Lu.Re Discusses How OCD Diagnosis Helped ShapeHer Latest EP
Lu.Re is a London-based vocalist, viola player, pianist and producer and her electronic soul has garnered support from DJ Target on Radio 1Xtra, BBC Introducing London, Beats 1, Rinse FM and Red Bull among others. The EP is influenced by the smokey lounge vibes of UK-jazz and the vocal-laden garage riddims of emerging artists such as Bklava & Ell Murphy, and inspired by an OCD diagnosis during lockdown. Lu.Re delivers five cuts of introverted, viola-laced 2-step and UKG with hope of shedding more light on the mental health condition. We spoke to the London based artist for a Q+A discussing her most recent release, enjoy!
We are massive fans of your Netil Radio Show. How rewarding is it having your own show, does it keep you always in search of new music?
Yeah, 100%. I want the show to feel fresh every month so it keeps me digging for Soundcloud finds and staying up to date with artists I like. It’s great too because when I’m putting together mixes, it means I listen carefully to a load of new music so I get a good gage of where my own productions fit and what I want to do more of. You’ll hear me experimenting with genres, but I play a lot of new garage and syncopated breaks. I’m into the weighty sub heavy end of it, but also soulful vocals and musicality, so when I can get the two to meet, that’s my sweet spot.
You've absolutely smashed it with support from bbc1extra and DJ Target, what have been some other highlights for you recently?
Ah thanks, haha. It was really helpful to have support from Target and a few other cool DJs early on. It means a lot to feel heard and appreciated and it’s helped my confidence. I started out as a singer, classically trained in viola and piano, and found the move into production quite daunting at first in what is still such a male dominated industry. So I’m proud to be putting out my first EP that I’ve fully produced. It’s been a real diy operation but I’ve put in the work to get to a point where I can start rolling out the releases this year, which is a good feeling.
You've spoken very openly about your battles with mental health, how much of that struggle is reflected in the release?
I actually wasn’t always going to speak openly about it. But in the end I decided to because when I was struggling, discovering how this type of OCD works - some call it Pure O - and hearing other people’s stories was such a relief. Plus it would have been hard to ignore because it’s so ingrained in the EP. When I was writing it I had a lot of intrusive thoughts. They were giving me a lot of anxiety and they’d go round and round in my head - I’d try and work out why I was having them and what they meant. It wasn’t until after I’d written the EP that I was diagnosed with OCD and I learnt that what I was doing was carrying out mental compulsions, otherwise known as ruminating. So it’s pretty wild it came out so blatantly in the EP. But I’d like the project to be seen as something bright and hopeful too, because that’s what I was trying to lean into when I was writing it, focusing on the present and the people I love.
Are there any mixes/releases you've recently heard that have been a source of inspiration for you?
There are so many mixes inspiring me all the time, but one of the most influential has to be a set Bklava did for Lab LDN last summer. She killed the set, played music she’d created and smashed some live vocals. Around that time, I was still deciding how I’d perform live. I’d mentioned to my close circle about DJing with live vocals, but until then I was a singer-producer who only jumped on the decks in her flat at afters. So it was a bit of a turning point for me. I ditched my £100 controller and invested in some second hand XDJs and just decided to take on the challenge. Seeing other non male artists killing it in the studio and on the decks definitely gives me a sense of belonging and the confidence to keep at it.
What are your aims for the rest of 2022? (shows, releases, collabs, etc)
Ah so many. I want to keep the releases rolling. I feel like I’m starting to get into my swing now, and I’ve got a couple of tracks nearly there for after the EP. The kind of stuff that fits into the heavier, darker side of my sets. I’m open to collaborating too. I’m hearing a few demos from artists I admire at the minute, so hopefully, that’ll go somewhere. I’m also trying to book a venue for a party around the EP release (26th May), which will be my first one! If I can get it confirmed in time, with a few other DJs lined up, I’ll get it all on my Instagram, @lu.re_music. Otherwise, hopefully I’ll see you out at ukg night soon!