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Loukoko, is the name of Parisians’ best kept secret when it comes to music. A secret you’re about to foray deep into because Romy, not to confuse with The XX’s Romy, had lunch with our very own Sophie.

A rather young looking woman; who’s Paris based, but well a travelled individual with an undeniable passion for collaborations and music done the right way. She’s also a true Swiss-army knife when it comes to managing her career / music projects. A complete set of skills that she likes to dub herself the ‘One-Girl Band’, and rightfully so. That’s how we got in touch with Loukoko. Via email. Simply asking for a meet somewhere in Paris, to answer a few questions. Turns out we went on a full-fledged lunch !

I had no idea Loukoko graced the French capital before witnessing – totally mesmerized and in awe – at the live show she brilliantly delivered as an opening act for Tei Shi back in May at Le Popup du Label. That’s when you know, you got to share and talk about an artist. So here we are. The interview might have some slight anachronic distortions because of the delayed publication (ed. we were waiting for some material to be released).

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Lenparrot - Loukoko - sodwee.com

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Interview by Sophie. Intro & English version by Sodwee. Photos by Marine Andrieux
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I know you try to keep the origins of your name as mysterious as possible, but could you tell us a few words on Loukoko and where it comes from ?

The name Loukoko comes from someone I know in Congo, Africa. It’s a town there, where two very good friendships developed. It’s super important for me to maintain a sentimental side to my music. It’s music that is essentially based around emotions. And starting the project from a great love story was inevitable.

Loukoko - Down EP

It’s not the only exotic side to your project. On Soundcloud, the description states you are based in Antigua-et-Barbuda, what is that about ?

Ah! My family comes from there, and as a result, even if I was in Paris or London, I’d always have my heart there. I stick to where I feel at ease ! (laughs).

Your first EP was only released earlier this year, but I wanted to know when you started making music.

I make music since I was a kid, my whole family is knee deep in it. From my mother who’s into lyrical, or the gang of cousins that own a studio. I can even recall falling asleep while one of them was playing drums. True story !

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You define yourself as a “One-Girl Band”. Being in control of all aspects of your set on stage is a necessity for you ?

In fact, it became a necessity from the moment I tried to gather other people on other bands I had. I soon came to the conclusion I wanted to go solo and manage the task myself. Music is all about passion, it’s something you undertake 24/7. People don’t often see the project the way you want to drive it. So it came naturally to me that if I wanted to go further, better, faster, I needed to go with it, alone. Pacing strides at my own rhythm and be uber independent.

Alone but not quite lonely yet. You’ve done a few featurings, including one with Venor !

I do as many featurings in the videos as I do in the Studio. Same goes for the stage. I met Venor while I was looking for an English rapper. I already had another rapper on my EP with whom I had made a cover track but he couldn’t make it for one of the live shows. I had to quickly find one. And Venor appeared after 2 days of relentless searching. We get along very well since. Like two kids that love playing together you know. We have a right ol’ time together !

You’re a busy girl, you also direct your music videos. However you recently asked one of your friends, Charlotte, to take the job.

Charlotte is like my little sister. I knew she would be the best fit for directing the video. Sometimes, all you need is to let it all out , to dance, to shout real loud, to let it go.  So we did, we went to a beach with a friend who captured the moments. The end result was very satisfying.

Visuals seem to be an important part of your music…

I like to be surrounded by people I truly appreciate. When I start writing and putting together tracks, I immediately have pictures, and visuals in my head. The sooner I get them into action, the better. It’s where I get the motivation from.

You’ve got a new track with Venor called “Rimes” coming up… Can you tell us a little more ?

Oh yeah, I’m super psyched about this new track with him. He came to my place, saw the drumkit I had just bought, told me to play it and ten minutes later we had a full track underway. I love the immediacy of doing music this way. (see video below…)

You took part in Paris Music Week at the start of June for the second year running. How did it go down ?

Records Connection are the masterminds behind the event. They asked me to play for Adidas etc… We played in a magnificent place, people were so into the music, it was great.

What on your playlist these days ?

I love everything English. I find they have a “je-ne-sais-quoi” to their music that other nations usually lack. Maybe because they endured more in their youth. These last few years, James Blake was a huge inspiration. That guy has a great liberty in his pauses. He can stop all together for 10 seconds. Like waiting for the climax of a horror film, the suspense in his music is genius. It takes balls to do live too. But he manages brilliantly. I also dig SBTRKT, Sampha and generally everything hailing from Africa. I also love Janis Joplin, the Beatles as well as classical music. Because I did lots of it. I like all kinds of music, except maybe funk, I’m less into funk.

To end this interview, what’s on your agenda in the future ? What can we expect ?

I will be releasing a new EP towards October or November, and I’m still directing music videos for tracks, even if I’m not releasing them as part of an EP. For me music is about enjoying what you’re doing. So be sure I’ll do just that. Chilled, with passion of course.

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