Lulu Van Trapp
Hello Lulu Van Trapp! We’re so excited to feature you and be able to talk to you guys about your music.
Our first impression: enigmatic-rock-pop. We’re such big fans of your presence on stage and we can feel the passion of your music. You guys are prolific in the way you express your musical identity. We are excited to know more about you!
We’d love to know the basics about you guys. Where are you guys from? Tell us a little about where you came from and how that informs your music.
Most of us grew up in Paris, France, real city cats. Our parents were super open and our environment was infused with cultures from around the world, and as kids of the 90s, a lot of American fantasy too. We listened to tons of different styles of music. Rebecca, our singer, comes from a lyrical background, Max, our singer and guitar player, from a hyper diverse family, with kins all over the world - from Peru to Canada to Thailand - and is deeply attached to his Iranian origins too. Nico, our drummer, comes from psychedelia. Manu, our bass player, spent his teenage years on a tropical island, and has brought some vibes from there too. We developed some kind of fantasy garden where all those influences flourish and intertwine.
We love a good origin story. How did you guys first form, when and where? Why form a band?
Max and I (Rebecca) go way back, and have been playing together for over ten years. We met in a prog punk kinda trash band when we were 18. Back then we were a couple. One night on tour, as this former band was starting to implode, we had THE fight, broke up, but ended up stuck together under a tent because of a huge storm (yes we were touring with our tents then :). With nowhere to go, we started humming, softly, the draft of a song, as I wrote the lyrics that came to our mouths with tape on the walls of the tent. This is how Lulu Van Trapp was born, and our first song, « The Echo », created. A breakup song as a pact of everlasting friendship, a new band to fight away the brutality of the ancient.
After a year of messing around with our new love songs, Nico, then Manu, joined us, both coming from much trashier rock bands too, and with the same craving for turning violence into tenderness.
"We want our shows to be some sort of bacchanalian orgies of love. The dream would be to be the backing band playing the perfect soundtrack for liberation."
The Fit of Sleep is deeply passionate about voices. What is your message to your audience? What do you hope to tell all who are listening?
Music is one means to an end. It is the medium we chose (or did it choose us?) to express ourselves when words weren’t enough. We want to use every possible aspect of our capacities of creation to assert our being in the world. Our lyrics only tell about our feelings, uncertainties and uneasiness, in what we hope to be both an anonymous and intimate language. But our performances allow us to transmit a feeling of deep freedom and unchain the bodies, through dancing, laugh, nudity. We want our shows to be some sort of bacchanalian orgies of love.
The dream would be to be the backing band playing the perfect soundtrack for liberation.
We would very much love to hear about your new single Love On The Brain – which is a cover song from Rihanna’s album Anti – can you talk a little bit about the process of choosing this track? What about this song resonates with you guys?
We’re not used to doing covers, so when the idea presented itself we figured we’d cover a song way too big for us. And who more impressive than Rihanna? On the other hand, we felt a deep connection to the song. We recognized our own influences in every part of it: the sixties soul, lo-fi production and scorched vocal interpretation. It wasn’t an easy exercise and it came with a lot of doubts and even tears but it gave us the opportunity to try new things and lay down the bases of what would become our sound for the next album.
Of course an important aspect of art and music is its core source. What or who inspires your music the most?
As a lyricist I guess it’s everyday figures that inspire me the most, like in a Hopper painting. It’s the inner glow that eradiates from the lonely people that brings up the most radical emotions and makes words start flowing. Also, teenagers, architectures, voids, the city, it’s cruelty, it’s possibilities.
Our mental landscape is crowded with a pop cast of escapees from Fellini movies, B Series, salty comics and dystopic mangas, Russian tales and Americana novels, and sometimes doesn’t make much sense. Too many artists have had a major influence to list them, but if we go back to the source, it’s mainly singer songwriters that’ve had a deep imprint on us. Lou Reed and Patti Smith were our absolute idols growing up.
"It’s about creating oases of communication and transcendence ; chanting to encourage our generation in its revolutionary course. Our way of perceiving art is directly connected to anarchism, feminism and societal change."
What do you guys aspire to achieve through the expression of music?
We come from big dreams. But the reality of our generation and the vertiginous change of time we’re living make us reconsider our position in the world. How can you be both responsible and an artist? Isn’t it supposed to be two antinomic things? Throughout the pandemic, governments made it very clear that our mission in this world was unessential, secondary. How can you go on when you’re told this? How can you pursue such an egocentric, superficial, and climate-change incompatible path, when you realize what’s going on around? It’s a constant questioning, but we learned through different experiences that art and performance are actually necessary, primary, needed. It’s about creating oases of communication and transcendence ; chanting to encourage our generation in its revolutionary course. Our way of perceiving art is directly connected to anarchism, feminism and societal change.
What can you say about the current music scene you are involved in? How would you define it and how would you redefine it?
We have deep connection and friendship with some bands of the French scene, but it goes beyond the genres of music we play. Without forming a musical family, we see things pretty much the same way, and it actually regroups people from diverse bodies of work. Our pack is super varied, it goes from make up artists to technicians, costume designers to directors, looking in the same direction and working together.
To redefine it I would redefine what rock and roll is. I wouldn’t define it as a music style anymore, but as a way of doing things with a certain kind of honesty. Of bringing back the flesh, the sweat, the sex and the proximity into a society where they’re drifting apart and becoming abstract notions.
But mostly I wouldn’t try to define and let it roll, be uncontrollable and spread. Not only diseases get to do this! There are incredible artists riding the scene right now, Murman Tsuladze, Mathilde Fernandez, Quinze Quinze, and many others…
What can you tell us about genre? Your music seems to express many genres, almost cross-wiring them to create a unified, unique genre of your own. Can you tell us more about that?
We’re pretty nerdy and we mix a lot of different genres in our music, which led a bunch of people to dislike us. It’s impossible for us to define our genre in less than a paragraph so we won’t be trying now lol.
Each time we gather to compose, it’s two - then four - people meeting up at a crossroads, each one with stories of their own, obsessions, musics they’ve been listening on repeat. It’s this clash that makes music interesting and rugged.
We believe that ideas and ideals connect things together. No matter the music style, the red string that connects all our songs is how they’re played, by whom, and the idea that lies beneath. There’s a notion of travel to our music, each song would be a harbor as we sail on an ocean of possibilities.
If you were to collaborate with any musician/band, who would you work with?
Such an impossible question! Anyone? The Voidz, Tyler the Creator, Patti Smith, writing a song to a huge pop star, being produced by Trent Reznor. All of them combined !
Thank you so much Lulu Van Trapp for this amazing conversation. Thank you so much for being apart of Issue No. 8, it's such an honor to hear from you all!
Photo Credits: Chloe Sassi, Fiona Torre, Maxime Gaudet, Ines Ziouane