Loraine James channels anxiety into something you can dance to
The London producer has just released her groundbreaking new album ‘Reflection’ on Hyperdub.
Photography Suleika Müller
Loraine James grew up in Enfield, north London. The borough isn’t considered a particularly musical place, but her mum made sure she got a proper introduction to lots of different sounds. “I don’t think I would even be doing music if it wasn’t for her,” the producer says. Young Loraine actually had big dreams of becoming a pro wrestler. “My favourite wrestler was Edge… but I also wanted to be a footballer and a tennis player at some point too. I wanted to be the next Radwanska.” Loraine would never achieve her WWE dreams, but she did go on to blow minds with her brilliant IDM (intelligent dance music).
And that’s where we find her today, releasing her third album Reflection, her second with Hypderdub and the culmination of a year spent locked away in the studio. 2020 ought to have been full of festivals and club shows, off the back of her 2019 album For You And I (opening track “Glitch Bitch” is something truly special) but perhaps the solitary sacrifice was worth it? The interim EP, Nothing, kept fans hooked until Reflection, out today, came to fruition.
Loraine's appreciation of drill is audible across the project, as is her affinity with the club (and just what an emotionally honest a person she is). Across 11 tracks, she and her guest cast of future-greats tackle subjects like anxiety, gay rights and loneliness. In the video for penultimate track "Running Like That" — a track that sounds a little like if Solange collaborated with Jessy Lanza and the result was pushed through Loraine’s distinct filter — we’re sent on an epic CGI adventure. Overall, Reflection is eclectic, honest and never, ever boring. It’s perfect for the club, a late night drive home, or some solo self-examination.
In a nutshell, Loraine James is one of the most exciting young producers in the UK. Find out why via these 10 fun facts.
**1. Loraine’s earliest musical memory is truly joyous
**“It’s of my mum playing 'September' by Earth, Wind & Fire and me being so excited that I would start jumping on her bed.”
**2. But it wasn’t until university that she started taking music seriously
**“I didn't really know what I could do with making music until I started learning how to play live.”
**3. Loraine counts the sky, other producers and the clubs as her three main influences
**“When I lived in Ponders End, my flat overlooked the carpark but you could also see the sky clear as day, and I would jam on my keyboard for hours just looking at it. The clubs inspire me because I love playing stuff in club settings.”
**4. She’s learnt a lot this past year, particularly…
**“That it's good to rest your mind and body. But also to not put pressure on yourself to do X, Y, Z because you have so much time.”
**5. And she made said discovery to a lockdown soundtrack of:
**“Pop Smoke and Yung Lean.”
6. Her new album Reflection has big 2020 vibes“It's about hope. It's about anxiety. Me managing and not managing my thoughts and feelings in 2020.”
7. Loraine thinks the record would be a good soundtrack for 90s vampire film, **Blade **“The feeling of being in a city surrounded by malevolent forces beyond your control, blood sucking techno promoters all while wearing Matrix-style looks.”
**8. And the album artwork is pretty special
**“I gave Optigram a few suggestions for the artwork but thought I was saying way too much, so I told him to ignore what I said and voilà that's how the artwork came out. Which is perfect because it represents where my head was at.”
**9. If you take one thing away from this feature, let it be this very important fact
**“There's only one R in Loraine.”
**10. Loraine has a wider mission. Take note:
**“To reinforce the point that Black people make experimental music. Always have. And just putting more of us on the map.”