SHK met up with Femme to talk about her new single and her recent U.S. gigs spanning throughout L.A. and NYC. This feisty pink haired new wave feminist explained her excitement over the future of  females in the music industry and what drives her to create melodic super bassy beats, while her new single — released on heart shaped vinyl — is flying out the door.

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photographed and interviewed by FLYNN MAXWELL WARREN

SHK: TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU DECIDED ON YOUR NAME.

FEMME: It’s a big name to fill and I hope to do it justice. I figured at this point most band name combinations have been used. I just thought I would go for the obvious one, seeing as I’m a female producer. I make my beats, sing and perform. The idea was that, I wanted to combine masculine Hip Hop beats, big beats, massive basey beats, with a melody, with harmony. That girl group feel.

WHAT SORT OF MUSIC DID YOU LISTEN TO WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?

I guess I was brought up on mostly female singers, like… Dusty Springfield, a lot of Motown and stuff my grandmother used to play me. I had an older sister so I would get her hand-me-downs, Smashing Pumpkins CDs… Placebo, Weezer, etc. Then as a teenager I listened to the music all my girlfriends were listening to, like Destiny’s Child, more Pop style music. Later when I studied at Goldsmiths, I started listening to more experimental music like Laurie Anderson, and that kinda’ stuff.

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WE LOVE YOUR LOOK. TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR STYLE.

Well, I’ve never necessarily followed fashion trends, but I have always admired people who have a signature look. I mean, London is a great place to be. The street style, I guess, is a bit like NY, people pushing the boundaries of what you can wear while feeling free to express themselves. What I put together is from cheap stores, that most wouldn’t go into, and second hand stuff. My earrings that I wear when I perform are made up of some earrings by Gogo Philip wrapped around some from a 99c store in Peckham (South London). That’s a lot of my style, taking designer clothing and mixing it up.

WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING IN YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS AND DIRECTING AT THE SAME TIME?

I guess I found myself in a position where people from all creative backgrounds surround me, so I usually come up with a concept and then my friends help me achieve it. I mean for “Educated,” it was just my girls and I and it was the first time I had messed around making a music video.

 

“Educated”

WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR THE “EDUCATED” VIDEO?

We wanted to create something that was a fine line between being absolutely disgusting and kinda’ sexy. So I had the idea to have the bright pink backgrounds, and the putrid colourful cakes, we made it in two hours in my spare bedroom with my two best mates. Their boyfriends and some other guys came around after to see the footage and they were sort of aroused and then horrified and then aroused and confused. That was my intention so I was happy. [Laughs]

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER FEMALE ARTISTS AT THE MOMENT?

I guess I think there is some really good music being made by girls at the moment. I think Lorde is a big step in the right direction. You know… People aren’t stupid, but they will consume what is pressed on them. Still, at the same time, they have taste. It doesn’t have to be shaking asses, people know good music, and are able to recognize it when they hear it.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MILEY AND RIHANNA?

I don’t look at Miley and the Rihanna as my idols, but it also doesn’t offend me. I’m not a raging feminist, girls should do what they want to do. I just don’t find myself looking up to them. Where as people like Grace Jones, Bjork and even Madonna — she did a similar thing that was as outrageous at the time — but we seem to have forgotten about it. Really, girls should just do what they want to do. People will eventually get bored and the novelty will wear off. At what point do you draw the line… Someone did appear totally naked in a video, and it was Miley Cyrus! I couldn’t give a fuck how people present themselves, really, as long as they’re happy with it. I don’t really get the impression that Miley or Rihanna are like “Ah, I don’t really wanna appear naked in my video,” and someone is pushing them to do it. I think they’re totally on board with the idea. So you can’t bash that, but I do wish the music was a bit more interesting. That would be a winning combination! And then women would take over the world.

HOW IS IT GOING WITH ULTRAISTAARE YOU WORKING ON THAT AT THE MOMENT TOO?

With ultraísta, we put an album out in 2012, and then we just did a remix album this September and it went really well. And the two guys, Joey and Nigel, who are in the project with me, are in Thom Yorke’s band, so they have been on tour for about six months doing that, which has given me a chance to do this. We’re all very accommodating of each other’s lives, and we work around that. We’ve already started on some new work that will be out in 2014, along with FEMME’s new album, and are starting to book up a few gigs for the New Year, which is good. Also, we’re working on some new videos. So yeah, looking forward to the new year.

For more FEMME (the moniker of Laura Bettinson), visit her here.

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