Name: Marie Lefur aka MLF
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Recent release: MLF's 66BEO EP is out via Community Center.
Recommendations: Book: The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774) by Goethe. It’s a German romantic novel, I guess it represents my perspective of love. To read when you’re happy. (laughs)
Piece of art: Paul Signac – The Pink Cloud (1909). Signac is for me the master of neo-impressionism as he has played a major role in pointillism. Huge fan of the masterpiece “The Pink Cloud” painted in 1909. It’s bright, colourful, joyful!
If you enjoyed this interview with MLF, visit her Instagram account for current updates.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
I started playing the guitar at 7, and at 13 started the piano. Then I was part of two bands, a jazz one where I was the pianist and then a contemporary rock band (playing amazing old classics like Deep Purple)! Then I started producing at 16 but really dug into it when I discovered FL Studio.
I know it sounds cheesy, I always listen to a lot of stuff but really I started the journey with pop music. I was a crazy fan of Michael Jackson at first, Fleetwood Mac, and then I dug deep into rap music with Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Common and many others. Then I discovered house music with the track “Big Love” by Pete Heller and just never quit it.
So mainly dance music, happy sonorities and good energy are the things that drove me mainly.
Some people experience intense emotion when listening to music, others see colours or shapes. What is your own listening experience like and how does it influence your approach to music?
We listen to various types of music all day long at my job and mainly electronic as my boss is an amazing digger. So, I guess every song that you hear just procures your emotion and it’s the case for me.
When I listen to a great record, I can listen to it in loop for hours. (laughs)
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I don’t really see myself as an artist, just someone who really enjoys listening and discovering music as it has always been my guide and best friend throughout the years.
I would be very interested in collaborating with people from the dance scene as I always check the songs deconstruction. To learn and see how they get their sounds, their way of processing. I always start with the melody but maybe some start with the drums, the bass etc!
So, I continue to learn as much as possible, listen to a lot of stuff and collaborate. (laughs)
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
I guess it’s my curiosity that brings me here. I don’t have preferences, really, even if I end up playing dance / house / breakbeat or Italo disco and even trance!
I’m a huge fan of James Blake, The Weeknd or Adele for example. (laughs) It influences me even if it’s not what I end up producing (because I don’t have the skills to).
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Fun. Dance. Love & Passion for everything in life.
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I search sometimes what will be the new style of music but it’s kind of useless. As it’s a matter of taste you can't predict what is going to work.
I listened to a lot of disco and love the entire history of music. So I cannot say I’m against continuing tradition, but I play and will try to play new music. After all, many artists have already produced amazing records I can’t improve upon!
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Curiosity and passion for everything. Maybe perseverance also because it’s kind of harsh to start producing at the beginning.
When I discovered Ableton I didn’t get anything out of it, and it was a real deception. But I kept going and discovered FL and it changed my perspective!
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
I work as a financial controller in a Record Company in Paris called Wagram Music. So, I wake up, go to work, listen to beautiful mixes all day (thanks Paramida, Call Super, Shanti Celeste for giving me motivation all day), do beautiful Excel sheets and turn home at 8pm. Then I open FL and do everything that comes in the moment.
[Read our Call Super Interview]
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
It really depends on the mood. I always start either with chords or melody and then add the drums.
I have a new track coming out where I really tried to create a catchy lead! I process mainly like that maybe because of the influences of pop music. ;)
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
I started listening to music alone in my room and then producing alone in my room with the guitar and then FL Studio. So, it has always been a lonely trip.
But recently as I’ve been going out more in Paris to parties, I’m really enjoying sharing discoveries and seeing what people enjoy most!
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
Bringing emotions to people, helping them through their daily life I guess is the role of music in society. It accompanies every good or bad moment, it really enhances our emotions and is a very powerful tool.
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own and that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
Music is all about love and broken hearts according to me.
Coldplay, the XX and the Script was my guide during breakups,
The Cure makes me want to cry,
Kanye West makes me want to rule the world,
The Gap Band makes me want to have a drink on a beach
D’Angelo, Teddy Pendergrass makes me want to have sex,
The Doobie Brothers makes me want to travel,
DJ Seinfeld, Kerri Chandler makes me want to dance
Fred Again makes me want to call my loved ones and dance with them
So, it kind of contributes to understanding all these different feelings to me.
I’m speaking from my perspective and other people they would no doubt have different artists that are more related. But I kind of think it’s the same for them.
There seems to be increasing interest in a functional, “rational” and scientific approach to music. How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
Science and research have played a major role in the development of electronic music by creating tools for musicians and producers: synthesizers, arpeggiator, MOOG etc. It has also, with the development of computers, allowed people like me or bedroom producers to experiment and share music as we would never have the money to pay for a studio for example.
So, science has enabled people to produce, listen and even hear more music thanks to streaming.
When it comes to the implication of AI in music, I have hard times thinking, as it’s a human process, that it could ever replace a person with emotions, and their own perspectives on life.
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I always enjoy a great coffee as I’m drinking one right now! It is different as it really questions the foundations of your emotions.
What are you feeling right now? It’s not a question I ask myself when drinking a coffee, but while I am creating.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
Maybe because music emulates all your being. It speaks to your soul, the melody speaks to your head and heart, the bass speaks to your body and chest, the drums and beats to your legs!
Reading is a lonely process, even painting but music can be both shared with others or consumed alone which to me is powerful. So, it’s an activity really diverse and particular in its own way of being consumed.