One of our favourite selectors Luen has been relentlessly building up the Australian electronic scene with her fierce dedication and energetic sets. Between multiple pursuits Luen answered a few of our questions and shared some of the tracks she’s had on high rotation lately. Read on and get acquainted ahead of her appearance at Up Down Festival in Newcastle on March 17. Check it out here: http://www.updownfestival.com.au/.
BYO: Throughout 2018 you've been playing around the country - how do you transition between the various scenes in different cities, and what's your take on the strength of electronic music in Australia?
Luen: I think the scene is really strong. I never plan my sets, I just let the audience’s interaction and response to my first few songs determine what will be played next. When we get past the first few songs the crowd’s energy and mine become one and the goal is that we can find a common ground musically. What you want to hear is what I want to play.
BYO: You not only working as a DJ but also event producer, zine publisher, run a label, radio presenter - what gives you the energy to pursue all of these projects?
Luen: Veganism! Exercise everyday!
BYO: How've you been able to consistently diversify your influences and bring that to your mixes?
Luen: I listen to a lot of music and try to bring influences from everywhere into my radio shows, DJ sets and writing.
BYO: You mention Pavlova Bar at Club 77 as one of your favourites - what makes that night particularly special?
Luen: That place is just the craziest dance party ever, everyone is sweaty and smiling and there is a good energy from one audience member to the next. It feels like everyone knows each other at Pav’s. I also like DJing there because the sets are six hours long which means the DJ can go on a journey.
BYO: What was the process of curating the Taxx zine and bringing together writers and artists from around the globe?
Luen: It started with me saying to Patch (my husband), "Man I love Ewan Jansen" and him saying, "Why don't you research him". I went on to find that he lived in Perth, had been producing music since the 90's, had a really great label and was into writing articles too. I hit him up and once the first article from him was written and handed in I repeated this process. Researching producers I loved and asking them to contribute written or artistic projects to the zine. My friend Genie (whose song features below) lives in Canberra and I would get the bus there mid-week when I had no gigs and the two of us would stay up all night editing then she would go to uni the next day and I would sleep on the bus back to Sydney. She's a trooper. Were currently working on TAXX zine #2!
BYO: How does curating a mixtape differ from putting together a mix for you?
Luen: Mixtapes (or compilations) require you contact the persons involved and ask for permission, they are usually made up of producers from your scene, who you have some kind of common ground with. DJ mixes and radio shows can be from anyone dead or alive, from the biggest producers and musicians in the world to your next door neighbour, it’s much more likely I'd play music from outside of my 'scene' and go a bit more abstract with my choices.
BYO: What's drawn you to the songs you've picked for us?
Luen: I just made a mix for Skylab radio called Beginnings which featured the first releases from some of my favourite producers and record labels. Here are some of the songs that didn't make it into the show due to being the second of third release from the artist and therefor inappropriate, or a song from a debut album where I could only pick one but I loved many. Consider these songs the TAXX radio on SkyLab B sides lol.
F.U.S.E aka Plastikman aka Richie Hawtin early work
DJ JD Sports aka Zoo Kid aka King Krule early work
Tuff Sherm aka Eugene Ward early work with Patch Free
Buraka Som Sistema first release
Genie's first song and also first track off TAXX VOL 1 compilation