Sometimes, referring to an artist as just an “artist” is simply not enough. Rarely in human history, there have been testimonies and ancient records of demigod entities, descending upon earth and sometimes even contributing to the civilization. However, it seems we need not wait for the future, nor revisit ancient history. Gracing us with a sound, or rather, a universe of her own, 3L3D3P (pronounced L-D-P) makes planetfall with her latest single, “idontlisten”. The solo project, consisting of 3L3D3P, a drum machine, and her megaphone, is a construct of explosive art, both aurally and visually.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, 3L3D3P is setting out to build her name as a wild, unpredictable force of nature. A veteran of the local music scene, 3L3D3P is no stranger to the punk nature of her surroundings, even hosting her own underground venue at one point. The hectic, intense and saturated lifestyle of LA blends into the background of 3L3D3P’s sound, almost as if it is the theme track of a city yet to embrace it’s own creative, destructive and chaotic nature. To be ahead of the curve is a natural state of being if you are 3L3D3P, and today we explore the machinations behind the almost uncontrollable madness.
Tell us about yourself.
I'm from Los Angeles, I've been playing music pretty much my whole life. I started playing guitar, but pots and pans were probably my first instrument back when I was 10. I used to run a DIY venue on Venice and La Brea back in 2015, and I used to play there with my band and a bunch of bands, as like a hired gun. Mostly punk bands back then. I play bass, guitar and keyboard, pretty much any instrument I'm given enough time with I can pick up.
What's the story behind the name?
“3L3D3P” is an acronym but I dare not say, and I tend to lie about what it actually stands for all the time and I have yet to unveil what it stands for just yet! I just like to think of something on the spot and give it a new meaning each time.
How did you start your musical landscape?
I guess I would say I just had an idea that was just whatever i felt like, just a mix of things, but I was always feeling like when i was in bands and stuff people were not really vibing with the idea or seeing the big picture that you could put together so many different sounds to make something else. And when I started this project, it was my first solo project so up to this point I was always doing bands with other people, so this was kind of my chance to allow the chaos of influences that lived inside of me to come out without any sort of restriction. It was just a mix of the thousands of influences of sounds and genres I've been inspired by to come out into one piece.
How did growing up in LA influence your music?
Growing up in LA is just crazy, as anyone could imagine. Really growing up in the city, I was just exposed to so many different sounds and so many different cultures, just so many things at once, so living in that chaos just allowed me to see things in a more mixed up kinda way, and that's a big influence on my music. Just being in a city like this, having been to a lot of different places, there is certainly nowhere quite like LA. It is its own little monster and inside of that monster there's so much to be inspired by. Some things are clashing and other things are harmonious, and that's honestly a main factor in what makes the 3L3D3P sound.
Let's talk about the new single, “idontlisten," what's the influence behind it?
“idontlisten”, initially, I was trying to make a more chill, poppy song, and I was listening to The Streets, which is like a huge influence of mine since I was a kid. I was really inspired by them around the end of last year, when I started writing “idontlisten”, so I feel like that was a big influence. But I really thought I was making a more straightforward pop song, and it turned out a lot more chaotic than it was meant to be! And as for the music video, there's tons of elements of animation, as the animators helped to make a 3D world. Kinda like an“3L3D3P world”, a futuristic landscape, and in this landscape, if you just zoom in to this little convenience store I work at, I'm just there, losing it. Deep within that world that seems so big, it's just one little store with one person in it and it's just kind of like a window into my mind.
Visual inspirations in cinema?
Metropolis is my favorite movie, it is definitely not just my influence, but pretty much any modern-day-sci-fi is inspired by Metropolis. Honestly, the first to do it, to make the modern robot that we know today, as C3PO is basically the standard robot of that setting. Such insane visuals, and I'm so inspired by early 1920’s silent films because before those movies, there literally wasn't anything else, so whatever they came up with at the time was cross-referenced from books, or plays, or something else and they had to adapt it into the media of cinema while it was still brand new. They were working around all the technical difficulties, and creating such insane visuals and stories that are just the most original to me just because they didn't have anything else to base their movies off otherwise. It's a true piece of art to me and definitely worth the watch, and it really is huge, as making visuals is just as important to me as the music itself.
Your music sounds like something I would be rocking out to if I were in the Final Fantasy universe. Are there any influences from video game music and culture?
Video game sound design is such a big inspiration to me. I've been playing games since I was like three or four and never stopped. Yesterday I played Secret Of Mana for hours, it was so much fun. Legend Of Mana is one of my favorites, that soundtrack is a huge inspiration in my life, but so is Final Fantasy. Eight, nine, and twelve are my favorites, and the connection between old world and new world–future world really–thrown together is just a huge inspiration to me. Oh, and style-wise too. I always ask myself, “would this outfit work in Final Fantasy?” and if the answer is yes, then I know it's a good outfit.
What's the vibe at the shows?
The vibe at my shows is very aggressive and very chaotic. It's just me and a drum machine, where I play my tracks sometimes, and other times I will create a beat live with samples of my voice, or songs I haven't released, and things I recorded while just out in the world, like samples of a rooster in Hawaii, or people on the street. I will edit it and alter it in the machine, and use them for live elements, to where it's never quite the same in each show. But my performance energy is very aggressive and I kind of throw it at the audience, and it ends up coming right back at me, so we feed off of each other's intense ups and downs and back and forths.
Awesome show experience of 2023?
My most recent show in NYC was a really fun show, just because the crowd was getting riled up. It started up with them seeming a little stunned, and the crowd just very still or blank, and it just ended in such an uproar. I was out in the crowd, and there was a guy so much bigger than me, so of course I went and pushed him, and as I got back onstage i turned around to see him fully laid out on his back, and the crowd just screaming. I made sure to check on him to make sure he was okay but he seemed better than ever. That's just the kind of endurance adrenaline that comes out during the show! A lot of things happen, people hit the ground, people climb up onstage, and it's kind of unpredictable. Just like the music itself which can be aggressive and unpredictable so it all blends well together.
You are headlining the Roxy here July 9th! Tell us how that makes you feel.
Oh my God, I'm so excited, it's crazy I'm headlining The Roxy. It's a place I've been going to since I was a kid. All I ever did was go to shows, not just every weekend, but I would just ditch school to go to shows, get caught, and then be really mad that I have to go to kid jail and miss out on a show, and this type of thing would happen all the time. But The Roxy was definitely a place I ditched a lot of school to make it to. My dad was also a big music guy, and spent a lot of time at The Roxy, so it's a crazy full circle that I am playing there now. It's a place I have always wanted to play at, and it's a hometown show that feels right, and I'm just beyond excited to actually have a chance to bring that strange energy to The Roxy. It's strange but it's so very deeply LA and it feels right.
If there was one superpower you could have, what would it be? Do you already have any superpowers you can disclose for us?
I definitely do have superpowers, but I'm not at liberty to disclose any of them to the public just yet, sorry. Although if I could pick an extra power, I would definitely think shapeshifting would be at the top of the list. Seriously, it’s such an overpowered superpower if you use it right.
Is there anything else you wanna say?
Stay tuned, I have a lot of amazing sounds and visuals and art to share, and 3L3D3P is here to take over the world essentially. You're either going to join peacefully or you'll be taken down.
“idontlisten” is available for streaming on all major platforms May 25th.