Hi Lucy, first of all, can you introduce yourself briefly?
I’m Lucy aka Luca Mortellaro. I’m originally from Italy, but lived in Paris for many years before making my way to Berlin. It was in Berlin that I launched the label Stroboscopic Artefacts, in September 2009.
Why did you chose this name "Lucy"? What does it mean ?
Well before I was making music full time, I was really into writing, novels in particular. As an author the very last novel that I wrote was written under the pseudonym “Lucy” and when I came to release my first EP I chose to continue using this artist name. It was a way for me to use that same frame of mind that I use when writing, when making music.
Part of the attraction of the name “Lucy” is the fact that it was given to the first Australopithecus Afarensis skeleton which was discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia. There’s something totally intriguing about the very first human who emerged from the evolutionary chain.
And about your music, how would you define it ?
I am actually really happy not to be able to define my music. I feel that if I am, at some point, able to define precisely what I’m doing, that would be the signal that I should stop making music.
What are you main musical influences?
Let’s start at the 60s-70s, I love psychedelic rock, Pink Floyd’s LPs will never leave my record player. From the 70s I’m also really into Jamaican roots reggae and dub. Not to forget Krautrock from the 70s right into the 80s. So we’re at the 90s, well most of the UK’s IDM productions are influences, especially what Warp records put out. Not forgetting the Bristol based trip-hop scene. From the 2000s I love Icelandic postrock. And of course, there’s no need to explain that I’m deeply influenced by rarefied ambient music and industrial techno. I’ll stop here, but I could go on for another 6 pages...
Now, can you speak about your upcoming album Wordplay for Working Bees ? (why this title, your influences, what's your message on it, what kind of music you are playing inside, ...)
The title of the album is in some ways self explanatory, and inside the album artwork I have written my message to the Working Bees – I’m using this worker bee image in the way that Herbert Marcuse used the “one dimensional man”. But of course, the message, the wordplay you have to discover it yourself.
Regarding my influences, I am really happy to see how the techno scene is moving in a really innovative direction. For example, the use of field recording is becoming a key part of production. Field recording were my main instrument, I built the album around the palate of sounds that Berlin gave me. Using field recordings is a delicious and delicate influence that’s entering into straight and deep techno.
What my music is, what this album means, is utterly up to the listener to decide. In cognitive science the most accepted and at the same time most innovative approach is Noam Chomsky’s “generative grammar”. One of the main points of this theory is to see the human brain as an assembly of empty cells that during a lifetime become filled with structured knowledge and definitions of things through everyday perception. Part of this assignment of structured knowledge happens almost automatically. But part of this assignment --for me the most interesting part-- is utterly subjective. Talking about music, and particularly the album, I am excited to see which brain cell gets activated when stimulated by the sounds. I’m equally excited to hear what language people use to describe it and how listeners receive it.
I like to leave things open, not to feel that I have completed the project. I wanted to approach this album as an open process where the first half of the album was my responsibility, and the second half was the responsibility of the listener to add their interpretation. In this way, asking me what kind of music the album contains is not really a question I can answer.
Is it important for you to release an album ? What's the main difference between an album and EPs ?
For me an album versus an EP is the difference between eating an orange and drinking orange juice. On an EP you really need to concentrate the concept that you are exploring in a very limited physical length and structural breadth. But an album gives space to explore concepts in their fullness and also in their minutiae within the album’s hyper-structure. This understanding of the album format was one of the main points for starting the album series on Stroboscopic Artefacts.
You're based in Berlin like a lots of electronic music producers, how do you explain that Germany is one of the most famous place for electronic music in Europe ?
Firstly there is really strong history of electronic music in Germany: Stockhausen; Kraftwerk; the whole Krautrock movement for instance. And secondly there’s the Berlin factor. This is still one of the most economically accessible capital cities in Europe, something that attracts artists from the whole world to live in the. The Hauptstadt brims with a mood of spontaneity and creativity, people have the feeling that if they come here with a project they can actually realise it. There’s an openness here that’s unique.
I think there’s also a significant correlation between the fact that Germany has always been a European leader in terms of developing new technologies. Berlin is where major developments have happened, for example in terms of Ableton and Native Instruments. It’s not really a surprise that this is a world destination for electronic music as it’s not only the producers and DJs and sound designers who live here, it’s also the people developing the electronic music tools of the future.
And what about playing in clubs ? Do you prefer playing live or DJ sets ?
At the moment I’m really into DJs sets, I feel really excited about orchestrating a set architecture that is longer than what a live set allows for.
And about your label : have you ever released any albums on it ? What kind of music would you publish on it? Why the name?
“Wordplay For Working Bees” is the first foray into the extended format on Stroboscopic Artefacts. As for the label’s name and concept here’s our story and we’re sticking to it:
Stroboscopic Artefacts showcases adventures into electronic music from artists across the world. The label, as the name suggests, acts like a strobe light illuminating pioneering club sounds with each release. Stroboscopic Artefacts borrows the curiosity of a scientist to search the underground scene for the freshest and deepest techno.
Then, could you please talk a little bit about your upcoming projects (your first album will be out, but otherwise, do you have any plan for a live, a tour, or maybe some other projects for your label) ?
The Stroboscopic Artefacts showcases are continuing, following on from our recent Berghain party. We’re bringing the SA soundscape next to Butan club, then Corsica Studios in London and later to Detached in Leeds. The parties are gaining a really unique atmosphere and I can’t wait to see how this will spread to more cities in 2011.
For my own dates as Lucy, I’m playing worldwide this year, my tour starts in Amsterdam on 26th February and continues to Cyprus, Germany, the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and this autumn I will be heading to Australia.
With regards to SA watch out for the next 12”s and a new wave of the Monad Series this summer. Not to mention us putting the cherry on the top of the Sampler Series, with an exceptional remix edition. Regarding my own productions, my collaboration with Xhin has just been released on CLR, and I have remixes forthcoming on Peter Van Hoesen’s Time To Express label, Curle records, Prologue and Gynoid.
Finally, when will we see you in Paris :) ?
There’s nothing planned as of yet, but I’d love to return to the city where I actually had my first releases.
Thanks Lucy for those answers !
Thank you too
(Soon in French)
To illustrate this interview, let's discover a teaser of Lucy's upcoming album Wordplay for Working Bees :
The official website of Lucy's label Stroboscopic Artefacts
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