Sara on tour. Her latest release ‘The Crash’ delves into her queer desires, sonically evoking a sense of destructiveness. Taking the time to chat to us, Lupa J told us about her upcoming album and opening for Grimes.

Hey Lupa J, we’re loving ‘The Crash’! Tell us about the video.

Well I came up with the basic concept for it while I was writing the song – during the writing process I often get a lot of images in my head that I end up turning into music videos. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have dancers pull me up out of sleep and then be moving me along / manipulating my movements through the video, and that I wanted it to be set at a house party at the start and then have me ‘escape’ in a car. I then took this outline to Adam Scarf and he helped me figure out how exactly we would do the house party scene, as well as the logistics and all the locations to take the video to.

It’s really infectious, what inspired you to write the track?

Like much of the album, this song came out of a period of time where I was slowly starting to work out that I needed to leave a long term relationship I’d become dependent on. I was realising more and more that I really needed to experience being in a queer relationship, and that I find myself developing a detachment from my body and my sexuality when I’m in straight relationships. The prospect of a queer relationship turned into this idealistic fantasy of escape, as if loving a woman (or genderqueer person) instead would rescue me from the problems I’ve always experienced with straight men. This song is about the dissonance I felt in myself when I was unable to leave a relationship that was hurting me, but constantly indulging in this fantasy of being with a woman – and making reckless attempts to bring it to life.

You’ve supported both Grimes and Sarah Blasko, what was that like?

Very, very surreal!! Both those supports got booked around the time I was finishing up at high school, and so it was the strangest but most exciting thing to be leaving school and then immediately opening for Grimes (my ultimate hero at that point) on a stage 10x the size of most of the venues I’d played before. And then only 2 months later we played 9 shows in massive venues around Australia with Sarah Blasko… it was baptism by fire really, we were forced to get good at playing live very quickly.

‘Swallow Me Whole’ is your upcoming debut LP – is it exciting to finally be releasing a full record?

 Yeah, definitely. It’s still hard for me to believe it’ll actually be happening, that people will finally be hearing this thing I’ve been working on for over a year. It’s such a massive thing for me emotionally as well… I think it’s going to feel very cathartic to finally have a piece of work, about this really transformative period of my life, out in the world.

You’re a classically trained violinist, right? Do you incorporate those skills into your more electronic music?

I do! I actually use it in every song on the album. It’s not totally obvious though because I run it through so many electronic effects, and am also often plucking it (people often just think it’s a stabby synth).

Did you always want to be a musician?

Yes – not always like this though. I started learning violin at age 6 and for the longest time wanted to have a career playing in orchestras. It was only when I turned 15 and fell in love with electronic music that this started to seem like a possibility.

If your younger self could see you now, what would you tell her?

To brace herself, and to protect and care for herself and her own space more – to be a lot more careful about giving up herself and her emotional energy to people.

Finally, what’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?

My ability to make music.

Thanks for speaking to us! We’re hitting repeat on ‘The Crash’.

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Featured image by House.Mum

Q&A: Lupa J
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