For the upcoming edition of cult girls' night Fèmmme Fraîche, promoters Michelle Manetti and Sandra Le (Pitch Slap) have recruited their fresh-as-hell almost-namesake DJ, Berlin-based techno goddess La Fraicheur. Having graced the decks at some of Berlin's most renowned techno institutions and festivals and gigs the world over, it is high time we welcome her to Superstore for her lazer basement debut! We caught up to chat favourite gigs, plans for the rest of the year and the magic queer clubland.
Hi La Fraicheur! We’re super excited to have you play at Dalston Superstore! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey! I’m excited to be coming too! I’m a Berlin-based French DJ who loves burying herself in rickety piles of books and overgrowing little shop of horror type plants when she’s home and hiking up mountains and biking through forests when she’s away. Now that’s sounds like a boring old spinster Tinder profile but I’m fine with it!
If you had to trace your DJ career back to one track that started it all, what would it be?
Pepe Bradock’s Deep Burnt. One of my first vinyls when I started DJing. I don’t think I even ever played the A-side of that record..
You’ve travelled all over the globe DJing: Japan, Mexico, Norway… what is the weirdest/best place you’ve ever played?
It’s hard to just pick one place since what I love the most about my job is touring in countries where you have to enter the booth in the most humble and observational of ways in order to figure out how you’re gonna catch a crowd. Every audience has a very different approach to dancing according to their cultural and social relationship to electronic music, nightlife, or the actual action of dancing in public. All of this can be heavily impacted by anything from tradition to opening hours, decibels or local alcohol consumption laws.
I will always remember playing at the Guggenheim House in Kobe, Japan to a crowd who took their shoes off when getting in and were dancing in their socks. Or playing a seven hour set in a squatted former army barrack in Ljubljana, Slovenia where the sound was so loud I was wearing earplugs while DJing and still got buzzes in my ears for 48 hours after. Or playing a club set at 7pm in Yangon, Myanmar because of the strict 11pm curfew policy.
And of course there was my debut at Fusion Festival this summer where I went being sick to death (from that stay in Myanmar actually) and my doctor told me to go make some more tests at the hospital and instead I went to Fusion, because, I mean.. Fusion, right? But I ended up in my tent laying in a foetal position up until 30 minutes before my set, not thinking I would be able to make it, my legs not holding me, my head dizzy, my entire body aching, feverish, nauseous, and then.. 15 minutes after I started playing the magic happened and I was so entranced by what was going on in that moment with this wonderful crowd and incredibly warm and intimate feeling that it was like the adrenaline took over and I ended up playing over time to a screaming crowd completely forgetting my body and dancing and jumping all around in what was probably my best set this year. Then it was over, I floated for a moment in excitement and happiness of what had just happened and then passed out.
You’ve also played in some of our favourite venues, from your residency at Wilde Renate to Tresor and KitKat Club, what has been the highlight of your career thus far?
You’ve just mentioned them right there! Being able to bring my project QUER to Wilde Renate is something that means a lot to me. It’s an incredible amount of work and energy and, let’s be honest, stress, but it feels so fulfilling to be able to participate at my own level in the progress of the scene and society as an interconnected web of humans trying to be happy. QUER is about bringing people together, in the lineups and in the crowd, booking half female, half male / half queer, half straight artists in my line up, reclaiming space for queer people to feel safe, educating the straight-identified crowd in more respectful, less invasive behaviour, pushing females artists to the frontline... All of this through music and dance. I feel really grateful I get to do this, and also, somehow, some responsibilities. Change starts with yourself, you know?
Then if course playing at Tresor was a big turning point because I think it made people realise I was also a legit techno DJ when before that gig, I was mainly booked for house music (which I love!) but I need both in my life!
And then there’s Gegen, at KitKat. I could write a 12 page long essay on what that queer fetish party represents to me! This moment goes beyond partying and clubbing, and even beyond music. It’s a place where people are free to be themselves and even beyond, a place where people feel free to have fun with their identity and push their personal boundaries while feeling at the same time, safe, supported and empowered. It’s the most heartwarming and loving crowd I play for, with people coming to hug me during and after my sets, it’s a place where strangers feel like family. I have had the honour to play three times for Gegen in the past couple of years and each and every time it has been an incredible moment of sharing and connecting with creatures and participating in making them go from vulnerable to fierce.
You’ve lived in Paris, Montreal and now Berlin. How do you think each of those different places have influenced you as an artist?
Each of those places has shaped the wide spectrum of music I love and play. I started DJing when Paris was going through a very interesting time, the second wave French touch, when after all the super-big filtered house successes hit the charts, everyone realised French people actually didn’t suck! And we could do exciting things and a million record labels popped up representing and supporting the bloom of a (then more subtle) new house sound which obviously influenced my debuts, and then came electro-clash, electro rock which was big in Paris. Montreal brought me my love for Caribbean, booty, baile funk, bass, afro hiphop as well as post rock and post punk. And then Berlin.. one again I could write a love letter, I’ll just say : Techno.
You released an incredible amount of music early this year! What has the second half of your year looked like?
The second half of the year was about touring a lot and working on my new tracks whenever I had a moment, whether it was in an eight hour layover in airport or going to the studio whenever I could stay 48 hours in Berlin. So… expect more and more releases in the next month! Starting with my new solo EP called Rosée on the Argentinian label Ninefont and a remix for Doc Sleep both coming out this winter, then my first vinyl release (yay!) on Bottom Forty this spring. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/when, where would you go?
I’m happy with today. I think nostalgia can be a dangerous thing, tainting the present with greyness while keeping yourself from moving forward to turn your present into a flamboyant future.
Track to rescue a waning dance floor?
Mark Henning – Exit Acid
Can you give us a hint of what you have in store for Femmme Fraiche?
Well, it will depends what I feel the crowd needs! My aim is to play something in between what people need and what people didn’t know they needed. To be able to have one foot in the familiar in order to make them feel comfortable and ease them into losing themselves into the dance and one foot outside of their comfort zone in order to surprise them and give them more that what they expected. But I’m definitely feeling in a ghetto-house and upbeat tech-house mood so get ready for some clap-heavy music!
Catch La Fraicheur at Femmme Fraiche on Saturday 12 November from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore!