Ex-Stereolab keyboardist, Morgane Lhote, recently released her very first debut album as Hologram Teen ‘Between The Funk And The Fear’ (Polytechnic Youth). This follows last years widely acclaimed ‘Marsangst’ EP (Happy Robots Records). It should be noted that Morgane was with Stereolab during their ‘imperial phase’ between 1995-2001 when they released such groundbreaking classics as ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup’ and ‘Dots And Loops’. After this time period she did a stint in The Projects and played in Garden with members of Simian Mobile Disco.
‘Between The Funk And The Fear’ leaves all expectations at the door and feels more like a continuation of past accomplishments. It’s full of fun and funky electronic disco strangeness with a layer of vintage creepy library effects that leaves an air of impeding doom lurking around every corner. With title tracks like ‘Post-Apocalypteacakes’, ‘Lesbian Death Drums’ and ‘Tracksuit Minotaur’, what more could you want?
“With this first LP, I wanted to create the soundtrack to the trippiest horror movie ever, and combine the scary and the absurd, through a very tongue in cheek aesthetic both musically and visually. For this project, I decided to experiment with adding live instruments, such as bass, drums, and strings, instead of or in conjunction with electronic instruments on some tracks. It was especially interesting to merge both musical feels and textures into one cohesive narrative,” says Morgane.
Torched Magazine is honored with having had the opportunity to ask Morgane Lhote a few questions about her latest project Hologram Teen and the release of her debut LP ‘Between The Funk And The Fear’, who some of her amazing influences and her relationship with Polytechnic Youth and Happy Robots Records…plus more!
TM – Hi Morgane – You once said…”With this first LP, I wanted to create the soundtrack to the trippiest horror movie ever”… how were you able to accomplish this idea?
Morgane – Hi Judy! The songs on this LP had a very cinematic/soundtrack feel to them already and I just used the weirdest samples I could find and manipulated them a bunch. I also thought of the most absurd song titles I could think of to sprinkle a dose of humor here and there.
TM – Who or what are some of your creative influences?
Morgane – I like all kinds of music to be honest. I can’t stand people who are music snobs about certain artists or genres like the Top 40. A good song is a good song whether it’d be from Britney Spears of Philip Glass. For ‘Between the Funk and the Fear”, I was mostly influenced by horror soundtracks by the likes of Goblin, Fabio Frizzi, and John Carpenter. But I also love country and hip hop so I’m thinking about how to incorporate those genres within electronic music in my next album right now.
TM – How has your music evolved since your time with Stereolab?
Morgane – I wasn’t making my own music at the time. I knew a time would come where I would come up with my own music but that took about 20 years in the making. I’m glad I waited though.
TM – You’re releasing music through two labels, right? Can you tell us about your relationship with Polytechnic Youth and Happy Robots Records?
Morgane – Happy Robots Records is run by my old friend Adam whom I know from London. He was in the band Saloon and produced an album for a band I was in at the time, The Projects. I asked him if he was interested in putting out one of my singles and luckily he said yes. I tend to save my more upbeat, dance-like tracks for his label. I’m currently working on a second album right now, which will be released on Happy Robots Records. For Polytechnic Youth, my producer Richard Bennet emailed Dom who runs the label and asked him if he’d be interested in releasing some stuff. He put out my first single on Deep Distance (one of his many labels) and the LP was more suitable for Polytechnic Youth. I’ve actually never met Dom but he’s ace and a pleasure to deal with…
TM – Your latest release ‘Between The Funk and The Fear’ involves a collaboration with Sukia for the lead track. Could you tell us about this and how you came to work together?
Morgane – I knew the guys from Sukia from the 90s when they toured the UK with Stereolab. I stayed good friends with Sasha, and he and Craig added vocals, synths and many other instruments on “God(d) of Thunder Vs. Sukia”. They added the extra “creep” factor I needed for the song.
TM – When it comes to your music, what was the biggest problem that you had to overcome? Has getting your music out there in the blogosphere and radio been challenging for you – please tell us about this.
Morgane – No problems so far! I think having been in Stereolab opened a lot of doors for me. Also I have a kick-ass PR lady, Shauna McLarnon at Shameless Promotion PR, so getting my music out there has been pretty straightforward!
TM – Do you have any hobbies outside of music that help to rejuvenate your creativity?
Morgane – I love movies and graphic design (comics in particular). I’m always looking out for the inspiration for my next album cover. Also, at the risk of sounding like a frat boy, I really like betting on sports!
TM – Is there anything else that you would like to share that I may have missed?
Morgane – Hmm, Trump is a moron! (can you actually print that?)
TM – Are there any current artists you’ve been enjoying that you can recommend us for our own playlists?
Morgane – Absolutely! I love recommending music to other people. I’m really enjoying listening to BADBADNOTGOOD, a Canadian trippy jazz outfit, Chicano Batman, a LA based soul funk band, and the latest Siriusmo album Comic at the moment. It’s whacked out electronica with pop hooks and an irreverent attitude, something I aspire to do with my music as well.
Feature Photo by Elena Kulikova
The vinyl issue of ‘Between The Funk and The Fear’ is limited to 500 copies and can be ordered from Polytechnic Youth direct email@example.com or from Morgane Lhote directly for orders within the USA via https://hologramteen.bandcamp.com, in addition to various stores throughout the UK and select European distributors. In the UK, the album will be available from Norman Records, Rough Trade, Piccadilly Records, Resident Records, Heyday Mailorder, One Nation Distro, and Friendly Records (Bristol). In Europe, it will be distributed via Clear Spot Distro, HHV Berlin and Tommes Schallplatten Stuttgart, but this list continues to grow.