A new sound, a new direction, and a host of new opportunities, we caught up with singer-songwriter/producer FEMME ahead of her DJ set at CloseUp Festival
Over the last decade, FEMME has been carving out a name for herself with her nuanced, textured sound. Stylistically, she has skirted through a plethora of sonically captivating sounds, weaving and adapting and growing as as a performer.
In 2019 the young artist seems to have found her place. Her latest offering, 2018’s EP 2.0, is a masterful showcase of this. The extend play catches Laura Bettinson in her pomp. Her music sounds forthright and assured, there is an air of confidence and swagger on display within its four tracks.
May will see FEMME performing a DJ set at Close Up Festival, an art-form that seems to have reinvigorated the performer. In anticipation for such an exciting event, we caught up with FEMME so that we (and you) could find out a little more about them.
Hey FEMME! How did 2018 treat you?
2018 was an incredible and transformative year for me, sonically and visually. I ended up doing loads more travelling than I anticipated. I was producing on an all female identifying writing camp in New Zealand, wrote songs in Latvia and spent 7 weeks on an artist residency in Chengdu, China – playing shows, DJing and making new music. I saw lots of new countries for the first time and found support in territories I’d never paid much mind to before. It honestly restored my faith in the music industry and was a welcome reminder of how vast this planet is and how music can overcome most language and cultural barriers, connecting people across the globe.
Not long ago released your EP ‘2.0’, could you tell us a little more about it?
2.0 was an opportunity to explore deeper electronic territory, step further away from traditional pop songwriting and flex my muscles a bit more as a producer.
Are you pleased with the reaction it has received?
I was initially nervous that some of my fans who found me during my pop days would feel isolated by my new sound and direction but the reaction i’ve had from them and the industry has been overwhelmingly encouraging. As a self-producing artist in the pop scene I felt quite stifled and that my role as a producer was never taken that seriously as there’s a very strict prescribed formula for a pop-project – ie multiple songwriters and ‘hit’ producers. That’s not the way i’ve ever made my music. I like to push the buttons and make the sounds myself. The electronic scene seems more excited by and more supportive of self-producing artists. I think i’ve found my home.
What would you say were your biggest influences when conceiving it?
I’ve spent a lot of time over the years collaborating with some incredible producers and DJs and my voice has been remixed by some of the greats – Four Tet, Maribou State, Justin Martin, Sasha, Huxley, Cristoph, David Lynch, Nigel Godrich. I think all that work in dance music and hearing my voice manipulated in different ways has influenced where I’m at now.
How would you describe your sound to someone unfamiliar with it?
A little bit pop, but not too pop. Dance floor ready but not too heavy.
What should people expect when catching a FEMME live show?
I’ve recently take a step back from live touring and have been enjoying DJing more. I play a mix of wonky house, tech-house, bass and UKG. Some stuff you’ll know and some you might not have heard before.
Do you have any particular venues or towns/cities that you love to play?
I always love to play London because it is my home but my recent shows in China were insane. There’s a lot of techno DJs in China but not that many people playing more melodic house and bouncy, bassy stuff. I could tell that a lot of the crowd were hearing most of the music for the first time but they were so responsive to it. It really scratched that educational itch that you have as a DJ that you’re not always able to explore in your sets closer to home.
Absolutely! It’s always a pleasure to play London.
How would you say your sound has evolved over the last few years?
Ever evolving and exploring. I’ve gone from producing wonky, saccharine, retro pop tunes to bouncy, bass heavy, beat driven bangers but everything I do will remain laden with hooks. Whether vocal or instrumental there’s always got to be a melody in there that sticks in your head for days.
What do you hope FEMME’s 2019 is going to look like?
I’m touring USA and Mexico as a DJ for the first time this March. The shows start at SXSW, then go to New York, Mexico City, Puebla, Tijuana, and end up in Miami. When I get back I start my residency at Four Quarters, Peckham throughout April. I’ll have different friends doing guest sets every week so I’m sure it’s going to be loads of fun and FREE entry! In between that I’ve got a single coming out in March and another EP later in the year and some exciting collaborations and festival slots to keep me busy. 2019 is looking pretty fit from here.
FEMME will play CloseUp Festival on May 17th. Tickets are available here.