Lea Lisa is one to watch. She’s had releases on Mona Musique, Memories and Chez Damier’s Inner Balance Recordings, alongside her role within the INNERDISC.fr record store family. All these elements outline a passion and desire that flows through everything she does. She’s about to release ‘Legacy EP’ on Wolf Music Recordings which showcases her unquestionable talent. We talk to Lea ahead of this release on 18th October.
Tell us where you’re from?
I was born in Nice in the south of France but I really started my Dj career in Lyon in the Mid 90…
We are just starting to hear about you but clearly, you’ve been playing music for a long time. Can you tell us why this is?
Indeed, I did a seven-year break, and we can say that you start again from the zero after such a long absence. I toured a lot between ’98 and ’06, I was part of the few dj’s promoting House Music in Europe at that time. I was part of the same dj agency than Blaze, Kerri Chandler, Jovonn, Dennis Ferrer, Dj Spinna, we were all in the same vibe. We shared the same scenes or festivals. I invited them to play at my parties, it was a great time. In 2007 there was the arrival of the minimal scene, the disappearance of many labels «Vinyl» it was very difficult for all this scene. I was at a point in my life where I also wanted something else, I spent too much time in airports. It was a necessary stop break to build my personal life. I have no regrets because this break gave me a lot positive energy. My faithful friends in that music stayed, and that’s the most important.
What made you first start to DJ?
When I was 16, I started to go in raves, parties, many of my friends were mixing, I was passionate about music, I dropped out of school young and I was on my own, music was the only possible way for me. There was no alternative, I was passionate about this culture and it was just obvious.
Who were your first big musical influences?
The Detroit and Chicago scene without hesitation but in 1998 I went to New York and I met a lot of people thanks to a friend producer, I went to Stricly Rhythm, Nervous, I got the promos, I used to buy my records from Dancetrax or Satellite. It was magical. I came back to France with the firm intention of promoting this music.
When was your first gig and how did you get it?
My first booking was at the Queen Club in Cannes where I made my first warm-up thanks to a friend DJ, my hands were shaking, I still remember it, it was just a crush. I caught the virus like this…
Where do you tend to play now?
What I really like is House Music and if I’m in peaktime, it’s the conductive line but I like to vary the styles, depending on the length of the set, I can go from broken to techno, you can place everything, I have no boundaries. It’s just the choice of the right record at the right time, the story you want to tell and the audience you have in front of you. It will never be the same…
Tell us about your record collection?
Wow, we can talk about it for hours, but what I can say is that I’ve sold a lot of it because I used to buy too much— Today I look at my collection and I say to myself, I will not sell any more. It is a part of my life, of my history, it is my background. I am proud of that.
Where do you like to buy records?
When I travel, I look for a record store, it is mandatory but I am in the business so I would say that I am spoiled with Innerdisc. It was Fred, my partner in the adventure who partly motivated me to come back through this project. For me, he is a mentor who has taught me a lot, and I am super proud to be part of the team. On our scale, through the store, we transmit and select qualitative music to our visitors who trust us every day.
Give us your top 3 records that never leave you record bag?
Please 4 😉
Presence (Charles Webster) The Spectrum Ep – Remote
Mark Goddard – The Truth – Funky Groove Records
Wamdue Kids – Memory and Forgetting – Communique
Kerri Chandler – Drink on me – Express Records
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
Music, it directs everything…
Who is your biggest inspiration musically?
Kerri Chandler, Ron Trent…
How did you get to know the WOLF guys?
In early 2000, there was a blog of mixes and reviews called Wsound. He discovered one of my mix on this site and he got in touch. It was long before his adventure with Wolf. We have a lot in common musically. When I came out of my lair, after my Ep with Rich Medina, he proposed me to do an Ep for
them. There is a real meaning to this, he knows where I come from. I need to build a discography with people who understand my background. I am very happy to add a stone to their discography.
What do you think of their catalogue?
Lots of variety, they take risks on their releases, no compromise and very qualitative.
Any favourites for you in the WOLF catalogue?
Medlar et Lb aka Labat, Kandinsky & Mr Fries
Who’s your favourite WOLF?
The Legacy Ep ahaha and « Stranger » de Kandinsky & Mr Fries
Will we see you playing at a WOLF party soon?
They proposed it to me, just find the right date:)
What other labels have you released music on?
Mona Musique, the Nick V label I’ve known for over 15 years and Inner Balance directed by Jorge Caiado and Chez Damier. The paths always meet…
Tell us about this release? What’s the story behind it?
Kerri loved the track «Something for the dancers», he even offered to release it on one of his labels, but I was embarrassed to mix business and friendship, so I refused. I then wrote “From Garage”, which is the legacy of my time in New York, when I went to dance to body & soul etc… I wanted to do a warm up record that kicks off a party with a very garage vocal. For the remix, Stu & Matt once told me it would be great to have Kerri, but again, I was a little embarrassed to ask. Then I talked to Kerri about it one night, and he accepted it right away. He gave me a very nice gift, This Ep is all my musical legacy, and cherry on the cake, Kerri is part of this project, it make sens.
How do you find the music industry treats you as a woman?
There is a bit of machismo like every business, I am also very happy to see that women take a very important place on the line-ups but the problem is the sexualization of female djs, Putting a face and a body above music… We have to put the music back in the center.
Do you think that the music industry needs to change? To be more respectful to women in general?
Now we’re more in pure marketing, it bothers me in the sense that there’s a lot of starification, I’m having trouble finding the DNA and the essence of this culture, I have nothing against success on the contrary, it rewards hard work, but there’s a lot of opportunism and some careers are built on little things.
It’s not easy to get Kerri Chandler to remix. How did you manage this?
Friendship, and he liked a lot the track…
What do you have coming up next release wise?
I promise to send it to you as soon as I finish it!
What’s on the horizon for Lea Lisa?
Continue to produce, mix with the same passion.