About Me

Interview with Louise Lemón

Louise Lemón established herself the Queen of Death Gospel with her latest full-length album “A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart”, a dark pop album taking cues from the 60s and 70s psych-rock and soul era, produced and mixed alongside regular collaborator Randall Dunn (Chelsea Wolfe / Sunn O))) / Marissa Nadler) in Copenhagen and New York.  Louise Lemón is often compared to artists like Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle and A.A. Williams.  She is now back with her new EP “Devil”, released digitally on 27th March. Metal Imperium had a fine conversation with the Queen of Death Gospel herself! 

M.I. - How have you been doing? What have you done so far in this quarantine? How much has this virus affected you so far, on a personal level and as a musician?

Well, I'm alright and I'm taking the time to write so I've been keeping busy with making a new album and I've been working together with my keyboardist, sending files over and arranging together with him and stuff like that.

M.I. - Tell us a bit about Louise Lemón! Who are you? What’s your experience as a vocalist? Were you ever in a band? How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a composer, song writer?

I'm a solo artist and I've always made music. I made music since I was very small and I always wrote my own music. Since I was very young, I had a very big interest in music, so I started to play the guitar. I've been making music my whole life and I think it's been a great way for me because I have a very vivid imagination and a full emotional life inside and this is an outlet for that and a way to create my own universe.

M.I. – So, it's like a therapy for you to express your feelings! 

Yeah, of course, it's a therapy in one way but it is also to make life more interesting, more intense. When I play with the musicians that I work with, I create something that wasn't there and I created just from myself and it's a very psychedelic experience which is very cool.

M.I. - Do you have any vocal or musical training? How do you take care of your voice?

I've done a lot of stuff like that when I was younger definitely and I had people help me find my voice and my body. I think that is the most important thing!

M.I. – How do you train your voice and body in order to perform in such a beautiful way?

Thank you! I do yoga. I think yoga was a revelation for me, because it has a lot to do with the breath and also you get to know your body a lot, so I tried to take care of it in that way. I also try to eat nutritious food and be healthy. So, now I don't do any specific things for my voice. When I was younger, I explored my voice more because, you know, you need to find your own voice! But now I think it's more like a holistic perspective of my whole body and my whole being okay.

M.I. - “Devil” was released on the 27th March… a month ago… how are the reactions to it so far?

We got very good reactions, good press and I think people seem to like it for sure.

M.I. - You are known as the Death Gospel Queen. Has this title put extra pressure on your shoulders for the new EP?

No, I am very clear in my musical path. I think what I need to do is just to explore and really try to focus on being on my own path, so I try to do that and just travel on my musical journey, so I don't feel any special pressure.

M.I. – “A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart” is a dark pop album that takes cues from the 60s and 70s psych-rock and soul era… does the same happen with “Devil”?

Yeah, I think so! My last album was very produced, it was recorded in Copenhagen, I mixed it together with the producer in New York, so it was like a very big production and I'm so very proud of that record! But, during the recording, there were some parts that I was just like “I want to explore this!”, you know? Like when you start being creative, it gets you going so, for the EP, and this is why it is an EP, I wanted it to be a creative space where I could just explore myself a bit more. It's produced by my keyboardist, he works with me a lot and we did that together and we recorded it in our rehearsal space, so it's very down-to-earth and very rough, in a sense that it has this live feeling, so there were very different processes for these two.

M.I. - Is this album about heartbreak? On a Facebook post you wrote “I met a man who told me there was a Devil in me. Turns out it was he.” Are all of your lyrics biographical? Do you open your heart and soul to us?

Well, this EP actually has one love song which is the first real love song that I wrote. I think that we all have ups and downs, and “Devil” is interesting because I wrote it while I was in a relationship. When I wrote the song called “Devil”, at first, I was looking inside of me to see if this was the place where the trouble was, but that's not always the case!

M.I. - How do you write? What inspires you to write? Do lyrics just come up to your head and you write them down? How does it happen? Your songs show off a duality: darkness and brightness… how do you manage to get it so perfectly?

Well, sometimes I get these bits that I just record on my phone or something. When I come up with these small things, I write them down until I have like a collection of those but, mainly, I write by my piano and most lyrics are biographical. It is usually about things that are happening in my life. For me, it's just a very strong thing to be able to do conclusions of things and to be able to own these situations that I go through by writing about them and by explaining them. I've thoughts and feelings regarding something and when I write about it, I get stronger. I also make songs that people like listening to so I feel stronger in that process and it’s not scary. Darkness and brightness have to do with that! If I write about something that is sad or difficult I have to look at myself from an outer perspective and really go through what actually happened… I get a strength from that, so there is both full vulnerability and strength in it. 

M.I. - So I guess you’ve been working on new songs because you’ve been releasing new material every year since the debut “Purge” in 2018. What are the main differences between the material you are about to release this year and the first album? 

Yeah, I think they sound very, very different. My first album was very dark and had channels and channels of noise. My second album “A broken heart” was very cleaned up and produced in one way, more inspired by soul music and then, this one, is trying to catch out the feeling and the sound of when I play live. 

M.I. - How did you manage to collect your ideas so fast? Because you release new material every March… why that month in particular?

It took me quite a while to get my first album together with all the parts. It was mixed and as soon as we got everything together, we are able to have a record to be released… I guess just after having that processed, I am ready to release new music. 

M.I. - When did you start working on this EP? 

I don't know! I mean, I work on and off all the time, so I can’t say. It's not like I started working in this exact moment and in that moment, it's been an ongoing process. Well, maybe four months. 

M.I. - For now it’ll just be a vinyl release. Are you a vinyl fan and collector? 

Yeah, for me, that is really like the best way to listen to music and I do collect!

M.I. - Who’s responsible for the artwork of the album? You’re portrayed like a goddess!

It was me and the photographer. I've been working with her for a very long time and she's a lovely person. We have this very nice collaboration and that's what I've been trying to do with everyone I collaborated with. I had longtime collaborators that we've grown to understand each other so it was a collaboration between me and her.

M.I. - By the end of May, you were supposed to start your “Devil Tour” in Germany. What are the plans now?

We are looking into rescheduling this tour, of course, and I will release the new dates as soon as I have them. It's a very uncertain time now, so we'll just have to see wait and see what will happen.

M.I. - In the beginning of 2020 you did your first headline TV and radio performances in Barcelona and Madrid… how did it go?

It was very nice! I think I've been to Madrid once and played at a festival but these were my first own headline shows so it was a lovely experience. I've been living a lot in Spain, so it was very special to have these shows there.

M.I. - You’ve toured with Sólstafir. How does a tour like this come up? I mean a metal band and a death gospel singer? 

I think, when they started out, they were very heavy but the material they’re doing now really resonates with my material. They do a lot of slower instrumental parts and they are exploring new paths as well musically, so we fit really well together and we have a great response from the audience as well.

M.I. - On that tour, you played in Portugal. What do you recall of that gig?

It was a good show! I remember when we arrived and walked out of the bus, we were in Porto which is so beautiful city! I’ve been there before and it's an amazing city. I think that's like my strongest memory. I recall us playing in a very beautiful venue and the show was really good too.

M.I. - You are often compared to Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle and A.A. Williams… do you agree with these comparisons? How do you feel when the media compare your sound to others? 

I try to understand what they're comparing… is it the darkness and the depths of the music? But, musically, I think what we do is very different. Maybe it’s because we are women that they compare us. I think we do something that's dark but, musically, we're very far apart.

M.I. - Why do you think you appeal to listeners who are used to heavier tunes?

I think there are a lot of dark and heavy elements in my music. I mean, it's not metal at all, but it is more like this seventies rock alternative rock influences psychedelic rock, so I think these influences are something that you hear in all the songs. Even if they're not heavy in the metal kind of sense, they are heavy in another musical aspect. I think that people who listen to heavy music and pick up that in the music also like the main atmosphere because it is dark. 

M.I. - What’s your favourite music genre? 

I listen to a lot of folk rock from the seventies.

M.I. - What’s on your playlist these days?

Right now, I've been listening a lot to a Swedish artist who makes amazing music and he has such a big integrity to him and to what he does which also something that I really admire. So that is something that I've been listening to a lot. 

M.I. - Do you believe your album has been an escape for some people in these wild times?

Well, I hope so! I mean, for me, it's been super important to have music during this time both as an escape and also as an outlet emotionally! That's why I do music… for me and for others to have an outlet for feelings!

M.I. - Do you believe Art is valued enough? Or will people only open their eyes now that they recur to it in order not to go insane?

Yeah, I think overall you realize what's more important: how important is your family and good friends. I miss concerts and things… but now you realize how much you enjoy art as in movies and music at home! Well, my plan is really just to write and to take this time as an introspective time and to do that I do some soul-searching, I try to grow as a person… 

M.I. - So you are lucky enough to dedicate yourself only to music, right? Where did you find the musicians that accompany you live? Who are they?

Well, I've been playing with them forever and we just really clicked and everyone has been allowed to grow and to do things musically along the way. We've really grown together!

M.I. - Anything else you’d like to share with us? Best of luck to you and hope to see you here soon!

No, I just want to say thank you for these nice questions! See you in Porto soon! 

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca